The West

Cyclists strikes gold
Goldfields’ senior constable Garth Cooper won three gold medals at Melbourne’s Australasian Police Games earlier this month. Picture: Louise White

Crack Goldfields cyclist Garth Cooper's impressive comeback from injury was rewarded with three gold medals at this month's Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games in Melbourne.

Cooper opened the week-long program with a criterium victory, comprising a 40-minute ride, plus three laps.

His second victory was enjoyed in a time trial and the treble was completed with his first-place road race effort.

Cooper's medals, in the 45 to 49 years category, earned him a direct path to next year's World Police Masters in the United States.

Since being run down by a motorcyclist at a major event in New Zealand last year, Cooper has dominated at the two competitions following his return.

At the Fly6 UCI World Cycling Tour Perth in March, Cooper qualified for two events at the world finals in Europe and he is now eagerly awaiting his debut at the 2015 World Police Masters.

"The road race was tough because there was only a break of 90 minutes after the time trial," Cooper said.

"Most of the road race field had not done the time trial, so they were all fresh, the hills aren't my forte and I was being punished.

"They (his rivals) really worked me over at will - there were lots of attacks because they knew I'd won each of my previous two races, so to win was my best achievement for the weekend."

A 14-year veteran of the police force, Cooper - who carries the rank of senior constable - said the mental scars of New Zealand were well on the mend.

"You just have to be resilient because it's part of racing that there are crashes," he said.

"I've been watching the big international races on TV and ironically, some of the camera motorbikes actually crashed into each other in the Tour of Turkey.

"I'm still getting treatment for my right hip and lower back once a week …because my right leg is not as strong as my left."

Cooper said his ability to sprint "at nearly 70km an hour" was proof the hurdles following his accident had all but healed.

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