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MTB News & Racing Round-up, April 22, 2010

Date published:
April 22, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • 37 companies sign on to support IMBA's Public Lands Initiative

    Riders cross a grassy ridge
    Article published:
    April 22, 2010, 8:00 BST
    Cycling News

    New program supports mountain bike access across US

    Last week, IMBA launched a new program, the Public Lands Initiative, to increase bike access across the United States. The announcement was made in dramatic fashion during the Bicycle Leadership Conference, as bike industry captains John Burke and Mike Sinyard (presidents of Trek and Specialized, respectively) joined Bikes Belong's Tim Blumenthal onstage to voice their support. All three companies pledged US$100,000 to help launch the initiative which will impact lands used by many mountain bike riders and racers.

    "This gets us about halfway to funding the first two years of this very important work," Sinyard told the crowd, which included representatives from many of the world's largest bike companies. "I think the people in this room can double that figure - not in a year, not in a month, but right now," said Burke.

    Others soon followed. "From that moment, industry leaders began stepping forward with incredibly generous pledges," said Mike Van Abel, IMBA's executive director. "Some of them, like SRAM's Stan Day, pushed the energy in the room even higher by immediately voicing support - to the tune of $100,000 in SRAM's case. The outpouring continued throughout the day, and it's still ongoing."

    Pledgers for the the Public Lands Initiative total $587,000, and donors include Advanced Sports International/Fuji, Aero Tech Designs Cyclewear, B & L Bikeshop, Bicycle Dealer magazine, Bicycle Retailer & Industry News magazine, Bikes Belong Coalition, Camelbak, Campagnolo/Fulcrum, CatEye, DeFeet, Feedback Sports, FOX Racing Shox, GORE Bike Wear/GORE RideOn Cable Systems, Haro Bikes, Hayes Disc Brake, Hydrapak, Interbike, Palo Alto Bicycles, Park Tool, Pedro's, Performance Bicycle, Polar Bottle, Primal Wear, Purely Custom Cycling, Quality Bicycle Parts (QBP), Raleigh USA, Sidi America, Skip Hess, SOAR Communications, Specialized, SRAM, The Hawley Company, Thule, Trek Bicycle, Vitesse Cycle Shop, Wheel & Sprocket and Wilderness Trail...

  • Subaru Cup to host USA Cycling Midwest Regional Championships

    The start of the Subaru Cup, a WORS race.
    Article published:
    April 22, 2010, 12:00 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Find out who is the fastest in the Midwest at WORS event

    The Wisconsin Off Road Series' annual mountain bike racing mega-event, the Subaru Cup, presented by Trek, will double not only as a stop on the US Pro XCT series, but also as the USA Cycling Midwest Regional Championships.

    Held at Nordic Mountain, the race is expected to draw an international elite field to compete on the slopes of Mt. Morris in the legacy cross country race on Saturday afternoon and in the Wheaties Fuel short track on Sunday morning. The first-ever Midwest Regional Championships will feature categories for all ages and ability levels.

    To be crowned "Fastest in the Midwest", competitors must hold an annual USA Cycling mountain bike license and reside in one of the Midwest States (Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska, Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota). The fastest racer in each USA Cycling age and racing category who meets these requirements will be awarded the special USA Cycling Midwest Regional Championship medal.

    The course at Nordic Mountain offers racers and spectators a representative slice of Midwest mountain biking, with tight singletrack, fast descents and short, steep climbs. Much of the singletrack has been designed and built by WORS Series Director Don Edberg, and WORS Series racers describe the Subaru Cup as "a course to look forward to."

    "[The Subaru Cup course offers] lots of climbing, great singletrack, and a couple of little rock gardens thrown in to spice things up", says Wisconsin MTB and cyclo-cross elite racer Mark Lalonde. "It is, by far, my favorite course of the entire WORS season."

    Outstanding spectator turnout is a hallmark of events hosted by the Wisconsin Off Road Series, and the Subaru Cup drew over 800 spectators in 2009. Over an area of 60 acres, Nordic Mountain's singletrack winds in on itself several times to provide spectators convenient access and numerous viewing opportunities on each lap. From the all-new...

  • One hundred podiums to be awarded at Greenbrier Challenge

    Aaron Snyder (Cannondale) leads a chase group.
    Article published:
    April 22, 2010, 12:15 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Popular Maryland event sets 700-rider field limit

    When it comes to their mountain bike race, the Potomac Velo Club (PVC) and Jim Carlson believe more is better. Carlson, the lead organizer and promoter of PVC's April 25 Greenbrier Challenge presented by the Hagerstown-Washington County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, continues to improve the race each year. The race has become so popular that, for the first time, a limit of 700 riders has been put into place this year so that the race doesn't overwhelm its venue at Greenbrier State Park, just outside of Hagerstown, Maryland.

