Team Lapierre International rider Cam Cole finishes sixth in the final round of the 2012 UCI Downhill MTB World Cup series held at Hafjell, Norway, at the weekend. Despite missing the opening round of seven, Cam Cole's consistent top-10 finishes secure him 11th overall for the 2012 season.
Cam Cole, of Christchurch, New Zealand, went into the final round of the 2012 UCI World Cup series with a heavy heart - his good friend James Dodds passed away in a hunting accident in New Zealand a week earlier.
"I wrote some words and Justin [Leov] read them out at the funeral, but it felt weird for me not to be there. I know he would have liked me to go racing. My partner Amy is back there with Gabby [Molloy]," explains Cole.
"My brain has been pre-occupied with racing. I was trying to concentrate to do a good job for James and for me. I wanted to finish off the year strongly."
The Lapierre International rider was hungry for a win after sniffing around the top step for the entire season, but was bettered in Norway by winner Steve Smith, of Canada, George Brannigan, of New Zealand, in second, current world champion and South African Greg Minnaar in third.
"I crossed the line and I just started crying - I just let all that emotion out," shares Cole.
"I wasn't able to let that out or read my words at the funeral, but the race was like closure for me and it was a bonus that I came away with a good result for my friends back home and the NZ Mountain Bike community in this tough time."
"It was just such a big shock for us. It shows how fragile life is - you really have to enjoy every minute of it," explains Cole.
"I know that when I do pick up one of those wins he will be right there with me."
The new course in Hafjell, Norway, was well liked by the riders and Cole benefitted from the great atmosphere. Cole smashed the previous times set by the other competitors. He was nearly 2 seconds ahead of Austrian Markus Pekoll at the second split time. Cole held the lead to the finish line to take over the hot seat. From the hotseat it is a nervous wait as the rest of the field hit the course.
Much of the talk in the pits had been about who would be next to win a race and Cole's name was high on the list. In Norway it was not to eventuate, but the likeable rider has proven he can be both fast and consistent this season.
"I crashed at Windham and finished 11th at Mont-Sainte-Anne, which was my worst race. My other results are pretty consistent and I am happy about that, but now I want to move that consistency up to the sharper end of the stick," he smiles."
"I believe I can win and being injury free for an off-season and able to work on development rather than recovery will put me in good shape for 2013. It is going to be a really exciting year next season."
Cole said he felt he had the fitness and the strength to win a World Cup this season and was looking forward to a good positive season for 2013.
"I'm looking forward to an off-season where I can work on all the things I need to. Time on the bike is very important. I'm going back to the drawing board with my new coach Katherine Prumm and we have things we are going to work on to build for next year."
Cole said it was a team effort and it was the people around him that helped to bring that success. "I have a good team built up around me at home and I feel the support will help me get to that win sooner rather than later."
Cole is looking forward to flying home this week to reconnect with friends and have some time off racing before the New Zealand season kicks in around the new year. He will begin preparation for 2013 in November but wants to maintain a good level of fitness until then so he can hit the Kiwi summer strong.