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Home town advantage to play a role in Canberra

A hometown advantage could assist mountain cross current leaders Leigh Darrell and Harriet Burbidge-Smith in winning the elite races in the fourth and final state round in Canberra, Australia, this weekend. Over 200 riders front New South Wales and the ACT are expected to converge on the Mt Stromlo track for their final chance to race on the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup course, recently upgraded by Olympic track builder Glen Jacobs, before the World Cup on August 30-31.

Former BMX rider Darrell is closely followed by Cody Eichhorn and Russell Hood in second and third position before the fourth and last round, taking place August 2-3.

At only 12 years of age Burbidge-Smith leads the elite women's category after her win at the third round, followed by Sydney-sider Danielle Beecroft and Vanessa Thompson in third.

The closest tussles will come in Under 19 and Under 17 divisions. Under 19 current leader Blake Nielsen has overtaken Seaton Humphreys with Liam Melville in third.

The Under 17 division has been dominated by Jamie Abbot who is clearly in the lead in front of Ben Leslie and Mat Hall.

Dual slalom racing starts the proceedings on Saturday, and the current elite men's leader is Ricky Boyer, closely followed by Peter Combs and Garreth Patton. Cara Smith leads the expert women category and Alice Minahan is first in Under 19 women. In Under 19 men, Sam Reeder leads with Nathan Lucus and Rodney Day in second and third respectively.

Racers will be looking to fine-tune their form before the State Championships coming up in Kurrajong on August 23-34.

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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.