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MTB news & racing round-up for April 15, 2009

Date published:
April 15, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Cycle Epic registration open

    Article published:
    April 15, 2009, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Registration for one of Australia's most popular amateur mountain bike events, the Flight Centre...

    Registration for one of Australia's most popular amateur mountain bike events, the Flight Centre Cycle Epic, is now open. The seventh edition of the mountain bike marathon will be held over the weekend of August 22-23, with a number of distance and category options. Past contenders include current national champion and Olympian Chris Jongewaard, winner of the 2008 event.

    Held each year in the Lockyer Valley west of Brisbane, the Epic option travels a 100km course along the Bicentennial National Trail traversing the four valleys, following historic Ma Ma Creek and crossing Laidley and Edwards Gaps to finish at Old Hidden Vale.

    Besides the main 100km Epic Classic, there are four other events including a short, off-road race for children. Event Director Peter Creagh, of Tailwind Promotions, said the popularity of the event in recent years shows no signs of slowing down. "We already received 100 entries on the very first day first day, and if previous years are any indicator, registration will fill even faster than last year's event," he said.

    Flight Centre has partnered with Australian manufacturer Netti to supply the first 1,000 entrants in the 50km Pursuit and 100km Epic Classic events with a free Flight Centre Cycle Epic jersey. 1,500 entrants are expected.

    This year's Cycle Epic events including the following:
    August 22: The Merida Chaser 20km
    August 22-23: The Peppers Mega Epic also adds in a a 50km enduro conducted on the Old Hidden Vale property
    August 23: Flight Centre Cycle Epic 100km Classic marathon
    August 23: The Merida Pursuit 50km
    August 23: The Colour Chiefs Mini and Minor Epics, 7km and 12km (ideal for kids)

    For more information, visit www.cycleepic.com.au.

  • Titletown Flyers team kicks off first season

    Article published:
    April 15, 2009, 0:00 BST
    By:
    BikeRadar

    After riding under the names of a few different shops over the past 12 seasons, the Titletown Flyers...

    After riding under the names of a few different shops over the past 12 seasons, the Titletown Flyers of Green Bay, Wisconsin, are set to hit the dirt with a new look and much larger roster. Just under 60 cyclists will wear the Flyers' primarily black kit, with white and green trim, as the 2009 season begins locally in less than one month.

    "We have every class covered, from the citizen thru the elite races. Expect to see a lot of Titletown Flyers jerseys on the race courses throughout the Midwest. We're a big team that continues to grow," said Team Manager/Racer Shawn Hauser.

    Seth Lenss and Dallas Fowler, consistent top-ten performers in the Wisconsin Off Road Series (WORS) will toe the line for the Flyers in the elite and category one races.

    "It was really key to get the both of them on the team, they are great riders with great family and team support behind them," said Hauser, who predicted, "It will be nice to have the Flyers jersey running up in the front of the main event each weekend."

    The team started with the idea of bringing together 15 to 20 riders to form a small team, but the team soon grew to a bigger size than expected. "Everyone on the team gets along and loves to hang out. It's a great group of people that drive me to manage the team and do what needs to be done to make everyone's season a success," said Hauser.

    The Flyers will race predominantly in the Wisconsin Off-Road Series and other Midwest races. For more information on the team, visit www.titletownflyers.blogspot.com.

  • Hermida ends World Cup drought

    Spanish rider José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Multivan Merida Biking Team)
    Article published:
    April 15, 2009, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Top Spaniard beats world champ and local fave

    By Rob Jones and Sue George

    Spain's José Hermida (Multivan Merida Biking Team) took the season opener and his fourth World Cup cross country victory ahead of Julian Absalon (Orbea), while local favourite Burry Stander (Specialized Factory Racing) was third. Hermida was the obvious strongman in the 32.9 km, seven-lap race, and came out of the blocks with an explosive 16-minute first lap, never easing up his pace.

    "Two years without a World Cup win is a long time," said Hermida on the team's website, "but now I'm back in business, and that sure feels good."

    During the race, the experienced Hermida, who has stood on a World Cup podium 20 times thus far, repeatedly increased the pace until he saw a chance to get away on his own.

    "I could feel my legs were very good, after last week's race on this course," said Hermida. "I think I made a very good plan with my training to prepare for this race, and came here more rested than some of the other riders. For me this is a fantastic result, it is only my fourth World Cup victory in 12 years! I will try now to keep the jersey through the next races."

    World Champion Christoph Sauser (Specialized Factory Racing) finished fourth while Wolfram Kurschat (Topeak Ergon Racing Team), who won the previous weekend's test event on the same course, finished fifth, his career-best World Cup placing.

    See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the men's cross country World Cup in South Africa.

    Aussie 24-hour solo championship comes down to the wire

    By Dan McKay in Canberra

    With current 24 hours of Adrenaline World Championships runner-up Jason English (BMC) and Katrin Van Der Spiegel (Clarence St Cyclery) present to race a strong field, the 24-hour Australian national solo championships were set for some fireworks this past weekend.

