Australia — Australian Paul Van der Ploeg of the Felt Ötztal X-Bionic World Cup Mountain Bike Team showed he’s in top form at last weekend’s Australian National Mountain Bike Series Finals. The 21-year-old scored a win in the Elite Men's Short Track event, which tied him with Olympian Dan McConnell atop the overall season standings.
Van der Ploeg, a new member of the Felt-sponsored World Cup MTB team, which is based in Germany, also won the Under-23 Cross-country Series title. He finished fifth in the Elite Cross-country finals, giving him a clear lead in the U-23 overall standings at the end of the Australian season.
“The competition was very strong today,” Van der Ploeg said after his short track win. “It's always exciting when you win a head-to-head race against other riders.”
Next up for Van der Ploeg is the Oceania Championships in New Zealand next weekend. After that, the up-and-coming Australian will travel to Europe to join his Felt Ötztal X-Bionic World Cup teammates in the World Cup season, which kicks off April 24 in Great Britain.