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MTB news & racing round-up for September 18, 2008

Date published:
September 18, 2008, 1:00 BST
  • Van Houts injured

    Article published:
    September 18, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    James Huang in Snowmass, Colorado

    Dolphin-Trek rider Rudi van Houts got some bad news after finishing the final round of the World Cup...

    Dolphin-Trek rider Rudi van Houts got some bad news after finishing the final round of the World Cup in Schladming. He managed to finish the race despite a crash that injured his knee during the race.

    After finishing in 23rd place, he was transported to the hospital after finishing the race in 23rd place. Upon examination, he was sent straight to surgery to repair the damage.

    Van Houts' injury follows a string of others to his teammates. Chris Jongewaard fractured his upper left arm in a crash at the Canberra World Cup, and Bart Brentjens recently underwent surgery for his broken wrist. Jongewaard is taking a few weeks off and Brentjens will return to competition at the Hondsrugclassic and his own Bart Brentjens Challenge on October 5 and 12.

  • Page speeds to victory on new bike at Chequamegon

    Jonathan Page won
    Article published:
    September 18, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    James Huang in Snowmass, Colorado

    For Jonathon Page (Ridley/Planet Bike), the 2008 Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival was only the second...

    For Jonathon Page (Ridley/Planet Bike), the 2008 Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival was only the second ride on his new mountain bike, but he made the most of it. The 2007 world championship cyclo-cross silver medalist bridged across to Jeff Hall (Salsa) with eight miles to go and then powered away from Hall on the last climb to win the Chequamegon 40 by eight seconds. T.J. Woodruff (BMC) rolled in 40 seconds behind Page for third place.

    Hall, the 1995 Chequamegon champion, attacked alone about halfway through the race, just before Martel's Pothole, and managed to pull away. "It knew it got skinny in there, more like a mountain bike race," he said. "It was muddy so that helped too." With thirteen miles to go, Hall had built his lead to 45 seconds over a chase group of a dozen riders. By the time he cleared the Seeley Firetower Climb, he'd increased his lead to one minute.

    Woodruff led an eleven-man chase group up and over the Firetower Climb, sensing that Hall was slipping away. The group more or less stayed intact until Page launched his attack on the relentless climbs of the Birkebeiner Ski Trail and quickly bridged up to Hall. "I knew it (the course) got harder," Page said, after waiting until the closing miles of the race to make his move. Page had ridden the last miles of the course the night before, his first ride on his Ridley mountain bike, and knew those hills were coming. "He (Hall) was very strong. I just capitalized on the situation."

    Hall, who had been alone at the front for nearly 15 miles, managed to stay with Page until the last climb up Telemark Hill, a mile from the finish. "I felt pretty good just to stay with him," Hall, who was only riding his second race of the year, said. "He just had a little more at the end."

    Davison defeats Zander for women's win

    In the women's race, Lea Davison (Trek/VW) moved up from her third place finish last year, beating by...

  • Armstrong & Team Livestrong wins Snowmass

    Lance Armstrong and his team dominated today.
    Article published:
    September 18, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    James Huang in Snowmass, Colorado

    By James Huang in Snowmass, Colorado Lance Armstrong, Max Taam and Len Zanni, riding as Team...

    By James Huang in Snowmass, Colorado

    Lance Armstrong, Max Taam and Len Zanni, riding as Team Livestrong, won the 12 Hours of Snowmass last Sunday, beating endurance racing juggernauts Dave Wiens, Mike Kloser and Jay Henry of Team Beaver Creek for the men's team title.

    The 12 Hours of Snowmass was the next stop for Lance Armstrong's return to competitive cycling, over an unusual 12-hour race format that included no nighttime riding; the gun went off just after dawn at 7:00 am and competition wrapped up by 7:00 pm.

    Race organizer Nat Ross couldn't have wished for better conditions. The morning brought crystal clear skies, a near-ideal forecast of 15°C (58°F) and the clean air and stunning views offered by the course's near-3,000m (10,000ft) high point. Not that any of the contenders had time to notice, though.

    The course was just 11km (7miles) long but included over 450m (1500ft) of climbing, nearly all of which was in the first 5km (3miles). Even then, racers were afforded little respite on the technical middle third before bombing back down to the start/finish area.

