Anton Cooper

Anton in the finish of Nové Město race

UCI World Cup XCO / XCE 3 Nove Mesto na Morave
27 May 2014

Excuse bad quality of the sound.
How was your race?
It was my first race back after Cairns where I was sick. I had food poisoning there, so I was a bit unsure of what to expect today but I felt really good on the start loop and also the first lap. I was within 15-30 seconds of the leaders but then I had a bad stitch (like a stomach pain) on the second lap and lost a bit of time from that. From there I lost sight of the leaders and maybe some motivation as well. I didn’t quite have the legs to catch back up. The last lap I suffered a lot as well.
Do you like the course?
Yeah I do – I really like the course. It’s a great course and one that suits me reasonably well, but it’s a course that you also need to have really good legs on. If you’re off by 1 or 2% then you’re already a few minutes down.
Do you find it technical?
It’s a lot different. There are no super technical sections, but the whole course has you on your toes the whole time. With other courses like South Africa, it’s really easy then all of a sudden it’s really hard with a man-made rock garden or something. Whereas this is just… there are roots constantly, there are rocks constantly so you have to deal with it, which is good in my opinion.
What are your plans for the rest of the season?
I will race Albstadt, and then I’ll go back to New Zealand for 5 or 6 weeks to train for the rest of the season – Commonwealth Games is a big goal. Then Wyndham and Maribel in France and then the World Champs – my last main event of the year… World Champs is a big target.
So what is your goal for World Champs?
To win of course!! Ha ha ha! But at this stage it’s….. I mean I’m really motivated to do well, but it takes time to get back to the shape that you need, and I’m confident I can get there but it’s hard to tell at the same time you know. I have faith – I trust my coach a lot, and I trust my own ability a lot. I know how I can perform, so it’s a matter of piecing it all together.
Do you have any idea what caused this set back?
Well I got sick in Australia which wasn’t good. I had to sit that out, so I guess I didn’t know how my form would be. Basically my coach has sent me a lot of really hard training in the last 3 weeks, so I think my form has come on a lot. But even this week leading in, I came all the way from New Zealand to Europe, and a hard training week still. Maybe that takes an effect. I can have confidence from the first lap and a half, where I know I had good legs, so I hope in Albstadt I have that feeling for the whole race. Maybe we can get back in the top few or something or like that.

Anton on baggie shorts and pancakes

UCI World Cup XCO / DHI 5 - Mont-Sainte-Anne
14 Aug 2013
Congratulations on your brilliant ride at Mont Sainte Anne to become the youngest rider to ever win a U23 UCI World Cup. Can you talk us through your race?
Thanks! I had felt great all week so I knew I could be on for something special if everything worked out to plan. I had a great start and entered the singletrack in around fourth position. Reto Indergand got a gap on the first descent due to the rider in second being a slower descender. Myself, Julian Schelb and Markus Schulte-Luenzum formed a group and caught Reto again a lap or so later. Markus soon dropped off and then so too did Reto a couple of laps later. From there it was myself and Julian left to battle it out for the win. I managed to get a gap through a tight singletrack section with approximately a lap and a half to go and didn't look back from there!
If you qualify, will you race in the elite men's category next year or stay in the U23 category?
It really depends on my results over the next two races - the World Champs and the World Cup final. If my results are good there then I will definitely make the step up to the Elite category next year. It was a big goal of mine this year to have a strong season so that I could race in the Elite category next year.. Unfortunately illness threatened to derail that plan early in the season, but after Mont Sainte Anne things appear to be back on track. If I have poor results then I will stay for another year in Under 23 until I feel I am ready to make the step up. Anything is possible!
Do you consider yourself to be one of the favourites for the World Championships in Pietermaritzburg in 3 weeks time?
Yes. After last weekends win I would say I am one of the favourites but racing at the World Champs is much different to a World Cup. In Under 23 this year I would say there are about 10 people who could win the World Champs which really is a lot. It is by far the toughest race of the year to win.
You are in a new team this year. Can you tell us a bit about some of the characters in your team?
There are a lot of different characters on the team which makes it a really interesting environment to be a part of. Marco and Manuel have always stood out from the crowd with their style and flamboyancy and are really funny guys. They are exactly the same away from the camera as they are in front, and both addicted to coffee which is the one thing they share in common with Keegan who has a lot different personality which also compliments the team well. Some of the things that go on behind closed doors should probably stay there! Giac the mechanic is also a funny character who seems to be able to give an explanation for everything, some of which are hard to believe but we just let them go, haha.
Your team mates Manuel Fumic and Marco Fontana wear baggie shorts....do you prefer baggie shorts or lycra shorts and why?
I think they fit Marco and Manuel's style well but personally I prefer to race without the baggy shorts. At the end of the day it comes down to personal preference and the main reason behind Marco and Manuel wearing the baggies is to show that you should feel free to ride in whatever clothing you want. If you are just an everyday guy or girl that loves riding a bike but not so much squeezing into a figure hugging pair of lycra shorts then so be it, wear baggies instead. The choice is in your hands and you shouldn't feel pressured to wear what most of the top pros use. Wear whatever you feel most comfortable with and just have fun on your bike! Wearing baggies does make you feel a lot faster and cooler when you're out on a trail ride. It is a casual, relaxed look. On most Mountain Bike rides I wear baggy shorts. I just prefer to race in lycra.
We have heard that you have a new pancake recipe out - can you tell us about this?
My famous pancake recipe can be found on my Facebook athlete page! https://www.facebook.com/antoncooper.co.nz I find them a great nutritious and tasty way to start the day. There is nothing like a bit of variety when it comes to eating. Eating the same breakfast every day gets boring after a while!
Cheers Anton
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