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MTB News & Racing Round-up, April 8, 2010

Date published:
April 08, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Buys and Theron to battle in Pietermaritzburg

    Philip Buys chases hard.
    Article published:
    April 06, 2010, 18:06 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Both teammates hungry for win in next South African national series round

    When Philip Buys and Francois Theron of Garmin adidas get on their bikes this weekend in Pietermaritzburg for the next round of the South African MTN National Cross Country Series, the two friends will become fierce opponents.

    Both of them have exactly the same goal: to win the race for under 23 riders and, in the absence of World Champion Burry Stander (Specialized/Mr Price), possibly even be the overall winner.

    Stander, who is practically invincible when it comes to cross country racing in South Africa, is leaving for Europe next Friday. The week after that, he will race in his first World Cup event. According to Stander, it is unlikely that he will race again in South Africa this year.

    Listening to the retoric of Buys and Theron, it will be a full-blown war between them, because they both know that there is truth in the saying 'nice guys come second'. But there will always be a happy ending to their rivalry. The moment they cross the finishing line, their friendship will resume.

    Buys, who must certainly be considered a pre-race favourite after his good performance in Alberton where he won the u.23 race and finished 2nd overall after Stander, made it clear that he will race to win.

    "The only thing that worries me, is that I have never managed to put together a good race at the Cascades in Pietermaritzburg. Something always goes wrong. I can only hope that I will be able to break the jinx this time round. However, if I cannot win, there is only one other rider that I would like to win and that is Francois. We have to keep it in the family."

    Buys is also not sure what effect the Cape Epic has had on his legs. "At the moment I feel much better than after last year's epic, but the moment of truth will come when I get back on my bike to race seriously."

    As part of his preparation, he might do some bow-hunting on their family farm in KwaZulu-Natal. For him, it is a good way to clear his head.


  • Gunn-Rita Marathon to host European marathon championships in June

    Massimo De Bertolis leads the group of favorites
    Article published:
    April 07, 2010, 15:11 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Race gears up to host worlds in 2011

    The Gunn Rita Marathon will double as the 2010 European Marathon Championships on June 27. The race will take place in the Italian city of Montebelluna, situated near Treviso in the Veneto region.

    The course highlights a variety of local scenery including the plain to the Treviso Alpine Foothills, the rolling Prosecco hills and the Montello and Cansiglio woods.Montello Mountain, at 350m above sea level, is well known for its many singletrack trails.

    Also known as the Granfondo del Montello, the event drew more than 2300 participants from 18 nations in 2009, when Olympic Champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa and World Marathon Champion Roel Paulissen won the elite women's and men's races respectively. The marathon has been named after Dahle Flesjaa since 2007.

    For 2010, about 3,000 racers will take on one of three courses: The "classic distance" of 51.1km, the Gunn-Rita Marathon distance of 76.2km (with 1,946m of climbing), and the "extreme" distance of 119.4km (2,880m of climbing).

    Participation on the extreme course is open to the professional racing categories, men and women, athletes selected by their national teams and UCI license holders. License holders of any national federation may compete in the marathon and classic distances.

    Other festivities, including concerts, a fun race, an expo, a trials show, a bike school and a parade will take place during the weekend of June 25-27 in Montebelluna.

    Next year, in 2011, the Gunn Rita Marathon - Granfondo del Montello race will serve as the UCI Marathon World Championships.

    For more information, visit

  • Absalon, Kalentieva lead world-class field to Lugano / Tesserete

    Florian Vogel was among the day's top contenders.
    Article published:
    April 07, 2010, 18:14 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Many of world's best riders expected for Swiss national series round two

    Olympic champion Julien Absalon, World Champion Irina Kalentieva and World Cup overall winner Elisabeth Osl are among those on the start list for the second round of the Racer Bikes Cup in Lugano / Tesserete this weekend, April 11. A world-class field is expected to contest Sunday's Swiss National Series race on a demanding circuit in the forests around Turm von Redde.

    Last year's winner Florian Vogel is still recovering from the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race in South Africa. "Tesserete is one of the best rounds of the Racer Bikes Cup," he said. "The majority is on singletrack, and a fast start is very important to the race.

