UCI Mountainbike World Champs Preview

The World Cup Cross Country circuit has been set alight by a young 17 year old from Woodend, North Canterbury over the last three weeks in Europe. Anton Cooper is finally realising his dreams of racing and winning at the highest level after being so patient through the pre-junior age group categories in New Zealand. Cooper comes to Champery on the strength of back to back World Cup wins in Czechoslovakia and Val di Sole, Italy in the Junior Mens category, and his exploits have created a buzz amongst many of the major professional teams who are lining up to speak to the very balanced young man. The attention is hardly distracting Cooper however, with his focus on the rainbow jersey unwavering.
On the Downhill side of the team, New Zealand's strength and depth is well recognised on the circuit. The New Zealand team comes into Champery as the world number one ranked nation in Junior Men, number two ranked nation in Elite Men, and number three ranked nation in Junior Women - rankings the envy of every other country. In the Elite Men especially this year, several athletes have the pace, form and desire to win next weekend. Cam Cole, Justin Leov, Sam Blenkinsop, Brook MacDonald and Mat Scoles all having stood on World Cup podiums this year or achieving top ten results on arguably the toughest cycling discipline circuit on the world stage. Blenkinsop is ready to fire as well after not having the sort of season he is well capable of, and having recovered from the lingering effects of a debilitating stomach bug last weekend in Val di Sole. 2009 Junior World Champion MacDonald is hungry and driven for success, and having tasted the lofty heights of World Cup podiums this season, the Bulldog won't settle for anything less at the Champs.
Competiton updates will be provided as the schedule unwinds over the next week. Events and schedule for the World Champs programme is as follows (times shown NZ time):
Cross Country Team Relay
Thursday 3am start time
Rosara Joseph, Carl Jones, Dirk Peters, Anton Cooper
Cross Country Junior Men
Friday 1am start time
Anton Cooper, Mathew Waghorn, Tom Bradshaw, Nigel McDowell
Cross Country Under 23 Women
Friday 3am start time
Samara Sheppard, Katie O'Neil
Cross Country Under 23 Men
Saturday 3am start time
Dirk Peters, Brad Hudson, Sam Shaw
Four Cross Men
Saturday 7am start time
Daniel Franks
Cross Country Elite Women
Saturday 11.30pm start time
Rosara Joseph, Karen Hanlen
Cross Country Elite Men
Sunday 2.30am start time
Carl Jones
Downhill Junior Men and Women
Sunday 9.30pm start time
Reuben Olorenshaw, Daniel Franks, Reece Potter, Jay Barrett, Nick Bygate, Sarah Atkin, Madeline Taylor, Sophie Tyas, Sophiemarie Bethell, Veronique Sandler
Downhill Elite Women
Sunday 12am start time
Amy Laird
Downhill Elite Men
Monday 1am start time
Cam Cole, Justin Leov, Brook MacDonald, Sam Blenkinsop, Mat Scoles, George Branniga