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MTB news & racing round-up for December 23, 2006

Date published:
December 23, 2006, 0:00 GMT
  • Gehbauer joins Multivan Merida Team

    Article published:
    December 23, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    The Multivan Merida Biking Team has signed Austrian Robert Gehbauer, who won the junior world...

    The Multivan Merida Biking Team has signed Austrian Robert Gehbauer, who won the junior world championships in Livigno in 2005 and then went on the secure both the world and European junior championship titles in the sport of winter triathlon.

    Gehbauer joins other the rest of the team, which remains unchanged from last year: Cyclingnews' diarist Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa, Nina Göhl, Ralph Näf, José Hermida, and Moritz Milatz. The team will meet at its first training camp in Mallorca in February.

    "I’m greatly looking forward to this fantastic opportunity," said the 19-year-old Gehbauer. "In years to come, I want to learn as much as possible from these top athletes. And if possible I’d like to follow them in their footsteps of course." Team manager Andreas Rottler hopes Gehbauer will give the team a strong presence in the U23 category.

    The team’s two world champions, Dahle Flesjaa and Näf, are preparing for the upcoming season in South Africa, while Hermida is competing in cyclo-cross for the first time. Milatz is currently preparing for upcoming races in Cyprus, and Göhl is training and studying at home in Freiburg, Germany.

  • Team G Cross Honda announces team

    Pushing hard at Angelfire
    Article published:
    December 23, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team G Cross Honda will return in 2007 with riders Greg Minnaar (Republic of South Africa), Matti...

    Team G Cross Honda will return in 2007 with riders Greg Minnaar (Republic of South Africa), Matti Lehikoinen (Finland), and new addition Brendan Fairclough (Great Britain). All riders will contest the UCI World Cup Downhill and selected Maxxis Cup events, British National Point Series events, Crankworx, and the Lisbon Downtown.

    Minnaar, 25-years-old, joined the squad in 2004 and begins his fourth season. He would like to win worlds and take back the world cup overall title he won in 2005.

    Lehikoinen, 22-years-old had a successful 2006 by winning the world cup of Brazil and the Red Bull Empire race in Peru and by finishing sixth in the world cup overall. In his third season on the team, he targets a top five World Cup overall finish and a few trips to the podium in individual world cup races.

    Fairclough, 18-years-old, won the inaugural Junior World Cup Downhill overall in 2006. In addition to his two World Cup podiums as a junior, Brendan impressed the team with his all-around approach to racing.

    Martin Whiteley, Team Director, will serve as team director and lead the squad to their first 2007 appearance at the Maxxis Cup in Gouveia in Portugal on March 18th; however Minnaar will not start his season until April at the opening round of the British National Points Series.

  • Highland Fling to serve as 2007 Australian marathon championships

    Article published:
    December 23, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Organizers of the VAUDE Highland Fling announced their annual event will serve as the 2007...

    Organizers of the VAUDE Highland Fling announced their annual event will serve as the 2007 Australian mountain bike marathon championships next year on November 11th. The race receives no sanctioning from MTBA and no UCI ranking points although in 2006, the race attracted 1,100 riders to its challenging course across the Southern Highlands of NSW.

    In 2006, the same event announced itself as the Australian mountain bike marathon championships, but controversy ensued, and the MTBA actually award the 2006 title status to another marathon race in Queensland.

  • Two championship events for South America in 2007

    Article published:
    December 23, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Following a successful continental (aka Pan American) mountain bike championships held in Brazil in...

    Following a successful continental (aka Pan American) mountain bike championships held in Brazil in October of 2006, the Villa de la Angostura, in Argentina, will host next year's continental championships in March 2007. In 2006, American Mary McConneloug won the elite women's race while Columbian Hector Leonardo Paez Leon, also the winner of the 2006 La Ruta stage race, took the men's elite race.

    The Latin American championships will happen later in the year: June 29 - July1 in Medellin, Columbia. Look for Paez Leon to make his mark on his home turf.

  • Oregon and Scotland earn top marks on IMBA report card

    Article published:
    December 23, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    According to the eighth edition of the 2006 IMBA report card, Oregon and Scotland are the top places...

    According to the eighth edition of the 2006 IMBA report card, Oregon and Scotland are the top places to mountain bike while Montana and British Columbia need some remediation. The annual report card "gauges the riding opportunities and advocacy strength in the United States, Canadian Provinces and nations with significant IMBA activities." Unlike other report card editions, IMBA no longer assigns letter grades to each state, province, or country.

    Oregon earned the Top Dog award for the US with grade of "A". Besides its well-known trails, Oregon can boast a state-wide recreation trail development plan and strong advocacy clubs like the Columbia Area Mountain Bike Advocates (CAMBA), Central Oregon Trail Alliance (COTA), Oregon Mountain Bike Alliance (ORMBA), and Portland United Mountain Pedalers (PUMP). Two other recent accomplishments include a bike-friendly land management plan for Mount Hood and the establishment of freeriding resources by the Black Rock Mountain Bike Association (BRMBA) working with the Oregon Department of Forestry. Last year, Virginia took top honors among the states.

    Internationally, Scotland was labelled "Global Superstar" with an "A+" grade. Scotland is the first nation to win top honors in two consecutive years, largely do to its efforts to promote the sport in many ways including a nationwide plan for a network of bike parks on Forestry Commission lands. The Scots have it covered from cross-country to downhill riding, and their mountain bike centers are sometimes cited as models of successful adventure tourism.