    "Abaslon is the top favorite, and he will certainly try to depose everyone else at the beginning of the race. Depending on the weather conditions, the technical route may become even more difficult... this is something that would accommodate Absalon even more." The Frenchman, a multi-time World Champion, is known for his excellent technical skills.

    Others to watch include the Swiss riders Lukas Flückiger and and Thomas Litscher, but young gunslike Matthias Flückiger, Patrick Gallati and Marco Arnold are capable of anything. Others like Italian champion Marco Aurelio Fontana, Italian Tony Longo, Germans Wolfram Kurschat and Moritz Milatz and Spaniard Ivan Alvarez are other promising foreign candidates for the top places.

    "Half the world" will be at the start

    Swiss champion Kathrin Leumann was impressed when she studied the start list for the women's race. "I tend to do smaller races like last year, where there is national-level competition, but it seems like half the world will be at the start," she said.

    Leumann, who won in Lugano / Tesserete in 2009, will be joined by World Champion Irina Kalentieva and top-world-ranked rider Lisi Osl. French champion Cécile Ravanel and Italy's Eva Lechner are also expected.

    "We will have to go full...

  • National mountain bike series returns to Wisconsin

    Jenn Rinehart on the way to winning the WORS Subaru Cup
    Article published:
    April 07, 2010, 21:36 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Subaru Cup to host US Pro XCT round

    For the first time in nearly a decade, the Midwest will host a US national cross country series stop. The Subaru Cup will welcome a stop on the US Pro Cross Country Tour (US Pro XCT) on June 26-27.

    The Subaru Cup is the annual mega-event of the Wisconsin Off Road Series, and is one of only five Pro XCT events in America during the 2010 racing season. Other upcoming venues on the Pro XCT Tour include the Sea Otter Classic, in Monterey, California, the Mellow Johnny's Classic, hosted on Lance Armstrong's Rancho de Juan Pelota in Dripping Springs, Texas, and the International Classic in Colorado, Springs.

    North America's top male and female racers, including some racers who represented the United States and Canada in the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, will compete at the Subaru Cup to qualify for the 2010 national championships and 2012 Olympics. The race at Nordic Mountain near Wautoma will offer a taste of Midwest mountain biking, with wooded singletrack, fast descents and short, steep climbs.

    WORS will award an increased prize list at the Subaru Cup, totaling nearly US$7,000 for top finishers in the Pro XCT. Cash prizes will be awarded over 30 places in the elite men's field and over 20 places for the elite women. An elite short track, presented by Wheaties Fuel, will also offer racers the chance to compete for cash payouts. In total, nearly $10,000 in cash prizes will be distributed.

    Now in its 19th season, WORS is America's largest state mountain bike racing series. The series has an average attendance of over 650 racers for each of the 12 WORS races held throughout Wisconsin. The first priority of the WORS Series is "to create access to fun, competitive mountain biking for as many individuals as possible," said Series Director Don Edberg.

    In addition to the elite races, the Subaru Cup will host a full slate of amateur racing with ability categories and age classes for everyone. The Subaru Cup will also serve as the...

  • Counting down to the Dalby Dare

    David Fletcher (Great Britain)
    Article published:
    April 08, 2010, 12:05 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Registration filling up for amateur event on British World Cup Course

    Less than two weeks remain to secure a place on the start line of the Dalby Dare, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for mountain bike enthusiasts to test their skills on the course of the 2010 UCI Mountain Bike Cross Country World Cup which is coming to Yorkshire for the first time this April. The Dalby Dare will be run on Saturday, April 24, one day before the World Cup race.

    Places in the inaugural event filling up fast, and riders will need to act quickly to be guaranteed a place in this historic event. Participants in the event will ride 30km in the forest, a combination of World Cup laps and some of the other exciting trails Dalby has to offer.

