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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Friday, June 14, 2013

Date published:
June 14, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Bresset returns to racing after injury

    Julie Bresset (BH-SR Suntour-KMC)
    Article published:
    June 11, 2013, 19:30 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Olympic champion will race Val di Sole World Cup

    Olympic champion Julie Bresset (BH-Suntour-KMC) returned to competition this weekend at the Coupe de France round in Locminé, France. It was her first race back in nearly two months after breaking her collarbone at a Bundesliga race in Germany in mid-April.

    Bresset battled Sabrina Enaux for the win and out-sprinted her in the finale to take the victory on a day that marked her 24th birthday.

    "I knew I would not be in top form. I'm back and the race is done. Now I must be patient," Bresset told universalbikeracing.com.

    The race was only Bresset's fourth time back on a mountain bike since her crash. The memory of it is still affecting her.

    When asked by velovert.com whether she was afraid during her first comeback race, she said, "Just because I cannot forget my fall. I have some uncertainty about my physical condition and technical skills."

    Bresset is back in action in time for round 3 of the UCI Cross Country World Cup in Val di Sole, Italy this weekend. She had to sit out the first two rounds due to her injury. Her cross country race is on Saturday afternoon.

  • Sauser wins four races in five days

    Bike Four Peaks Race leader Christoph Sauser during stage 3
    Article published:
    June 11, 2013, 22:20 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Swiss rider defends marathon national title after Bike Four Peaks victory

    Specialized Racing's Christoph Sauser successfully defended his Swiss marathon national championship title on Sunday at the Elsa Bike Trophy in the town of Estavayer-le-Lac. What made his win even more impressive was that it came on his fifth consecutive day of racing, one day after he'd won the Bike Four Peaks mountain bike stage race in Germany and Austria.

    "I won my fourth race in five days. I'm having an incredible time racing," said Sauser, who won three of the four stages and the overall title at the Bike Four Peaks.

    Immediately after winning the Bike Four Peaks on Saturday, Sauser headed to Munich, where he caught a flight to Zurich. Another two-hour drive followed, and he made it to his destination at midnight on the eve of the Swiss championships.

    On race morning Sunday, Sauser got up, assembled his bike, and got ready to race.

    "It started to rain at the start. The soil there is super slippery, and there was a bit of chaos at the beginning, with lots and lots of slippery turns," said Sauser according to iamspecialized.com. "We also had to run."

    "With my not-so-fresh legs, I missed the break of a two guys," he said. "I fought my way back. Hansueli Stauffer, who is also from my village of Sigriswil, was off the front, with a lead of about one minute and 15 seconds."

    Sauser caught up to another rider from the break, cyclo-cross star Julien Taramarcaz, and the two chased Stauffer together until Sauser dropped him on the climbs and continued a solo pursuit of Stauffer.

    "Only in the last 15 minutes could I close down the last minute to Hans," said Sauser. "Just 200m before the finish, I passed him. He was very tired and couldn't react anymore."

    Sauser crossed the line in 2:28:22, just...

  • Kleinhans celebrates Swiss national title

    Team RE:CM's Ariane Kleinhans proudly wears the Swiss national champion's jersey following her victory on Sunday. On the left is Milena Landtwig (second) and on the right is Cornelia Hug (third).
    Article published:
    June 12, 2013, 16:53 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    South African-based marathon claims her first championship

    South African resident Ariane Kleinhans (Team RE:CM) claimed her first national mountain bike racing title when she won the Swiss women's marathon mountain bike championships on Sunday.

    The 29-year-old Swiss national is married to top South African mountain bike racer, Erik Kleinhans. They live in Stellenbosch in South Africa's Western Cape province, but Cycling South Africa rules prevent Ariane from competing for South African titles while she is a Swiss citizen.

    Switzerland is a powerhouse mountain bike racing country, especially in marathon and cross country races. Since the first edition in 2003, Switzerland has won a total of 15 medals (seven gold, three silver and five bronze), with the next best nation being Norway with four medals in total.

    Although there is plenty of marathon racing in South Africa, it has only ever claimed one marathon world championships medal, the bronze by the late Burry Stander in 2010.

    The 60km Elsa Bike Trophy in Estavayer-le-lac was given the honour of doubling as the 2013 Swiss national championships. It's a race that Ariane has competed in twice before, so she knew what to expect from the route and, combined with good form and pre-race preparation, was motivated to finish on the podium.

    "I knew I had to be patient and not attack from the start. Even though it's quite a short race, there are a lot of steep climbs and very tight corners," said Ariane.

