The 2016 British Cycling MTB Cross-country Series heads south this weekend as Plymouth hosts round two.
Both Grant Ferguson and Anne Tauber, winners of the elite races in round one are absent - meaning there is a chance for any of a number of riders in an impressive field to stake a claim for an early series lead.
National champion Grant Ferguson dominated in Llanelli as the series got underway, but his attention now turns to the international stage.
Ferguson, along with Phil Pearce who finished fifth in South Wales, will compete in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Cairns, chasing valuable Rio Olympic qualification points.
Their absences mean that Liam Killeen (Malvern Cycle Sport) is considered the red-hot favourite at Newnham Park.
Killeen took second place in the opening round and is in good form in 2016, having taken the British cyclo-cross title back in January.
Dave Fletcher (Pine Cycles – Felt – Enve) was hot on Killeen’s heels in Llanelli, finishing just six seconds behind the former Commonwealth champion, and will fancy his chances of a strong performance in Devon.
Fresh from international duty in Italy, Great Britain Cycling Team’s Iain Paton and Frazer Clacherty return to domestic action in Plymouth.
The pair will be representing 100% me, having been announced as being part of an expanded roster this week.
As with the men’s race, the field in the women’s competition will be eyeing up the chance to take advantage of the absence of the series leader, Netherlands rider Anne Tauber.
Another new member of the 100% me team, Evie Richards, makes her first appearance of the season in the British Cycling MTB Cross-country Series.
The under-23 cyclo-cross world champion has enjoyed an excellent start to the mountain bike season, taking third place in the Swiss Cup in Great Britain Cycling Team colours earlier this month.
Lucy Grant (Bicycle Works Race Team) was runner-up in Llanelli, her third consecutive second place across the final rounds of 2015’s series and the 2016 opener and will be keen to make it fourth time lucky at Newnham Park.
Defending series champion Bethany Crumpton (Boot Out Breast Cancer CC) was also on the podium in South Wales and will look to improve on her sixth placed finish in last year’s race in Devon.
The second round of the 2016 British Cycling MTB Cross-country Series takes place on 23-24 April at Newnham Park, Plymouth, in association with Fully Sussed.
Elite races take place on Sunday, with the women’s competition at 1pm and the men’s race at 3.15pm. Races last approximately 90 minutes, with riders taking a mass start before negotiating a series of 15-minute laps. Courses are designed to be spectator friendly and events are free to watch.
There is also age and ability-based racing across both days – for full details or to enter a future round of the series, see the event homepage.
Want to start mountain biking? Check out our guide to getting involved.