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MTB News & Racing Round-up, February 4, 2010

Date published:
February 04, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup moves to North Island

    Justin Leov (Trek World Racing)
    Article published:
    February 03, 2010, 20:39 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Round four to Tokoroa and Rotorua

    The 2010 New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup will make its move to the North Island this weekend with a round in Rotorua and Tokoroa. The six-event national series in cross country and downhill disciplines has already seen competitors racing at three events in the south island in January - the three North Island cup events in February culminate in the National Championships at the end of the month in Wellington.

    Rotorua will host downhill round four on Friday and Saturday in the popular Whakarewarewa Forest on the edge of town. Competitors enjoy racing in this forest, where the downhill race course epitomises the best features that the many trails in this forest have to offer.

    On Sunday, Tokoroa will return to hosting national-level competition after an absence of several years with cross country round four, at the Cougar Park venue in the middle of town. Cougar Park is well regarded by competitors and is a favourite with the region's mountain bikers. The Tokoroa community is excited to be drawing national-level competitors to the town again in 2010.

    Elite racer and Tokoroa local Mike Northcott has been involved in setting up the multi-lap race course, and with his influence, competitors will be sure to have a tough, but enjoyable time on the Cougar trails.

    Downhill practice will kick off at 9:00 am on Friday, with seeding runs taking place on Saturday at 10:30 am. The cross country races will happen Sunday with the elite racers going at 2:00 pm local time.

  • Merida Flight Centre team goes pink

    The Merida Flight Centre mountain bike team goes pink to raise money to fight breast cancer and benefit the McGrath Foundation.
    Article published:
    February 03, 2010, 23:27 GMT
    Cycling News

    Mountain bike team raises funds for fight against breast cancer

    Australia's Merida Flight Centre mountain bike team has "gone pink" to raise funds for breast cancer charity the McGrath Foundation.

    Merida Flight Centre riders Jodie Willett of Brisbane, South Australian Terri Rhodes, the Gold Coast's Maya Sidhu and Victorians James Peacock and Adrian Jackson will don an all-pink cycling outfit for the Merida 24 hour race at Grandchester, west of Brisbane, in July and at other events during the 2010 season.

    Merida Flight Centre team manager Sean Chung said joining forces with the McGrath Foundation was an ideal partnership for the team.

    "Our team has a strong female rider representation, not to mention all the girlfriends, sisters and mums who are out at the events every weekend supporting our riders," he said.

    "A lot of the events take place in rural areas. Breast cancer affects one in nine women in Australia. Taking this into consideration it's a great cause for our team to get behind.

    "Given the cycling events we are participating in during the 2010 season and the number of riders and spectators at these events, I think there is a great opportunity to raise a significant amount of money."

    The McGrath Foundation was co-founded by former Australian cricketer Glenn McGrath and his wife, Jane, who died from the disease in 2008, to help fund research and increase the number of breast cancer nurses in rural and regional Australia.

    The foundation aims to raise money to place McGrath Breast Care Nurses in rural and regional Australia, while at the same time increasing breast awareness among young Australian women.

    The McGrath Foundation currently has more than 50 nurses are located in areas from Hervey Bay in Queensland to Geraldton in Western Australia.

    Chung said the team was hoping to raise AUS$10,000 for the McGrath Foundation by the end of the year.

    "We have several fundraising activities planned for the team at the events we are attending...

  • Athertons renew partnership with Commencal

    Gee, Dan and Rachel Atherton (Team Commencal)
    Article published:
    February 04, 2010, 14:31 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Siblings aiming for world titles in 2010

    The Atherton siblings and Commencal renewed their partnership for another two years. Former downhill World Champions Rachel and Gee and brother Dan will continue to represent the bike manufacturer under the new team name "Team Commencal".

    "Having worked with Commencal closely over the past three seasons, we were in no doubt that we wanted them to continue supplying our frames after the contract came to a close in 2009," said Atherton Team Manager Dan Brown. "Max and Commencal agreed with our decision and were happy to extend their commitment into the position of title sponsor.

    "The signing of this two-year contract enables us to embark on new and exciting projects which will fuse the Atherton's wealth of riding knowledge together with the great development skills and resources of Commencal. These projects will give Dan, Gee and Rachel everything they need to win on the world stage irrelevant of discipline. The whole team at Atherton Racing is excited to get the season under way and can't wait for the first race under the Team Commencal banner."

    "Today we have reached a new level with the Atherton clan, with their intense passion for riding and huge motivation to win," said Max Commencal.

    "Rachel is almost rabid-like in her determination, Gee is more of a missile then ever, and Dan is going to surprise us once again. Together we have numerous projects planned, on both a sporting and technological level. We're going to enjoy ourselves even more and help move the industry that we love those extra few steps forward".

    The Atherton siblings will be chasing world titles aboard Commencal's "Supreme DH" and "Absolut 4X Ti" bikes.

    The brothers raced throughout the 2010 season, but Rachel had to sit out from racing while recovering after a shoulder injury in a training accident late last winter.  All three are expected to compete again in 2010.

    The team will be officially launched in April.

  • Felt Ötztal X-Bionic World Cup team presented

    The 2010 Felt Ötztal X-Bionic team
    Article published:
    February 04, 2010, 18:00 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Athletes introduced at evening event

    Felt Ötztal X-Bionic presented its World Cup racing team in Ötztal, Austria, in a 90-minute event on Wednesday evening hosted by sports reporter Sven Simon.

