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MTB News & Racing Round-up, April 2, 2010

Date published:
April 02, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Cordes, Speedy battled back to Cape Epic win after dehydration

    Yolande Speedy and Paul Cordes ride to second in the mixed team category
    Article published:
    March 31, 2010, 12:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Mixed team celebrated second overall win in two years

    Cape Epic mixed category winners Paul Cordes and Yolandé Speedy (MTN-Energade) proved throughout the race that you can't keep a good team down. This week, the pair has been basking in the afterglow of their second Cape Epic victory in three years.

    South Africa's Cape Epic mountain bike stage race is famous for its survival stories. There are, for example, many stories about riders taking a tumble while racing at high speed. This often leads to bones being broken or blood being donated involuntarily. Then there is the all too well-known race against time when trying to fix mechanical failures. Sometimes the Epic even turns into a running marathon when a rider has no other option but to run with his or her bicycle, or part of the bicycle, across the shoulders.

    In view of this, Cordes and Speedy had an amazing eight days of racing. They only had one puncture between the two of them and one serious health scare when Cordes dehydrated during the first stage. Of the eight stages, they won five and they were in the top-20 overall up until the seventh stage.

    According to Cordes, the only reason why they lost their top-20 placing was that they decided rather to play it safe over the last two days of racing.

    "It is stupid to take unnecessary risks when you are winning," Cordes said. In the end they finished 22nd overall, which is not bad considering that more than half of the teams that started the Epic did not finish.

    "The first stage was our worst. Yolandé and I started off strongly. It did not take us long to open a five-minute lead on the Swiss team, Bärti Bucher and Esther Süss. Our problems started when we arrived at one of the water stations and could not identify our bottles. The bottles were there, but we made the mistake of not marking them correctly so they could not be found.

    "Because I was worried about losing too much time, I said to Yolandé 'Let's ride to the next water...

  • Blenkinsop back in action in time for Sea Otter

    Sam Blenkinsop (LaPierre) on his way to winning the first round of the New Zealand downhill cup.
    Article published:
    March 31, 2010, 21:44 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    New Zealander recovered from broken wrist

    Sam Blenkinsop of Team Lapierre International has been recovering from injury and will be back in action in time to race the Sea Otter Classic April 16-18.

    The New Zealander broke his wrist while participating in the official practice for the second round of the New Zealand Downhill Mountain Bike Series in Dunedin in mid-January. The 21-year-old underwent surgery on his wrist after the crash.

    "Now that my wrist is totally healed, I know I'll be ready for the World Cup in Maribor in May. It's a huge relief," said Blenkinsop.

    The World Cup downhill season kicks off in Maribor, Slovenia, on May 15-16. Blekinsop finished out 2009 ranked seventh overall in the World Cup.

  • Evans, Lakata consider future races together

    Alban Lakata and Kevin Evans of MTN Qhubeka Topeak Ergon
    Article published:
    April 01, 2010, 13:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Third place Cape Epic team happy with performance despite mechanicals

    Third placed Cape Epic mountain bike stage race finishers Kevin Evans and Alban Lakata (MTN-Energade) survived the gruelling eight-day race despite some bad luck and are already thinking of other opportunities to race together.

    "We were thoroughly tested, but we came out of the Epic as the best of friends. I always maintain that the Epic is a true test for any friendship. If you and your partner are still talking to one another after eight days of hard racing and severe suffering, it indicates a lasting friendship.

    "Naturally we would have liked to do better than third overall, but I am quite happy with the way things turned out. All in all we had a good Epic. We won a stage and had second and third placings in stages. In addition, we were one of only two teams to have worn the Epic's coveted yellow jersey.

    "Ours is surely a relationship on which we can build for the future. I would love to do another tour with Alban, perhaps the Trans-Alps."

    According to Evans their problems started during the last three days when they were racing in the Oakdale area. "Alban battled to breath properly. We are not sure why. According to Alban, the same thing happened to him the previous time he raced in the Oakdale area. Perhaps there is something in the air to which he is allergic or perhaps it is a sports-induced asthma.

