Buchanan eyes Australian national downhill title

Caroline Buchanan will be aiming to continue her unbeaten form in 2013 when she competes in the Australian women's downhill championships in Canberra this weekend. Buchanan is currently undefeated in the 2013 Australian Gravity Cup National Series after claiming victories at Mount Buller and Thredbo, with the 22-year-old looking to add a downhill national title to her glittering resume.

"Buller was really rocky and quite a short and technical course," Buchanan said. "Thredbo was really long and physically demanding and Stromlo is short course with jumps. "They are all completely different tracks and if I can do well and win all three, then I know I have most of the whole package of riding before world championships selection."

Buchanan made her return to mountain biking after a stellar 2012 BMX season in which she won the BMX time trial world championships, finished in fifth place on her Olympics Games debut in London and was crowned the UCI BMX Supercross World Cup champion.

Next week, the Canberra native, who claimed the 2007 and 2008 under 19 downhill national titles, returns to her home track and the site of her 2009 four cross world championship victory.

"I haven't raced at Stromlo since I raced at worlds in 2009 so it's been a while, it will be nice to be back in my hometown and hopefully have everyone out cheering," said Buchanan. "I have done a little bit of practice on the track in Canberra. They've changed it, they have some really cool new sections they've put in which has made it fresh and exciting."

Buchanan's run to the top of the sport may be halted by the return of four-time national champion and former under 19 world champion Tracey Hannah.

Hannah, who suffered a broken femur after a serious crash during a training run at a World Cup event in France in July 2012, makes her return in Canberra.

"I'm looking forward to riding with Tracey again," Buchanan said. "In my eyes, she's one of the best in the world, so It 100 percent motivates me. I look up to Tracey so it will be good to see her back from injury. To have a good battle with her at national champs will be awesome."

The 2013 Australian Mountain Bike Championships will be held in Canberra at Stromlo Forrest Park from February 20 - 24. The women's downhill event will happen starting at 3:30 pm on Sunday, February 24.

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