    2008 Scott 24-hour...

  • Osl surprises in South Africa

    Elisabeth Osl (Central Ghost Pro Team)
    Article published:
    April 15, 2009, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Rob Jones and Sue George

    An incredulous Elisabeth Osl couldn't believe her own performance in South Africa last weekend when...

    An incredulous Elisabeth Osl couldn't believe her own performance in South Africa last weekend when she won her first cross country UCI World Cup at age 23. Osl had a break-out race in which she defeated more established and older champions like former World Champion Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon) in second and Norwegian Lene Byberg (Specialized Factory Racing) in third.

    "Is this really true? I cannot believe it," said an emotional Osl, with tears in her eyes and a faltering voice. "I knew that I'm in good shape, but I never would have thought in my life that I could win here."

    "I believed she had a top five in her," said team manager Ralf Schäuble of his Austrian rider. "Though if you're at the front, a good day can happen."

    "Normally, I have problems with the start, but suddenly I was in the lead," said Osl, who had a 20-second gap on lap one. "Then I just rode my own pace and no one else was there.

    After a frustrating race the UCI World Cup cross country opener in South Africa, Olympic champion and Osl's teammate Sabine Spitz was working to keep her own spirits up. She finished 11th place after suffering stomach problems throughout the race and while still recovering from recent respiratory infections.

    The Central Ghost racer had been riding in seventh place, but on the final lap, she dropped four more places.

    "I am very disappointed, because I'm obviously not come here to be eleventh. That was my worst race since I started doing the World Cup," said the German Spitz.

    "But I will not put my head in the sand. The season is long, and I am looking forward. I am sure that in Offenburg, I will be better off."

    The Offenburg World Cup will be run in Germany the final weekend of April.

    See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the women's cross country World Cup in South Africa.

  • A perfect birthday for Moseley

    Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing)
    Article published:
    April 15, 2009, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Rob Jones in Pietermaritzburg

    By Rob Jones in Pietermaritzburg Great Britain's Tracy Moseley (Trek World Team) took the women's...

    By Rob Jones in Pietermaritzburg

    Great Britain's Tracy Moseley (Trek World Team) took the women's downhill title at the opening round of the downhill UCI World Cup in South Africa last weekend, celebrating her 30th birthday in style. Moseley was clearly the rider to beat in the women's field after qualifying first.

    "It was totally wicked," said Moseley. "It was tough up towards the top, really technical. I would've preferred the whole course to be like that, because I thought it would never end - none of us like pedalling, we're downhillers!

    "The length took a bit out of me, but I knew I had to be flat out the whole way," she said. "It's the best 30th birthday present a girl could wish for."

    France's Sabrina Jonnier (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) set the early fast time in the final of 4:28.61, the first rider to go under four and a half minutes. Her time stood up until the second from last rider came down, Emmeline Ragot (Suspension), also of France, who knocked two seconds from Jonnier's time to move into the Hot Seat.

    However Ragot's time in the Hot Seat was brief, as Moseley was far faster at every time check, eventually winning by over six seconds.

    See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the elite women's downhill at the UCI World Cup in South Africa.

  • Minnaar maximises home soil advantage

    Cruz control: Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate)
    Article published:
    April 15, 2009, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Rob Jones in Pietermaritzburg

    By Rob Jones in Pietermaritzburg The opening round of the 2009 Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup...

    By Rob Jones in Pietermaritzburg

    The opening round of the 2009 Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup concluded on Sunday with a storybook ending that couldn't have been scripted any better, as local hero Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) won the downhill in front of family and friends in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

    "It is a huge, huge win for me," said Minnaar, who lives less than a mile from the downhill track. "With my family here, and all the people supporting and cheering for me it was very special to win here. In some ways it was nice that Mick [Hannah] qualified first, because that took a little pressure off. My run was very good, quite clean, with only little mistakes. I'm very happy that I was able to get this win and keep the [World Cup] leader's jersey."

    The three-kilometre course favoured fitness as much as technical prowess, with long sections of pedalling interspersed with sharp drop-offs and jumps. Spectators came out in droves to cheer on Minnaar, pushing total attendance beyond 16,000, which far exceeded organizer's expectations.

    The men's race was expected to be a real battle, and that is what happened. In qualifying, the top 10 riders went under four minutes, but in the final there were 28 who cracked that barrier.

    When it was Minnaar's turn to race, he rode so smoothly he appeared almost effortless. He sailed over the jumps and pedaled furiously through the flatter sections. The noise from the partisan crowd was almost deafening, and when Minnaar crossed the finish line, knocking almost six seconds off his teammate Steve Peat's time, the cheers could be heard back up to the start line.

    However there was still one rider to go - top qualifier Australian Mick Hannah (GT Bicycles). The spectators were quiet as Hannah came past, respectful of his skill, but quietly hoping for a South African victory. Their hopes were answered when Hannah posted a time of 3:45.69 - fast enough for second, but...