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MTB news & racing round-up for August 8, 2008

Date published:
August 08, 2008, 1:00 BST
  • Eising to Revor

    Article published:
    August 08, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Sue George in Bromont, Quebec, Canada

    Young mountain bike talent Tijmen Eising has made the leap from the Dolphin-Trek satellite team...

    Young mountain bike talent Tijmen Eising has made the leap from the Dolphin-Trek satellite team Bejan-Dolphin to the newly formed Belgian team of Revor. The up and coming rider will race cyclo-cross with his new team-mate, former world cyclo-cross champion Erwin Vervecken.

  • Fuglsang signs with CSC-Saxo Bank

    Overall winner Jakob Fuglsang (Team Designa Køkken)
    Article published:
    August 08, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Mountain biker Jakob Fuglsang, winner of the Post Danmark Tour, has signed a two-year road contract...

    Mountain biker Jakob Fuglsang, winner of the Post Danmark Tour, has signed a two-year road contract with CSC-Saxo Bank. The 23 year-old Dane was the 2007 U23 world mountain bike champion, and currently rides for Team Designa Kitchen. He will also represent Denmark at the Beijing Olympics.

    "I am very pleased indeed with this new challenge and am very pleased that the contract has fallen into place with Team CSC-Saxo Bank," he said. "There have been several teams inside the picture, but it was here that I wanted to go. I still have much to learn and I think that it is here that I can get the best conditions to be better. First and foremost, I am glad to join the world's best team."

    CSC-Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis added, "I started to keep an eye on him last year when he made a strong showing in the Post Danmark Tour. He has fantastic potential and is a genuine all-round rider who has many different qualities. I think he has a great future ahead of him, and it will be exciting to see him develop with us."

    Fuglsang moved into second place overall on the third stage of the Post Danmark Tour and took over the lead with a strong showing in the fifth stage time trial. He also won the best young rider award. Like Cadel Evans, he joins the ranks of mountain bikers to make the switch to racing for major road teams.

  • Sauser hopeful despite knee injury

    Christoph Sauser (Switzerland) wins
    Article published:
    August 08, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Sue George in Bromont, Quebec, Canada After a few worrisome days, Christoph Sauser's Olympic...

    By Sue George in Bromont, Quebec, Canada

    After a few worrisome days, Christoph Sauser's Olympic dream appears to be back on track. The Swiss mountain biker, who is the current cross country world champion, crashed one day before the cross country World Cup two Saturdays ago in Mont-Sainte-Anne. After a trip to the hospital and five stitches, his knee swelled up, threatening to derail his remaining season objectives.

    "On Tuesday, he got home and he had quite a bad knee infection... to the point where we thought his season was over," said Specialized Factory Team Manager Bobby Behan. "My heart sank when I heard and I think he got a bit worried, too.

    "On Wednesday, his knee was still swollen. He went back to the doctor to get the wound cleaned out again, and the doctor said he could ride for 30 minutes," said Behan. "So he rode the roller and it wasn't great."

    Doctors even warned Sauser that they might have to operate on his knee. By last Friday, however, things were looking up. Sauser did a two-hour ride which went well except for some ego bruising. "Two girls passed him and he wasn't too impressed by that, but he was happy he rode," said Behan, who also reported that as of Saturday, Sauser's knee was only slightly bigger than normal.

    The injury caused Sauser to sit out the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup despite travelling across the Atlantic to attend. He tried getting on his bike the morning of the cross country race, but soon figured out racing was not an option. "I did not watch the race," said Sauser on his blog. "Instead I spent my time in a coffee shop, frustrated, drinking coffee, eating croissants."

    Sauser had never planned to race the Bromont World Cup; instead he has intended to race the L'Hexagonal Tour de France VTT starting Thursday, August 7, in France. Barring any further complications affecting his knee, Sauser still intends to race the French event before heading directly from Paris to the Olympics in...

  • Absalon heads south to prepare for Beijing

    Julien Absalon (Orbea), still clean at the start of the Bromont World Cup
    Article published:
    August 08, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    French National Champion Julien Absalon (Team Orbea) has made up his mind about his final...

    French National Champion Julien Absalon (Team Orbea) has made up his mind about his final preparations for the Olympic mountain bike race coming up on August 23.

    Absalon, who won gold in the cross country mountain bike race at the Olympics in Athens in 2004, will head to the south of France. He will contest the first two stages of L'Hexagonale VTT, August 8 in Vittel and August 11 in Ferté-Gaucher, as well as a road race in La Motte next Sunday according to AFP.

    Absalon told Cyclingnews on Sunday at the UCI World Cup in Bromont that he would decide between staying home in the north of France or heading south. "I think it will be important to train in high temperatures," he had said. "It could be really hot in Beijing."

    Absalon is coming off two confidence-building victories at the World Cups in Mont-Sainte-Anne and Bromont, Quebec, Canada.

  • Buchanan debuts in World Cup big final

    Caroline Buchanan gets 4th.
    Article published:
    August 08, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Sue George in Bromont, Quebec, Canada

    By Sue George in Bromont, Quebec, Canada Australian Caroline Buchanan made it to the 4X big finals...

