BikeNZ announced the 2013 New Zealand Mountain Bike Cups and 2013 Mountain Bike National Championships to be held in the New Year.
The New Zealand MTB Cup will include five downhill and four cross country events, starting in Bluff on January 4 and concluding at the series finale in Hunua, Auckland on February 10 where series champions will be crowned.
On the back of New Zealand's recent success at the world championships in Austria, in particular the junior rainbow jersey-winning ride of Anton Cooper, this series is set to attract a large following from fans and riders alike.
"Anton is going to be a huge draw card for spectators at some of these events after earning his world champion status in September," said event manager Vicki Butterworth.
"All of our top Kiwi riders will be coming along to compete because they love racing at home, but also want to do well in New Zealand to push their claims for selection in national teams later in the year."
The Kiwis may not have it all their own way, however, as a significant international presence is expected to head down under for the European winter and may challenge for the title.
"For the most part, the international riders who come to New Zealand will be using this series for off-season training, but these guys can't help themselves when put in a competitive environment so will be giving it everything to win," said Butterworth.
Consistency will be the key to success in this compact competition with every point crucial. Riders can drop their worst performance from their overall tallies, but any further slip ups could be very costly.
"These riders have a busy summer ahead with the NZ MTB Cups and the nationals all happening in a short period of time so they'll need to be switched on in order to get the most out of it," said Butterworth.
The 2013 New Zealand Mountain Bike National Championships, for both downhill and cross country, will be held in Rotorua at the conclusion of the Cups from February 15-17, as part of the Rotorua Bike Festival.
For more information, including rider entries, visit www.bikenz.org.nz.
2013 New Zealand MTB Cup
January 4-5: Round 1 NZ MTB Cup - Downhill, Bluff, Southland
January 6: Round 1 NZ MTB Cup - Cross Country, Bluff, Southland
January 12-13: Round 2 NZ MTB Cup - Downhill, Mt Hutt, Canterbury
January 18-19: Round 3 NZ MTB Cup - Downhill, Nelson
January 20: Round 2 NZ MTB Cup - Cross Country, Nelson
February 2-3: Round 4 NZ MTB Cup - Downhill, Levin, Manawatu
February 3: Round 3 NZ MTB Cup - Cross Country, Mt Victoria, Wellington
February 8-9: Round 5 NZ MTB Cup - Downhill, Hunua, Auckland
February 10: Round 4 NZ MTB Cup - Cross Country, Hunua, Auckland
2013 New Zealand Mountain Bike National Championships
February 15-17: Rotorua Bike Festival - Downhill and Cross Country