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Cycling Australia and Mountain Bike Australia announced that the northern Queensland town of Atherton will host the 2013 Australian Marathon National Championships on Sunday, April 21, 2013.
The Atherton-based Tableland Cycle Sports Club, located one and a half hours southwest of Cairns, is excited about hosting a national event in the region and the opportunity to showcase some of northern Australia's best trails.
"We are very proud to have a national mountain bike event come to far north Queensland and are excited to offer some of Australia's best trails for competition when competitors race in Atherton," said Mark Knowles, President of the Tableland Cycle Sports Club.
"The national marathon championships will be well received by our community and riders from all corners of Australia will be amazed at the beauty and quality of the trails in Atherton," Mr Knowles added.
The venue secured the championships following significant support from the Queensland Government, with trails planned and built specifically for these championships by Glen Jacobs and his World Trail crew.
Mountain Bike Australia's CEO Tony Scott had only praise for the new venue.
"Atherton, and Far North Queensland in particular, is the perfect fit for the 2013 national mountain bike calendar for the MTB marathon championships," Scott said.
"The venue will delight the riders who venture north in April, competing in the tropics is like no other experience in Australia and the weather in April will be 'just right'."
Reigning marathon national champion Andrew Blair is also eager to compete at the challenging new venue, having not ventured to the region since he competed in the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Cairns in 1996.
"It is very exciting to hear the marathon nationals will be in Queensland this year," Blair said. "I have never had an opportunity to race a large scale event in Atherton before so it makes trying to predict what will happen a bit of a mystery.
"The last couple of years have had really challenging marathon courses for the national champs, and I am very keen to find out more about this course," Blair said.
The championships is also a selection event for the 2013 UCI Marathin World Championships to be held in Austria in June, something which is not lost on Blair.
"As the defending champion, I think it is important to do the title justice and I will definitely be racing in the marathon championships next year. I want to make it as hard as I can for anyone wanting to take the jersey away from me.
"I would love to have the honour of wearing the green and gold for another year," Blair said.
As previously announced the 2013 cross country and gravity mountain bike national championships will be held in Canberra, ACT from February 19-24. The Australian MTB National Series will kick off with round 1 on January 18-20, 2013 in Mt. Buller, VIC.