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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Friday, August 24, 2012

Date published:
August 24, 2012, 20:00

Edited by Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking. Feel free to send feedback, news, & releases to and results, reports & photos to

  • Injured Hart sidelined from world championships

    Danny Hart (Giant Factory Off-Road) will miss 2012 Worlds while his injured shoulder continues to heal.
    Article published:
    August 22, 2012, 18:08
    Cycling News

    Downhill world champ will not defend his title

    Giant Factory Off-Road Team rider Danny Hart is currently recovering from shoulder surgery and will miss the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships and the final UCI Downhill World Cup race of the season. The current downhill world champion dislocated his shoulder in a training crash in France on July 12, the day after the Air DH event at Crankworx Les Deux Alpes.

    Following the crash, Hart immediately returned home to Great Britain, where he underwent surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left shoulder.

    He started physical therapy a few weeks ago and has already regained 70 percent range of motion. Hart's recovery is right on track, but he won't be ready for the final races of the 2012 season. He is focused on building his strength for 2013.

    Hart put in an impressive and now famous world championship run to win the downhill in Champery, Switzerland, last year in treacherous, wet conditions while many of his rivals struggled to stay upright.  It was his first elite world title.

  • La Ruta de los Conquistadores celebrates 20 years

    Riders on the infamous La Ruta railroad trestle bridges
    Article published:
    August 22, 2012, 20:10
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Special edition includes optional rafting segment

    Mountain bike stage races have come and gone, but one that has endured is La Ruta de los Conquistadores in Costa Rica. The race will celebrate its 20th edition on November 1-3, 2012.

    The race is notoriously difficult with its jungle-like setting, often hot temperatures, extreme amounts of climbing and lengthy stages, but race founder and organizer Roman Urbina promised that this year's event will be more accessible to more racers.

    "It'll be a much easier race to ride. It'll be the three-day format," said Urbina to Cyclingnews.

    In recent years, the race has stretched as long as four days. "The second day is gone. Personally, it's my favorite day, but it's gone," said Urbina, who is looking to return the race to its original three-day plan. Cutting the second day will also take out a lot of climbing. The race traverses the country from the west coast at Jaco Beach to the east coast at La Playa Bonita.

    Another big change is the shortening of the final day's riding and the addition of an optional morning white water rafting segment. The extracurricular activity will not count toward the GC.

    "We are going to add a rafting section to the last day. All of the mountains of the last day are gone, and it will be decided on a flat course the last day," said Urbina.

    "Twenty years ago, I started La Ruta as an expedition following the path of the Conquistadores. They travelled by boats a lot because it was easier than going up and over the mountains. It's a world class river, one of the best. I used to be a raft guide."

    Don't expect the rafting to be a long term addition to La Ruta. "I don't know if we'll ever have the rafting again because it's logistically complicated. We wanted to give back a little more to people participating. We want them to relax. The racers will get into Turrialba on Friday afternoon. Bikes will be serviced, washed and put into trucks. The next morning, they will be taken to where the rafting segment ends. They will be put into racks according to race number."

    It's hard to imagine some of the top mountain bike pros doing a morning of rafting on the final day, and Urbina realizes those racers may wish to conserve their energy for the final dash through the banana plantations, especially if the overall standings are still close at that point. Hence, the rafting segment is optional.

    "Whoever wants to sleep in can do so, and they can just show up the race start on the final day."

    Several top racers are already confirmed for La Ruta, including defending champion and Olympian Todd Wells (Specialized), Costa Rican star and previous winner Federico "Lico" Ramirez and Portugal's Louis Leao Pinto. Always a strong contender, Pinto is being coached by Roberto Heras and has won other races like the Brasil Ride. 2010 runner-up Alex Grant (Cannondale), four-time Leadville champion Rebecca Rusch (Specialized) and endurance pro Sonya Looney (Topeak Ergon) are also planning to attend.

    Wells and Adriana Rojas won the 2011 edition of the race.

