AUSTRALIA'S Dan McConnell improved to 21st overall in a top-class mountain bike cross-country event at Hadleigh Farm - and now has his sights set on the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
In Beijing, McConnell finished 39th in what was a lesser quality race, so he is buoyed by his performance behind Juroslav Kulhavy of the Czech Republic, who won by only one second from Switzerland's Nino Schurter in 1hr.29min.07sec.
"I definitely couldn't have gone any faster, it was just so fast," McConnell said.
"After the first lap (of six) I tried to settle into a pace I could sustain, and I finished 21st. It's not perfect, but I gave it all I had, so that's where I'm at, I think.
"My pace was fairly high in the last few laps, so I'm really happy with that."
McConnell described the 4.7km course as technically difficult and said he was glad to get through unscathed after some "hairy moments" through the rocky sections.
"The track is so open," he said. "It's all pedalling with nowhere to rest. If you don't have a wheel to sit on, it makes it so hard.
"It's the type of course where if you go out too hard, you could lose minutes on each lap, so I played it fairly safe at the start."
McConnell's time was a respectable 1hr.33min.22sec., and he said he had learnt a lot from his second Olympics.
"Last time (in Beijing) I was 39th and the field was nowhere near as strong as it was here," he said.
"I have come a long way since then and now I train a fair bit smarter.
"Come Rio, I should be a lot better, but the Commonwealth Games in two years is my real goal. I'm just going to keep at it, and see what happens."
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