    Armstrong led off his team and looked comfortable in fourth position after the first major pitch. But Beaver Creek's Jay Henry was the first to the hand-off area, logging the day's fastest lap at just 38:57.

    Though Armstrong is best known for his exploits on the road, he quickly showed that he was no slouch on the mountain bike either, finishing less than a minute back at 39:44.

    "I think [our teams] match up pretty well," said Henry shortly after handing off to Kloser. "I know those guys pretty well and Lance was… I mean, at times I thought I'd dropped him and then I looked back and he was right there. I think he's ready to battle a little bit for sure and he did great on the technical stuff. I was riding it really aggressively and he kept the gap. He can ride a mountain bike, that’s for sure. It's awesome having him here."...

  • World Cup 4X final marred by protest

    Anneke Beerten was crowned women's 4X World Cup champion.
    Article published:
    September 18, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Luke Webber in Schladming

    By Luke Webber in Schladming Under heavy rains and in the most bizarre circumstances, the four cross...

    By Luke Webber in Schladming

    Under heavy rains and in the most bizarre circumstances, the four cross World Cup Finals will not be remembered for close racing or a battle to the final, but rather for Roger Rinderknecht's protests.

    In the semi-finals, Rinderknecht claimed Romain Saladini (Team Sunn) cut a flag and was not penalised - dumping the Swiss rider from the finals. What followed was an official protest and then an unofficial one, which consisted of Rinderknecht walking up the start straight and refusing to let the final start.

    After 15 minutes, the decision was finally taken that the original result would stand and Rinderknecht was to ride in the small final only - a race he ran away with, crossing the line with his hands over his eyes, still clearly angry about a decision which cost him a shot at the win.

    More controversially, it was Saladini who went on to win the final in a thrilling race. Within the first 50 meters Jakub Hindak and Joost Wichman (Cannondale Factory Racing) collided, leaving Dan Atherton (Animcal Commencal) to pass Saladini on the first corner. The Frenchman Saladini, however, had in mind Atherton's weakness - a longer sweeping bend halfway down the track, on which Atherton had been struggling all night. Saladini made his move here and despite a desperate attempt on the lower reaches of the course, Atherton could not overtake him for the win.

    The battle for the overall World Cup series was decided earlier in the evening. World Champion Rafa Alvarez exited the rounds in the quarter finals, but he still captured the World Cup series title.

    In the women's race, Czech's Romana Loubounkova rode safely to secure the win ahead of favorite Anneke Beerten (MS Intense Factory Racing), but it was Dutchwoman Beerten who claimed the overall World Cup title, ending her season on a high note. Beerten's achievement capped off a a season-long campaign of wearing the leader's jersey, which she assumed in...

  • Blenkinsop makes history

    Sam Blenkinsop was on the edge all day and loving it.
    Article published:
    September 18, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Luke Webber in Schladming

    By Luke Webber in Schladming Sam Blenkinsop made history by recording New Zealand's first ever World...

    By Luke Webber in Schladming

    Sam Blenkinsop made history by recording New Zealand's first ever World Cup victory, in Schladming, Austria, last weekend. After consistent results in the top ten throughout the year the Yeti Cycles rider clearly enjoyed the steep Schladming downhill track that rewarded a loose style of riding.

    Blenkinsop qualified in the number one position but most expected the finals to be dominated by the race for the overall World Cup title, between Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) and Sam Hill (Monster Energy). Finishing fourth and sixth meant the pressure was on the final run and when Minnaar made it to the top of the hill, it was clear the strain was showing.

    First down the hill was Minnaar and despite a small mistake in the top section he inherited the hotseat from Justin Leov. Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate), however, made sure that Minnaar's reign was short-lived and in theory could have ended his teammates hope of the overall win by bumping him down the rankings.

    As it came to Hill's turn, it was obvious that the Australian phenomenon had saved everything in reserve for his final run. Up at the split and gaining constantly Hill then had a huge moment, the bike tankslapping across the infamous rutted Schaldming hillside only to miraculously save it and get back on track. This cost around a second but the quality of the run was enough to take the hot-seat and a real opportunity of rescuing the season with the overall title.

    Hill's teammate Brendan Fairclough was the penultimate rider on course, posting the best split of the race but he crashed on the final drop onto the Schladming slopes. He scrambled back up and rescued his bike before rolling over the line just outside the top 20.

