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MTB News & Racing Round-up, April 21, 2010

Date published:
April 22, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Davison at Sea Otter, but not to race

    Lea and Sabra Davison and a group of Little Bellas check out the action at the Sea Otter Classic.
    Article published:
    April 18, 2010, 17:28 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Despite being sidelined by injury, mountain bike pro still inspires young girls to ride

    Pro mountain biker Lea Davison was at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California, but she wasn't there to race. The Maxxis-Rocky Mountain team rider is currently injured and on a break from racing while she awaits surgery. However, that didn't stop her from being part of a different sort of Sea Otter action.

    Davison was spotted on a bike with her sister Sabra and a flock of young girls on mountain bikes just before Saturday's short track. The two sisters run the Little Bellas program to promote mountain biking among girls. At Sea Otter, they are hosting three mountain bike day camps.

    "It's been a wild success," said Lea. "Sure, it's been a handful because this is a chaotic event anyway. but we've had a great response. Some girls who signed up for one day have come back for more."

    Riding around with the girls, Lea said she's heard a lot of comments along the lines of "I've never seen that many girls in one place on bikes before."

    The sisters have several camps scheduled for across the country this summer. Sea Otter is the first stop, and there will be others in Wisconsin and Vermont, where they live.

    "We've had 10-15 each day here at Sea Otter and we have 20 every Sunday all summer back home in Vermont," said Sabra. The girls range in age from 7 to 14, depending on the particular camp.

    Lea will be sidelined from racing for most of the 2010 season. "I'm nursing a hip injury. I tore some cartilage in my left hip, so I need surgery. Sometime this winter, I was mis-diagnosed, then I got an MRI and they figured it out."

    "My surgery will be on April 30, and it's about a three-month recovery period. I'll be fresh for cyclo-cross season. Maybe I can do some races at the end of the season. I'm signed up for the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival."

    "I'll be at the World Cup and World Championships because they're in my backyard, but it will be tough to be there and not to be racing though...

  • Yeti debuts Big Top 29er hardtail

    Yeti showed off its new Big Top 29er hardtail at this year's Sea Otter Classic.
    Article published:
    April 19, 2010, 8:05 BST
    James Huang

    Big wheeler aimed at broad audience

    Yeti showed off its new Big Top 29er hardtail at this year's Sea Otter Classic and from the looks of it, the Golden, Colorado-based company is aiming the big wheeler at a rather broad target audience.

    Yeti builds the Big Top with a welded aluminum front triangle and a bonded-on carbon fiber rear end. Before you pigeonhole it as a pure race machine, though, consider that it also features a tapered head tube up front plus ISCG tabs down below. As such, steering precision and front end strength is expected to be quite good and more aggressive riders will be able to mount chain guides and bashguards as desired.

    Out back, the carbon fiber seat stays and chain stays are joined with a short section of alloy at the dropouts, partially to retain Yeti's signature looped aesthetic but also to lend more diversity to the setup options. Interchangeable 'chips' will allow for either 135x10mm quick-release or 142x12mm thru-axle hubs, and singlespeeders will also be able to trade out the dropouts completely for sliders with built-in adjusters – and the derailleur housing guides are even removable for a cleaner look, too.

    Sorry, we weren't able to secure retail pricing or expected availability on the first day of the show but we'll update you when we receive the information.

  • Wells leads men in US Pro XCT standings

    Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) takes the victory.
    Article published:
    April 20, 2010, 21:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Gould and Byberg tied for women's lead

    Round two of the USA Pro XCT happened this past weekend at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California. Burry Stander (Specialized) and Georgia Gould (Luna) took the men's and women's cross country victories.

    With two of the five US Pro XCT events complete, Todd Wells (Specialized) has maintained his lead in the elite men's standings with 255 points compared to the 250 amassed thus far by his nearest threat, Geoff Kabush (Maxxis - Rocky Mountain). In the elite women's standings, Gould and Lene Byberg (Specialized) are now tied for the lead, each with 270 points.

    The US Pro XCT will continue on Saturday, May 29, with the Mellow Johnny's Classic in Dripping Springs, Texas.

    US Pro XCT Standings after two rounds

  • Stronger, stiffer JET 9 from Niner

    Niner has completely redesigned its JET 9 with hydroformed tubed and a notably stiffer rear end.
    Article published:
    April 21, 2010, 9:02 BST
    James Huang

    Improved steering precision and braking feel

    Niner's latest edition of its 80mm-travel JET 9 platform has added generous helpings of stiffness and strength relative to the previous version while adding only a smidgeon of weight in the process.

    One of the biggest changes is the addition of a tapered 1 1/8"-to-1 1/2" head tube to the front end, which not only improves steering precision and braking feel but also allows for a much bigger down tube for a claimed 30 percent jump in frame stiffness. Niner also switched from a traditional headset to an integrated one on this latest JET 9, allowing designers to push the down tube and top tube further apart while retaining the same stack height as before. In addition, the seat stays now adopt a rectangular profile.

    Niner has also infused the JET 9's aluminum chassis with healthy doses of hydroforming and forging – the former in the top tube, down tube, chain stays and rear triangle brace and the latter in the seat stay and chain stay yokes, the bottom bracket shell and main pivot assembly, dropouts, seat tube pivot, and all linkage plates.

    Double-pass welds in the main triangle add strength to the joints, too, while also making for a smoother appearance.

    Adding all that stiffness and robustness has resulted in a slight weight penalty, though – but only 20g according to Niner when accounting for the savings of the integrated headset versus the traditional one. Frame weight with shock is still a somewhat average-sounding 2.7kg (6.0lb) or so but Niner principal Chris Sugai says the CVA suspension design and larger 29" wheels' bump eating capabilities will make up for the extra mass on the trail.

