Mtb World Cup Preview - Maribor, Slovenia June 20/21 2009

Postby Melissa_Theuriau on Wed 17/Jun/09 11:52am

Maribor, Slovenia hosts the UCI MTB World Cup this weekend, after returning to the World Cup calendar in 2007. It went on to be voted second best Downhill and 4X World Cup event of that 2007 season.

Maribor is a lively city with a population of more than 100,000 – that figure doubles when the surrounding area is taken into account. Mountain biking has a long tradition in Maribor. The sport really boomed after the first World Cup was organised here in 1999. Since then, Maribor has become one of the most visited events in the MTB World Cup series. Passionate bike fans flow in from all over the country as well as from neighboring Austria, Italy, Croatia and Hungary. Spectator numbers often exceed 11,000 per day, especially for the most popular attraction - Downhill race day.

New Zealand athletes will be in the thick of the action at Maribor, with 11 racing amongst the 245 strong field all trying to qualify for the top 80 final.

Sam Blenkinsop (Yeti/Fox) and Justin Leov (Trek World Racing) are 6th and 7th on current World Cup standings. Blenkinsop is coming off his first World Cup podium this season, a 3rd at Fort William two weeks ago. Leov has been solid so far this season, also gaining a World Cup podium 5th at Andorra, and consistently top ten or threatening.

Cam Cole (Maxxis/Rocky Mountain) has maintained his World Cup standing and sits at 38th going in to Sunday's race. Juniors Brook MacDonald (Ancillotti) and Aari Barrett (Scott 11) have improved their rankings at every round this year and currently sit amongst the Elites in 58th and 63rd. More importantly, they are 2nd and 3rd in the Junior World Cup standings behind the UK's Danny Hart. Maribor offers another prime opportunity for both athletes to close the gap on Hart.

Nathan Rankin (Playbiker), Wyn Masters (Ancillotti), Kieran Bennett (X-Fusion) and Matt Scoles (Wide Open) will all be targeting improved performances on Sunday after a mixed bag of results at Fort William. Hayden Lee is hunting his first top 80 qualifier this weekend at his third World Cup, and Alexandra Junior Cam Johnson will be racing his first World Cup.

Live coverage can be viewed at from Sunday morning.

Issued for MTBNZ Performance
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