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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Friday, August 3, 2012

Date published:
August 03, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Video: Luna team anticipates 2012 Olympic mountain bike race

    Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team) climbing in the woods 50 seconds behind Gould
    Article published:
    July 31, 2012, 21:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Number one women's team sends three to London

    Powerhouse women's cycling team, the Luna Pro Team, wrapped up the overall mountain bike World Cup team victory this past weekend in Val d'Isere, France. Next up for the team's three star riders - Catharine Pendrel, Katerina Nash and Georgia Gould - is the 2012 Olympic Games in London on August 11. Any one or even all three could win a medal on the big day.

    World champion Pendrel, of Canada, said, "I hope the competition is looking at me as the woman to beat in the Olympics. Being the best on that day is better than being the best on any other day."

    Pendrel, who is the Canadian National Champion, will be in her second Olympic Games. "Fourth was a good results in 2008, and I know I can do better."

    She expects her teammates will work together in the race although they will be racing in different national team colors.

    "I trust that we will work together to give each other the best result. Maybe the last lap, then we'll race as individuals."

    Veteran racer Nash, of the Czech Republic, has been with Luna for 11 seasons. She raced the Olympic Games in 1996 and is looking forward to returning again, especially after missing the 2008 Games after a crash.

    Gould, of the United States, was eighth in 2008. "I know I can do better in London than I did in Beijing," she said. The US cross country champion is her country's top medal hope in mountain biking.

  • MacDonald claims breakthrough World Cup victory

    Brook MacDonald (MS Mondraker) in World Cup downhill action
    Article published:
    August 01, 2012, 1:53 BST
    Cycling News

    First career World Cup win for downhiller

    Mountain biker Brook MacDonald became just the second New Zealand rider to win a UCI World Cup with victory in France on Sunday.

    The 20-year-old MS Mondraker Team professional took out the men's downhill title in Val d'Isere to break the winning streak of American Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing), who had won four rounds straight this year.

    It follows from the victory of Wanganui's Sam Blenkinsop in the downhill World Cup in Austria four years ago.

    "I can't even explain in words at the moment how I feel," said Macdonald on after winning. "I had a solid run with no mistakes. It was just one of those runs. I'm over the moon.

    "I struggled all this season and I was at the point where I was hating riding. I changed a few things on my bike, like the suspension set up, and it paid off. This track was hard with the altitude and being 2.5 minutes. You're pushing the whole way and you can't lose time.

    "I think I'm going party for a week."

    Gee Atherton (GT Racing) finished second, 0.68 seconds behind Macdonald while Josh Bryceland (Santa Cruz Syndicate) was third. Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) and Gwin rounded out the top five.

    MacDonald, the 2009 junior world champion, had to cope with a deteriorating track which made his run all the more meritorious. He was sixth after the first split and first at the second split to take the win.

    He said he had a smooth run and while pushing hard, he kept within his limits and this proved a key to his breakthrough victory.

    The victory bumped MacDonald up to eighth on the World Cup standings with one round remaining.

    MacDonald became the first rider other than Gwin or Minnaar to win a World Cup in 2011 and...

  • NICA appoints Doug Selee as Executive Director

    Doug Selee is the new Executive Director of NICA
    Article published:
    August 01, 2012, 14:15 BST
    Cycling News

    New leader brings non-profit experience

    The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), a youth development organization governing high school mountain biking in the United States, today announced the appointment of Doug Selee as Executive Director. In this role, Selee will be responsible for helping NICA achieve its goal of growing coast-to-coast by 2020.

    Selee boasts more than 20 years of national non-profit experience. Prior to joining NICA, Selee spent 16 years with the America Cancer Society as Vice President of Operations and, most recently, founded Shifting Gears, a private non-profit consulting firm while pursuing his MBA in Global Innovation from California State University.

    "We're delighted to have Doug join the NICA family," said NICA President, Rick Spittler. "His proven ability to lead national organizations with effective operational systems as well as his personal passion for cycling and NICA's youth development mission is the perfect recipe to direct NICA towards its goal of making mountain biking a mainstream high school sport."

