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Fry aims to defend Australian national cross country title

Rowena Fry from Tasmania powers her way towards a gold medal in the women's elite cross country event in Glenorchy.

Rowena Fry from Tasmania powers her way towards a gold medal in the women's elite cross country event in Glenorchy. (Image credit: Shane Goss)

As the only Olympic mountain bike event the cross country race at the SRAM Australian MTB Championships, at Eagle MTB Park in Adelaide this Saturday, is sure to be a hotly contested affair.

Tasmania's Rowena Fry has her sights set on defending her cross country national title at the Australian Mountain Bike Championships at Eagle Mountain Bike Park in Adelaide this Saturday.

As defending champion, Fry will be the woman to beat. Her main challengers are expected to come from last year's silver medallist Jo Wall and Katherine O'Shea, who won last season's national series overall. Others to watch include local favourite Therese Rhodes and newcomer Heather Logie, who finished an impressive second behind Fry in round one of the national series in December.

Well aware of the old cliché that it's harder to stay on top than it is to get to the top Fry said, "I'm excited going into the race, but if I can win, there'll also be a feeling of relief."

"There's nothing that can make you more proud than representing you country overseas and wearing the green and gold jersey of Australian champion," said Fry.

Leaving no stone unturned in her title defense, the 27-year-old has been training on the course to ensure there are no surprises on Saturday. "It's a very fast course, with a lot of singletrack," she said. "The way the course is laid out, it will be hard to gain time but easy to lose time.

"And although there's not a lot of climbing, the climbs are short and sharp, so you'll need to be pretty punchy in those sections.

"But the biggest factor is that it's a hard course to pass on, which will make the start and the whole first lap really important."

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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.