Hobart rider Kaine Cannan will carry the hopes of the Apple Isle on his shoulders when he takes on the nation's best downhill riders at the Australian Mountain Bike Series to be staged at Glenorchy MTB Park in Hobart this weekend, December 11-12.
Despite a strong field of Australian downhill talent including current world champions Sam Hill (elite men) and Troy Brosnan (junior), Cannan is feeling confident ahead of the opening round of the downhill season and may have a few tricks up his sleeve on his home course.
"I'm feeling pretty good on the bike at the moment, and I'm looking forward to it," said Cannan. "I definitely have a hometown advantage. I can ride the track as much as I want, and it suits my style of riding as its pretty technical."
After finishing fourth at the 2010 Australian national championships in Adelaide back in January, Cannan has been working hard during the off-season to ensure he finishes on the podium during this 2010-11 season.
"I've been working on my technical skills and my pedalling, so I'm consistent throughout my whole race run. I've also been working on the mental stuff. I want to finish on the podium as much as I can throughout the Australian series and produce consistent top five results.
"I'm looking at going overseas to compete at the World Cups for the first time next year, spending some time in Europe and doing as much racing as I can. Seeing Sam and Troy win world champs was a massive inspiration and I want to try and make something happen."
The 25-year-old electrician began racing downhill at the age of 15, and despite taking a year off to mend after breaking his femur five years ago, Cannan still manages to balance his mountain biking along with time on the road bike.
"I went along to a state race as a spectator when I was 15 and thoroughly enjoyed it. I do some cross country enduro races as well, along with a lot of road riding to keep fit. It's an interesting combination, but I find it works well together."
All three disciplines - cross country, four cross and the thrilling downhill - will feature at the Hobart round of the Australian Mountain Bike Series, where riders are not only vying for the series title and bragging rights, but $40,000 in prize money which will be up for grabs across the summer domestic series.
The series is an opportunity for not only the established stars to shine but also the young guns to impress selectors ahead of the 2011 UCI World Mountain Bike Championships which will be staged in Champery, Switzerland, next year.