21 May 2012

French course curse continues for Kiwis

6:35 am on 21 May 2012

The mountain bike World Cup in France hasn't been a happy one for the New Zealand women, with Karen Hanlen being forced to pull out in the fourth round - joining compatriot and fellow Olympic rival Rosara Joseph in an early exit.

Hanlen was chasing Olympic qualification in the final race to earn points for London, after Joseph crashed and broke her wrist during practice, but the perilous course proved her undoing with the Whakatane rider dropping out on the second of six laps.

The race claimed a significant number in the field with only half the field finishing on the same lap as the winner, Norwegian Rita-Gunn Dahle.

It is a serious blow for both Hanlen and Joseph who were chasing a high placing to support their Olympic bids.

New Zealand is expected to earn a single elite women's spot for London when quotas are finalised by the UCI.