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NZ Mountain Bikers Around the World
24 May, 2010
The weekend of May 22/24 2010 saw NZ's overseas contingent of world class mountainbikers racing at three different events in Europe and the US. Brief summaries of performances follow.
With a break in the UCI Downhill World Cup schedule before Round 2 in Scotland in two weeks time, NZ's downhill athletes split themselves between Europe and the US at two key events
IXS Dirt Masters Festival, German Downhill Cup, Winterberg.
MacDonald and Cole Top Ten
Five NZ Downhill racers competed at the hugely popular Winterberg event this year and were prominent in the results among a very strong international field. Seeding times had all five within the top 40, with Cameron Cole (Maxxis - Rocky Mountain, Christchurch) the best of the five in 6th. Cole went on to demonstrate great consistency to gain two seconds in his race with a 7th placing. However, it was Junior World Champion Brook MacDonald who was the big improver. MacDonald (MS Evil Racing - Hawkes Bay) is now out of a lengthy injury recovery sustained early in NZ's summer and is clearly back up to speed among the world's best, racing to 4th place in Winterberg. Wyn Masters (Kenda Playbker, New Plymouth) was 13th, Joseph Nation (Bergamont, Christchurch) was 17th and Richard Leacock (Dunlop, Wellington) raced to an improving 28th.
Brief Results, IXS German Downhill Cup, Winterberg
1 Aaron Gwin (USA) 1:48.65; 2 Nico Vink (BEL) 1:50.11; 3 Filip Polc (SVK) 1:50.30; 4 Brook MacDonald (NZL) 1:51.03; 7 Cameron Cole (NZL) 1:52.25; Wyn Masters (NZL) 1:53.05; 17 Joseph Nation (NZL) 1:53.89; 28 Richard Leacock (NZL) 1:55.13
US Pro GRT Round 2, Plattekill Bike Park, Roxbury New York
Flash Result
Justin Leov (Trek World Racing - Dunedin) and Kieran Bennett (DRD Tomac - Nelson) were in action at this second round of the US Pro Gravity Racing Tour. Bennett was racing at his first US event this year for his new US based professional team and raced to a strong fifth place - "I'm stoked with this result on my first outing for Dylan Dean Developments" Bennett commented on his way to the podium presentation. Leov has lofty goals this season and is targeting a breakthrough World Cup win this year - 2nd at the Plattekill event demonstarting yet again that he is right  on track to achieve this.
Flash Results, US Pro GRT Round 2
1 Duncan Riffle (USA); 2 Justin Leov (NZL); 3 Bryn Atkinson (AUS); 4 Andrew Neethling (RSA); 5 Kieran Bennett (NZL).
UCI World Cup, Cross Country Round 3, Offenburg, Germany
Nicola Leary (Avanti, Rotorua) was NZ's sole representative at the third round of the UCI World Cup. The Offenburg venue is one of the newer Cross Country hosts on the World Cup circuit, but has been voted by the riders and media as the top World Cup Cross Country event of the year in both 2008 and 2009. The 5.1km circuit contains difficult technical sections and longer, sustained climbs - athletes who do well here are usually very well rounded and complete riders. Leary was determined to use her experience from the previous two World Cup rounds to continue her racing improvement in Offenburg - from a start position of 57, Leary pushed hard during the five lap race to finish 40th. Leary now returns to NZ after her first overseas stint this year having acquited herself well in the brutal World Cup racing environment, and will continue her preparations for a second campaign in Europe later in July. 
Brief Results, UCI World Cup Cross Country Round 3
1 Catharine Pendrel (CAN) 1:37:24; 2 Goergia Gould (USA) +00:28 secs; 3 Esther Suss (SUI) +00:38 secs; 40 Nicola Leary (NZL) +12min 03secs
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