    "All I know is that it is very difficult to be competitive when you cannot breath properly because that means that your muscles don't get enough oxygen.

    "Our worst day was definitely the seventh stage when we lost about 13 minutes to the Flückiger brothers, Lukas and Mathias. It was really important for us to defend our 3rd position, because it would have been a waste of all our efforts if we had finished fourth."

    The third stage was also one filled with drama for Evans and Lakata. "We had four punctures between the two of us," said Lakata. "As luck would have it, both of us punctured our back tyres...

  • Fletcher checks out Dalby World Cup course

    David Fletcher (Great Britain)
    Article published:
    April 01, 2010, 14:29 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    British Under 23 rider ready to race the best

    With the opening round of the UCI cross country mountain bike World Cup less than one month away, some of Britain's top young riders are getting a chance to preview their home World Cup course in Dalby in the United Kingdom. Current Under 23 British National Champion David Fletcher is among those training on the course throughout this week. Fletcher and the others are working on general fitness as well as specific technical skills as they familiarize themselves with the track before the big day, April 25.

    "It's a good course. It's an all around course with some climbs with some flats and some technical bits. It'll suit the power riders and the climbers because the climbs are quite steep in areas," said Fletcher to Cyclingnews. "There are some nice technical sections with drops, too."

    Fletcher raced in Dalby on a similar course for a British National Series round in 2009. "We did a camp before the race last year, too, but this is the first time I've come back to the course since then."

    The 21-year-old Fletcher, who is a member of the 100% ME team, predicted that the race will split up quickly, with riders finding themselves in ones and twos, due to the hard nature of the course. "It's a fast course from the start - especially to get into the first singletrack section," he said.

    The young rider, who finished third after Oli Beckingsale (Giant) and Lee Williams (Team Wiggle) in last weekend's British National Series opener at Sherwood Pines, is a part of British Cycling's Olympic Academy program. Fletcher explained that he cramped during last weekend's race and attributed the experience to a general lack of racing in his legs given the time of year. Prior to Sherwood Pines, he'd done only two races, both in Israel.

    "We get help from nutritionists and mechanics," said Fletcher about some of the support he receives at the training camp as an Olympic Academy athlete.

    "During the winter, we also went to...

  • Milatz returns to racing

    Moritz Milatz
    Article published:
    April 01, 2010, 19:24 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    German recovers from broken nose

    After a horror start to the season, Moritz Milatz returned to racing action this past weekend at the Racer Bikes Cup in Buchs, Switzerland, where he finished eighth.

    While racing the Maremma Cup in early March, the German Multivan Merida mountain bike rider crashed and sustained serious facial injuries. Surgery on his broken nose and the subsequent recovery forced him to take a break from training and competition and before the start of the Swiss event, Milatz wasn't sure how he would handle the physical and mental aspects of the race.

    He took a controlled approach to the start, given that the course was wet after heavy rains overnight, and then he bridged up to the lead group of 10 on lap two. He continued to work his way up, earning two more places before the end of the race.

    "For me the race went perfectly. In particular, given the backlog in my training after the crash, I could go out at my own pace and not at the pace of the top riders."

    "This race was very important to me. Now I know that I'm back to my 'old' self and can attack again."

    Milatz has been training with his coach in Switzerland. He will race next at the next round of the Racer Bikes Cup in Lugano / Tesserete on April 11. A week later, he'll contest the opening race of the German Bundesliga series in Münsingen and then he'll head to the opening World Cup in Dalby in the United Kingdom.

  • Pickering to host opening night activities at Dalby World Cup

    The Pro Sprint Eliminator course map for an event that will kick off festivities for the Dalby Mountain Bike World Cup in late April.
    Article published:
    April 02, 2010, 15:12 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Urban four cross-style cross country race will entertain spectators

    The Pickering town centre, British Cycling and its partners will host the opening of the 2010 UCI Mountain Bike Cross Country World Cup weekend with an evening of racing and free entertainment in the heart of North Yorkshire on Friday, April 23.

