The World Cup DH circuit hits Fort William, Scotland this weekend. One of the most popular courses with both riders and spectators, it's been a happy hunting ground for the Kiwi contingent over the years. Here's hoping the lads can fill a few podium spots again on Sunday.
The view from Peaty's helmet cam in practice.
Bike NZ's press release...
New Zealand’s leading downhill mountain bikers return to the happy hunting ground of Fort William in the Scottish Highlands for the third round of UCI World Cup this weekend.
There are 12 New Zealanders taking part, with several of the key Kiwi professionals having tasted success on the 2.8km track in the past.
Napier’s Brook MacDonald (MS Mondraker) was third at Fort William last year, Christchurch’s Cameron Cole was second in 2010 and his fellow Lapierre International teammate Sam Blenkinsop (Wanganui) was third in 2009. He was the best of the New Zealanders in training, sixth fastest on the timed practice run today.
This trio lead the way this weekend along with National Champion Justin Leov (Trek World Racing), currently ranked 13th in the World Cup as the leading New Zealander, and George Brannigan (DeVinci Global).
Brannigan, from Havelock North, has impressed with his top-20 placing in last weekend’s round at Val di Sole and has cemented his spot in the New Zealand team for September’s World Championships in Austria.
All five of the professional riders were inside the top 20 at Italy last weekend and will be looking forward to the return to Fort William where they will be joined by fellow Kiwis Richard Leacock (Wellington), Edward Masters (New Plymouth), Jamie Lyall (Kapiti Coast), Reece Potter (Golden Bay), Bryn Dickerson (Wellington), Sarah Atkin (Lower Hutt) and Veronique Sandler (Nelson) on the start line.
One of the keys to success for the Kiwis has come with the long pedalling section in the middle of the course, although there have been some significant changes to the lower part of the run with the addition of four jumps, the biggest on the World Cup circuit.
Qualifying runs are overnight (NZ time) with 173 men chasing a spot in the top 80 along with 40 women vying for 20 spots in the field for racing on Monday (NZ time).