  • Swiss Cup's future bright after title sponsorship renewal

    The lead of the elite men's cross country race swayed to and fro throughout the six-race affair with Swiss rider Nino Schurter once again emerging victorious ahead of local hero Burry Stander
    Article published:
    August 23, 2012, 15:10
    Cycling News

    BMC extends support for Swiss MTB series until 2015

    Two weeks after the BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team announced the signing of two-time Olympic champion and world champion Julien Absalon, BMC Switzerland announced a further three-year contract as the main sponsor of the the Swiss BMC Racing Cup through 2015.

    "The BMC Racing Cup is an ideal platform for our brands to get in front of Swiss and international audiences and athletes. We already had an excellent response to our sponsorship and our presence at the Cup in the first year. We are therefore very excited about furthering our collaboration," said Steven Jonckheere, sports marketing manager at BMC Switzerland.

    The bike company took over title sponsorship of Switzerland's national series at the beginning of 2012.  BMC also sponsors a development mountain bike team with young racers around the globe.

    "Competitors in the various BMC Racing Cup races are still world class," said Thomas Binggeli, CEO and co-owner of BMC Switzerland. "A well-organised top series like this is unique and fits perfectly with our image. Our long-term commitment to the BMC Racing Cup also emphasises how important youth development and recreational sport are to us. This is where the World and Olympic champions of the future begin!"

    Race organizer Andi Seeli was also happy about the extension of the main sponsorship contract with BMC. "I am extremely pleased with the development of the BMC Racing Cup and with the contract extension for the next three years. It means we can maintain the continuity and quality of the Cup and even expand it."

    The final round of the 2012 Swiss BMC Cup will happen in Muttenz on Sunday. Olympic medallists Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) and Marco Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing) will face athletes such as Absalon (Orbea) and Florian Vogel (Scott Swisspower). In the women's race, Olympic medallist Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike) will race against Esther Süess, local athlete Katrin Leumann, as well as Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida) and Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon)

    Schurter told Cyclingnews earlier this season in an interview that the series plays a valuable role in giving young Swiss riders a chance to develop. It also gives more established pros a chance to stay sharp in races relatively close to home.


  • Nicole out of mountain bike Worlds due to injury

    Elite women's podium in Val di Sole World Cup: Floriane Pugin, Myriam Nicole, Rachel Atherton, Emmeline Ragot, Morgane Charre
    Article published:
    August 23, 2012, 16:38
    Cycling News

    Broken collarbone for downhiller

    Downhill racer Myriam Nicole (Commencal/Riding Addiction) will have to sit out this year's UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Leogang, Austria due to injury.

    The French woman broke her collarbone according to

    Nicole has had a strong 2012 World Cup season. She finished second in Val di Sole and Mont-Sainte-Anne; third in Fort William; fourth in Val d'Isere; and fifth in Pietermaritzburg and Windham. With one round remaining, she is ranked third in the World Cup standings.

    She joins the list of top women's downhillers who will miss Worlds.  Tracey Hannah (Hutchinson), is also out due to injury.

  • Switzerland finalizes team for mountain bike Worlds

    Nick Beer
    Article published:
    August 23, 2012, 18:47
    Cycling News

    Rest of squad named

    Switzerland finalized its team for the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Leogang and Saalfelden, Austria, from August 31 to September 2, 2012. Cross country racers had previously been named, but the most recent announcement from the federation on Thursday also included rosters for the cross country team relay, four cross and downhill events.