    Recent heavy rains, combined with a thunderstorm on Saturday night, left the course muddy and slippery, conditions that Kleinhans doesn't experience too often in South Africa. After a nervous start, she crashed on a steep descent after 15km, but then settled into a more steady rhythm as she began to attack the steep climbs.

    "Milena Landtwig (Topeak Ergon) also crashed at the same place as me. I saw her as my biggest rival on the day and the two of us managed to get a gap on the others on the first steep climbs," said...

  • York makes first U23 World Cup appearance in Val di Sole

    Deidre York (The Gear Movement) in the U23 race
    Article published:
    June 13, 2013, 16:51 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    American rider enjoys technical courses

    American Deidre York (Gear Movement Pro Cycling Team) will make her debut in U23 World Cup racing this weekend in Val di Sole, Italy.

    Last year's runner-up at the US national championships, York is no stranger to international competition. "I raced on this course as a junior in 2008. If it's anything like it was, I'm looking forward to the short, steep climbs and nasty technical descents. If it rains, it's going to be crazy."

    The 22-year-old finished 19th at last year's U23 world championship cross country race in Austria, and she logged a seventh place among the elite women at the Ute Valley Pro XCT in Colorado Springs almost a year ago.

    Recently graduated from CU College, where she earned a speech, language and hearing sciences degree, York has more experience than most women in her class. "I started racing at an early age and just fell in love with bikes, it was fun for me. I enjoy the travel and getting to ride and race in new places."

    "I'm supported well from my Gear Movement team. When I get the chance to race with the national team, it's a genuine honor. I raced a lot of collegiate stuff before turning pro in 2010 and was border line burned out by age 19. I currently have no big ambitions to be on a larger team; besides I love my teammates and that the team is based here in Boulder."

    After starting racing at age nine, York missed out on a lot of typical teenage activities. So for now, she is concentrating on having fun.

    At the Val di Sole World Cup, York is aiming for a top 15. The technical challenges - both natural and man-made - of the course are well suited for her skill set. "I prefer the natural terrain over the man-made stuff, but the crowds will go nuts in those tech section so it's really still a lot of fun."

    One of her favorite courses is the Missoula Pro XCT, with its fun and flowing trails, varying...

  • Missoula Pro XCT weekend expands to three days

    Sam Schultz (Subaru Trek) climbins on the Missoula XC course
    Article published:
    June 13, 2013, 22:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Short track and super D races added to schedule

    The next round of the US Pro XCT will return to Missoula next weekend on Saturday, June 22, and two more events are being added to this year's race schedule: the short track on Friday, June 21 and the super D on Sunday, June 23.

    The short track will be held at the same venue as the traditional cross country: Marshall Mountain near Missoula, Montana.

    "The short track will be a shorter, modified loop on the existing Pro XCT Course," said Race Promoter Ben Horan. "We will include the 'Local Glory' and 'Buffalo Jump' sections for the short track as those sections have been popular in the past with participants."

    "The super D will be at a new venue for us at Snowbowl Ski Area and we are excited to have this event to cap off our race weekend."

    Also new for this year will be the addition of live streaming of both the elite women's and men's cross country races. Shaun Radley, the race announcer of the Missoula XC, is overseeing the operation of the live broadcast.

    "We are using a six-camera setup including a Cinestar helicopter camera which will provide viewers with some great live course action," said Radley.

    Race Director Horan commented on this year's expected top elite contenders. "It looks like Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing) and Max Plaxton (Sho Air/Cannondale Factory Team) will be toeing the line along with defending Missoula XC champ Sam Schultz (Trek Factory Racing) in the men's field."

    "Local favorites Heidi Rentz (Ibis-Hammer Nutrition) and Rose Grant (Sportman's Ski Haus) along with Amanda Sin (Scott - 3 Rox Racing) are a few of the racers in the women's field."

    For more information on the race, visit www.missoulaxc.org. To view coverage of the elite races, visit www.hammernutrition.com beginning on Saturday, June 21, at 2:45 pm Mountain Daylight Time (MDT).

  • Cairns, Australia to host 2017 UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships

    Riders line up on the Cairns esplanade
    Article published:
    June 14, 2013, 2:57 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Announcement follows successful World Cup bids

    Following the earlier news that Cairns will host Mountain Bike World Cups in 2014 and 2016, the Australian city in tropical north Queensland will also hold the 2017 UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships, the sport's governing body announced on Thursday.

