Anton Cooper finishes second to World Champ in tight sprint
It was a weekend of intense action for the Trek Factory Racing XC team, with Anton Cooper scoring an impressive 2nd place to the reigning World and Olympic champion. The Sea Otter Classic cross country event witnessed a stacked field of World Cup contenders, all looking to test their form in sunny California.
After a challenging short track race on Friday, Anton prepared himself for the week’s main event on Saturday. In his own words,
"I really wasn't expecting much at all from the Sea Otter XCO. In Friday's Short Track I was on the limit the whole race just to hang onto the chase group so for Saturdays XCO I set myself a more conservative goal of a top 5 finish. I focused on hanging in with the lead group for as long as possible and as the laps ticked by I was surprised to find myself still near the head of the race. With just 2 laps to go I found myself at the front with none other than current World and Olympic Champ Nino Schurter. It was a tactical lead in to the finish line and I felt I got my timing right, but just ran out of gears on the high speed tarmac finish and he was able to come around me. Frustrating to have come so close and have not taken the win but being up there with the very best rider in the World is a massive confidence boost heading into the first World Cup round in Under 4 weeks time. Can't wait!"
Emily Batty scored several top results, with a 3rd in Friday’s short track race, and a 5th in Saturday’s cross country race. Both races went well for Emily, and showed positive signs ahead of her World Cup campaign.
Sergio experienced bad luck in his Thursday pre-ride when he hit the deck, sustaining several injuries. Although he skipped the short track race, he rallied to start the cross country race. Sergio started strong, racing in the lead group for several laps. The intensity of attacks from reigning World and Olympic champion Nino Schurter eventually distanced Sergio and the field. Regardless of the challenges, Sergio came in to finish 7th, a terrific result considering the bad luck of the past few weeks, when he experienced an extreme allergic reaction from a bee sting, and his earlier crash.