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MTB News & Racing Round-up, August 8, 2009

Date published:
August 08, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Brentjens to contest Australia’s Crocodile Trophy

    Brentjens at the 2004 Olympics
    Article published:
    August 06, 2009, 5:47 BST
    Cycling News

    World, Olympic champion to tackle tough Aussie race

    Former World and Olympic mountain biking champion Bart Brentjens will return to Australia’s far north in 2009 to contest one of the discipline’s most grueling stage races – the Crocodile Trophy. The October event will start in Cairns, where Brentjens first broke through for a World Cup Series victory in 1994.

    “In the sport of mountain biking, I can think of no greater ambassador and we will be truly honoured to welcome Bart Brentjens to the Crocodile Trophy,” said race director Gerhard Schoenbacher. “Having watched Bart race recently, I expect he will be among the leading contenders for the general classification.

    “He continues to be a dominant force at Marathon World Cup level and, based upon our discussions, he is taking the Crocodile Trophy very seriously,” added Schoenbacher.

    Brentjens went on to win the World Cup series in 1994, adding a World Championship in 1995 and a Olympic Games gold medal in Atlanta the following year.

    The opening stage from Cairns to Lake Tinaroo will feature more than 2000 metres of climbing and the super-steep rainforest trails are sure to bring back memories of Cairns infamous ‘Red Ringer’, where Brentjens and then Australian teenager Cadel Evans both shot to fame in 1994.

    “To host a mountain biker of Bart Brentjens’ stature is a significant boost for the event,” said race media manager John Flynn. “We’re talking about a guy who learned his trade racing against the greats ... Thomas, Tomac, Tinker and Ned.”

    The 2009 Crocodile Trophy will commence in Cairns on October 20 and run through to its traditional finish destination at Cape Tribulation on October 29.

  • World Cup winners head to Mount Snow

    Todd Wells (Specialized) winning the Colorado Springs Short Track race
    Article published:
    August 06, 2009, 6:39 BST
    Dave McElwaine

    Big stars head to US from Canada

    One of America’s most storied mountain biking venues, Mount Snow, will host the fifth US Cup ProXCT Series round this weekend. This year a strong mix of international riders, particularly from Canada, will bump the level of competition up a few notches.

    Racers will compete this weekend in five disciplines: cross country, short track, super D, dual slalom and downhill. All of the best North American cross country riders are expected to attend, but some of the gravity riders will be competing in the Crankworx races at Whistler Mountain in British Columbia.

    Mount Snow is classic east coast racing, and also the host of the past two US National Championships. The trails feature lots of roots, rocks and generally mud is a major factor. While at a much lower elevation than the Rocky Mountain races that the riders have attended this year, the trails can be steeper and the cumulative climbing just as high.

    Women’s cross country

    The women’s cross country race is going to be an absolute throw-down. Seven women who finished in the top 12 last weekend at the Bromont World Cup in Quebec, Canada will be on the front row. Realistically any of them can pull off a win this weekend but a lot will depend on the race conditions and who is having the best day on the bike.

    Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven-No Tubes) has won here three years in a row, including two national championships. She excels on steep climbs in sloppy conditions and is currently the top United States of America rider on the International Cycling Union’s ranking.

    Catherine Pendrel (Luna Women’s MTB Team) won the World Cup race at Mont-Sainte Anne and is ranked second on the women’s international standings. If Pendrel can bring her World Cup form and skills to Mount Snow, there is nobody in the field who can beat her. She currently leads teammate Georgia Gould in the ProXCT series by only five points. Gould lost last...

  • TransRockies goes long over seven days

    A birdseye view of the Northern Rockies during the TransRockies
    Article published:
    August 08, 2009, 19:31 BST
    Cycling News

    Short option gives solo racers a challenge

    On Sunday, August 9, 450 riders from 22 countries were set to kick off racing the 2009 TransRockies at the start line in Panorama Mountain Resort high in the mountains of British Columbia. The eighth edition of the mountain bike stage race features seven stages including six point-to-point rides along the spine of the Rockies and a time trial.

    When they roll across the finish line in Fernie the following Saturday, they will have earned their finishers' medals with 532km of riding and over 14,000 metres of climbing.

    This year's route is similar to last year with a number of modifications to improve the riding and to keep the route fresh for repeat competitors. Long stages, unpredictable mountain weather, deep rivers to be forded and majestic mountain vistas are the mainstays of the TransRockies, which crosses the Continental Divide.

    It will be the second year for a time trial stage, but the first year that organizers offer a three day solo TR3 category to the event. The new, shorter event is in response to popular demand from riders who've been asking for a solo category for years. It takes place simultaneously with the first three days of the TransRockies and is intended to be both a stepping stone for riders building toward the full seven-day race and as an epic alternative for vets and elite riders.

    By maintaining the integrity of the team format for the seven-day race, the TransRockies stays true to the original vision of a race.

    Despite the world economy and the difficulties which have caused the cancellation or modification of many events, the TransRockies is moving forward with 450 riders from over 20 countries scheduled to participate. They'll spend each night in a travelling village of tents and RVs set up by the organizers, where they are fed and supported by dozens of staff and volunteers who do everything from cooking, to setting up tents, to fixing bikes.

    Most of the riders who roll up to the start...

  • Armstrong wins in Snowmass

    Lance Armstrong at the 12-hours of Snowmass in 2008
    Article published:
    August 08, 2009, 21:44 BST
    Cycling News

    Texan takes Colorado cross country race

    Lance Armstrong showed his versatility by taking the victory in the professional men's cross country race at Colorado's "Blast the Mass" mountain bike race in Snowmass, Colorado on Saturday. He won by more than three minutes over local mountain bike pro Joe Henry.

    Armstrong is no stranger to the dirt, having made his comeback to competitive cycling last summer in the Leadville Trail 100. The regional off-road pros hoped to have advantage on the technical 23-mile course that featured 4700 feet of climbing, but were no match for the seven-time Tour de France champion.

    "Believe it or not, Lance is actually great on his mountain bike, even on a technical course," said Henry, the Mountain States Cup series leader, before the event.

    "Assuming he has good fitness after coming off of the Tour, he's do just fine. I think, however, being the State Championships, the Colorado guys have got to pick it up a bit and certainly not let a Texan beat them."

    Armstrong's attendance at the regional mountain bike events have given them a big boost in importance.

    "It's great when he comes out and attends these races. It brings attentions and a lot more respect. He doesn't walk away with victory, he is battling for it. It proves the legitamacy of mountain biking," said Henry.