    "The UCI is delighted that the 2017 UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships will be held on the iconic Smithfield course in Cairns," said President Pat McQuaid at the Management Committee meeting in Norway. "We're certain that athletes from around the globe will relish competing in this beautiful tropical location and we thank Cycling Australia and the Queensland Government for their hard work and commitment."

    Cairns previously hosted the MTB World Championships in 1996. The The Smithfield Mountain Bike Park has since been built with high-level events in mind.

    Cycling Australia President Klaus Mueller was thrilled at the news.

    "We thank the UCI, Tourism and Events Queensland and the State Government for turning an ambitious vision into reality," he said. "We look forward to welcoming the world's best athletes to battle it out in Cairns in 2017."

    The World Championships will be a key lead-up event to the Commonwealth Games which take place the following year on the Gold Coast with MTB taking place at Hinze Dam on a newly-built course.

  • Knox is the man to beat in Rooiberg this weekend

    Max Knox will be the man to beat at the MTN Rooiberg
    Article published:
    June 14, 2013, 15:30 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    South African marathon series adds U23 category

    Max Knox (EAI Solutions/Specialized) is the man to beat this weekend at the South African MTN Marathon National Series round in Rooiberg on Saturday, June 15.

    Knox has been in excellent form so far this season. He won at MTN Barberton, MTN Clarens and MTN Wellington and finished third at MTN Sabie. If he should win at MTN Rooiberg as well, it would probably be enough to secure an overall victory in the MTN National MTB Series for a second consecutive year.

    Charles Keey (Cannondale/Blend Properties), Lourens Luus (RE:CM) and Nico Bell (Westvaal/Bell Cycles) are the only riders who still have a realistic chance of spoiling the fun for Knox on Saturday.

    Keey won the MTN Sabie and MTN Tulbagh events and Knox came third at MTN Sabie. Luus and Bell have both been very consistent. Luus was second at MTN Tulbagh and MTN Wellington, fourth at MTN Barberton and sixth at MTN Sabie, while Bell was second at MTN Sabie, fourth at MTN Wellington and sixth at MTN Tulbagh.

    Interestingly enough, the four dominating riders in the MTN National MTB Series have all been selected to represent South Africa at the UCI Marathon World Championship in Austria next month.

    Knox is looking forward to the MTN Rooiberg challenge. "It will be an exciting race. I would naturally love to win, but it will not be easy," he said.

    "I understand the terrain is very similar to that of the [Cape] Epic. This means that any rider who does not make sure that he starts the race with the right equipment, could be in for a very long day in the saddle. One mistake and it could be race over. I think punctures could also be a big problem."

    According to Bell, he needs to win to keep his hopes for an overall victory alive. "Actually, I think I need to win all three of the last races in the MTN National MTB Series to be in contention for an overall win. It is tall order, but I am up to the challenge." Bell said that if he wants to beat his teammate, Gawie...

  • Roberts excited by home court advantage at mountain bike Worlds

    Luke Roberts (BMC-SA) will be hoping to put in a strong performance on home soil when he takes part in the highly competitive Under 23 Cross Country race of the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg
    Article published:
    June 14, 2013, 20:43 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Young rider learning lots from international experiences

    Under 23 cross country mountain biking ace Luke Roberts (BMC-SA) is hoping to continue his recent good form and gain invaluable experience with every international appearance he makes in the next couple of months as he seeks to put in a strong challenge in the green and gold at this year's UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa from August 26 to September 1.

    The young Winston Park resident has shown steady form in the early part of the 2013 UCI MTB World Cup season as he tackles his second year in the competitive under 23 men's category.

    Having taken part in countless cross country events at Cascades MTB Park, the host venue for this year's event, and ridden the course endless times in training, Roberts is looking forward to giving it his all against the cream of the sport's under 23 on his home turf.

    "I've been to the last three world champs and now to have the event right here on our doorstep is unbelievable!" said the BMC-SA rider. "The home advantage our guys get is something we'll definitely all be looking to make the most of and make it work for us as best we possibly can."

    "I'm sure the guys will be riding the course a lot so that by the time the event comes in August we'll be so familiar with everything along route, it will almost be a case of letting muscle memory just take over.

    "We will also have the added benefit of being able to practise on the route in all the different conditions which we may be faced with come race day. We'll know what the course is like both in the mud and the rain or when it's hot and dry and that will be a massive advantage," he said.

    With more and more youngsters both in South Africa and around the world being exposed to mountain biking as a sport the under 23 age group, a feeder system from junior into the elite category, has become highly competitive in recent years and it will take some going for Roberts and his fellow countrymen James Reid,...