Mountain biking: Leov out of retirement to tackle enduros

Justin Leov.
Justin Leov.
Justin Leov's retirement did not last long. He returns to international mountain biking in February.

Leov (29) ended a 10-year international career early this year when he retired as national downhill champion.

''It's a slightly different discipline this time,'' Leov said.

''I'm looking forward to racing a fresh new discipline.''

Leov has signed a two-year contract with his Trek World Racing team to race the new mountain bike discipline of enduro.

His first race will be at Rotorua in February and he will then race in five events in France, Italy and Canada in the first Enduro World Series from June to August next year.

He will have two stints overseas - the first for six weeks and the second for three weeks.

''Enduro is like rallying,'' Leov said.

''There are five races over a weekend. The points are added up at the end to find the winner.''

It is an event that will suit Leov because of the emphasis he has always placed on fitness.

''My strength in downhill was always on the fitness side of the sport,'' he said.

''The enduro is very fitness based. The shortest downhill will take at least 10 minutes.''

Leov relishes the chance to get a new challenge.

''It's what I needed,'' he said, ''I've been racing downhill for over 10 years. It will be good to have something fresh.''

Leov has shifted to Christchurch to become an apprentice builder.

''My team is prepared to support me around my new career,'' he said.

''They will allow me to be at home as much as I can between the races.''

His training will be more endurance based than in the past and he will need to put more time into his rides.

Leov was noted for his consistency on the World Cup circuit over his 10-year career. He was consistently a top 10 rider.

His best year was in 2009 when he finished sixth in the World Cup and had a few podium finishes.

''That was a fantastic year for me,'' he said.

''I really enjoyed it. It was my best year with the Trek World Racing team.''

Beijing Olympian Rosara Joseph will also compete in the Rotorua enduro. She won a silver medal in the cross-country at the Melbourne Commonwealth Games.