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MTB News & Racing Round-up, August 26, 2009

Date published:
August 26, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Italian road riders get dirty at marathon worlds

    Mirko Pirazzoli (Italy) heads downhill on his way to 27th.
    Article published:
    August 24, 2009, 6:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Cioni's showing good enough for a full-time MTB ride

    Italy's representation at last weekend's mountain bike marathon world championships in Austria included three very experienced road professionals, the trio of tarmac kids performing admirably in the 104km elite men's event. It was also a case of 'Back to the Future' for one of the three, Dario David Cioni.

    Cioni, Mirko Celestino and Gilberto Simoni finished seventh, 15th and 31st respectively in what was a solid showing from the Italians. Full-time mountain bikers Massimo De Bertolis, Mirko Pirazzoli, Johann Pallhuber, Rafael Visinelli and Mike Felderer finished 12th, 27th, 30th, 37th and 43rd respectively to ensure that Italy's contingent all finished within the top 50.

    Celestino, who was a professional on the road for the likes of Polti, Saeco and Milram during the past two decades, now dedicates all of his cycling efforts to mountain biking. Two-time Giro d'Italia champion and Serramenti PVC-Diquigiovanni Androni rider Simoni has been a fan of marathon MTB events for some time and has increased his involvement in the off-road scene over the past three seasons.

    Cioni, who has ridden for teams such as Mapei-QuickStep, Fassa Bortolo, Liquigas and Silence-Lotto, now rides for ISD Neri on the road. He was the best-placed of the Italian crew in Austria, his top 10 a possible catalyst for a switch to permanent MTB competition.

    He's no stranger to mountain biking however, having ridden for the Mapei-Kona MTB outfit in 1997. With notable performances a little 'thin on the road' in recent times, a switch back to the off-road discipline could be the English-born Italian's calling over the next few years.

  • Cyprus Sunshine Cup compresses schedule for 2010

    Elite women racing at the 2009 Cyprus Sunshine Cup in Amathous
    Article published:
    August 25, 2009, 15:00 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Three races planned for two weeks

    Organizers of the Cyprus Sunshine Cup have fixed the dates for its 2010 events. The well-known, early season races on the island of Cyprus traditionally give racers from nothern climates a chance to race their way into spring shape.

    Next year's series will be more compact - covering two weeks and three weekends from February 21 to March 7. That should mean that more racers will be able to compete for the overall classification, including 29,000 euros in prize money.

    Voroklini, which served as the final in 2009, will kick off the Sunshine Cup in February of 2010. Next will be the Afxentia stage race in the Macheras forest from February 26-28. The series will conclude at Amathous, among ancient Mediterranean ruins, on March 7.

    All three events will be UCI-registered for both elite riders and junior riders.

    Amateur racers may compete in the new Aphrodite Trophy a few weeks later. It will include the established mountain bike marathon race - a previous round of the Sunshine Cup - between Tochni and Kalavasos on March 21. The day before, racers can also participate in a run over distances of two, five and 15 kilometres. ,

    2010 Cyprus Sunshine Cup
    February 21: Voroklini (cross country, UCI Cat. 1)
    February 26-28: Afxentia Macheras Mountains (stage race, cat. 1)
    March 7: Amathous-Agios-Tychon (cross country, UCI Cat. 1)

    Aphrodite Trophy 2010
    March 20: Tochni Mountain Run
    March 21: Tochni Mountain Bike Marathon

  • Apply now for IMBA/CLIF trail preservation grants

    A TransWales rider during a linking stage.
    Article published:
    August 25, 2009, 16:00 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Ten awards will support local projects

    IMBA and CLIF Bar are currently accepting applications for the IMBA/CLIF Bar Trail Preservation Grants. These grants support projects that preserve and enhance trail access, promote environmental education and inspire conservation in the mountain bicycling community.

    Ten US$500 grants will be awarded to IMBA-affiliated clubs that meet the project criteria. The application deadline is September 1, 2009.

