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Anton Cooper to lead New Zealand team at mountain bike Worlds

Anton Cooper (Cannondale) racing in the UCI World Cup

Anton Cooper (Cannondale) racing in the UCI World Cup (Image credit: Bike NZ)

A 28-strong team has been named to contest September's UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Norway as announced by BikeNZ and Mountain Bike New Zealand.

Ten riders, led by Commonwealth Games representatives Karen Hanlen, Kate Fluker, Anton Cooper and Sam Gaze, will contest the cross country competition, while 18 riders, headed by world number two ranked Sam Blenkinsop, will compete in downhill competition.

Cross country and downhill competition will take place at Hafjell with trials and eliminator racing taking place at Lillehammer, both alpine resorts that hosted the 1994 Winter Olympics.

Some of the Kiwi team have enjoyed considerable success at Hafjell since it joined the UCI World Cup circuit in 2012.

Trek World Racing rider George Brannigan was runner-up in downhill at the World Cup in 2012 with compatriot Cameron Cole (Commencal Riding Addiction) sixth, while Blenkinsop (Lapierre International) was fourth last year, part of his outstanding and consistent form in 2013.

Cooper also enjoyed outstanding form at Hafjell in his under 23 debut in cross country last year, finishing second in the World Cup.

Cross country competition will begin with the team relay on Wednesday, September 3 followed by three days of individual racing with the downhill titles to be decided on Sunday, September 7.

New Zealand team for UCI Mountain Bike World Championships

Elite women cross country: Kate Fluker, Karen Hanlen and one to be added subject to meeting selection requirements

Under 23 men cross country: Anton Cooper, Sam Gaze and one to be added subject to meeting selection requirements

Under 23 women cross country: Amber Johnston

Junior men cross country: David Ashby-Coventry , Jack Compton, Gareth Cannon, Ben Oliver.

Junior women cross country: Harriet Beaven

Elite men downhill: Sam Blenkinsop, George Brannigan, Cameron Cole, Brook Macdonald, Edward Masters, Wyn Masters, Matt Walker

Elite Women downhill Sarah Atkin, Alanna Columb, Veronique Sandler, Sophie Tyas.

Junior men downhill: Peter Bethell, Carl Coodwin, Connor Hamilton, Josh McCombie, Connor Sandri, Ben Watkins, Keegan Wright