    Selee has been riding his whole life and took up serious cycling six years ago, starting with road and adding mountain biking to challenge himself and develop new skills. He recently returned from a three-week journey to Asia where he cycled along the Great Wall of China.

    "I love cycling and fitness, and this opportunity allows me to combine my passions while helping high school students build strong minds, bodies and character through mountain biking." said Selee. "I look forward to applying all I've learned throughout my career to benefit NICA's student-athletes and am excited about moving forward in developing stronger relationships between NICA sponsors, staff and volunteers. We have a great mission at NICA, and I'm thrilled to be part of this national cycling movement."

  • British Cycling selects team for mountain bike Worlds

    Liam Killeen (Giant Factory Off-Road Team)
    Article published:
    August 01, 2012, 16:13 BST
    Cycling News

    Cross country riders named

    British Cycling has announced on Wednesday the team selected to represent Great Britain in the cross country event at the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships taking place in Leogang and Saalfelden, Austria, from August 29 to September 9.

    The team, the biggest selected by British Cycling for an overseas world championships, will include three Olympians: Annie Last, Liam Killeen and Oliver Beckingsale.

    Last, 21, is currently ranked sixth in the world on the back of a career-best season and will compete in the under 23 category at the world championships, where she has won two silver medals in the last two years.

    Kenta Gallagher, 20, is also having a career-best season with a second national title and two top-10 finishes in World Cups. He is ranked 15th in the world.

    Junior Beth Crumpton has had three top 15 finishes in World Cups and also won her second national title last week.

    National Mountain Bike Coach Phil Dixon said, "The team has established international quality at the elite and under 23 level and will be represented in all categories which is an indication of the strength of Mountain Biking in Great Britain.

    "We have a healthy number of boys and girls in the junior categories which is encouraging for the future."

    The teams for downhill and four cross will be announced in due course.

    British team for the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships

    Elite men
    Liam Killeen
    David Fletcher
    Oliver Beckingsale

    Elite women
    Lee Craigy

    U23 men
    Grant Ferguson
    Kenta Gallagher
    Sebastian Bachelor
    Steve James

    U23 women
    Annie Last

    Junior men
    Iain Paton
    Michael Thompson
    Samuel Stean

    Junior women

  • Langvad out of Olympic mountain bike race

    Langavad was strong today.
    Article published:
    August 01, 2012, 17:48 BST
    Cycling News

    Broken ribs sideline Danish rider

    Denmark's Annika Langvad will not compete in the 2012 London Olympic Games due to injuries suffered during a race in France according to Mountain biker Langvad crashed and broke ribs while racing two weeks ago.

    "It's a very bitter pill to swallow. I have put much effort into the preparations, and then it all disappears in one second in a crash in France a few weeks ago," said Langvad to

    The Danish racer tried to compete in the Val d'Isere World Cup in France, but she realized she was too affected by her broken ribs.

    Danish Cycling's Lars Bonde said withdrawing Langvad from the Olympic mountain bike race is the right thing to do because she will not be able to compete at her best with broken ribs in London. He expressed hope that she will try again in Rio in four years at the next Olympic Games.

    Last week, Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) had to withdraw from the Olympics due to a broken foot and ankle.

  • Langkawi MTB Challenge releases 2012 race details

    UCI Mountain Bike Delegate Burney happy to inspect the course
    Article published:
    August 02, 2012, 2:23 BST
    Cycling News

    Burney and Craig check out the venues

    The course for this year's Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge (LIMBC) on October 15-20, has been described as unique, offering a combination of highly technical terrain with the natural jungles of Langkawi as a backdrop.

    LIMBC technical consultant Simon Burney, on his second trip to the islands to inspect the course, said the six-day race would pose a stiff challenge to the riders.

    "We are in the midst of finding new things as the basis for our final layout of the actual course but in general, it's a really great course. It offers many unique features and a variety of challenges," said Burney, who is also a UCI Technical Delegate and the UCI Sports Coordinator for cross country mountain biking.

    Burney added that a successful LIMBC 2012 would be crucial in strengthening Langkawi's bid to host one round of the UCI Marathon World Series in 2013 or 2014.

