New Zealand mountain bikers set to compete around the globe

Mountain Bike
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Kiwi mountain bikers are out in force around the globe this weekend, with over 50 riders competing in UCI World Series events in Poland and Malaysia.

The UCI World Series for enduro racing started last weekend in Italy, and backs up on Saturday (NZ time) with the second round in the southern Polish city of Bielsko-Biala.

The region also hosts the second round of the UCI Downhill World Series in the Beskidy Mountains with both facilities used for the first time at this level.

The downhill track is around 2km in length with a 400m vertical drop while the enduro will be based in the city Bielsko-Biała, which dates to the 13th century and was originally two towns on either side of the Biala River.

There will be a voyage into the virtual unknown when the enduro riders compete on Friday local time, with a testing nine-hour programme.

Specialized Factory professional Charles Murray from Wanaka grabbed a podium in Italy last weekend and will lead the four-strong kiwi elite men in Poland, joined by Matthew Berry (Cambridge) and the Pivot Factory pair of Ed Masters and Matthew Walker,

Multi-national champion Rae Morrison (Liv Racing) was a strong fifth place in Italy and leads a Nelson trio with Louise Kelly and George Swift in elite females this weekend.

The under-21 riders were led by Christchurch adventurer Matthew Fairbrother who was 12th in Italy and joined by fellow Cantabrian Oliver Jenkins and the Yeti-Fox rider Joe Millington and Upper Hutt’s Lachie Ross.

National champion Winnie Goldsbury from Christchurch and Nelson’s Xanthe Robb, sixth in Italy last weekend, will compete in the under-21 females.

Junior gravity riders led the kiwi charge in the opening round in Scotland, with podiums for Luke Wayman (Gravity Cartel), Sasha Earnest (Trek Factory) and Tauranga debutant Eliana Hulsebosch (Union).

They will form the nucleus of a strong under-21 bunch in Poland, along with junior world champion Erice van Leuven, who had to settle for fifth after a deflating rear tyre in her finals run at Fort William.

Best of the elite riders was the in-form Union rider, Lachie Stevens-McNab from Rotorua, who was one of five kiwi men to make the semifinals in the new racing format, but there were no New Zealanders in either of the elite finals.

Former junior world champion Jenna Hastings (Pivot Factory) is back in action after injury while Queenstown’s multi national champion Jess Blewitt (Cube Factory) had a dnf in Scotland.

The UCI Enduro is set for Friday (local time) with downhill qualifying and elite semifinals are Saturday and finals on Sunday.

Meanwhile there is interest in national champion Lochlan Brown (Rotorua) who is in Indonesia as the first male kiwi rider to compete in the UCI MTB Eliminator World Cup.

The XCE World Cup is an exciting high speed, high excitement competition that is staged in key urban areas.

It provides super exciting and exhilarating competition, with Brown one of 25 elite men from 11 nations to take part in the latest round of the World Series in Palangkaraya, which is a stunning city in southern Borneo.

Brown is just the second kiwi rider to be invited to the series, with Jess Manchester competing in recent years.

The global competition comprises time trials and then elimination round to a grand final, with current World Cup leaders Lorenzo Serres (FRA) and Gaia Tormena (ITA) competing on Sunday.

The opening two rounds were staged in Paris and Barcelona, and following Indonesia, the series heads to Turkey, Belgium, Brazil, India and Saudi Arabia.

The full list of New Zealand riders competing this weekend in UCI MTB World Cup events:

DOWNHILL (Poland), Men Elite: Nico Arnold, Samuel Blenkinsop, George Brannigan, Bryn Dickerson, Angus Ferguson, James Macdermid, Brook Macdonald, Eddie Masters, Wyn Masters, Toby Meek, Tuhoto-Ariki Pene, Hayden Stead, Lachlan Stevens-Mcnab, Matthew Walker. 

Women elite: Jess Blewitt, Jenna Hastings, Kalani Muirhead.

Junior Men: Oli Clark, Rennie Falconer, Ryan Hastings, Rory Meek, Oliver Nicholls, Tyler Waite, Luke Wayman.

Junior Women: Sacha Earnest, Eliana Hulsebosch, Poppy Lane , Erice Van Leuven. 

ENDURO, (Poland) Men Elite: Matthew Berry, Eddie Masters, Charles Murray, Brady Stone, Matthew Walker. 

Women Elite: Louise Kelly, Rae Morrison, George Swift.

Men Under 21: Matthew Fairbrother, Oliver Jenkins, Joe Millington, Aidan Robinson, Lachie Ross. 

Women Under 21: Winni Goldsbury, Xanthe Robb.

Open Racing Men: Seff Curle, Joseph Houghton, Jake Remon, Dylan Walton. 

Men Master 35 Plus: Bradley Lauder.

Men Under 21: Cam Ford, Asher Hart, Harry Kneebone, Tyrone Laurent-Stokes, Tyler Muirhead, Kiran Taylor:

Eliminator (XCE) World Cup, Indonesia: Lochie Brown.

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