Melissa Woods / AAP News
The Commonwealth Games bronze medallist continues her outstanding form for a third straight world cup crown.
Leading Australian mountain biker Bec McConnell has continued her sizzling form, winning her third successive World Cup.
In a dominant display, McConnell rode away from the field on the first lap in Nove Mesto in the Czech Republic to win by a gaping 40 seconds to extend her lead in the overall series.
Reigning World Cup champion, France’s Loana Lecomte, finished second while Swede Jenny Rissveds was third.
“Nove Mesto is always really good for me and I always seem to be able to get a really good performance here,” said three-time Olympian McConnell.
“Today I just had good legs and wanted to go with it.”
McConnell’s breakthrough World Cup win came last month at the opening round in Brazil, which was the first time an Australian mountain biker had won a round since her husband Dan McConnell achieved the feat nine years ago.
A two-time world championship bronze medallist, she also won round two in Albstadt in Germany.< /p>
The last Australian woman to win a World Cup race was Mary Grigson 22 years ago.
The 30-year-old McConnell has been Australia’s mainstay in women’s mountain biking for the past decade. She won bronze at the 2014 Commonwealth Games, but was disappointed to place 28th at the Tokyo Olympics.
She said she was set up nicely for the back end of the World Cup season.
“We have a small break before the next round and it’ll be really nice to have this advantage to start the second half of the season,” McConnell said.
The fourth stage of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup will be held in Leogang in Austria on June 11 and 12.
Meanwhile, fellow Australian Matt Richardson has won the men’s sprint at the UCI Track Nations Cup in Milton, Ontario.
The 23-year-old was untouchable, with his Dutch gold medal opponent Jeffrey Hoogland sitting up in the second race when he was unable to close the gap.
“Today was awesome – one of my favourite day s I’ve ever had on my bike,” said Richardson, who is targeting the Birmingham Games in early August.
“I just took confidence in my legs and raced the best way I could.”
Richardson’s gold medal was Australia’s fourth in Milton and the ninth podium finish.