    The elite athletes were brought on stage in their full kits and with racing bikes. Anna and Jörg Scheiderbauer were first. The pair fulfills a dual role on the team as they also manage the squad in addition to competing.

    "At the beginning, we want a top five in the World Cup; however, the big goal remains the Olympic Games in London 2012," said Jörg Scheiderbauer of his team's ambitions. "We want send seven to eight athletes to London and win at least one medal."

    Austrian Simon Scheiber and German Manfred Reis are the youngest athletes in the team at 21 and 19. Both are national under 23 champions with excellent prospects.

    German Adelheid Morath and Slovenian Blaza Klemencic already have Olympic experience, which they bring to the team. Morath made the move to the team after years with the Rothaus Cube squad. Both women are hoping to defend their national titles in 2010.

    Frenchwoman Sabrina Enaux and Austrian Karl Markt also bring plenty of experience to the team. Both have achieved high rankings in the World Cup and hope to qualify for the Olympic Games in London 2012.

    Vladi Riha und Carolin Schiff come from a road racing background and are looking for success in mountain bike marathons. The couple from Bremen is looking forward to racing for an international team.

    Australian under 23 champion Paul van der Ploeg joined the presentation remotely by internet phone call. He will be travelling to Europe in April in order to join the team.

    On the staff side, the team will be supported by mechanic Geri Schrempf, the masseur Andreas Berger and personal trainer Robert Pintaric.

    In addition to the elite team, the Felt Ötztal X-Bionic will also support an amateur team of cyclists, runners and triathletes.

  • Women's-only mountain bike race comes to Colorado

    Sarka Ruzickova of Team YetiBeti
    Article published:
    February 04, 2010, 19:43 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Yeti Beti team invites women of all levels to participate

    Lakewood, Colorado, will host what is claimed to be the first women's-only mountain bike race this summer. The Beti Bike Bash will be run by Team Yeti Beti at Bear Creek Park, 15 miles west of Denver on June 12.

    "Chris Conroy, the president of Yeti, pretty much told us to make it happen. We've wanted to do this since we started the team in 2007 but didn't have the resources to do it until now," said Amy Thomas of Team Yeti Beti. "The Beti Bike Bash is something that the team supports 100 percent as a way of giving back to our sport."

    Citing other successful women's-only events in triathlon and running, it seemed logical to the team to host such an event. "Mountain bike races are intimidating for beginner women for several reasons," said Sarah Rawley, Bigfoot Productions public relations.

    Hosted by Yeti Beti host with the support of Yeti Cycles and Bigfoot Productions, the event will offer women several races for all ages and abilities. The five-mile, non-technical, singletrack loop, with views of the surrounding Red Rocks Park, will see beginners, sports, and elites race two, three and four laps respectively. There will also be a three-woman relay fun race for those who want to experience the camaraderie of a mountain bike race with their friends.

    "Steep climbs, rocky descents, high altitude, and often you are gone all day from your family. We wanted to break down those barriers and offer something that any woman who rides would enjoy. With Bear Creek's close proximity to Denver and great trail system, it was a perfect venue for an event like this."

    Colorado has been home to many elite mountain bike women including US cross country and marathon National Champion Heather Irmiger and retired pro and former World Champion Alison Dunlap. During some of her career, former World Champion Juli Furtado lived in Durango.

    For more information, visit

  • 24-hour champion English heads field at JetBlack race

    Solo 24-hour champion Jason English heads field at the JetBlack race.
    Article published:
    February 04, 2010, 21:52 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Top-notch competition set for weekend's 24-hour Sydney race

    Current 24-hour solo mountain bike World Champion, Jason English, is heading up the field competing this weekend at the Jet Black 24-hour race near Sydney, Australia.

    The race, held at the Del Rio Resort at Wiseman's Ferry just north of Sydney, is a qualifying event for the 2010 24-hour solo World Championships to be held in Australia in October. English has already qualified, but will be using the race to keep track of his form.

    "I am planning to do several qualifying races like this one, so I can practice and get different strategies on different tracks," said English.

    The 29-year-old school teacher is the defending champion of this event and now has the added pressure of being a World Champion, but English is hoping a new sponsorship deal with JetBlack Cycling will make things a little easier.

    "It is the closest race (to home) for me, and I can't wait to try out my new Pivot bikes. We require two bikes to perform well, so I will be racing on two new 'high end' bikes."

    English sees this event as the perfect testing ground and already has a race plan. "I'll need to get used to the bike and use the heart rate monitor to make sure I'm not going too hard too early," he said.

    Young David Ludenia, who finished second last year, will challenge English along with Crocodile Trophy veteran Shane Taylor. Queenslanders Andy Fellows, who was third a the 24-hour solo World Championships and Sam Bekkers, winner of the 25-29 age group at that same World Championships, will also be competing.

    The JetBlack 24-hours of Sydney race is in its second year. Over 450 racers from New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, Queensland and the ACT have registered.

    The top 50 percent of all elite male and female finishers will obtain an automatic qualification to the upcoming World Championships.

    The race will kick off on the 9.3km circuit at noon on Saturday, February 6. Event organizers are confident that the...