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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Friday, March 9, 2012

Date published:
March 09, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Kenda/Felt Team ready to roll for 2012

    Defending women's champion Amanda Carey (Kenda-Felt) would finish 4th in the 2011 edition.
    Article published:
    February 29, 2012, 14:15 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Wilderman, Edsall join Cares, Carey and Schultz

    The Kenda/Felt Pro Mountain Bike Team announced its team roster for the 2012 racing season. The team is bringing back veterans with results while adding some new talent.

    Returning riders include reigning National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series Champion Amanda Carey and former cross country U23 champions Colin Cares and Andy Schultz. Carey has entered and won 10 NUEs over the past three years. Defending that title is her top goal for 2012. Cares was on the podium at US marathon nationals and the Whiskey Offroad last year. He will be back for more, as will 2010 Whiskey winner Schultz.

    Drew Edsall and Sage Wilderman are new to the team. Edsall will race a schedule similar to last year: US Pro XCTs, NUEs and stage races. Sage will be building on the successes of her first year in the elite pro field. In 2010, Wilderman won the U23 cross country national championship, the collegiate national downhill, the collegiate national short track and took second in the collegiate national cross country. We are excited to see her impressive talents grow.

    The Kenda/Felt Team will compete in races across the country this year, including the complete US Pro XCT Series, NUE Series races, US cross country and marathon national championships and stage races including the Trans-Sylvania Epic and the Furious 3.

    Kenda USA is back as title sponsor for the sixth consecutive year. Kenda Tire is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

    Bicycle sponsor Felt is back with the team for the third season. Athletes will be racing the 26-inch dual suspension Edict LTD with 100mm of travel in the rear or the 29-inch Nine LTD.

    2012 Kenda/Felt Pro Mountain Bike Team
    Colin Cares (cross country, marathon)
    Amanda Carey (marathon, stage racing)
    Drew Edsall (cross country, marathon, stage racing)
    Andy Schultz...

  • Video: Bishop begins Olympic mountain bike quest

    Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale Factory Racing) at his team camp in Finale Ligure, Italy
    Article published:
    March 01, 2012, 18:18 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    American targets early World Cups in bid to make US team

    Jeremiah Bishop has stepped up to the top level of the Cannondale Factory Team for 2012 as he tries to make the US Olympic Team for the 2012 London Olympic Games in August. The mountain biker was named to the US Olympic Long Team last fall and is among those riders competing for one of two male spots on the finalized US Olympic Team.

    "I'm on the official UCI elite team roster for Cannondale Factory Racing this year," Bishop, 35, told Cyclingnews during his team's camp in Finale Ligure, Italy, on Wednesday. "Last year I was a guest rider because I had focused on stage races and endurance events before that."

    While many riders of Bishop's age and experience are moving from cross country to marathon-type racing, Bishop went the other way. Yes, he used to race World Cup cross countries, but in recent years he had switched to the endurance side of the sport of mountain biking. However, with the Olympic Games looming on the horizon, he decided to give it one more shot at getting there after having never previously qualified for the US Olympic team.

    "At this point the Olympics is an opportunity I can't afford to pass up," he said. "I know what I'm best at and what I love, but to represent team USA at the Olympics would be an incredible lifetime achievement.

    "Last year was an experiment (going back to cross country racing) and it went great," he said. "I had a fantastic early season and started off with some wins and proved myself."

    In 2011, Bishop came out on fire to start the season at the early US Pro XCT races. The performances signalled his return to Olympic-style racing and got him the attention he needed to be selected for the US team headed to the 2011 Pan Am Games. He got...

  • Brosnan, King and Blair in the box seat in Newcastle

    Troy Brosnan showed plenty of class to take the men's title.
    Article published:
    March 01, 2012, 23:40 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Australian mountain bike series wraps up this weekend

    All eyes will focus on the best mountain bikers in the Australia racing in the final round of the Real Insurance Australian Mountain Bike Season in Newcastle this weekend, March 2-4.

    The season that began in Perth in November has travelled to Thredbo, Mt Buller and Canberra, through all kinds of challenging terrain and conditions.

