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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Friday, February 25, 2011

Date published:
February 25, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Mountain biking exempt from new UCI equipment approval process

    The start of the elite men's race at the opening round of the Cyprus Sunshine Cup.
    Article published:
    February 23, 2011, 18:38 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Frames and forks currently need not be officially approved

    Mountain bike industry manufacturers do not have to worry about the new frame and fork approval process introduced by the UCI for 2011 because the new program does not presently include mountain bikes.

    "The program doesn't apply to mountain biking, and there are no near or mid-term plans to include it," UCI Spokesperson Enrico Carpani told Cyclingnews.

    "The reason is due to the specificity of the different disciplines, which has to be considered in different way."  It's easy to imagine how regulations might have to differ for cross country, four cross and downhill bikes.

    The program is a bid by the UCI to ensure that new road and cyclo-cross frames and forks conform to UCI regulations before they undergo production. Manufacturers have to apply for a label of approval certifying that their frames and forks comply with the UCI's equipment regulations.

    Earlier this week, the UCI notified manufacturers that it was modifying the new approval program to take into account remarks from manufacturers at a recent meeting with the UCI. The international cycling governing body simplified the approval procedures for some equipment and reduced their overall cost.

  • Colorado US Pro XCT cancelled

    Todd Wells (Specialized) winning the Colorado Springs Short Track race
    Article published:
    February 23, 2011, 19:49 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Loss of major sponsor brings end to national series affiliation

    The organizer of the US Pro XCT round in Colorado Springs, Colorado, cancelled its cross country race on Tuesday. The news came less than a week after organizers told Cyclingnews that the race was likely to happen again in 2011, albeit as a one-day UCI-sanctioned race instead of a stage race like in 2010.

    "As of February 22nd, the Sand Creek International Classic Pro XCT June 18th race is cancelled," read a statement on the organizer's website.

    "The bottom line is that up until last Friday or so at noon, we appeared to have our title sponsorship nailed down," Andy Bohlmann, Race Director for Sand Creek Sports, told Cyclingnews. "Late last Friday, that sponsor pulled the plug."

    Bohlmann said the gap in sponsorship left the race $3,200 short of the break even point, and his company didn't want to take that kind of financial risk.

    "I didn't have enough to make the checkbook be in the black," said Bohlmann.

    A race run by Sand Creek Sports will still happen in Colorado Springs on the weekend of June 18-19, 2011, however the event will not be run as a US Pro XCT round, nor will it be a UCI-sanctioned or USA Cycling-sanctioned race. Bohlmann said his company is still deciding at which venue the race will occur.

    "While we would like to greatly thank Kenda USA for stepping up, in the end, we could not find the needed sponsorship locally or nationally to fund this race. A number of people and several marketing firms were helping as well," read the Sand Creek Sports statement. Bohlmann added that he had also appreciated that the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau had offered to increase its sponsorship commitment by 50%.

    The statement alluded to other issues affecting the race. "A lack of sponsorship is the main but not the only reason for this cancellation. As...

  • 100-mile mountain bike racing spreads north to Canada

    The long and winding road.
    Article published:
    February 23, 2011, 22:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Victoria's 100 coming to Ontario

    Canada will get its first 100-mile (160km) mountain bike race on May 22, 2011. The Victoria's 100 will take racers on two 50-mile laps in southern Ontario.

    Mansfield Outdoor Centre, which has hosted 24-hour, eight-hour, marathon and Ontario Cup cross country racing over the years, will be the site of the start/finish line for this 100-mile journey. The course winds through singletrack and doubletrack, covering four properties in two counties, all with less than 1km of gravel road. Designers have worked to make the course fast and fun. It will feature a few short, steep climbs, for a total of 750m climbing per lap, and it boasts many features of the acclaimed 2010 Ontario MTB Marathon Championship track.

    Victoria's 100 is expected to attract some of the top endurance racers, while also offering amateurs an attainable challenge. A shorter, 80km option is available as is a 4x40km MTB Relay. On the previous day, Saturday, May 21, there are also 10km and 20km events for enthusiasts.

    The race will be run rain or shine, and participants are invited to attend pre-race trail maintenance days to finish readying the course.

    Proceeds from the race will go to IMBA Canada.

    For more information on the race, visit www.substanceprojects.com.