    "This year's race will come under great scrutiny. Among the technical considerations and the overall organisation of the race we hope to see a number of the world's top 20 riders participating," said Burney.

    Following the successful back-to-back editions of LIMBC in 2010 and 2011, race organiser Human Voyage is aiming to bring one round of the UCI Marathon World Series and the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships to Langkawi in the near future.

    Asia has yet to stage a round of the UCI mountain bike series. The 2012 UCI World Cup and UCI Marathon Series has so far visited venues in South Africa, Belgium, Czech Republic, Costa Rica, United Kingdom, Italy, France, Croatia, Canada and the United States, with remaining rounds in Latvia, Switzerland and Austria. There is the possibility that the 2013 UCI World Cup will visit China per the recently released UCI calendar for next season.

    Burney was accompanied by eight-time British champion and former Olympian,...

  • Gwin locks up World Cup title with one round remaining

    Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) in action in Val d'Isere, France.
    Article published:
    August 02, 2012, 21:45 BST
    Cycling News

    American looks toward Worlds

    By taking fifth place at round 6 of the UCI Downhill World Cup in Val d'Isere, France, this past weekend, Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) not only won his second World Cup overall title in as many years, but he also maintained his 100 percent record of World Cup podium results, 13 from 13 starts with Trek World Racing, and a record 14 in a row when the final round of 2010 is taken into account.

    Having won four of the six races on offer so far this season, it seems logical that Gwin would have wrapped up the season early, and become the first to score back-to-back titles since Frenchman Nico Vouilloz in the late 90s, but mathematically it wasn't that straightforward. Both Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) and Gee Atherton (Great Britain) have been equally consistent, so it was a matter of trying to limit the damage after a qualifying run crash nearly brought Gwin's weekend to an early close.

    The penultimate World Cup round was at a brand new venue, Val d'Isere, on a course which presented a number of challenges. It was short, at around 2:20 in duration, and this meant errors of any kind were not forgiven. The limestone strewn down the length of the course was sharp and sliced many a tire and rider.

    During qualifying, Gwin suffered injuries requiring five stitches to his right hand, an injury he played down before the final but in reality, was a tough one to cope with on this course.

    "I have no excuses for my fifth today. I had a pretty good run," said Gwin after his World Cup winning streak was broken by Brook MacDonald. "For how I felt with the hand injury, I'm happy. To win the overall again, it's so amazing,...

  • Péraud gets ready for Olympic mountain bike race

    Beijing Silver medalist, turned road pro, Jean-Christophe Peraud hopes to make 2012 Olympic MTB selection
    Article published:
    August 03, 2012, 15:32 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    2008 silver medallist uncertain of possibilities following Tour de France fatigue

    With the Olympic mountain bike race in Hadleigh Farm, Essex, scheduled for August 12 fast approaching, cross country riders across the globe are getting ready for the challenge. The French team, consisting of two-time Olympic champion Julien Absalon, 2008 silver medallist Jean-Christophe Péraud and Stéphane Tempier, is also looking forward to the event and hopes to be as successful as four years ago in Beijing.

    Péraud, who rode the Tour de France with his AG2R La Mondiale road team, has taken some time to recover from the accumulated fatigue but now feels well enough to compete again to fine-tune his Olympic preparation. The 35-year-old had planned to race the World Cup event in Val d'Isère one week after the Grand Tour finish on the Champs-Elysées, but scrapped it from his calendar in order to recuperate.

    "It's just not doable. Instead of racing again, I think I need to get some freshness back," he told Cyclingnews at the end of the Grand Tour in Chartres. In the meantime, he however opted to race the last Belgacom GP in Boom, Belgium, on August 4, before taking a plane to London two days later.

    Still, the Frenchman felt doubtful of his Olympic possibilities after having spent so much energy on the roads of France in July. "Initially, the objective clearly was a medal, but with all the fatigue accumulated at the Tour, I'm less certain of what I can achieve. There are only three weeks between the Tour and the Olympics, so I will try to do my best to get back the perspective of a medal," he said.

    "The amount of the workload has been enormous, so now it's really about recovering and assimilating that in the best possible way, to try and transpose it on the mountain bike."

    Péraud insisted that the double goal of a good Tour de France...