    The revamped Real Insurance Australian 2011-2012 MTB season was divided into two halves, with the Gravity Cup encompassing the downhill side of the sport and the All Mountain Cup providing the stage for the cross country riders to battle on.

    Gravity Cup

    In the men's side of the Gravity Cup, reigning dual junior world champion and newly crowned downhill national champion Troy Brosnan is leading the season by a dominant 79.5 points from over three-time elite world champion Sam Hill. With 120 points on offer for the Gravity Cup in Newcastle, Brosnan will be the clear favourite to take the Cup, a phenomenal achievement in his rookie season in the elite category.

    2006 junior world champion Tracey Hannah has already won the women's Gravity Cup with a safe 151-point lead. And while the recently crowned downhill national champion will not be present due to international commitments, she will leave both the mountain bike community and her competitors in awe of her flawless undefeated season in her return to the sport. Michelle Crisp and Trudy Nicholas sit in a close second and third respectively, and are expected to have a great battle in Newcastle.

    All Mountain Cup

    In the All Mountain Cup, experience is shining through with two of Australia's senior riders currently in the lead, with Andrew Blair holding a 33-point lead from 2004 Olympian Sid Taberlay.

    With 80 points up for grabs, Taberley would need to find some of his best form to attempt to reel-in Blair, who after an excellent first two rounds of the series reconfigured his goals and has...

  • Gallery: Cannondale Factory Racing holds high Olympic hopes

    The Cannondale Factory Racing Team
    Article published:
    March 02, 2012, 13:41 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Mountain bike team launched for 2012

    Cannondale Factory Racing launched its complete mountain bike team for 2012 in Finale Ligure, Italy, from Tuesday through Thursday of this week. Cross country, endurance and overmountain athletes from all over the globe were on hand; it was the first time in its four-year history that Cannondale Factory Racing brought all its mountain bike athletes together for a team launch

    More than just a collection of uniquely talented mountain bike athletes, the Cannondale Factory Racing team is just as much a collection of unique personalities. The team tends to recruit athletes and then nurture long-term relationships with them. Even with two new riders on the 2012 team, the average amount of time all current team members have been with the team is five years.

    Among the veterans are endurance racer Tinker Juarez, who has been with Cannondale and its various teams for 18 years. Aaron Chase is not far behind, with 15 years. Juarez has ridden with every related squad so far: Volvo Cannondale, Siemens Cannondale, Sobe Cannondale, Cannondale Vredestein and Cannondale Factory Racing.

    The manager of the UCI elite cross country mountain bike team, Daniel Hespeler, introduced his star line-up including Manuel Fumic, Marco Fontana, Martin Gujan and Jeremiah Bishop. Their goals for 2012 are to get an Olympic medal in London in August and get Cannondale Factory Racing its first World Cup win.

    Fumic is a former world champion, two-time Olympian and is known as an explosive, mentally strong and experienced type of rider from Germany. Fontana, an Italian, is a newer school kind of mountain biker and a regular World Cup podium contender with both mountain bike and cyclo-cross national titles on his palmares. Bishop is a former US short track and marathon national champion...

  • Fontana injured in crash with journalist

    Marco Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing)
    Article published:
    March 02, 2012, 16:50 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Italian mountain bike champion dislocates shoulder

    Marco Fontana crashed and injured his shoulder while riding at his Cannondale Factory Team camp in Finale Ligure, Italy, on Wednesday. As a result, Fontana currently has his arm in a sling and is off the bike, but he is eager to get back to preparing for the first UCI Mountain Bike World Cup of 2012 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

    "We were riding with journalists on a trail, and a guy in front of me went sideways and crashed," said Fontana to Cyclingnews. "I couldn't go anywhere else, hit his back wheel and fell down on my shoulder and dislocated it."

    "I had to go to the hospital and have them put it in again." The shoulder was out of its socket for about one hour, but Fontana was optimistic about his recovery.

    "Normally athletes have a quick recovery for this kind of stuff. They said how long recovery would take at the hospital, but you know in the hospital they say a lot of things. If they say 20 days, I say half of that and then half of that again."

