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2010 New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup confirmed

Brook Macdonald (New Zealand)

Brook Macdonald (New Zealand) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)

Mountainbike NZ (MTBNZ) and BikeNZ confirmed venues and dates for the 2010 New Zealand National Series, the RaboPlus New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup, which will kick off the second weekend in January. Competitors will visit a mix of established and new locations in their quest for national series honours.

Several new venues on the New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup circuit for both downhill and cross country disciplines come online next summer - the Christchurch Living Springs development for both cross country and downhill events, the new Whakatane downhill race course, and a national event first-time stop at Waikato's Hamilton.

Building on the growth of mountain biking in New Zealand, the two organizations will also bring a mountain bike festival to Wellington. With a range of competitive and non-competitive events, it will cater to both cross country and downhill racers as well as families and those new to mountain biking. As part of the 10-day festival starting February 26, the New Zealand National Mountain Bike Championships in downhill, four cross and cross country will be run. Six titles will be awarded. The marathon national championships will be run on Saturday, March 6 as part of the 25th edition of the Karapoti.

The UCI's Oceania Continental Championships will return to New Zealand. Dunedin will host the Oceanias for the first time in 2010.

The series confirmation was delayed after Coronet Peak in Queenstown pulled out of mountain biking.

"The late withdrawal of Queenstown's Coronet Peak venue created a major challenge for MTBNZ in scheduling a series that both fits the needs of participants and creates a showcase for the sport," said MTBNZ's Chris Mildon.

"While this final confirmation is quite late, we are confident that the 2010 events package will deliver on both counts, and MTBNZ eagerly looks forward to seeing Christchurch get things rolling in just over two months time. We are also pleased to have the NZCT returning as a key funder, and RaboPlus and Nature Valley returning as principal and associate sponsors of the events package."

The series is expected to draw a range of national and international talent. Athletes such as 2009 Junior Downhill World Champion Brook MacDonald will springboard off the Oceanias competition into the northern hemisphere's World Cup racing season.

RaboPlus New Zealand MTB Cup, Downhill Series
January 8-9: Round 1 - Christchurch
January 15-17: Round 2 - Dunedin
January 23-24: Round 3 - Nelson
February 5-6: Round 4 - Rotorua
February 12-13: Round 5 - Whakatane
February 20-21: Round 6 - Rotorua

RaboPlus New Zealand MTB Cup, Cross Country Series
January 10: Round 1 - Christchurch
January 16: Round 2 - Dunedin
January 23: Round 3 - Nelson
February 7: Round 4 - Tokoroa
February 14: Round 5 - Hamilton
February 20: Round 6 - Rotorua

RaboPlus New Zealand National Mountain Bike Championships
February 26 - March 1: Wellington

New Zealand Marathon National Championships
March 6: Wellington

UCI Oceania Mountain Bike Championships
March 18-21: Dunedin, New Zealand

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.