Australian Mountain Bike National Series begins at Buller

Australia's best cross country and downhill mountain bikers will descend on Mt Buller on January 18-20 for the opening round of the 2013 Subaru Mountain Bike National Series.

Competitors will tackle Mt Buller's challenging terrain over a number of stages across two disciplines including downhill and cross country, with many riders testing their skills in new disciplines or honing their skills ahead of the 2013 Australian and Oceania Championships.

Gravity Cup

Former triple world champion Sam Hill will headline the downhill ranks alongside senior debutant Connor Fearon and New South Wales elite trio of Brendan Moon, Jack Moir and Graeme Mudd.

The female gravity ranks include BMX Olympian Caroline Buchanan, who is making her downhill debut. The Canberran is looking to transfer her 2010 national four cross title to the gravity discipline.

Buchanan will line up against 2004 cross country Olympian Lisa Mathison, who last year made the crossover to downhill, finishing with an overall Gravity Cup series bronze medal.

2012 Gravity Cup Series champions Troy Brosnan and Tracey Hannah are notable absences from round one. Brosnan, 19, is recovering from a training crash but will be on hand for expert downhill commentary on Sunday, January 20.

All Mountain Cup

All Mountain Cup reigning champion Andrew Blair will be back to defend his title with Sid Taberlay looking to go one better than his 2012 runner-up result.

Chris Jongewaard will look to set up his international season with some strong riding while young gun Luke Fetch will compete in the All Mountain Cup elite ranks for the first time after successfully transferring his mountain biking skills to the road in 2012.

Seeded first, Swiss rider Nathalie Schneitter has landed in Australia for her season, ready to go head-to-head with defending All Mountain Cup series champion Jenni King.

Cross Country London Olympians Rebecca Henderson and Daniel McConnell are both missing from the start list but have confirmed their competition in the latter events in the series.

"We're thrilled to welcome the Mountain Bike National Series back to Mt Buller for the third year running," Mount Buller Communications Manager Amber Gardner said.

"Mt Buller has recently been announced as Australia's first IMBA Ride Centre, which means we've got world-class trails and facilities and something for all types and levels of rider.

"With a continuous trail improvement program, as well as brand new linkage trails to better connect the network, Mt Buller's trails are in excellent condition and ready for a huge weekend of competition," Gardner said.

Mount Buller opens the national series before competitors head to Thredbo and Bright.

Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for coverage of the event.

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