The Australian National mountain bike series moves to its second round this weekend (Nov 25-26) at Glenorchy Mountain Bike Park in Hobart, Tasmania. On tap are cross-country, downhill and mountain-cross competitions.
The elite womens field could have another surprise finish as National Marathon Champion, Tory Thomas (Mt Beauty, VIC) rides to secure a win in the second round of the the series on the Glenorchy Mountain Bike Park. The 26 year old returned to racing after being hit by a car in March 2005 and was told she would not ride again.. Thomas was narrowly pipped on the line in Round 1 of the series last month in the Blue Mountains when Zoe King (Fairlight) out sprinted her across the line. Sydney based King will race in Tasmania as one of the 25 elite women riders chosen in the Dirt Roads to London program to prepare female cross country riders for the London Olympics in 2012.
Local rider Rowena Fry (South Launceston), is also a part of the Dirt Roads to London" program The 24 year old physiotherapist was discovered from a talent identification program and has switched from her basketball program with the Tasmanian Institute of Sport to focus more on her mountain biking career. According to her coach, Garron Buckland, She has really only been on the bike for 18 months but has very good skills. Perhaps its the hand-eye co-ordination from her basketball training.
Frys partner Ben Mather, 25 also from South Launceston will be a rider to watch as his form continues to improve. Mather will start alongside a prestigious elite mens field starring Athens Olympian, Sid Taberlay (Blackmans Bay) from Tasmania and his Commonwealth Games team mate, Chris Jongewaard (Parra Hills) from Adelaide. Jongewaard has just returned to training after a well deserved rest after placing second in the Sun Tour in Victoria. He is keen to return to Tasmania after placing second to Taberlay in last years national round. I just love the course. My plan is to have a clean race and try and finish, he said. However, if Jongewaard repeats his Commonwealth Games effort and heads out hard in the early stages it could be difficult for strong riders such as Dylan Cooper or Shaun Lewis, both from Canberra, to chase. Another rider who could dominate the field is NSW State Series winner, Matthew Fleming (Helensburgh), brother of Athens Olympian, Josh Fleming.
Riders from the World Championships team such as Daniel Johnson from the Alice Springs and Cal Britton (Bright) from Victoria will race in the Under 23 division while Daniel Hallam from the Gold Coast remains in Under 19. Daniel Braunsteins from Victoria will also attend but will miss being at the cycling awards night in Melbourne where he is a finalist.
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews over the weekend for race reports and results as they come in.