27 Jun 2014

New Zealand team named for mountain bike world championships

5:14 pm on 27 June 2014

A 28-strong team New Zealand team has been named to contest September's UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Norway.

Ten riders, led by Commonwealth Games representatives Karen Hanlen, Kate Fluker, Anton Cooper and Sam Gaze, will contest the cross-country competition, while 18 riders, headed by world number two ranked Sam Blenkinsop, will compete in downhill competition.

Cross-country and downhill competition will take place at Hafjell with trials and cross-country eliminator racing taking place at Lillehammer, both alpine resorts that hosted the 1994 Winter Olympics.

Some of the New Zealand team have enjoyed considerable success at Hafjell since it joined the UCI World Cup circuit in 2012.

Trek World Racing rider George Brannigan was runner-up in downhill at the world cup in 2012 with compatriot Cameron Cole (Commencal Riding Addiction) sixth, while Blenkinsop (Lapierre International) was fourth last year, part of his outstanding and consistent form in 2013.

Cooper also enjoyed outstanding form at Hafjell in his under-23 debut in cross-country last year, finishing second in the World Cup.

Cross-country competition begins with the team relay on Wednesday, September 3rd, followed by three days of individual racing with the downhill titles to be decided on Sunday, September 7th.

Downhill team:

Men, Under 19: Peter Bethell (Auckland), Carl Coodwin (Kaiapoi), Connor Hamilton (Rotorua), Josh McCombie (Dunedin), Connor Sandri (Oamaru), Ben Watkins (Wanganui), Keegan Wright (Rotorua.

Elite: Sam Blenkinsop (Christchurch), George Brannigan (Havelock North), Cameron Cole (Christchurch), Brook Macdonald (Napier), Edward Masters (New Plymouth),Wyn Masters (New Plymouth), Matt Walker (Kawerau).

Elite Women: Sarah Atkin (Wellington), Alanna Columb (Queenstown), Veronique Sandler (Nelson), Sophie Tyas (Auckland).

Cross-country team:

Women, Under 19: Harriet Beaven (Auckland).

Under 23: Amber Johnston (Rotorua).

Elite: Kate Fluker (Queenstown), Karen Hanlen (Whakatane). One to be added (subject to meeting selection requirements).

Men, Under 19: David Ashby-Coventry (Timaru), Jack Compton (Wellington), Gareth Cannon (Woodville), Ben Oliver (Rangiora).

Under 23: Anton Cooper (Woodend), Sam Gaze (Cambridge). One to be added (subject to meeting selection requirements).