    The evening will kick off at 6:00 pm with the Pro Sprint Eliminator, a race format combining the gladiatorial excitement of four cross racing with the all round skills of cross country, in an urban setting that will bring the sport of mountain biking close to the general public.

    Riders in the opening time trial round will have to be one of the quickest 32 men or 16 women to make it into the eliminator phase. There they will face off in groups of four, having to finish in the top two in each subsequent round to qualify for the final where a big cash prize awaits the final overall winner.

    Some of Yorkshire's household names will also be braving the course in a special "celebrity" race before the final round of the Pro Sprint Eliminator.

    The carefully designed, one-kilometre circuit will test riders to the limit and pose a number of challenging obstacles as they fly through a resident's back garden, over a set of steep steps and flowerbeds whilst manoeuvring their way in between lampposts. Riders will also enjoy a moment of quiet on route as they pass through Pickering cemetery.

    After the excitement of the pro and celebrity racing, there will be an opening ceremony for the Dalby World Cup, followed by an evening of festive activities including Morris dancers, a brass band and face painting for children. Pickering bars and restaurants will stay open late into the night to celebrate the arrival of the World Cup.

    Steve Peat, a Yorkshire legend and 2009 downhill World Champion, said, "I can't wait for the Dalby World Cup weekend. It's great to have some of the world's best cross country guys race on my doorstep and the Pro Sprint Eliminator is a fantastic warm up for...

  • Moseley, Minnaar among international riders expected for US Pro GRT opener

    Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing)
    Article published:
    April 02, 2010, 18:11 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    American gravity national series drawing top talent to Port Angeles

    The opening round of the US Pro Gravity Tour (US Pro GRT) is drawing a top-quality field of downhillers. Stop number one of the five-race national series is set for Port Angeles, Washington on April, 24-25, just one week after many of the sport's stars will be racing at California's Sea Otter Classic.

    Trek World Racing is sending a full roster of international talent including Tracy Moseley of Great Britain, Andrew Neethling of South Africa, Justin Leov of New Zealand, and new signing Neko Mulally of Pennsylvania.

    Veteran Jared Rando of Australia will lead the charge for Giant along with his new teammates for 2010: Brit Danny Hart and American Duncan Riffle.

    Yeti Fox racing is bringing its World Cup podium finisher Aaron Gwin as well as Joey Schusler and Chris Boice, and Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) and Bryn Atkinson, Jill Kintner and Lars Sternberg (all Transition Racing) will also be competing.

    The race will be run on non-ski area trails at Dry Hill, three miles outside of Port Angeles.

    For more information, visit

  • Ride the Divide movie premiers in Vail

    The Tour Divide started in Canada
    Article published:
    April 02, 2010, 20:55 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Mountain bike film to be screened publicly for first time

    Ride the Divide, a film about racing 2,700 miles off-road along the North American Continental Divide, will premier this weekend at the Vail Film Festival in Vail, Colorado. The movie will be screened for the first time publicly on Friday, April 2 at 8:10 pm and then again on Saturday, April 3 at 7:30 pm.

    The film weaves the story of three characters' experiences with Rocky Mountain beauty and small-town culture as they attempt to pedal from Banff, Canada, to a small, dusty crossing on the Mexican border. It is a Mike Dion film, directed by Hunter Weeks.

    The Great Divide Mountain Bike Route is the longest off-pavement cycling route. It's highlighted by long dirt roads and jeep trails that wend their way through forgotten passes of the Continental Divide. The Route travels through Canadian Provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, and Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico in the United States. By Route's end, a through-rider will climb nearly 200,000 feet of vertical - equivalent to summiting Mount Everest from sea-level seven times.

    Divide racers must not only be conditioned to endure weeks of consecutive 16-plus hour days in the saddle, they need to bring other skills to the trail. The Route is unmarked and circuitous, requiring navigational acumen. It travels through remote backcountry. Intervals between services are frequently 100-plus miles and demand calculated food/water resupply plans. Riders must also find shelter each night or bivouac trailside and deal with constantly changing - sometimes extreme - weather conditions.

    The movie will also be screened in Monterey, California in mid-April and will return to Colorado (other venues) in May. For more information, visit