Nz Mtb Cup This Weekend In Timaru

Postby Melissa_Theuriau on Thu 5/Feb/09 10:39am

The RaboPlus NZ MTB Cup, presented by Nature Valley continues this weekend in Timaru. The NZ MTB Cup comprises six Cross Country and Six Downhill events (three in each of the North and South Islands) during January and February, wrapping up with the RaboPlus National Mountain Bike Championships in Nelson between February 26 and March 1.

The North Island leg of the RaboPlus NZ MTB Cup was completed during January, and Timaru is the second venue of the South Island leg. Competitors have travelled to some of the most exciting venues in the country including Rotorua, Auckland, Wellington, Levin and Dunedin and now look forward to Timaru this weekend, followed by events in Coronet Peak, Blenheim and finally Nelson.

Timaru hosts the fifth round of the RaboPlus NZ Cross Country Cup on Sunday in Centennial Park, right in the middle of town. Sunday's cross country race is combined with the established X-Scenic event, which involves a multi-lap race utilising most of the parks trail network.

Brendon Sharratt will be the rider to beat in the Elite Men’s field after a stunning win in the Otago Peninsula Challenge last weekend. Sharratt's competition is likely to come from within a group of five U23 riders in the Elite field, with Nelson's George Bennett eager to continue his strong road cycling form in his first national level MTB event this summer. Carl Jones (Whakatane) is also in good race form after a run of injury in 2008, and knows the importance of leading the U23 riders across the finish line against the established Elites.

In the Elite Women’s race Samara Sheppard (Wellington) and Katherine O'Neill (Auckland) are the youngest entrants, and face off against an Elite field of considerable experience.

In the age group categories, the U19 race will be one to watch with a real depth of South Island talent on display. Adrian Retief has made the trip down from Auckland and will compete against a group of south island U19 riders who have impressed so far this summer showing some real speed on the country's XC race courses.

Additionally to the premier Elite level competition, age group categories from Masters 50+ through to the emerging U15 age groups in their first national events will be just as hotly contested at all NZ MTB Cup events.

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