In June I talked to local mountain bike legend Anton Cooper. Anton has since returned from overseas the under-19 World Champion!
Did you achieve your peak performance at the World Championships or are there still more improvements to make?
AC: I think for my age and size at the time I did everything I could have. Heading forward I’m going to grow more, get stronger and more experienced, so definitely more improvements to come.
You move to the under-23 ranks next year. What are your expectations of your performances and competition?
AC: it’s going to be really good because I will have to chase again instead of leading races from the front, have to really fight for the win and learn from my losses. This year most of my times at the world cups would have put me in 3rd place in U23 so definitely next year I’ll be looking for podiums and wins.
How is school going for you – what level of achievement will you finish with this year?
AC: after my exams in November I’m a free man – I’ll be focusing on mountain biking. The goal is University Entrance but Level 3 NCEA would be a bonus.
Where’s your favourite spot to hang out over summer?
AC: to be honest there’s nothing like your home town when you go away for so long so coming back to Christchurch and chilling out is pretty cool but often I go up north to the Bay of Islands, I love it up there.
What makes you want to win bike races?
AC: I’m naturally competitive – I’ve always been that way, I don’t want to stop until I’ve achieve something and I’m always trying to get the best out of myself. I guess I can’t settle for second.