Today, Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA) announced the selection of seven Australian riders to compete at the 2016 UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Champions to be held in Laissac, France on 25-26th June.
The team has qualified via results in the National XCM Series, National XCM Championships, and via the UCI XCM Series.
Peta Mullens; Briony Mattocks, Imogen Smith; Anna Beck; Jenni King
Christopher Hellman; Morgan Pilley
“On behalf of the MTBA Management Committee I congratulate these riders on being selected to represent Australia on the world stage and wish them well as they wear the green and gold in France in June, led by our National Champion Peta Mullens,” said MTBA President Russell Baker.
Mullens won her 2nd National XCM Title in Derby, Tasmania, earlier this month, which secured her place on the team. The Bendigo rider leads the list of Aussie women who’ll be contesting their first ever world marathon championships.
While Morgan Pilley grew up in Yamba, NSW, he resides in Italy, and has raced for a number of Italian domestic teams. He will race his fourth XCM World Championships after competing in South Africa in 2014 and Italy last year, and in Austria in 2013.
Our team rider, Imogen Smith, qualified by winning the second round of the National XCM Series in Alice Springs.
Anna Beck was just outside the criteria with her 5th place at Derby, but her finish at the Golden Triangle Epic in Bendigo secured her berth for Laissac.
Briony Mattocks has had a fast start to the year, moving from a 3rc place at The Willo, to 2nd in Alice Springs, and then a brilliant 3rd place at Derby (the National XCM Championships) – securing her spot for Laissac.
Jenni King has been National XCM Champion twice, and won most other marathons along the way. Even without her 2nd place at XCM Champs in Derby, she would have been able to qualify we suspect.
Chris Hellman makes travel and mountain biking work. While he’s no stranger to the Australian marathon scene, he’s also no stranger to the UCI XCM Series. A top 20 finish at a UCI XCM event secures your start at the World Championships, and that’s something Chris achieved.
All aboard to Laissac
So it’s time to get sized up for team kit and tracksuits, and forward your passport numbers to MTBA for bookings – right? Well, no. MTBA still doesn’t have high performance funding for such events, each and every athletes listed above will be making their own way to Laissac, and might hopefully be assisted by sponsors for some fresh equipment.
But the above athletes are all focused on representing their country, and will no doubt do so with pride. In time, let’s hope the ASC and both cycling governing bodies can see that mountain biking deserves a little more investment.