    Montana was designated the "most endangered" mountain biking place with "C-". Riding opportunities there are now in jeopardy due to a Forest Service proposal to ban bikes from many roadless areas across the state. The forest service is planning to treat bicycle travel like motor vehicle traffic despite the fact bicycles are human...

  • Australian national series Round #3 continues at Threadbo

    Sid Taberlay
    Article published:
    December 23, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    The Australian national cross country and downhill series continued at Threadbo on December 15-16th....

    The Australian national cross country and downhill series continued at Threadbo on December 15-16th.

    Cross country

    Athens Olympian Sid Taberlay led from start to finish and claimed the quickest lap of the day. After six laps and an overall time of 1:47.37, Taberlay took the win in his stride. "I just powered up the hill in the first lap and didn't see anyone after that," Taberlay said.

    Adelaide based Chris Jongewaard had the unluckiest ride of the day after riding five laps in second position before striking trouble. Jongewaard missed a feed on the final lap before suffering a flat tyre that caused him to drop six and a half minutes and finish in ninth place. Jongewaard was passed by the trailing trio of Dylan Cooper, Aiden Lefmann, and team mate Lachlan Norris who finished second, third and fourth respectively. A third place by current series leader, Lefmann maintained his series lead by a slim margin of two points

    European-based rider Kate Potter caused an upset in the Elite Women's category at Thredbo. Potter made the winning move just before the final lap to pass early leader, Tory Thomas. A surge of energy from Potter was too much for the current series leader, Thomas.

    In the early laps Thomas looked like she had the race sewn up until an old injury caused havoc on the climbing sections. The Victorian was told she would never ride again in 2005 when she was serious injured after being struck by a car. Thomas' second place by was enough to maintain the series lead.

    For the complete cross country race report, click here.

    Downhill

    World bronze medallist Nathan Rennie proved he is one of the best mountain bike downhillers in Australia by winning the third round of the National Mountain Bike Series at Thredbo. The reigning national champion qualified third fastest after blistering runs from Canberra's Ben Cory and...

  • Clearing up the confusion: US mountain bike calendars

    Sue Haywood at a 2006 NORBA National event
    Article published:
    December 23, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Although grassroots racing in the US will be organized similarly in 2007, the structure of...

    Although grassroots racing in the US will be organized similarly in 2007, the structure of elite-level mountain bike racing will get a makeover.

    No longer will top racers target the NORBA National Series, as it has been known for years. Instead a new, expanded National Mountain Bike Calendar will replace the old series, which typically consisted of six to eight major races. USA Cycling has announced a partial version of the National Mountain Bike Calendar, but will publicize the complete version soon after the new year begins.

    In the meantime, elite racers can begin some planning. There is significant overlap between the grassroots American Mountain Bike Calendar (AMBC) and the National Mountain Bike Calendar (formal acronym still to be announced). Although somewhat confusing, both series span the entire country, but the AMBC consists of more local events. The National Calendar will include large regional and national events and will be divided into three sections: gravity events like downhill, Super D, and four cross; cross country events; and ultra-endurance events like marathons, 100 milers, and 12-hour and 24-hour races.

    Two key national events are the two UCI Category 2 events happening April 29th in Greenbriar, Maryland, and May 12th in Callaway, Minnesota.

    Lest any confusion remain with the names of mountain bike series, USA Cycling used to own and run a National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS). The name and the series still exist, but Tom Spiegel and Jeff Frost co-own the rights, and in fact, the name now refers to only six events, all of which are expected to be part of the National Mountain Bike Calendar.

    Independently of USA Cycling, Granny Gear Productions hosts its own national series of 24-hour races, and last year an affiliation of 100 mile race promoters formed to run a 100 miler race series; however there has been no official word about...

  • Leadville Trail 100: Landis vs. Armstrong?

    Floyd Landis (Phonak)
    Article published:
    December 23, 2006, 0:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    The 2007 edition of the Leadville Trail 100 may turn out to be a battle of former teammates and Tour...

    The 2007 edition of the Leadville Trail 100 may turn out to be a battle of former teammates and Tour de France winners Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong. Earlier this week, Landis said he would compete in the race after accepting an invitation from race director Ken Chlouber, who spoke with Cyclingnews. Armstrong announced his participation nearly a month ago. The two will battle on August 11th.

    The endurance event will mark Landis' return to mountain biking, the discipline where his cycling career started as a young junior in central Pennsylvania. He later gave up mountain bike racing to embark in a full-time road racing career in 1998.

    Chlouber, who's retired from Colorado's state senate, described the race's locale to Cyclingnews. "Leadville has one stoplight and is a small mining town. Lance Armstrong coming to Leadville will be our greatest visitor since 1878 when President Grant came here. We're equally excited to have Floyd Landis. This is a tough race, these are tough guys, they are coming here to win. It's unbelievable to have two Tour de France winners on our starting line."

    "I started my racing career on a mountain bike in 1993," remembered Landis, who anticipates returning to his roots. "Training for Leadville will be great preparation for a return to the Tour de France. With my successful hip resurfacing and my training load increasing, I'm very much looking forward to racing my bike again." Landis is recovering from hip surgery on September 17th. Leadville will put his new hip joint to the test.

    Landis is without a team for 2007, and his pro racing eligibility remains in question due to ongoing proceedings for a positive doping test from Stage 17 of the Tour de France. If the positive test is upheld, Landis will be suspended from competing in sanctioned races, but Chlouber said Landis will be welcome in...