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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Friday, January 13, 2012

Date published:
January 13, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Baker and Beales renew with Orange Monkey-Cannondale

    Alex Baker (Orange Monkey-Cannondale) renewed his contract with his team for 2012 and 2013.
    Article published:
    January 11, 2012, 10:16 GMT
    Cycling News

    Cannondale stays on as team's title sponsor

    Alex Baker and Paul Beales have renewed their contracts with the Orange-Monkey Cannondale Team for 2012. The team also announced that it is retaining title co-sponsor, Cannondale, for this season.

    Junior mountain biker Baker signed up for another two seasons which will cover his final junior year and first year as a U23 racer. Baker had a good 2011, competing in his first World Cup at Dalby Forest. The highlight of his season was a second place result in the British National Championships, which made him the highest placed first-year junior.

    Beales signed a short-term one-year deal with the team. He had several good results in the 2011 season, including his best-yet result in the British National Championships.

    The team also announced that Cannondale would continue as a title sponsor of the team in 2012, its third year of the partnership. The team will race Scalpel Carbon and Flash Carbon bikes for this season.

    "With the infrastructure and strength in depth that's now in place, especially with the new signings, we look forward to this year being the best in history for the team," said Cycling Sports Group UK Brand Manager, Mike Cotty.

    The team promised it will name one additional signing for 2012.

  • Chainel signs with BH SR Suntour Peisey Vallandry MTB Team

    French 'cross national champion Lucie Chainel-Lefevre
    Article published:
    January 11, 2012, 15:35 GMT
    Cycling News

    French 'cross national champion returns to mountain bike racing in 2012

    Newly crowned French cyclo-cross national champion Lucie Chainel will step back into the world of mountain bike racing in 2012 at the opening World Cup in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Chainel has signed for the BH SR Suntour Peisey Vallandry Team, although she will race the first World Cup in French National Team colors due to her lack of UCI points in the discipline.

    After winning gold at French cyclo-cross nationals, Chainel announced her return to mountain biking with the BH SR Suntour Team.

    "I am glad I signed with them. It is not just any team. I started mountain biking at the age of 10. I stopped in late 2005 because I was fed up of the bike. Mountain biking requires a lot of sacrifice in training, more than in cyclo-cross," Chainel told

    Chainel will have to catch herself up not only on training but on the changes in mountain bike technology since she left the sport.

    "I am aware that the discipline has evolved, but I think it has changed for the better."

    She plans a break in racing after the 'cross season to refresh her outlook and re-find her legs on a mountain bike.

    She will be teammates with 2011 World Cup overall winner Julie Bresset. The two have been on the same team in the past. She also told that she'd be getting some advice from Olympic champion Julien Absalon, who lives nearby.

  • Weir to lead fundraising ride for Bay Area cycling organizations

    Mark Weir (WTB/Cannondale/Fox Racing Shox) thinks riding Pennsylvania rocks is fun!
    Article published:
    January 11, 2012, 18:04 GMT
    Cycling News

    Annual Dirt Roll to benefit high school cycling and MTB advocacy

    Pro racer Mark Weir (WTB/Fox Racing Shox/Cannondale) will lead Dirt Roll III, an annual off-road Northern California High School Cycling League fundraising bicycle ride in Camp Tamarancho, Fairfax, on Sunday, February 5.

    Dirt Roll III is produced by NorCal League and the Marin County Bicycle Coalition. California's mountain bike pioneers join racers and cycling enthusiasts in this no-drop ride on the Tamarancho Trail. Proceeds from the Dirt Roll support the ongoing advocacy work being conducted by both organizations, which includes creating lifelong cyclists and ongoing efforts to ensure that kids have safer roads and great trails.

    Weir, whose infectious grin is a highlight of the Bay Area cycling scene, is also a key supporter of the Stafford Lake Bike Park project. When he's not winning cross country and downhill races like the Downieville Classic, he spends time riding his backyard pump track or with his son, Gustin "Gus" Bradley Weir.

    "Not having the opportunity of organized cycling when I was in high school was a real bummer," said Weir. "For me, the discovery path that cycling could change my life was a solo mission. To have done that as part of a high school team would have been so much better. So I am honored to lead this ride, and to have this opportunity not only for myself but for the kids whose lives are being changed. So come on out and join us to support the future of our sport, we'll have a blast!"

    Ride groups will be arranged according to ability level, so there will be a ride for every ability from pro to novice. All rides will start at Fair Anselm Plaza, 737 Center Blvd., Fairfax, California at 10:00 am (Sign-in opens at 9:00 am, with hot drinks and breakfast snacks served). The supported rides follow the Bay Area mountain bike trails in Camp Tamarancho.

    Post ride, a tasty BBQ lunch will be provided in the courtyard below MCBC headquarters, which is also at 737 Center Blvd. Then it's time to watch the...

  • Video: Gwin shows why he's the World Cup champ

    Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) was the dominant Men's downhill rider of 2011 (Val di Sole World Cup, Ita)
    Article published:
    January 11, 2012, 22:17 GMT
    Cycling News

    Helmet cam footage from Fontana downhill

    Here's some GoPro helmet cam footage of reigning World Cup downhill champion Aaron Gwin that'll make you check that you haven't pressed fast-forward by mistake.

    Trek World Racing's Gwin hit the big time in 2011, winning a record five World Cup races before capturing the overall title with a round to spare. The video below is from the downhill race at the Southridge USA Challenge in Fontana, California in November 2011.

