Australian cross country national champion Chris Jongewaard will pursue a third victory in the Flight Centre Epic in South East Queensland as he prepares for next month's UCI mountain bike world championships in Switzerland.
The South Australian has decided to contest the 75km Epic marathon, which will be held around Old Hidden Vale in the Lockyer Valley west of Brisbane on August 7.
Race organizer Peter Creagh, of Tailwind Promotions, said the 32-year-old Adelaide-based rider had been a tremendous supporter of Australia's richest mountain bike event.
"The Epic and Chris have been good for one another and he is a two-time winner of the event," Creagh said.
"Chris has had some difficult times in recent years, but he has made a great return to elite level cross country mountain biking and has been rewarded with a place in the Australian team for the Worlds in Champery from August 31 to September 4.
"He is using the Epic for preparation and we are pleased to have him back again."
Jongewaard should be in a three-way battle for the men's race with last year's winner Adrian Jackson of Victoria and Shaun Lewis from the Australian Capital Territory.
More than 1200 riders are expected to compete in the ninth staging of the Epic over the weekend of August 6-7.
This year's event will start and finish at Spicers Hidden Vale and the Epic will cover 75km instead of the traditional 104km because of damage to the normal course during the January floods.
The Epic weekend includes the 99 Bikes Mini and Minor Epics where children can ride with their parents as well as the 30km Spicers Chase cross country race and the 50km Merida Pursuit half marathon.
For more information on the event, visit www.cycleepic.com.au.