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Mountain biking preview - 29 July


Some of the finest off-road riders in the world will take to the hills of Rivington Pike on Monday as mountain biking makes its Commonwealth debut.

Roland Green

World champion Roland Green will be going for gold

Mountain biking has been an Olympic sport since the 1996 Games in Atlanta and has a professional World Cup circuit.

Both races are expected to be a tri-nations battle for the medals between Australia, Canada and England in the menís final with Scotland taking the place of England in the womenís.

Twenty men and 15 women will line up for two separate mass starts opposite Rivington and Blackrod High School on Leaver Park Avenue.

The men will complete five laps of the 6.9km course while the women will race over four.

Steep climbs combined with fast, technical descents to muddy sections pose a series of hurdles, making this one of the most demanding courses in the world.

The attrition rate could be high as riders succumb to inevitable punctures and crashes due to rocks and tree roots that litter the route but form part of the off-road challenge.

On a hot day, dehydration will be an issue as ridersí energy and concentration are gradually sapped away.

Current menís world champion Roland Green of Canada is the number one seed and gold medal favourite. His only achilles heel is summer allergies and the 19 other contenders will be hoping that will be his undoing. The battle for the other two medals is wide open.

Scotland are in with a shout of their second cycling medal with world cup star Caroline Alexander. She lines up against Canadaís Chrissy Redden and Australian medal prospect Mary Grigson.

Info News Service/nc/pjt

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