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Kiwi mountain biker just misses out on Olympic medal

New Zealand mountain biker Anton Cooper has just missed out on becoming New Zealand's second Olympic medallist of the day, finishing sixth in the men's cross-country event this evening.

Anton Cooper finished sixth in the cross-country race at Tokyo 2020. Source: Getty

The Kiwi started strongly and remained among the leaders for much of the race. With half the race to go, leader Tom Pidcock of Great Britain put his foot down, with only Swiss rider Matias Flueckiger able to keep up.

That left Cooper with one shot at a medal, and he was in a four-way battle for bronze going into the last 3.85km lap.

But in what have been a case of too-much, too-early, Cooper struggled to hang on and fell to the back of the chasing pack to finish sixth.

Despite just missing out on a coveted medal, Cooper said he was "not left wondering" having given it his all.

"I'm stoked. I came in a real outsider but I knew anything was a possibility and I went out with that mentality. I was going to be up the front as long as I can. I didn't quite have the legs to stick it on the podium but I certainly emptied the tank so I've got to be satisfied with that," Cooper said after the race.

"For a lot of Kiwis back home seeing someone wearing the fern at the front of the race will give people a lot of pride.

"It gives me a boost, I’m proud to be a Kiwi and I’m proud to represent New Zealand."

At 26, Cooper said he still had plenty more to prove in the sport.

"I look forward to Paris 2024 and I should be at the peak of my powers then."

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