World Champions add colour to Torpedo7 MTB Nationals

Mountain Bike
CNZ Torpedo7 MTB National Champs Logo 2021

Two rainbow jerseys amid a bunch on international professionals will be on display at the 2024 Torpedo7 MTB National Championships at Coronet Peak in Queenstown this weekend.

There are 270 riders who will contest the two-day championships with cross-country races on Saturday, ahead of downhill competition and the second national short-track XCO titles on Sunday.

It is the second straight year that the championships have ventured south, with the Queenstown MTB Club providing support for the Coronet Peak organisation and the Cycling New Zealand events team.

The under-23 cross-country world champion Sammie Maxwell and the junior women’s downhill world titleholder Erice van Leuven will be on show amid a host or international professionals.

Cross-country action will see Trek Factory rider Anton Cooper chasing his ninth elite men’s title and keen to produce a performance of quality as he presses his claims for selection to the Paris Olympic Games.

“Training is going well although I have not had much time at home having come back quite late from Europe and then we had a team camp in Spain last month.

“Last year I came into this event sick and should not have competed as I hadn’t ridden for a month in the lead-up before it. I’m happy with where I am at for this stage.”

Main competition is likely from good friend Ben Oliver, who is back from winning the Hero Series event in Abu Dhabi; defending champion Matt Wilson and Southland’s Josh Burnett, equally talented on the road after winning the UCI Gravel & Tar race recently.

Canterbury’s Ethan Rose, who has been signed for the Trek Future pro team this year, returns from his excellent podium effort in Abu Dhabi, and should dominate the under-23 competition.

Maxwell, who was signed for the Decathlon Ford pro team late last year, is favoured to head the combined women’s under-23 and elite field for a fourth successive time, with competition likely to be led by 2020 winner Josie Wilcox (Nelson).

Local rider Toby Meek will defend the elite downhill title on Sunday against a strong field headed by New Zealand’s highest ranked rider in MS Intense Racing’s Tuhoto-Ariki Pene, who is 31st in the world and the fifth ranked world enduro rider Charlie Murray (Wanaka).

There will be many looking at 20-year-old Lachie Stevens-McNab, back in outstanding form after two injury-plagued years, having won all four rounds of the MTBNZ national gravity series this summer.

Hometown star Jess Blewitt, still just 21, is chasing her fourth straight elite women’s downhill honours with main competition form 2022 junior world champion Jenna Hastings (Rotorua). Blewitt moves to the Cube Factory pro team this year, while Hastings rides for Pivot Factory.

The junior downhill will receive plenty of attention with the appearance of world champion van Leuven and fellow 2023 world championship podium placegetters Pappy Lane (Mt Maunganui) and Sacha Earnest (Auckland), with the trio all gaining professional team rides this season.

The XCO elite, under-19 and Under-17 racing is from 10am on Saturday, with under-15, Masters and Sport from 1.30pm with the XCO short-track and all downhill racing on Sunday.


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