    Finally, Blenkinsop took to the descent - everyone expected a solid top ten finish but this was the Kiwi's kind of course, and he revelled in the wet. After several gasps from the crowd there was finally...

  • Sauser and Wloszczowska win cross country World Cup finale

    Sauser crosses the line
    Article published:
    September 18, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Luke Webber in Schladming

    By Luke Webber in Schladming Christoph Sauser (Specialized Factory Racing) ended his most successful...

    By Luke Webber in Schladming

    Christoph Sauser (Specialized Factory Racing) ended his most successful season to date with a win last weekend in Schladming, Austria, at the World Cup finals, beating a resurgent Jose Hermida (Multivan Merida) and earning second place in the overall standings to go with his rainbow jersey. Olympic champion Julien Absalon (Orbea) claimed the overall World Cup title.

    Sauser and Hermida ended up at the front battling with Adam Craig (Giant), Roel Paulissen (Cannondale-Vredestein) and Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez (Giant Italia). Craig eventually fell off the pace while Paulissen feel off a bridge on the course, catapulting over the bars and sustaining a concussion which resulted in an overnight stay in hospital.

    That left Sauser and Hermida away to do battle along with Alvarez Gutierrez. Hermida was on the attack all day, but Sauser waited patiently executed his single, winning attack. He then took advantage of the resulting 10 second gap to go for it.

    "I really wanted to win today and it feels so good to end the season on top," said Sauser.

    For Hermida, it was more about salvaging something from a lacklusture year in which he has suffered bad luck with mechanicals and illness. Only in Madrid did he show a glimpse of his talent translated into a top result, but this has only served as motivation for him for the coming 2009 season.

    "Only in the last month have I started to come back to my normal self - but maybe that is a good thing!" said Hermida. "Battles like today take years off your life! But I am still having fun on the bike and this is the most important thing."

    Two-time Olympic champion Absalon did not finish the race, but was happy with his overall title.

    "It was just so fun here, I have won the overall already so there was no pressure. Today was just for fun and it was fun to ride just as much as I wanted, nothing more."

    In the women's race, Maja Wloszczowska (Halls...

  • The Cactus Cup is back but in Vegas

    Most of the racing will take place here
    Article published:
    September 18, 2008, 0:00 BST
    By:
    Dave McElwaine

    By Dave McElwaine The mere mention of the Cactus Cup brings smiles to thousands of mountain bikers...

    By Dave McElwaine

    The mere mention of the Cactus Cup brings smiles to thousands of mountain bikers who remember the grand-daddy of stage races back in the 1990s. At its peak, it drew 10,000 racers and 75,000 spectators to Arizona's Pinnacle Peak Park, and later to McDowell State Park. Races were also held at other venues in the United States, and in foreign countries as far away as Japan.

    The Mountain's Edge Cactus Cup is set to premier this weekend within 20 minutes of "The Strip" in Las Vegas, Nevada, with over US$25,000 in prize money. It is timed to piggyback onto the hugely successful Interbike trade show which draws in excess of 50,000 bicycle industry retailers and sponsored racers to Las Vegas. The event will feature four stages over three days; The Exploration Peak Time Trial, Super D, Fat Tire Criterium, and Cross Country race sponsored by Titus Bicycles.

    One of the driving forces behind the rebirth of the Cactus Cup is Ravi Rajcamoor who is the Managing Director of Swagger, the Georgia-based company who is producing the race. Swagger is one of the largest organizers of road criteriums in the United States. Rajcamoor had also been the Promotions Director at Specialized for some of their Cactus Cup's in Arizona.

    Rajcamoor commented on the new Cactus Cup "We have a long history in cycling and our commitment is to grow mountain bike racing. Our intent, 100% is to have the race in Vegas for the next several years. Our goal is to grow the race."

    Many legends in the sport of mountain biking raced in the Cactus Cup when it was the largest mountain bike race in the world. John Tomac, Ned Overend, Tinker Jaurez, Shawn Palmer, Thomas Frischknecht, Cadel Evans, Missy Giove, Juli Furtado, and Alison Dunlap are among those who battled in the Arizona desert every spring.

    Tinker Juarez (Mona Vie / Cannondale), 47 years-old, is still actively racing and will compete in the cross country race on Sunday. Juarez, a former...