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New Zealand sends 32 mountain bikers to Oceania Championships

By:
Cycling News
Published:
March 16, 2011, 2:42 GMT,
Updated:
March 16, 2011, 2:57 GMT
Edition:
MTB News & Racing Round-up, Thursday, March 17, 2011
Race:
Oceania Mountain Bike Continental Championships
Carl Jones on his way to winning the elite men's cross country national championship

Carl Jones on his way to winning the elite men's cross country national championship

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Cross country and gravity titles up for grabs

New Zealand is sending a 32-strong contingent of mountain bikers to the 2011 Oceania Continental Mountain Bike Championships in Shepparton, Australia, on March 18-20.

The cross country athletes have a lot at stake, with 2010 London Olympic qualification spots up for grabs in the elite men's and women's races. Rosara Joseph (RaboBank-Giant) leads the New Zealand women's charge, with a win in this event the only result that will confirm a spot for New Zealand at this stage of the Olympic ranking process. Joseph will not only be racing a strong Australian contingent, but an equally determined group of her compatriots who are targeting the same result.

Dirk Peters (Santa Cruz) and Carl Jones (Waiariki) are New Zealand's in-form elite male cross country racers, who are targeting a placing of 1 or 2 from this event. Like the women, Peters and Jones are racing in Shepparton with the sole purpose of qualifying this 2012 London Olympic spot, and have timed their preparation to perfection in their build-ups. Both have fantastic support from several other New Zealand athletes, and their Friday race will be a highlight of the Oceania programme.

Anton Cooper will get his first opportunity to race an international level event in the Under 19 category - and the Christchurch flier is quietly confident of dominating any competition the Oceania event stacks up against him. He is fresh off elite wins at Motatapu this weekend and Karapoti the previous weekend.

Defending Oceania elite men's downhill champion Cam Cole (Lapierre International) leads a development-focused downhill team at Shepparton. Many of the downhill athletes making this trip across the Tasman have had strong domestic season results and are using this as an opportunity to measure themselves against an always strong Australian gravity team, while also targeting ranking points before the UCI World Cup season starts at the end of April.

Switching back to downhill from BMX, Dan Franks is travelling to Shepparton with the goal of adding the the downhill junior men's Oceania title to the BMX junior men's Oceania title he won last weekend at Pukekohe.

New Zealand Mountain Bike Team for the Oceania Championships

Cross Country

Under 17 men
Craig Oliver (Christchurch)

Under 19 men
Anton Cooper (Christchurch)
Nigel McDowell (Rotorua)
Tom Bradshaw (Wellington)
Mathew Waghorn (Palmerston North)

Elite and Under 23 men
Dirk Peters (Rotorua)
Carl Jones (Whakatane)
Mike Northcott (Tokoroa)
Brad Hudson (Christchurch)
Sam Shaw (Rotorua)
Gavin McCarthy (Wellington)
Dominic Furket (Palmerston North)

Elite and Under 23 women
Rosara Joseph (Christchurch)
Karen Hanlen (Whakatane)
Fiona MacDermid (Palmerston North)
Samara Sheppard (Rotorua)
Katie O'Neill (Rotorua)
Eloise Fry (Nelson)
Melissa Newell (Christchurch)

Downhill

Under 17 men
Josh McCombie (Dunedin)

Under 19 men
Daniel Franks (Christchurch)
Loius Hamilton (Rotorua)
Dan McCombie (Dunedin)
Mat Prior (Auckland)

Elite men
Cam Cole (Christchurch)
Bryn Dickerson (Porirua)
Nick McConachie (Christchurch)
James McConachie (Christchurch)
Tom Mathews (Christchurch)

Under 19 women
Sarah Atkin (Wellington)
Sophie Tyas (Auckland)

Elite women
Amy Laird (Christchurch)

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