MOUNTAIN bike stars from Bendigo went on a gold medal-winning spree at the national championships at Stromlo Forest Park near Canberra.
Peta Mullens won her first national title in the elite women’s cross-Country race at the Subaru-backed tiltes.
Racing for Target-Trek, Mullens raced the five laps of the 5.5km course in 1:29:03, 50.2 seconds ahead of second-placed Jenni King (Victoria) as Tasmania’s Rowena Fry won a sprint to be third.
Victory by Mullens followed the wins by Katherine O’Shea in the women’s elite cross-country eliminator; Jack Haig in the under-23 men’s cross-country, and Isaac Buckiell in the under-15 boys’ cross-country.
The national champonship win now has Mullens rethinking the rest of 2013.
“I’m going to have to rethink a few things this year. I’d like to see that jersey (green and gold national championships) overseas, and now that it’s on my back I might have to head over there,” she said post-race.
Haig and Buckell powered to victory on the demanding course.
Australia’s highest-placed rider in the under-23s division at last year’s world titles, Haig finished two minutes and 48 seconds clear of his nearest rival in this showdown at Stromlo.
A class performer in road and track cycling, Buckell finished 58 seconds clear of the second placegetter at the end of a hectic duel on the hills.
A previous national champion in the elite cross-country, O’Shea reigned supreme in the eliminator.
Racing for Team Torq, O’Shea struck gold in the newest event on the national MTB program.
O’Shea beat a fast-finishing Rowena Fry (Avanti), second, and Lindsay Gorrell, third.
“That was a tough race, it was really good competition, so it makes for an exciting year ahead,” said O’Shea after her thrilling win.
“I could hear her [Rowena Fry] on my wheel, so I knew I had to take that corner and really power out of it onto the straight.”
O’Shea was the February, 2011 winner in the Bendigo Advertiser Sports Star of the Year awards.
The presentation of this year’s awards, which are proudly supported by WIN Television and bankmecu, will be held this Friday in The Conservatory at Bendigo’s All Seasons Resort.