  • Preparations underway for European Marathon Championships

    Racers await the start of the Granite Marathon in Austria. This year the event will double as the European Marathon Championship.
    Article published:
    February 24, 2011, 16:40 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Austria hosting continental championships in mid-June

    Preparations are underway for the European Mountain Bike Marathon Championships in Kleinzell in the district of Rohrbach, Upper Austria on June 12, 2011. The 11th edition of the Raiffeisen Granite marathon is doubling as the marathon championships this year.

    The race, which is expected to draw 1,000 competitors, is also part of the Austrian Marathon Cup and the Trek Mountain Bike Challenge, Austria's biggest racing series. It has previously served as the Austrian marathon national championships.

    "The two most important factors, the course and the [event management] team, have already been fixed," said Norbert Ilk on behalf of race organization. "Above all, an event of this scope needs enormous (numbers of) personnel.

    "For on-track security alone, we need almost 300 people," said Ilk's partner Klaus Falkinger. In total, 420 volunteers and staff will assist with the event.

    Racers will contest a 100km track with 3,000m of elevation change. The course will pass through 10 municipalities in the Rohrbach district. The men's course record is 4:33:54, held by five-time race winner and local hero Roman Rametsteiner. Styrian Theresa Kellermayr maintains the women's record (5:57:49).

    Amateurs will have two shorter options: 50km with 1,000m of elevation change and 28km, with 800m of elevation change.

    With several months to go until race day, the entry list already reads like a who's who of marathon racing. World ranked number one racer Mirko Celestino of Italy, World Champion Alban Lakata of Austria and Swiss champion Urs Huber and his compatriots and Lukas Buchli and reigning U23 European champion Konny Looser are registered. Of course, Rametsteiner will also be back to defend his title on home turf.

    For more information, visit the Raiffeisen Granite Marathon website at www.granitmarathon.at.

  • Vouilloz's role at Lapierre evolves

    Nicolas Vouilloz on his way to winning the Urge Cabo Verde - his first victory of the 2011 season.
    Article published:
    February 24, 2011, 18:25 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    10-time downhill world champ still mixing it up

    Ten-time downhill World Champion Nicolas Vouilloz is taking on a new role at Lapierre Bicycles for 2011. He will work with the bike manufacturer to focus on product development and event presence as well as continuing to race for the team.

    "His feedback and analysis are invaluable to Lapierre's engineers and integral to the growth of future products," read a press release from Lapierre. "Nico's new role will allow R&D to better liaise with the partners and team riders as products get developed and tested throughout the year."

    Vouilloz dominated the downhill mountain bike scene from 1992 to 2002, when he won his junior and elite World titles and also 16 World Cups. After years hiatus from the sport, he returned to some downhill competition in 2007 at a World Cup in Switzerland. He still gets his tires muddy in competition. For example, earlier this month, he participated in and won the Urge Cabo Verde downhill, which featured many top downhillers.

    Vouilloz will be an ambassador for Lapierre at major international and French mountain bike events.

    Still a fundamental part of the Lapierre downhill team, the Frenchman will make appearances - some on a bike, some in the team pit - at the Enduro Offroad Cassis, Sea Otter Classic, Megavalanche, Free Raid Classic, Crankworx and perhaps a few European World Cups.

  • Smaller US Pro XCT series set for six events

    Sam Schutz (Subaru-Trek) races to victory at the US Pro XCT in Wisconsin
    Article published:
    February 24, 2011, 21:23 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    USA Cycling releases national ultra endurance calendar

    After the Colorado Springs round of the US Pro XCT was cancelled earlier this week, the US Pro Cross Country Tour (US Pro XCT) will officially comprise six events according to USA Cycling. Prior to the withdrawal of the Sand Creek International Classic from the American national cross country series, there would have been seven total events in the series.

    "It's unfortunate there will be one less opportunity for UCI points for US riders, but I think it's still going to be a really solid calendar," Kelli Lusk of series organizer USA Cycling told Cyclingnews. "For 2011, we'll stick with six events."

    The door is open for the addition of other events in the future although given the already crowded race calendar, especially in 2012 - an Olympic year - the series is not likely to get much bigger.

    "For next year, some events have already expressed interest,"said Lusk. "Looking at 2012, we'll keep those other races on the radar.

    "We want to keep the US Pro XCT between five and seven events because a lot of elite athletes are doing World Cups, too, and we want to make it reasonable to travel to everything. We don't want to overextend the athletes but we do want to give them a strong domestic calendar."