    By Sue George in Bromont, Quebec, Canada

    Australian Caroline Buchanan made it to the 4X big finals in only her second-ever World Cup appearance in Bromont, Quebec. The 17 year-old finished fourth of four riders. Her first World Cup appearance was last weekend in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec.

    "Last weekend, I got two flats so I was hoping to have a better run this weekend. I managed to do that, so I'm very happy," said a smiling Buchanan just before the awards ceremony. "Today was awesome. It was very different than anything I've ever ridden. To make a final, I'm over the moon."

    Her results bode well for her chances at the next World Cup at the end of August. Conveniently, it will be in her hometown of Canberra, Australia. "I live about five minutes from the track," she said. "It's coming together really well and I think it'll be a really good race."

    Buchanan offered some insight into the 4X racing expected there. "It'll be a little different than the rest of the World Cups. The downhill is not as big and we're not in Europe or any of these other countries. I think it will be really dusty.

    "The 4X track is more similar to a BMX track," added Buchanan. "There are not many jumps and logs and those kinds of things, but I think it'll be really good. [Designer] Glen Jacobs has put a lot of thought into the track."

    Buchanan isn't put off by racing senior and elite women, yet it is not easy for her either. "It's tough, but I come from a BMX background so I normally do race older girls. These (4X) girls are awesome and hopefully in a few years I'll be up there on the top of the podium."

  • Hill returns to top podium step

    Sam Hill (Monster Energy) won
    Article published:
    August 08, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    By Sue George in Bromont, Quebec On a slippery, technical downhill track at the UCI World Cup in...

    By Sue George in Bromont, Quebec

    On a slippery, technical downhill track at the UCI World Cup in Bromont, Quebec, Australian Sam Hill showed he was the man to beat with the best time in qualifying and finals. He backed that up in an exciting final, when as the last man down the hill, he ousted Greg Minnaar from the hot seat.

    "It's been a bit of a dry spell since Maribor," said an elated Hill after his win. "Since winning there, I've been concentrating on trying to keep my points lead [in the UCI World Cup series] instead of trying to focus on winning. I feel like that's kind of why I haven't been riding as good."

    Monster Energy racer Hill won the season's opening World Cup in Maribor, Slovenia, but hasn't been able to make it back to the top of the World Cup podium until Saturday evening. He came close with second place at the Andorra World Cup and finished fifth in Fort William this spring. Then at the World Championships in Italy in June, Hill was on his way to a win with a six-second margin, when he washed out and crashed spectacularly in the final turn, just before the finish. Despite hopping back on his bike to finish, the crash cost him some time and another year in the rainbow-striped jersey; he finished third.

    "After last weekend [at Mont-Sainte-Anne], I came in with the mindset that I just gotta go there and win," he said.

    Hill said the spectators at Bromont were inspirational, too. "The crowd here is just insane. It's huge from the first big drop all the way down. Someone lit off a big firework next to me and people were just going wild."

    The Australian finished ahead of Greg Minnaar and Steve Peat (both Santa Cruz Syndicate). He is looking forward to the next round of the World Cup on home soil in Canberra, Australia, at the end of the month.

    In the women's downhill race, despite several mistakes during her final run, Rachel Atherton (Animal Commencal) defeated Sabrina Jonnier (Team Maxxis) and...

  • Pendrel wins her first World Cup in Bromont

    Catherine Pendrel (Luna Women's MTB Team)
    Article published:
    August 08, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Sue George in Bromont, Quebec

    By Sue George in Bromont, Québec Catherine Pendrel (Luna Women's MTB Team) won her first-ever World...

    By Sue George in Bromont, Québec

    Catherine Pendrel (Luna Women's MTB Team) won her first-ever World Cup in Bromont, Québec on Sunday in extremely muddy and treacherous conditions due to rain the night before and throughout the elite women's race. Finishing in front of friends and family just weeks before the Olympic Games, the win was extra special for the Canadian Pendrel.

    "I woke up this morning and felt really good, so I knew I had to go for it," said Pendrel. "It was muddy but it was lots of fun."

    What was on the minds of most of the top women was preventing injury prior to competing in Beijing, China, this month. Many made references to riding conservatively and having to catch a plane in the next few days. The women raced four laps on a 4.85km course which was shortened by 700m due to the day's conditions.

    Pendrel and her compatriot Marie Helene Premont swapped places from the previous weekend's World Cup in Mont-Sainte-Anne.

    "It was very wet, and I was very careful - especially on the downhills," said Premont. "Before the start, I asked myself if I would race or not. I just want to enjoy myself before the Olympics."

    Premont is now enjoying a two-week a rest at home before the Olympics. "I'm going to Beijing with confidence," she said.

    Behind Premont was Katerina Nash (Luna Women's MTB Team), Lene Byberg (Specialized Factory Racing) and Georgia Gould (Luna MTB Women's Team).

    "I love this kind of challenge - these conditions," said Nash, who ran a few uphills because it was faster than riding. "I tried not to make too many mistakes. It was a great ride for me."

    Byberg and Gould battled between themselves behind Nash. They stayed together for awhile, but then Byberg steadily pulled away.

    "This race was not a priority for me right now," said Gould, with an eye toward the Olympic Games. "I was conservative. I took it easy in the trees. I didn't want to get hurt. I was...