Mountain bike world champ racing in Rotorua in February
6 November 2012
Junior World Mountain bike champion Anton Cooper is bringing his rainbow jersey and gold medal to Rotorua in February.
He will be competing in the Mountain Bike National Championships which will headline the final weekend of the 1st Rotorua Bike Festival.
Cooper will race in the cross-country on Saturday February 16.The 18-year-old won the world title in Austria in September and is the first New Zealand mountain biker to win a rainbow jersey in the Olympic discipline of cross-country.
“It’s a huge honour to have a rainbow jersey to my name and something I am very proud of,” says Cooper. “It feels great to bring it home and I look forward to racing the Nationals champs with a world title to my name.”
The National Championships will kick off a big year for Cooper. He will race a full campaign of UCI World Cups as a full-time professional. He said he was excited to be racing on the mountain bike trails Rotorua is world-renowned for.
“I’ve only ever done two races in Rotorua and they were just small ones,” he says with his trademark grin. “I think the flowy nature of the trails is a lot different to the places I normally ride, which is good for variety - and the amount of trails is endless!”
On the back of New Zealand’s recent success at the World Championships in Austria, and in particular Cooper’s big win, the championships are set to attract a large following from fans and riders.
“Anton is going to be a huge draw card for spectators after earning his World Champion status in September,” says BikeNZ, event manager Vicki Butterworth.
“Mountain biking is actually a very spectator-friendly sport with some great vantage points. Whether it's the multi-lap cross country race on Saturday, or a point-to-point downhill event on Sunday February 17, fans can get in close and witness the non-stop action from some very fast and skilled athletes.”
The Rotorua Bike Festival will be a 10-day celebration of cycling and a mix of events and entertainment in one of New Zealand’s premier tourist and adventure sport destinations.
The website – www.rotoruabikefestival.com
- features a growing list of events from the serious to the light-hearted - from the iconic long-running Moonride, the Redwoods Coast (no pedals, just momentum), to fun rides, Bike Polo, the BMX National Qualifiers for the 2013 UCI Worlds Champs, Bike Speedway, and the Giant Gravity Enduro, to Frocks on Bikes.
The Festival will also incorporate a major Bike Expo, showcasing the latest from the cycling industry and local bike shops and bike builders.