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New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup kicks off in Christchurch this weekend

Rosara Joseph (New Zealand)

Rosara Joseph (New Zealand) (Image credit: Tour of Japan)

The RaboPlus 2010 New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup launches this weekend in Christchurch. The six-event national series for cross country and downhill disciplines, will take competitors all over the North and South Islands of New Zealand in January and February, culminating in the RaboPlus Mountain Bike National Championships at the end of February in Wellington.

Christchurch is also hosting the RaboPlus National Elite Road Cycling Championships this weekend, in what will be an amazing weekend of national level competitive cycling for the city.

Frenchman Fabien Pedemenaud has raced previously in New Zealand, and is returning again in 2010 to maintain a high level of off season racing fitness before the 2010 World Cups start in May.

Current downhill junior World Champion Brook MacDonald has moved up into the elite category this year. Another Hawkes Bay charger, George Brannigan will be racing his first year in elite this summer and while still a junior, Brannigan is eager to kick on following his 2009 top 10 junior World Championship finish.

Downhill practice at Living Springs, Governors Bay will run from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm on Friday, with seeding and racing taking place on Saturday at 10:30 am.

Cross country racing at the same venue kicks off with age group racing at 10:30 am on Sunday. Elite, Under 23 and Under 19 racers begin at 2:00 pm.

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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.