    Swiss team for the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships

    Elite men downhill
    Nick Beer (Verein IG Bergvelo)
    Ludovic May (Bike Club Verbier / Val de Bagnes)
    Lars Peyer (SC - Intense)
    Lutz Weber (RC Steffisburg)

    Elite women downhill
    Miriam Ruchti (SC-Intense)

    Under 19 men downhill
    Jonas Bernet (RMV Cham Hagendorn)
    Maxime Chapuis (VC Lancy)
    Noel Niederberger (Scott 11)
    Felix Klee (RV Hinwil)

    Under 19 women downhill
    Geraldine Fink (Velo Cliub Trial Stäfa)

    Elite men four cross
    David Graf (BMX Power Bike Winterthur)
    Benjamin Kistner (BMX Power Bike Winterthur)
    Werner Muther (BMX Power Bike Winterthur)
    Roger Rinderknecht (BMX Power Bike Winterthur)
    Simon Waldburger (VC Leibstadt)
    Adrian Weiss (Scott 11)
    Mirco Weiss (Scott 11)

    Elite women four cross
    Lucia Oetjen (BMX Power Bike Winterthur)

    Team Relay
    Ralph Näf (Multivan Merida Biking Team)
    Katrin Leumann (Ghost Factory Racing Team)
    Reto Indergand (BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team)
    Dominic Zumstein (Scott Swisspower MTB Racing

    Elite men cross country
    Lukas Flückiger (Team Trek World Racing)
    Mathias Flückiger (Team Trek World Racing)
    Fabian Giger (Rabobank Offroad Team)
    Ralph Näf (Multivan Merida Biking Team)
    Christoph Sauser (Specialized Racing Team)
    Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower MTB Racing)
    Florian Vogel (Scott Swisspower MTB Racing)
    Thomas Litscher (Felt Ötztal X-Bionic) (alternate)
    Martin Gujan (Cannondale Factory Racing) (alternate)

    Elite women
    Sarah Koba (RV Buchs)
    Katrin Leumann (Ghost Factory Racing Team)
    Marielle Saner-Guinchard (Team
    Kathrin Stirnemann (Sabine Spitz Haibike Pro Team)
    Esther Süss (Wheeler_iXS Team)

    U23 men
    Reto Indergand (BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team)
    Matthias Stirnemann (Thömus Racing Team)
    Mirco Widmer (Giant Swiss SR-Suntour)

    U23 women
    Michelle Hediger (Fischer BMC Team)
    Linda Indergand (MTB Kader Zentralschweiz)
    Vivienne Meyer (Colnago Arreghini Südtirol)
    Jolanda Neff (Wheeler_iXS Team)

    Junior men
    Romain Bannwart (CC du Littoral NE St-Blaise)
    Manuel Fasnacht (Fischer - Junior MTB Team)
    Andri Frischknecht (Scott Swisspower MTB Racing)
    Enea Vetsch (bskGraf Rollmat-Koba-MTB)
    Dominic Zumstein (Scott Swisspower MTB Racing)

    Junior women
    Ramona Forchini (MTB Kader Zentralschweiz)
    Andrea Waldis (VC Gersau)

  • Canadians send large contingent to mountain bike Worlds

    Catharine Pendrel (Canada) finished ninth
    Article published:
    August 23, 2012, 21:05
    Cycling News

    39 cyclists heading to Austria

    Cycling Canada is pleased announced the racers who will represent Canada at the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, in Austria, in both the downhill and cross country competitions.

    The event will kick off with the downhill event on Saturday, September 1 with the official downhill timed session. The championships races for all downhill categories will happen on Sunday, September 2. The downhill races will be held in Leogang, Austria.

    Canada will send 15 downhillers to the event. The team will be headlined by Canada's top-ranked rider Steve Smith. Claire Buchar, who won a bronze medal at last year's Worlds, will also be a top contender for Canada. Canadian Champions Furthermore, Matt Beer and Casey Brown will be among the Canadian contingent racing for top honours.

    The cross country races will be held the following weekend, in Saalfelden, Austria.

    On the women's side, 2011 world champion Catharine Pendrel will head the team and will be defending her title. Pendrel will be joined by 2012 Olympian Emily Batty and Marie-Hélène Prémont. All three riders are expected to be among the top contenders in Saalfelden. Sandra Walter and Amanda Sin will also compete for Canada in the elite women's race. The nation's women's team is currently the highest ranked team in the world.