    "Small grants like this are often the catalyst that can spark a much larger project and fundraising effort. The CLIF Bar program has inspired dozens of sustainably designed trails all over the country," said IMBA Development Director, Rich Cook.

    For more information or to apply, visit

  • 24 hours of Targhee happening this weekend

    Night time racing at the 24 hours of Grand Targhee
    Article published:
    August 26, 2009, 0:11 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Tetons hosting endurance event

    Cradled in the heart of the Tetons in Wyoming, The 24 hours of Grand Targhee will return for another edition this weekend, August 29-30. The race will utilize the famed Rick's Basin singletrack and new singletrack from this year's Pierre's Hole 50/100, making a slightly longer course of 7.3 miles and 800 feet of climbing per lap.

    Athletes are registered from Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, Utah and Colorado. Racing starts at noon on Saturday and each solo and two-person team division winner will take home US$1,000 in cash.

    For more information, visit

  • Jongewaard guilty of hit-and-run

    Defending national champion Chris Jongewaard rides consistently
    Article published:
    August 26, 2009, 2:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Australian champion to be sentenced next month

    Australian cross country mountain biker Chris Jongewaard will be sentenced next month after being found guilty of criminal driving offences. Jongewaard left Matthew Rex, a fellow cyclist and former training partner, with serious injuries after the February 2007 accident.

    The verdict was handed down in the South Australian District Court today, with just Wayne Chivell finding Jongewaard guilty of aggravated driving without due care and leaving the scene of an accident. Jongewaard was found not guilty of causing serious harm by dangerous driving, the original charge which the four time national champion pled not guilty to.

    Jongewaard and Rex had been out celebrating the latter’s 22nd birthday with a group of friends on the night of the accident. The court was told Jongewaard had been speeding and drink-driving when he hit Rex, who was cycling at the time.

    Chivell said the reckless and dangerous way in which Rex was riding was a substantial cause of the accident, but it did not relieve Jongewaard of his responsibility for causing the injuries. Rex had also been drinking prior to the accident, with witnesses also telling the court earlier in the trial they believed Rex had taken drugs earlier that evening.

    Rex was left with a broken back, broken hip, fractured leg, punctured lung, severed arteries and internal bleeding following the accident. Jongewaard was omitted from Australia’s Beijing Olympic Games squad after being charged over the incident.

    Jongewaard will be sentenced on September 7.

  • US Pro Gravity Tour set for finals in New York

    A rider at the Whiteface Mountain Bike Park
    Article published:
    August 26, 2009, 4:40 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Event doubles as a stop in the Gravity East downhill and dual slalom series

    This weekend's Whiteface 5K, on August 29-30, doubles as the next race on the Gravity East calendar and the final race on the inaugural US Pro Gravity (ProGRT) Tour. The race is happening at Whiteface Mountain, home to the 1980 Winter Olympic Games near Lake Placid, New York.

    "We've built the gnarliest course we could - Hard and technical. But we also have two speed sections where the riders have been topping out at nearly 50mph, that's the speed the Tour de France guys come down a mountain on a smooth paved road," said organizer Mike Scheur.

    "But even with the speed sections, only eight guys finished in less than eight minutes last year. A lot of racers think we must have a lot of climbing to make a course this long, but they're wrong. And to prove it, we have a chainless race at the end of the day."

    With only the Whiteface 5K to run, Darian Harvey (Cannondale) has established an unassailable lead in the inaugural ProGRT women's downhill standings. And, while the women's title has been decided, Rachel Bauer leads an eight-rider battle for the runner-up spot. In the men's race, no fewer than 13 competitors are still in contention for the downhill title. Chris Heath (Manitou-Hayes) is the current leader, but anything can happen in a season when no rider has won more than one race.

    The race offers the largest purse in the Gravity East series, with US$2,000 going for the win. The event also includes a Gravity East dual slalom series race. For more information, visit