Commonwealth Games silver medallist Sam Gaze will head the field at the opening round of the Mountain Bike New Zealand Cup Series for cross-country riders in Rotorua.

The four-round series, which includes two stops in the North Island and two in the South Island, will double as a build-up to the national champs in Wanaka in March.

Event manager Tim Farmer said the elite riders would complete six laps of the 6.2km course in the Whakarewarewa Forest and Gaze had put his name down to race.

"It's pretty awesome to see Sam Gaze here supporting the sport," he said.


"We have riders from the South Island who are flying up and we also have riders who are here for the up-coming 24-hour world champs. So that includes riders from England, Germany and Rarotonga."

He said about 100 riders would be racing tomorrow with juniors starting at 8.30am and elites starting at 2pm.

The event is being hosted by the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club. Spectators are welcome to attend and the base for the event will be at the end of Long Mile Rd.

A social Summer Cup mountain bike event will also be held in the Whakarewarewa Forest on Sunday, organised by Nduro Events.

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