    The US Pro XCT includes only UCI-inscripted races. Forms for inscripting a 2012 event with the UCI are expected to be available sometime in late April 2011. Promoters typically have until sometime in late July to submit their applications for inscription for the subsequent calendar year.

    Other national series news

    USA Cycling has still not released its US Pro GRT, the gravity version of its national series. An announcement of the final 2011 series is expected soon.

    It has, however, just released its Pro Ultra-Endurance Tour, which includes four events: one six-hour race, two 50-milers and a 100km.

    ...
  • Cyclingnews introduces new bloggers for 2011

    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 contest in Wisconsin.
    Article published:
    February 25, 2011, 1:17 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Sam Schultz, Lea Davison, Alex Grant add their voices to the site

    Cyclingnews is pleased to introduce three new bloggers for the 2011 season. Mountain bikers Sam Schultz, Alex Grant and Lea Davison are sharing their adventures as they travel around the globe and race this season.

    Sam Schultz, 25, is a regular at US National Series mountain bike events and on the World Cup cross country circuit. The Subaru-Trek racer had a break-out 2010 - winning the Subaru Cup, a US Pro XCT series event in Mt. Morris, Wisconsin. It was Schultz's first national series event victory.

    "I am really hoping to step it up another level in international competition," said Schultz of his 2011 ambitions.

    Schultz hails from Missoula, Montana, where he lives for most of the year although he can be found from January through April based in San Luis Obispo, California, where the climate is more hospitable to gaining pre-season on the bike fitness.

    Read Schultz's first blog of 2011.

    Lea Davison, 27, is returning to the elite women's cross country race scene after spending 2010 off the bike and out of competition due to hip injury, surgery and subsequent recovery. The Vermont resident is making her comeback with Team Specialized.

    She will race domestically and internationally in 2011, including events such as the US Cup Triple Crown, US Pro XCT races and the World Cup.

    Read Davison's first blog of 2011.

    Finally, Alex Grant, 30, lends a different voice to Cyclingnews' blogs, as he is one of America's top endurance mountain bike racers. Sponsored by Cannondale in 2011, Grant juggles racing as a pro with working in sales for Pearl Izumi and Shimano. This season, look out for him on the podiums at major endurance and stage races. For variety, you may also see him on on the start line of some super Ds, cross countries and short...

  • Sagebrush Safari kicks off Kenda Cup West series

    Manuel Prado (Sho-Air Specialized) is considered the pre-race favorite
    Article published:
    February 25, 2011, 14:35 GMT
    By:
    Dave McElwaine

    Old-school, single-loop race draws pros for early season competition

    The Kenda Cup West Series starts this Sunday at the remote Lake Morena in Southern California's Cleveland National Forest. This "old school" course will feature one 24-mile lap for the pros and Cat. 1s, while the other amateurs will ride an 18-mile lap. The weather forecast has been vacillating all week, but it now appears that the rain will end on Saturday, leaving Sunday to be cloudy and chilly with temperatures in the mid 50s (degrees Fahrenheit).

    This year's race appears to be up for grabs as last year's winners Sid Taberlay (Sho-Air) and Pua Sawicki will not be racing. Costa Rican National Champion and 2009 La Ruta Champion Manny Prado (Sho-Air Specialized) should now be the favorite. Last year, Prado was behind Vincent Lombardi (Sho-Air) for much of the race until Prado's endurance prowess allowed him to make the pass. This year's event could easily have the same script.

    After last year's race Prado said, "I'm a good endurance rider so usually the last 30 minutes of a two-hour race is where I start feeling good. The guy riding fourth was strong on the climbs so every time I would hit a descent I would just pin it."

    Prado has spent the entire off-season training in his home country of Costa Rica. He remarked about the transition "from 85-degree weather in the middle of the Costa Rican summer to a very cold 40 degree Fahrenheit day in San Diego is a shock to the system. But, when you are having fun on the Sagebrush Safari singletrack, any weather looks good."

    The US Cup organization describes the course as "the most diverse and challenging of the entire series". Total climbing on the 24-mile course is nearly 3,500 feet. Riders start the race with four-mile fireroad climb. Last year, many of the top contenders could be seen making the climb in a group. Sid Taberlay said, "On the first climb I was happy to sit in and ride tempo with everyone else but wanted to get to the singletrack first."

    The rocky terrain is...