    Courtesy of Natalie Simmons

  • Flückiger brothers to open mountain bike season in Cyprus

    Mathias and Lukas Fluckiger during stage six of the 2010 Cape Epic.
    Article published:
    January 12, 2012, 15:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    Sunshine Cup kicks off in five weeks

    Each year, a subset of the elite mountain bike community kicks off the new race season at the Cyprus Sunshine Cup. With five weeks until the opening round, the Flückiger brothers Lukas and Mathias from Trek World Racing Team are on the start list. It will be their first time racing on the sunny island.

    With sights set on the 2012 Olympic Games and the spring World Cups serving as qualifiers for many nations, racers will have to come into the World Cup season at full speed.

    The Flückiger brothers are among those fighting for Olympic team spots - in their case for Switzerland. 28-year-old Lukas was the runner-up at the 2010 European championship and has stood on several World Cup podiums during his career. 23-year-old Mathias was the U23 world champion and World Cup winner in 2010, but he now rides in the elite ranks.

    The World Cup season will kick off in South Africa two weeks after the third and final weekend of the Cyprus Sunshine Cup. In addition to good timing, the Cyprus Sunshine Cup usually is run in temperatures similar to what will be expected in South Africa - helpful for riders from colder climates who wish to acclimate early.

    Swiss compatriot Fabian Giger has also committed to attend along with his Rabobank-Giant teammte Henk-Jaap Moorlag. Giger was sixth at the Offenburg World Cup in 2011, and Moorlag finished third at the U23 worlds in Champéry in 2011.

    Furthermore, Swiss racer Mariel Saner-Guinchard ( and Frenchman Maxim Urruty will be on the startline in Cyprus while elite men's world champion Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized) announced earlier this week that he, too, will be racing.

    "The list is already very...

  • Poland to host several mountain bike stage races in 2012

    Two racer duel in Poland.
    Article published:
    January 12, 2012, 19:11 GMT
    Cycling News

    Three multi-day contests set for the summer

    Part of the ever-growing popularity of mountain bike stage races, Poland is hosting several events in the summer of 2012 including the Beskidy MTB Trophy, Sudety MTB Challenge and Carpathian MTB Venture.

    The Beskidy MTB Trophy will celebrate its sixth edition and will feature trails around Istebna in the Silesian Beskid. It will include four stages, all starting from the same location, beginning on June 7 and ending on June 10. For more information, visit

    The Sudety MTB Challenge will feature more Alpine terrain along the Polish and Czech border. A prologue and five stages comprise this event, which is a bit faster and more forgiving technically than the Beskidy MTB Trophy. The race will run on July 22-27 through the Sudety Mountains. For more information, visit

    The Carpathian MTB Venture is the youngest of the three races and an orienteering type of event in which racers determine their route based on provided maps. The six stage race, beginning on August 20 and ending on August 25, will feature a diversity of terrain and will start in the area of area of the Bieszczady and Maly Beskid in a small town called Rymanów Zdrój. Along the way, it visits places like the Sadecki Beskid, Makowski Beskid and Zywiecki Beskid. For more information, visit

  • Kindree aims for Worlds team selection

    Neal Kindree ( has returned to competition after injury, finishing fourth
    Article published:
    January 12, 2012, 22:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    New team supports Canadian following knee injury and comeback

    Mountain biker Neal Kindree is back on track after a few tough years. In 2012, he will race with the grassroots Specialized / EMD Serono team. The Canadian had injured his knee while training in 2008 and required surgery to repair it, but it was nearly two years until he could ride again without pain, and it wasn't until 2011 that he made a resurgence with his national-level career.

    Speaking of his knee, Kindree told piquenewsmagazine, "I don't notice a difference week-to-week or even month-to-month, but it's definitely getting better and it's not impeding my ability to train or race at all," he said. "The only time it bugs me is when I'm walking or standing on concrete for extended periods. I'm better off hiking a technical, rugged trail than trying to walk down a city block - figure that one out. I can't understand it, but if I can ride then I'm happy."

    In 2010, Kindree finished fourth at the Canadian cross country national championships, and he won several stages and finished third overall at the BC Bike Race. He was named to the Canadian Worlds team, but later removed after an appeal by other athletes. Racing under his own expense, Kindree had not been able to afford to travel to enough races to secure his spot on the team.

    Thanks to the support of his new team and also Ryders Eyewear and Corsa Cycles, Kindree will be training and racing full-time in 2012 although he will probably not be racing the World Cup circuit due to his limited budget.

    Kindree expects to commence racing in March, likely with the US Pro XCT series. He'll also compete in Canada Cups, the Test of Metal and the UCI...

  • French mountain bike stars to gather in Les Gets

    Julie Bresset brought France its third gold medal in four races
    Article published:
    January 13, 2012, 15:59 GMT
    Cycling News

    Early season meeting set for Olympic hopefuls

    Six top French cross country mountain bikers will meet in Les Gets from January 16-20 for an early season gathering according to Three elite men and three top women will meet, Alpine ski, Nordic ski, assess their 2011 seasons and refine 2012 objectives and nutrition.

    Among the men, Maxime Marotte (BH Suntour Peisey Vallandry), Stéphane Tempier (Bianchi) and Alexis Vuillermoz (Lapierre International) will attend while Julie Bresset (BH Suntour Peisey Vallandry), Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Rabobank Giant) and Sabrina Enaux (Specialized) are the women scheduled to show up.

    Three other top French riders and Olympic hopefuls will not be in attendance, including two-time Olympic champion Julien Absalon (Orbea) and Cédric and Cécile Ravanel.