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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Friday, December 23, 2011

Date published:
December 23, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Video: Blenkinsop recaps 2011 season

    Samuel Blenkinsop (New Zealand)
    Article published:
    December 18, 2011, 21:34 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    New Zealander recounts World Cup and Words experiences

    Sam Blenkinsop (Lapierre International) raced to a bronze medal at UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Champery, Switzerland, in September. In this video, Blenkinsop recaps his 2011 season, telling a bit about each World Cup and Worlds.

    During many of the World Cups, the 23-year-old New Zealander didn't quite get the top-five podium result he wanted and near the end of the season he crashed and injured his knee, but on the big day at Worlds, he pulled off an impressive ride and finished third.

    "The track was awesome and I had a good race," said Blenkinsop. "I know I ended up the season pretty well with a bronze medal. It was good to finish the season like that."

    The following video is provided courtesy of bluegrasseagle.com.

  • Killeen hopes for third shot at Olympic Games

    Liam Killeen (Giant Factory Off-Road Team)
    Article published:
    December 20, 2011, 16:05 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    British racer to focus on speed and power during preparation for shorter race

    Liam Killeen is one of Great Britain's mountain bike medal hopes for the 2012 London Olympic Games. The British cross country national champion is already busy preparing for next year. He finished fifth at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and seventh at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

    "I'll learn from Athens and Beijing to be at my best for London Olympics," he said in an interview with British Cycling.

    Other career successes include winning the Commonwealth Games title in 2006, finishing second at the World Cup in Mont-Sainte-Anne in 2006 and finishing fourth at the 2008 world championships. But it hasn't always been smooth sailing - in 2007, Killeen battled a virus and at times during his career, he has suffered back problems.

    Talking of his strategy in 2012, Killeen said to British Cycling, "I know I need to bank some decent UCI points in some of the early season racing to try and optimise my gridding for the Games in August. Ideally I'd like to be on the first row, that or the second row is where I need to be. The start on the London Olympic course is pretty crucial; the way it sets you up for the first part of the first lap means you need to be in the top eight riders."

    During his Olympic experiences, Killeen has seen the duration of the cross country race drop from about 2.25 hours to an expected 1.5 hours in 2012. The shorter format means there is less time to make up for any mistakes during the event or a lack of top-end preparation.

    "It is an endurance event but there is a focus on explosive sprinting throughout the race,...

  • Cyclingnews becomes NICA media partner

    The freshman boys get started at a NICA race in Northern California
    Article published:
    December 20, 2011, 17:12 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    School's in at world's most-read cycling website

    The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) and Cyclingnews are pleased to announce a new partnership that will significantly increase the volume and exposure of high school cycling coverage and at the same time encourage school students to visit Cyclingnews.com.

    "Media partnerships are very important to NICA, and Cyclingnews is a premier source of information in cycling, so this is exhilarating," said Ben Capron, NICA's development director.

    "The increased awareness this brings will fuel our vision of enabling every American teen to strengthen body, mind and character through high school mountain biking, and our mission of coast-to-coast by 2020. I encourage all cycling companies to join the NICA movement."

    Daniel Benson, managing editor of Cyclingnews, said, "This is a really proud day for everyone here at Cyclingnews. To be in a position to support young athletes and encourage them through grass roots sport is a fundamental part of NICA and we're confident that our association with such a great organisation will help the athletes of tomorrow."

    Sue George, mountain bike editor of Cyclingnews said, "Having grown up racing my bike, including while in high school, I'm excited to see the growth of high school mountain bike programs and am looking forward to bringing more coverage of NICA activities to our Cyclingnews readers."

    While Cyclingnews already provides strong coverage of NICA activities, as a result of this partnership, readers can expect to see a stream, every couple of weeks, of features and ongoing news stories written in collaboration with NICA insiders, as well as informed monthly summaries of goings-on in high school cycling around the USA. Articles will include league season previews, event calendars and race reports, and features on athletes, coaches and key league...

  • Decision DH1's future postponed

    Tracy Moseley (Great Britain)
    Article published:
    December 20, 2011, 20:28 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Organizer of series says objectives are met either way

    The organizer of the inaugural DH1 in 2012 made a statement as promised on Monday about the future of his international-level series.

    "I will ... give myself a few more weeks time before making a final call, will further work on acquiring sponsors and on finalising the event calendar," said Ray Dulieu of DH1 and Freecaster.tv. "If I manage to secure the required budgets, we will stage DH1 and support the comparison with the Red Bull-produced UCI World Cup."

    Recent news and rumors had suggested that the series may fold before it ever runs its first race in the New Year. The new series came about after Freecaster's rights to broadcast UCI Mountain Bike World Cup action were not renewed for 2013. Those behind Freecaster - including owner Dulieu - proposed a new international-level downhill series that would feature major events slotted between UCI downhill World Cups on the calendar. Elite-level athletes were expected to want to attend both high profile series and were promised the events of both series would not conflict.

    In his statement, Dulieu said 2011 was ending in a satisfying way. He cited the success of "four great champions: Aaron Gwin and Tracey Moseley for the World Cup and Danny Hart and Emmeline Ragot for the world championships," Freecaster's successful broadcasts of all UCI World Cups and the launch of DH1 with its recently acquired 16,000 Facebook fans.

    Looking ahead, Dulieu called 2012 "very promising for downhill mountain biking". He pointed to the supposed media deal between the UCI and Red Bull TV to webcast live and free all World Cups on the web and to broadcast the races on its TV...

  • Whole Athlete-Specialized Team wins award

    Kate Courtney on her way to winning
    Article published:
    December 21, 2011, 19:10 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    USA Cycling honors squad as "Mountain Bike Club of the Year"

    The Marin, California-based Whole Athlete-Specialized Cycling Team was handed one of its most important wins to date. It was named "Mountain Bike Club of the Year" for 2011 by USA Cycling.

