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McConnell and Henderson among favorites for Australian nationals

By:
Cycling News
Published:
March 05, 2014, 5:30 GMT,
Updated:
March 05, 2014, 7:20 GMT
Edition:
MTB News & Racing Round-up, Friday, March 7, 2014
Race:
Australian Mountain Bike National Championships
London Olympian and U23 World Cup series champion Rebecca Henderson racing in Bright

London Olympian and U23 World Cup series champion Rebecca Henderson racing in Bright

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Cross country and downhill titles on the line in Victoria this weekend

The Australian Mountain Bike National Championships will take place in Bright, Victoria this week from March 6 to March 10. Australia's best riders from all disciplines will descend on the Alpine Shire for five days of international standard racing.

Riders will be competing to take home the national champion's titles for 2014, as well as to score valuable international ranking points. Australian athletes have an extra incentive to record points as this year sees Australia hosting a round of the World Cup series in Cairns in April.

Cross country

Olympians Dan McConnell and Bec Henderson will headline the gruelling cross country disciplines, with both riders undefeated in the discipline in the final two rounds of the recent Australian National Mountain Bike Series.

In 2013, the formidable McConnell won the first World Cup race of his career in Albstadt, Germany and went on to record an incredible second place in the World Cup Series for the year.

Henderson had her final year in the under 23 Category in 2013, winning two World Cup races on her way to claiming the World Cup Series title. Both riders will lead stellar fields in Bright.

Downhill

Australia's gravity superstars will also be in action on the Alpine trails.

Mick Hannah is the reigning national champion, and the third-ranked downhill rider in the world. He will be joined by sister, teammate and fellow reigning national champion Tracey Hannah.

Former dual junior world champion Troy Brosnan will also be racing, aiming for to complete the gold double coming off the back of winning the recent Australian Mountain Bike Series.

Eliminator and other events

National championships action will also take place in fast and furious cross country eliminator and the highly skilled observed trials discipline.

On Monday at the championships, the Real Insurance Cross Country Marathon Series starts for 2014. The five-race series across three states will present riders with the significant challenges, not the least of which is the three to four hours that it will take the winner to complete each race.

Headlining the long-format race will be reigning marathon national champion and four-time 24-hour world champion Jason English.

Alpine Shire Mayor Peter Roper said the championships event was a fantastic addition to the local events calendar. "Not only is this a fantastic way for competitors and their supporters to enjoy everything the Alpine Shire has to offer, it also brings the exciting sport right to the doorstep of locals."

"We have some of the best tracks and trails for mountain biking, fantastic touring routes for road cycling and a network of shared trails for the recreational rider and families," Roper said.

More national championships information can be found at mtb.subaru.com.au/national-championships.

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