Angus salutes before facing surgeon’s knife

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In-form mountain biker Paul Angus is sitting out this weekend’s NZ South Island Cup downhill race at Coronet Peak – the Queenstowner is going under the knife instead.

Angus, 28, won last weekend’s Nzone Brake Burner event at Coronet Peak, beating hot favourite Geoff Small, who finished seventh after puncturing a tyre.

A former pro downhiller who’s raced in the World Cup series, Angus has an ongoing ankle injury and has to have pins removed next week.

He’s not too bothered about missing out on racing tomorrow and Saturday racing – part of a national downhill series.

“I don’t really do much downhill racing anymore.”

He says the Brake Burner appealed because it tested his skill and endurance. He completed the 17-lap course
in six hours.

Rumours of people cheating by cutting corners – Angus included – put a dampener on the fun race.

Angus insists he did nothing wrong: “The course is marked, there’s a lot of tape on the course, but there’s some sections where there’s not any tape. So there are areas where you can take a few little short cuts.

“But the one spot I did it you were literally shaving three metres of track because you’re battling to try and pass people. It’s not like you’re cutting 100m of track.”

Brake Burner organiser Greg McIntyre says there aren’t many rules in the race but cutting corners isn’t allowed – and he heard of a few riders spotted doing so.

“It was a good, fun race for bikers. Ninety-nine per cent of everyone’s out there having a good time and there’s those few that think they can cheat. And that’s fine, let them cheat. Let their peers judge them.”

The Brake Burner was also Queenstown mountain biking star Scarlett Hagen’s last hurrah as she bows out of competitive downhill racing.

Hagen, 21, last week announced her retirement from the sport after nine years at the top. The Oceania downhill champ raced on her hometown track with team mates Henry van Asch and Mark Angus – her first two sponsors when she started out.