    The men's team will be led by Geoff Kabush, who recently posted Canada's best ever Olympic result in men's mountain bike - finishing eighth. He will be joined by Derek Zandstra who is fresh off a breakthrough victory at the most recent US Pro XCT. Raphael Gagné and Cameron Jette will also compete for Canada at the event.

    2012 Olympian Max Plaxton elected not to compete at this year's championship due to injury. Downhill rider Rob Fraser is recovering from injury and will not attend this year's event.

    Canadian team for the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships

    Elite men cross country
    Raphael Gagné
    Cameron Jette
    Geoff Kabush
    Derek Zandstra

    Elite women cross country
    Emily Batty
    Catharine Pendrel
    Marie-Hélène Prémont
    Amanda Sin
    Sandra Walter

    U23 men cross country

    Mitch Bailey
    Léandre Bouchard
    Antoine Caron
    Evan Guthrie
    Jérémy Martin

    U23 women cross country
    Cayley Brooks
    Andréane Lanthier-Nadeau
    Andréanne Pichette
    Haley Smith

    Junior men cross country

    Peter Disera
    Marc-Antoine Nadon
    Alexander Vialle

    Junior women cross country
    Frédérique Larose-Gingras
    Rachel Pageau
    Frédérique Trudel

    Elite men downhill
    Matt Beer
    Remi Gauvin
    Kyle Sangers
    Steve Smith

    Elite women downhill
    Casey Brown
    Claire Buchar
    Micayla Gatto
    Miranda Miller
    Lauren Rosser

    Junior men downhill
    Hugo Langevin
    Philippe Ricard
    Forest Riesco
    Mckay Vezina
    Marc Wallace

    Junior women downhill

    Holly Feniak

  • Marion and Flynn win Triple Crown East series

    Reid Peacock pushes the paces under the lights at the short track at the North Carolina round of the Triple Crown East
    Article published:
    August 24, 2012, 13:46
    Cycling News

    Two-year-old series will return in 2013

    The inaugural Triple Crown East presented by Sho-Air International came to a conclusion at Fontana Dam in North Carolina earlier this month. By all indications, the first year "All Mountain" series concept was a hit with riders and fans. Rider turnout was up over last year, especially in the short track and super D events.

    Having started in early June at the Bump N Grind in Pelham, Alabama, the series then rolled into the mid-Atlantic visiting Massanutten resort near Harrisonburg, Virginia the following weekend. The series then took a brief hiatus and concluded in conjunction with the US Cup/SERC east series finals at the Fontana Dam Jam in North Carolina.

    Robert Marion (American Classic / Xpedo Pro) took the men's 2012 Triple Crown East title over Florida's Ryan Woodall (Top Gear Bicycles / Mtfmx.Com), who is hot off seventh and third places in last weekend's US Pro XCT Subaru Cup cross country and short track races. Victor Alber (Super cool bike shop) rounded out the final podium spot for the elite men.

    "The Triple Crown East series was a great way for me to prepare for the final round of the Pro XCT in Wisconsin," said Woodall. "The fact I got to race some short track with the high intensity really prepared me for the effort I would face here at the Subaru Cup. It's good to see a variety of racing like the Triple Crown offered closer to home."

    In the women's elite category, Kim Flynn (Us Stove Trek) took home top honors for 2012.

    All category winners, including amateurs, received a custom champion's jersey for their efforts. The series banquet and Triple Crown final awards were held in Fontana Village banquet hall to a full house, with champions and top finishers honored.

    Special awards were also given including most improved junior Luke Vrouwenvelder, most improved woman Catherine Peacock, most improved man Christopher Mosier, most sportsman-like rider Mark Poore.

    "We are pleased with how this year's TCE went," said US Cup marketing director Ty Kady. "Any time you have a first year event, there are some open question marks and subsequent refinements that need to be made, but the overwhelming response was positive. A big shout out to the three promoters who raised their hand to put this on - Corbin Camp of Bump N Grind, George Willetts of the Massanutten Hoo-Ha and Dave Berger of Gone riding - and should all be commended for their effort and time."