    We'll aim to find out ourselves soon enough.

  • Specialized prototype carbon mountain bike wheels spotted

    Specialized factory team riders were spotted in the pits with new carbon-rimmed wheelsets.
    Article published:
    April 21, 2010, 14:24 BST
    James Huang

    Composite version of existing Roval aluminum models?

    Specialized factory team rider bikes were fitted with prototype carbon rims for this year's races at the Sea Otter Classic. Specialized global marketing manager Nic Sims wouldn't say much about the new wheels ("They're Project Black!") but to our eyes, they look like a composite version of the company's existing Roval aluminum models.

    Outer rim profile is similar with a roughly U-shaped cross-section and a flat inner wall supporting externally accessible alloy nipples. Given the relatively short sidewalls, we're guessing these new rims are also tubeless-compatible (with tape and sealant) similar to the NoTubes-like system Roval currently uses for easy conversions.

    The aluminum hubs look to be standard Roval fare with straight-pull spokes – laced in a 2:1 pattern up front for more even tension between the two sides – a carbon fiber center section up front, and interchangeable end caps to maximize surface area contact on compatible forks.

    In spite of the carbon construction, we expect these to be lighter than their aluminum counterparts but not dramatically so as the alloy rims were already very light. However, we are also expecting more significant jumps in stiffness and durability when these are eventually officially announced – we're guessing later this summer when Specialized holds its 2011 global launch. Stay tuned.

  • Trek-Brentjens team presented in the Netherlands

    The Trek Brentjens Mountain Bike Team is presented by Milka for 2010. The team's lilac-spotted uniforms show off their new sponsor.
    Article published:
    April 21, 2010, 16:42 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    New sponsor Milka fuels Olympic ambitions

    The Dutch national sports centre in Papendal hosted the presentation of the 2010 Trek-Brentjens Mountain Bike Racing Team on Monday. Dutch skating champion Erben Wennemars introduced the team of his friend Bart Brentjens to press, sponsors and the public. The team, led by the sport's first Olympic champion Brentjens, shared its hopes for the future.

    The Trek-Brentjens Mountain Bike Racing Team has joined forces with sponsor Milka, and the team's new name is the Trek-Brentjens Mountainbike Racing Team powered by Milka. The addition of Milka, a well-known chocolate brand, fuels the team's international ambitions even further.

    "I am extremely proud to be able to present this team to the public in 2010," said Brentjens. "We've chosen this location for a reason - the sports centre strives to bring athletes to the top. Our goal is to bring two of our riders to the start of the Olympic race in London, 2012."

    "By supporting Bart Brentjens' team of professionals, we hope to gain a foothold as sponsor in the mountain biking discipline as well," said Thomas Hergge, Manager Milka Sponsoring & Events. "Like skiing, mountain biking is an ideal sport for the Alps, the home of the Milka brand. We now have an opportunity to sponsor many activities during the summer months, and to be present at international bike events."

    The Trek-Brentjens MTB Racing Team powered by Milka is managed by the 1996 Olympic champion Brentjens and includes the following riders: Frank Beemer (23), Irjan Luttenberg (22)and Jelmer Pietersma (28) from the Netherlands, Lukas Kaufman (23) from Switzerland, Tim Wynants (23) from Belgium and Bart Brentjens (42) himself.

    Petersma, a second-year member of the team, won the Tour de France VTT in 2009 and logged a World Cup best result of 34th in the same year, to be ranked 41st overall. New team member Kauffman was ninth in the Under 23 World Championships and eighth at the Under 23 Swiss Championships. Luttenberg,...

  • Show will go on at Dalby cross country World Cup

    Many of the racers who competed in the Sea Otter Classic this past weekend are en route to Dalby, United Kingdom, for the first round of the UCI World Cup.
    Article published:
    April 21, 2010, 18:33 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Opening round on despite travel troubles following Icelandic volcano eruption

    The 2010 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup presented by Shimano will begin with the first round in Dalby Forest, Yorkshire, as scheduled, on April 24-25, despite the air traffic difficulties that have been interfering with the travel plans of many of the world's top cross country mountain bikers.

    A volcanic eruption of Mount Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland halted air travel over northern Europe for a majority of the past week, and airlines are scrambling to get flights moving again as air conditions improve. Prevailing winds have been blowing the ash cloud over the United Kingdom, causing many flight cancellations.

    Nonetheless, teams from Australia and Canada have already arrived at the Yorkshire World Cup venue. And the UCI Commissaire President has travelled overland from Germany to ensure that the event goes ahead.

    Many racers are in process of making marathon trips en route to Dalby. For example, Sea Otter short track winner and Pan American champion Todd Wells (Specialized) said on Facebook that it took him 40 hours of travel to get from Monterey, California, to Dalby Forest. Fellow Sea Otter racer Roel Paulissen (Cannondale) is still en route, but has made it as far as Amsterdam, while former World Champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå (Multivan Merida) is taking her chances on a last-minute Friday flight to the United Kingdom from Norway.

    Some of the racers starting their journey to the World Cup from the European continent have had it a bit easier thanks to the possibility of travel by automobile. World Champion Nino Schurter has planned a seven-hour drive to the Dalby venue after winning the Internazionali d'Italia - Marlene Sunshine Race in Italy this past weekend. Deciding to forego the uncertainties of air travel, most of the Multivan Merida mountain bike team has set out for England by car, making the best use of the team's title sponsor Volkswagen to get its favorites José Hermida and Ralph Näf to the start...

  • Men's Standings
    # Rider Name (Country) Team Result
    1 Todd Wells (USA) Specialized 255  pts
    2 Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain 250  
    3 Burry Stander (RSA) Specialized) 200  
    4 Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 145