Queenstown mountain biker Alanna Columb, who’s just won her third consecutive national downhill title, has the world in her sights.
The 28-year-old rider showed her international class as she romped to a national win in Cardrona last weekend – despite only getting back on her downhill bike three weeks ago.
She was 21 seconds ahead of the competition in the elite women’s race.
“I’m pretty happy with it,” she says.
“It makes me feel on track and that I’ve done what I can do in New Zealand and it’s time to take on the world.”
Columb will skip defending her title at the Oceanias in Toowoomba, Australia, next month due to costs as a privateer.
Instead, she’s focused on training ahead of the World Cup series and world champs.
Her 2016 European full-season adventure was marred by injuries, including broken ribs and a broken ankle, leaving little chance for a good race.
This year she’ll compete in key European World Cup races, with September’s world champs in Cairns the “big goal”.
“I like the track and qualified sixth there in the World Cup last year.”
Columb, ranked 15th overall last season, has spent the summer riding trails and getting her fitness back up to par in the gym.
“I’m only just recently back on the downhill bike. I want to be peaking when I head overseas.”
Columb’s one of many Queenstown riders who did well at Sunday’s downhill nationals – including brother Scott who won the Masters 30 age group.
Youngster Alex Barke took the U17 title while Hamish McLeod was second in the U19 and Sam Robbie third.
Troy Stewart was second in the seniors, while Riley Adlamthe U15s.
In Saturday’s cross-country race, Queenstown’s Kate Fluker was unable to defend her title.
She finished second to eventual winner Samara Sheppard after washing out on a corner.