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NZ mountain biking team named for worlds

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 6 days ago

Keegan Wright of New Zealand during qualifying for the Men's Downhill event at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. © CameraSport via Getty Images Keegan Wright of New Zealand during qualifying for the Men's Downhill event at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. In-form mountain biker Anton Cooper spearheads a competitive New Zealand group named to compete at the world championships in Cairns.

Cooper and national women's champion Samara Sheppard are the only riders named to contest the open cross country event at the championships starting on September 5.

Former junior and under-23 world champion Cooper scored his first elite World Cup podium in the Czech Republic this month.

Sam Gaze will defend his under-23 world title, having returned to form following an early-season illness.

Cooper and Gaze finished first and second at the latest round of the Swiss Cup, pushing world and Olympic Champion Nino Shurter back to third.

The nine-strong downhill open contingent is led by men's world No.22 ranked George Brannigan and fellow-Hawke's Bay professional Brook MacDonald.

The addition of age group riders lifts the size of the Kiwi team to 29.

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