    As one of the top junior development programs in the United States, team Whole Athlete-Specialized provides coaching, training support, bike fitting, nutritional counseling, sport psychology, and skills training to top-level athletes, including two of Marin's junior national champions: Lucas Newcomb and Kate Courtney.

    Newcomb, 16, of Nicasio, California, is the reining junior men's 15-16 cross country national champion after earning his first national title. Courtney, 16, of Kentfield, California, is the current junior women's 15-16 cross country junior national champion for the second straight year.

    2011 has proven to be an exceptional year for Whole Athlete-Specialized, which claimed 71 victories and seven national titles overall. And in its three years as a team, it has always qualified riders to the US world championship teams.

    "It's truly an honor to be recognized as 'Mountain Bike Club of the Year', and even more so to have the opportunity to work with such dedicated young athletes, sharing in their collective development and success," said Team Founder and Director Dario Fredrick.

    The Whole Athlete-Specialized Cycling Team forges on with plans for a national-level race schedule again in 2012.

    For more information on the team, visit wholeathletecyclingteam.blogspot.com.

  • Mountain bike world champ Kulhavy considers the road

    Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized Racing) leads out onto the first lap
    Article published:
    December 22, 2011, 16:12 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Czech star may pursue new goal after 2012 London Olympics

    Cross country mountain bike world champion Jaroslav Kulhavy is considering racing on the road after the 2012 London Olympic Games. The 26-year-old Czech rider from Specialized Racing won the 2011 cross country World Cup after dominating his competition for much of this season.

    Should Kulhavy make a switch to road racing, he would be following in some well known footsteps. Tour de France winner Cadel Evans (BMC) and Jakob Fuglsang (Team) are two other former top mountain bikers now racing in the pro road peloton.

    "I would very much like to give racing a try on the road in the future," said Kulhavy to wielerland.nl. "I don't have extensive experience in road races, but 70 percent of my training is on the road. I work well on the road, and it'd be a great new challenge." It is not clear if he would mix road and mountain bike racing or try to switch full time to the road.

    Kulhavy will race his mountain bike again for Specialized's World Cup-level team in 2012.

  • Gear Movement - Epic Pro Cycling Team announces 2012 roster

    Bryan Alders leads Sam Morrison
    Article published:
    December 22, 2011, 21:32 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Colorado Epic Endurance Team expands for next season

    The Epic Endurance Cycling Team is expanding in 2012 by launching a separate professional team to be known as The Gear Movement/Epic Pro Cycling Team. The new team will focus more on cross country races, including the US Pro XCT series, the mountain bike national championships and the Windham round of the UCI World Cup.

    The newly formed Gear Movement/Epic Pro Cycling Team includes a returning solid core from the 2011 Epic Endurance Cycling Team as well as a few new riders for the upcoming 2012 season.

    "Our organization had a very strong first year that was made successful with the solid support from our partners, so we felt this was a good time to launch the new team," said team director sportif Bill Wheeler.

    "The new team has a lot of talent. The team will be anchored by former Cannondale/Monavie racer Bryan Alders, and will include Chris Baddick and Sam Morrison from the 2011 Epic Endurance Cycling Team. New additions to the team are Deidre York and Jason Hilimire".

    "(Deidre) York been racing for almost 11 years and at the age of 21, has quite a bit of experience in the sport. As a junior, she went to the 2008 world championships in Val di Sole, Italy, and finished in a solid 33rd position. She was national series champion from 2007-2009 as a junior expert women, and 2010, she was the top ranked U23 women's rider in the US."

    2012 Gear Movement/Epic Pro Cycling Team
    Bryan Alders
    Chris Baddick
    Jason Hilimire
    Sam Morrison
    Deidre York

  • Test of Metal set for 2012 edition

    Max Plaxton is a multi-time winner of the Test of Metal run annually in Squamish, British Columbia.
    Article published:
    December 23, 2011, 15:52 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Mountain bike race expected to sell out in record time on New Year's day

    The Test of Metal mountain bike race in British Columbia, Canada, will happen again in 2012 on Squamish's world-renowned trails. Set for June 16, 2012, the 67km point-to-point race has previously attracted elite racers such as Canadian Olympians Alison Sydor, Geoff Kabush, and Seamus McGrath, world champion Catharine Pendrel, as well as notable celebrities like Vancouver Canuck icon Trevor Linden.

    The Test of Metal is the centrepiece of the Squamish Mountain Bike Festival which runs from Friday, June 17 to Sunday June 19. The weekend's activities will include the "Pre-Test Festival" in downtown Squamish on Friday evening and the "Rock Star Invitational Downhill" on Sunday.

    The Test of Metal Inc. is a not-for-profit society run by volunteers, and any proceeds from the race are returned to the community through charitable donations. Since its inception, the Test of Metal has donated more than CAN$145,000 to community organizations and events. A 2006 study done by the BC Mountain Bike Tourism Association established that the Test of Metal generates just under one million dollars of economic activity in Squamish every year.

    Registration for the 2012 edition will open on January 1 at 6:00 pm local time and is expected to sell out as quickly as ever. Race director Cliff Miller said the 2011 event sold out in 23 minutes.

    "It was crazy last year," Miller said, "but this year, with local racers already taken care of, we hope that we really open this up to get as many of those who want to ride into the race as possible. This our attempt to try to create as fair a process as possible."

    A local's only registration for 200 people sold out in two hours and 30 minutes on December 1, 2011.

    This year again, the 800 spots available will be filled on a first come, first served basis; but unlike in the past, there will be no wait list.

    "We've heard from riders that they want certainty, this should address that. We will...