Home Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  

Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

 MTB index page for all MTB content

Oceania Mountain Bike Championships - CC

Thredbo, New South Wales, Australia, March 20-22, 2009

2008 results     Schedule     Preview   


Thredbo: last chance to race Down Under before going overseas

The 2009 Oceania Mountain Bike Championship in Thredbo heralds the final chance for Australian and New Zealand riders to race Down Under before heading overseas for the upcoming World Cup series starting in April. A majority of the World Cups will provide the perfect international run-up before many return to Australia later in the season for the UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships in Canberra in late August and early September.

Racing was set to kick off Friday evening with the four cross including favorites like BMX Olympian Jared Graves in the men's race and Australian National Champion Caroline Buchanan in the women's race.

Heading the Australian contingent in Saturday's men's cross country race will be Victoria's Dan McConnell, who represented Australia at the Beijing Olympics. Canberra's Dylan Cooper is also expected to force the pace along with New Zealand's National Champion Stu Houltham, who is reported to be in good form.

The elite women's cross country will again be a close battle between Launceston's Rowena Fry, the current Australian national champion and national series winner Katherine O'Shea of Victoria. O'Shea is hoping for an early birthday present before turning 30 on Sunday. Former Australian national champion Tory Thomas will be back on the racing track along with Bendigo's Joe Wall and Sydney's Zoe King. New Zealand's in form riders Sara MacDonald and Jeannette Gerrie will hope to upset the Aussie contingent.

The under 23 divisions hold vital importance with the winner gaining an automatic entry for the upcoming World Championships. With only Castlemaine's Lachlan Norris and Canberra's Gracie Elvin already assured of a spot, the promise of racing worlds could be just the incentive needed for Bowral's Charlton Durie or Adelaide's Therese Rhodes to get to the front. New Zealand's Samara Sheppard from Wellington has been flagged as a podium contender in the under 23 division after winning the Under 19 Oceania title last year.

Downhill world ranked number eight Nathan Rennie from the Gold Coast will return to competition following knee surgery,a nd Canberra's Ben Corey has just demonstrated his form by winning the last Australian national series round. National series leader Joshua Button and Amiel Cavalier will be making final preparations before their overseas assault while New Zealand's Wyn Masters will head the Kiwi challengers.

The women will see Australia's national downhill champion Claire Whiteman from Canberra line up against New Zealand's silver medallist Amy Laird from Christchurch.

And finally, the Under 19 division is expected to come down to the line with Australian national champion Rhys Willemse out to challenge Australian national series winner Shaun O'Connor. Also in the mix are five of New Zealand's riders out to claim a podium finish.