    The US Cup Triple Crown East series will definitely be back for 2013.

  • IMBA announces sessions for its biennial World Summit

    Sam Schultz (Subaru Trek) leads teammate Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski through the singletrack at the 2010 Subaru Cup.  Schultz went on to win his first Pro XCT Cup in Wisconsin
    Article published:
    August 24, 2012, 18:15
    Cycling News

    Santa Fe to host 2012 summit in October

    With two months to go before the sixth biennial IMBA World Summit in Santa Fe, New Mexico on October 10-13, the organization released a full schedule of speakers and sessions.

    "We received exceptional proposals for summit content," said IMBA Executive Director Mike Van Abel. "At this point, the strongest applications have been selected and the speakers have been notified. Mountain bike leaders from around the globe are eager to present their best ideas at this gathering and help shape the sport."

    The IMBA World Summit officially begins on the evening of October 10, with opening ceremonies at the Santa Fe Convention Center, the home for most summit activities. Festivities will kick-off with an early celebration honoring IMBA's 25th birthday featuring guest speakers and live music from the Daniel Day Trio. A series of pre-summit events, including a riding field trip to neighboring Los Alamos, are also scheduled including a Trips for Kids Conference, an IMBA Trail Solutions Bike Park Workshop, the Southwest Trails Conference, and a Race and Event Promoter Gathering.

    Luther Propst, founder and executive director of the Sonoran Institute, will deliver a keynote address on the first full day of the summit. As the leader of a successful nonprofit devoted to helping communities understand and embrace conservation goals and promote local quality of life, Propst offers a valuable perspective for summit attendees.

    "Mountain bikers and other outdoor recreation enthusiasts are poised to lead conservation efforts in valuable new directions," said Propst. "People that recreate outdoors have an intimate understanding of the environment - one that lends itself to an authentic public policy platform that benefits not only mountain biking but the quality of our lands and water and the desirability of our communities as places to live, work and play."

    Updates on key IMBA initiatives will follow Propst's address, presented in a dynamic format based on the popular five-minutes-per-topic "Ignite" talks. Throughout the IMBA World Summit, attendees will see an emphasis on fast-moving and inspiring plenary presentations featuring multi-media. The second day of the summit will feature a format popularized by TEDx® (Technology, Entertainment and Design) conferences.

    "We're calling it 'IMBAx.' The goal is to strike a balance between informing and entertaining the delegates," said Van Abel. "IMBA does so many things around the world - from protecting trail access to building bike parks to developing conservation strategies. Our goal is to inspire everyone in Santa Fe while equipping them with real-world solutions for the challenges and opportunities mountain bikers encounter in their home communities."

    Attendees can choose from 24 breakout sessions on a variety of topics during both summit days, with expert speakers from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Switzerland and the United Kingdom helping lead the seminars. Joining them will be IMBA staff and leaders from the network of IMBA Chapters. Topics include "How to Develop Mountain Bike Destinations," "Effective Fundraising for Local Groups," and "Expert Advice on Developing Youth Initiatives."

    As with previous summit gatherings, attendees will enjoy ample opportunities for riding the outstanding local trail network, atop the latest demo bikes from several brands. Each evening of the summit features parties and special events, including Thursday's Community Art Night and Poster Session. Friday night will feature the Plaza Criterium and Party in downtown Santa Fe, starting from the Vendor Expo. The evening concludes with a special screening of the new film, Where the Trail Ends.

    "We're mountain bikers, so of course the IMBA World Summit won't be all business," said Van Abel. "The program is packed with opportunities to catch up with old friends and make news ones - that's probably the most valuable part of the entire summit experience." New this year will be opportunities during the day for family members not attending the summit to enjoy guided tours of art and culture of Santa Fe.

    The summit is open to the public. For more information, including a detailed schedule and how to register, visit