Cooper's pro career not going downhill

RICHARD KNOWLER
Last updated 05:00 05/12/2012

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Mountainbiker Anton Cooper's switch to a new team is not likely to disrupt his professional career.

Though Woodend's Cooper, the UCI junior men's world championships title-holder, was saying little about the proposed deal there appears to be little animosity about the proposed split from Trek World Racing, which signed him last year.

Trek World Racing have decided to focus on their downhill team, forcing Cooper, 18, to look at other options.

His relationship with manager Martin Whiteley, from Spain-based 23 Degrees Sports Management and also the team owner of Trek World Racing, should ensure a smooth transition.

Whiteley last year signed a three-year deal to guide Cooper and it is believed a new team will be revealed soon.

"Trek World has seen a few changes in regards to their structure and are looking to be more of a gravity-based team - more downhill," Cooper confirmed.

"That means they are looking to switch their cross-country riders to another team. I can't talk about what the exact details are because that is still confidential."

An announcement is expected within a week.

Cooper, who has left Christchurch Boys' High School, plans to spend the next year as a full-time professional and has no desire to return to the books in the near future.

He will attend the opening round of the national mountainbike series which begins in Bluff on January 4. He also has plans to attend a training camp in Italy and compete in Australia and Cypress next year.

"Racing in New Zealand is not so full-on so I'm not worried about peaking at the moment. It is a lot more full-on during the World Cup races."

Cooper has not ruled-out a move offshore. "But it would not be fulltime. I could possibly base myself overseas for six months."

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- Canterbury

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