    The route will feature challenging sections of the new World Cup course including Medusa's Drop, Worry Gill and Dixon's Hollow before breaking away from the World Cup course and continuing onto other red and black Dalby trails with a series of testing zigzags up Addersback climb. A long, fast and rocky descent down Dargate Slack will continue to test riders before a steepening technical climb up Tom Milners Grain. The riders will then have to carefully negotiate their way round Peat Head Rigg and rejoin the World Cup course.

    Included in the £32 entry fee is a weekend pass to the event so participants can come back to watch how the pros do it and a goody bag that includes contributions from various event sponsors. Lastly, participants will receive a Dalby Dare T-shirt, exclusive to the event.

    For more information or to register, visit

  • Athertons' Commencal 2010 team launched

    Gee, Rachel and Dan Atherton (Commencal Mountain Bike Team)
    Article published:
    April 08, 2010, 15:59 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Rachel returns to racing after a year off due to injury

    The Atherton siblings, Rachel, Gee and Dan, launched their Commencal team for 2010, with its new look, on Wednesday as they prepare for the gravity racing scene to begin.

    After having to sit out last season due to a shoulder injury sustained in a training accident, 2008 downhill World Champion Rachel Atherton returns to competition. With her form nearing 100 percent, she expects to be in the mix for the overall World Cup title and in medal contention once again at the World Championships in September.

    "I could not be any more excited about the coming season, to be back in the thick of the team, racing, riding and working with the best companies and people out there. Well it's nice to feel so supported at such an important time for me, so thanks guys and thumbs up!" said Rachel.

    Despite qualifying fastest at Andorra, Slovenia and Fort William last season, Gee found himself on the other steps of the podium too often come the finals. He finished the season in fourth place overall and is out to better that this year with an ambitious assault on the downhill overall World Cup title. The World Cup will kick off in full force in Maribor, Slovenia, for the first round in May.

    "With a long off season nearly coming to an end, I'm super excited about getting involved in the race scene again. All three of us thrive off the competitive side of racing and with the calendar stacked with great courses it will doubtless be an awesome year," said Gee.

    Eldest sibling Dan has undertaken a tough winter training schedule, with more emphasis on his speciality, four cross. Working on his weaknesses from 2009, Dan is ready to unleash these improvements on the World Cup series.

    With the bond between the family and Commencal growing stronger over time, the siblings have become more involved with their sponsors, allowing greater potential in areas such as product development. The Andorran brand Commencal has projects lined up perfect for the...

  • Racing returns to Santa Ynez

    A racer in the Super D at Santa Ynez
    Article published:
    April 08, 2010, 21:12 BST
    Cycling News

    Taberlay, Sawicki, Morka expected for California race

    The fourth round of the Kenda Cup West Series rolls into Santa Ynez Valley this weekend, April 10-11. Nestled just north of the Danish town of Solvang, the Santa Ynez Valley venue has hosted several national-level events over the years, and this will be the second year that the Kenda Cup West Series returns.

    Additionally, this weekend's race will also serve as the second round of the West Regional Triple Crown for pro riders. The west coast-based regional Triple Crown format is being run as a beta test for possible implementation across the country for 2011, with the three disciplines factored into the series format. The goal is to target more regional and local pros by offering good payout, with stronger competition in their respective region.

    The Santa Ynez cross course is a 9.1-mile loop and offers riders nearly 1,200 feet of climbing per lap. The course is deceivingly hard, with short, steep climbs and fast, sinewy descents. A mixture of doubletrack, singletrack and fire roads, set against green rolling hills and vineyards, makes the venue a favorite among racers. Recent rains have left the cross country course tacky and in good condition for Saturday and Sunday's events.

    Current Kenda Cup West Series men's leader Sid Taberlay (Sho-Air/Specialized) is slated to attend, while the women's series leader is Pua Sawicki, fresh off a podium at the Fontana City National two weeks ago, looks to make it a go for the weekend. Trek/Canada's Adam Morka is also making the trip this weekend to compete, as well as the southwest top local and regional pro competitors.

    Saturday's schedule will start off with junior racing at noon, followed by the men's and women's cross country events. On Sunday, Cat. 1 racers will open the cross country action, followed by Cat. 2/3 racers. The pros will return later in the afternoon for a short track, and the Super D will wrap things up later in the day.