    Yet even with the race's continuing popularity, Carlson hasn't been content to let the race rest on its laurels. This year, more new classes have been added, raising the total number of classes to 54, and the number of podium presentations have increased to over 100 throughout the day. Over US$10,000 in cash and awards will be presented during the podium presentations.

    This year, rider's results at the Greenbrier Challenge will count toward USA Cycling's new MARC Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship (which Carlson also organizes), as well as the national-levle American Mountain Bike Challenge (AMBC) and, for junior racers, the Alison Dunlap Junior Race Series. The race also serves at the Maryland State Championships and, as part of the AMBC, it is also a qualifying race for this year's National Championships in Granby, Colorado, in mid-July.

    Last year's elite men's and women's races were won by Aaron Snyder and Johanna Kraus.

    For more information on the race, visit

  • Spitz to sit out Dalby World Cup opener

    Two members of the Central Pro Team will compete in the Dalby round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.
    Article published:
    April 22, 2010, 13:50 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Osl, Gradl aim to defend Central Pro's top team standing

    Olympic Champion and current marathon World Champion Sabine Spitz will not race at the 2010 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup opener this weekend in Dalby Forest, United Kingdom. Instead, her Central Pro team will look toward defending World Cup overall champion Lisi Osl and Anja Gradl for podium-worthy performances.

    The German Spitz is still coming back following surgery for a groin injury this winter. Her team estimates she is about two months behind in her training for the year, although she is expected to race her first World Cup (round three) at Offenburg on May 22, on home soil. She will also defend her marathon world title at St. Wendel, Germany, in August.

    In the past two years, Osl has matured into a World Cup winner, and Gradl can place in the top 10 on a good day. The two riders will work to earn points toward the team's World Cup ranking in Spitz's absence. In 2009, the Central Pro team topped the women's World Cup team rankings.

    At next weekend's World Cup round in Houffalize, Osl and Gradl will be joined by the young Mona Eiberweiser, a teammate who is sitting out the Dalby competition due to schoolwork.

  • Delxc six-hour race on tap for this weekend

    Andrew Fellows
    Article published:
    April 22, 2010, 16:34 BST
    Cycling News

    Benson among the favorites attending

    The Delxc mountain bike race will happen this weekend in Queensland, Australia, 90 minutes west of Brisbane. The event is a six-hour enduro open to both teams and solo riders.

    Among those expected to race are 18-year-old Aaron Benson, the runner-up in the Under 23 cross country national series. Benson showed that he is riding strong after recently beating former national cross country series winner Aiden Lefmann in the last round of his local summer cup series and winning the series overall.  Endurance racer Andrew Fellows is also on the start list.

    For more information on the race, visit

  • Donovan returns to racing

    Leigh Donovan racing to fifth place
    Article published:
    April 22, 2010, 18:35 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Former World Champion sets sights on Mont Sainte Anne

    Remember Leigh Donovan? The 38-year-old former downhill World Champion is back racing with a goal of making the US World Championship team headed to Mont Sainte Anne, Canada, later this season.

    "I am going to start racing more regularly trying to do about five major races this year," said Donovan, who showed her comeback is on track with two fifth places finishes among an international-caliber field at the Sea Otter Classic this past weekend in Monterey, California. She raced both the downhill and the dual slalom.

    "Mont Sainte Anne is a good course for me, and it's the 20th anniversary of the mountain bike worlds," she said. "It's been 15 years since I won the worlds, and it would be meaningful for me to be part of that event." The first mountain bike World Championships were held in Durango, Colorado, in 1990. Donovan won her world title in Kirchzarten in 1995. She has also won silver (1996, Cairns) and bronze (2001, Vail) World Championship medals.

    While in retirement, Donovan has kept busy. She has her own retail women's clothing boutique for high-end (non-cycling) clothing and is raising a five-year-old daughter. "I had to branch out into the women's world for awhile after I retired. I had a lot of growing up to do. I had to find my woman's side and find some female relationships."

    Now she's back in competition for the sheer fun of it.

    "It doesn't matter if I win or lose. It's so nice. This is the joy that I didn't have a lot of when I was racing. I had so much pressure when I was racing before," she said.

    "I have the best of both worlds now. I've come back to mountain biking and I've been embraced by friends and sponsors. I'm so lucky."

    Donovan is realistic about her goals, and while she doesn't feel as fast as some of the younger women, she's been working on her skills. "I don't quite have the legs to beat these top girls, but I've gotten a lot of skills this year. I've been racing...