Sheppard hits trifecta at Snowies MTB Festival while defending champion Blair strikes back
New Zealand’s Samara Sheppard makes it three straight to remain atop the elite women’s leader board, as defending champion Andy Blair claims stage 3 and bites into Kyle Ward’s elite men’s lead at the Snowies Mountain Bike Festival…
SNOWY MOUNTAINS, NSW—Samara Sheppard (NZL) is riding a hot streak at the moment after capturing her third consecutive stage to start the second annual Snowies Mountain Bike Festival at Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa in the iconic Snowy Mountains of New South Wales on Saturday afternoon.
The 25-year-old Wellington native once again downed last year’s third-place finisher Renata Bucher (SUI), who finished second for the third time, on the 6-kilometre Thredbo All Mountain Descent stage 3 to tighten her grip on the elite women’s overall lead with just two stages remaining in the three-day, five-stage mountain bike race hosted by In2Adventure. Australian Zoe Cuthbert (ACT) finished third.
The win increases Sheppard’s lead (1:40:39) over Bucher (1:43.17) by more than 3 minutes on Bucher and by 6 minutes on Australian Cristy Henderson (1:46:43).
In elite men’s action, defending champion Andy Blair (Specialized Racing Australia) returned to the podium after being runner up in the first two stages to current race leader Kyle Ward (AUS). The two-time Australian XCM champion and 2014 Commonwealth Games representative crossed the line in a time of 14 minutes 34 seconds, 14 seconds ahead of fellow Australian Guy Frail. Ward finished third (14:51).
The win gives Blair (1:26:40) 17 valuable seconds back on Ward (1:24:59), who now leads by less than two minutes with only two stages remaining, including the 20.5km Gravity Check descent and 45km XCM on the final day of racing.
Results – Top 3
- Andy Blair AUS, 00:14.34.285
- Guy Frail, AUS, 00:14:48.885
- Kyle Ward, AUS, 00:14:51.534
- Samara Sheppard, NZL, 00:16:49.071
- Renata Bucher, SUI, 00:17:17:630
- Zoe Cuthbert, AUS, 00:17:20.794
General Classification (after 3 stages)
- Kyle Ward, AUS, 1:24:59.25
- Andy Blair, AUS, 1:26:40.54
- Sebastian Jayne, AUS, 1:27:39.40
- Samara Sheppard, NZL, 1:40:39.34
- Renata Bucher, SUI, 1:43:17.11
- Cristy Henderson, AUS, 1:46:43.02
In2Adventure is Asia-Pacific’s premier adventure event specialists. With a full calendar of national events scheduled throughout Australia, including adventure races, cross triathlon, XC Mountain Bike, trail runs and corporate events, In2Adventure fully embraces all things ‘off road’ and ‘off the beaten track’ and offers a unique, individual experience for all ages and skill levels. For more information visit In2Adventure here.
Upcoming Events (2016):
- Snowies MTB Festival – Snowy Mountains, NSW, 12-14 February 2016
- Australian Cross Triathlon Championships (2016 Worlds Qualifier) – Snowy Mountains, NSW, 27-28 February 2016
- Mountain Designs Adventure Race Australia – NSW, 20 March 2016
- Queensland Cross Triathlon Championships (2016 Worlds Qualifier) – Sunshine Coast, QLD, 16-17 April 2016
- Mountain Designs Adventure Race Australia 18hr Dark Side & 12hr Dawn Attack – Sunshine Coast, QLD, 29-30 April, 2016
- ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships – Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa, Snowy Mountains, NSW, 18-20 November 2016
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Photo Credit: Mandy Lamont | In2Adventure