Mountain biking: Leov back for bike festival

A retired downhill mountain bike champion will return to race in the inaugural Rotorua Bike Festival.

The 10-day bike festival will be held for the first time in February as a celebration of cycling, with a mix of events and entertainment.

National downhill champion Justin Leov, 29, who retired earlier this year, will be competing at the festival in a relatively new event the Giant 2W Gravity Enduro.

The enduro discipline combines the fitness of cross-country riding and the technique of downhill racing across challenging tracks.

Leov said the new discipline was capturing the imagination of the mountain biking world, with a world series recently announced for enduro racing.

Leov will be rejoining Trek World Racing for the world series, kick-starting his enduro career in 2013 at the Rotorua Bike Festival.

"I'm really looking forward to racing a fresh new discipline, especially with Trek World Racing," Leov said.

"It really is the ideal situation. The team feels like family and I know them so well. It's the exact support I'll need to compete at the highest level in enduro."

Another top New Zealand international rider, Rosara Joseph, will also be taking part in the Giant 2W Gravity Enduro event.

The Beijing Olympian and 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games silver medallist in cross-country mountain biking said she was excited to be racing a new discipline.

Most of the country's best downhill mountain bikers will also be at the festival, racing in the 2013 mountain bike national championships from Friday, February 15 to Sunday, February 17.

The Rotorua Bike Festival event has something for everyone with a full schedule of events from the serious to the light-hearted. The festival begins with Rotorua's longest running mountain bike event, the Cateye Moonride, on Friday, February 8 and will wrap up with the Giant 2W Gravity Enduro on Sunday, February 17.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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