Leov aims for back-to-back wins

Justin Leov (Trek World Racing)

Justin Leov (Trek World Racing) (Image credit: Trek)

Trek World Racing's Justin Leov took his first win of the 2010 downhill season last weekend in the second round of the New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup, which was held in Dunedin, a city Leov has recently made his new home. The New Zealander is looking forward to another win this weekend at round three Nelson.

After Sam Blenkinsop (Lapierre) took the round one win, he had to sit out round two with a suspected broken wrist. That left the door open for Leov and others.

In qualifying, reigning Junior World Champion Brook MacDonald set the fastest time, one second quicker than Leov, with 2006 Junior World Champion Cameron Cole in third.

"I was unhappy with my riding in the seeding run," said Leov. "I didn't feel like I pushed myself hard enough, so after a re-think I got myself in the right mindset for the race run."

With his head in the right place, Leov faced unusual conditions on the technical track. The start house and the top third of the course were shrouded in thick fog and misty drizzle. On the way down, as if crossing a magic line, riders were then suddenly under clear skies and warm sunshine on a dry course.

Times were a lot faster in the final with Cole going into the hotseat with a time five seconds faster than his qualifying. Leov was the next to appear, lopping a massive seven seconds off his qualifying, and two seconds faster than Cole, giving him the hotseat.

"My run felt like the one I was hoping for; really smooth up top and in the rock garden I was fully committed and I got through it the best I had all week. After getting through that section so cleanly, it set the tone for the rest of my run," said Leov.

"Taking the hotseat I just waited to see if Brook could better it, which he didn't and came in third. I was not so concerned with the race result. At this point in time I'm more looking at how my riding is going in race runs. I'm happy with this one for sure."

Leov will get to race again on his adopted home track for the Oceania Continental Championships in March.

Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for coverage of this weekend's New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup round in Nelson.

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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.