    It wasn't the first time that Fontana has dislocated his shoulder. In the other instance, he was also riding in Finale Ligure, about two years ago. "It was the end of the season two years ago and I was kind of racing with a dirt jumper downhill," he said. "He didn't think I could go that fast. That time, my physio was able to put my shoulder back in right away. Since then, I have trained my shoulder to get it stronger. So I had more muscles this time and it was harder to put back in because the muscles were all tight this time around."

    Fontana will visit his doctor in Milan tomorrow for a more thorough assessment. "My physio says it's not a big deal and that I'll be able to compete in South Africa. What I have to see is how many days...

  • Cyprus Sunshine Cup wraps up in Amathous

    Annika Langvad (Fujibikes Rockets) races downhill
    Article published:
    March 02, 2012, 18:20 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Kalentieva returns to competition

    The final round of the 2012 Cyprus Sunshine Cup will happen this weekend in Amathous. Fabian Giger and Emil Lindgren are vying for the men's overall title in Amathous, while Annika Langvad is a strong bet to lock up the women's title.

    The men's field will not be as strong in the final round as some of the top riders have departed the island to finish preparing for the UCI World Cup opener in two weeks. Among them are Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized Factory Racing), who won the first two rounds, Manuel Fumic (Cannondale Factory Racing) and Wolfram Kurschat (Topeak Ergon).

    The favorite riders who are left for Sunday's contest are Maxime Marotte (BH-Suntour-Peisey-Vallandry) and Rabobank-Giant guys Giger and Lindgren. Giger currently has a small advantage over Lindgren in the overall.

    U23 world champion Thomas Litscher (Felt Ötztal X-Bionic), if recovered from his bad crash on Sunday, should also be a podium candidate on the 5.5-kilometer lap, which is situated directly on the coast on the outskirts of Limassol.

    Among the women, the same top contenders of the two previous weeks will be joined by two-time world champion Irina Kalentieva (Topeak-Ergon) from Russia, who returns to racing after two weeks of training.

    "I will be better at Amathous," said Kalentieva after her appearance at the opener in Voroklini. She is expected to challenge marathon world champion Annika Langvad (Fujibikes Rockets).

    Olympic gold medalist Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz-Haibike) suffered from a cold at Afxentia, and her condition is still in doubt heading into the weekend. Her teammate Tereza Hurikova may be one to watch. Just days ago, she showed herself so strong that nobody could follow. Her confidence should have risen after her two stage wins in Macheras Forest.

    German Adelheid Morath (Felt Ötztal X-Bionic), former U23 world champion Tanja Zakelj...

  • US Pro XCT round 2 heads to Bonelli Park

    The elite men's podium at the 2011 Bonelli Park US Pro XCT
    Article published:
    March 08, 2012, 21:50 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Bishop, Gould aim to defend last year's victories

    Round two of the 2012 USA Cycling Pro Mountain Bike Cross Country Tour (US Pro XCT) will be hosted this weekend at Bonelli Park located in San Dimas, California. With weather predicted in the mid 70s, the course and elements should be near perfect.

    The Bonelli Park US Cup Triple Crown presented by Kenda will take place over two days, starting with the US Pro XCT racing on Saturday, March 10 and finishing on Sunday with amateur cross country as well as pro and amateur short track racing. Over 700 racers are expected to descend upon Bonelli over the two days of racing, including cross country, short track and Super D.

    Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale Factory Racing) will be looking to defend his 2011 win at Bonelli Park as will 2011 women's winner Georgia Gould (Luna). Men's U23 series leader Brendon Davids put in an impressive ride at last week's opener, taking 10th overall coming from a mid 40s starting position. The Sho-Air/Specialized rider is looking to best that finish this weekend and retain his U23 series points lead.

    Bonelli Park is an urban venue, located in the heart of the Los Angeles metropolis, nestled in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountain range. The US Cup has spent countless man hours over the last few years transforming the terrain into a world class course, fit for hosting the world's best cross country athletes. Last year's course was met with rave reviews from pro and amateur racers alike.

    The 3.1-mile, UCI regulation pro cross country course is a mixture of fast rolling fire road, short punchy climbs and steep twisting descents with four hundred feet of climbing per lap that will challenge riders to their limit. Natural and manmade obstacles have been strategically selected to elevate the difficulty of the course and offer pro riders a World Cup style...

  • 2012 UCI Oceania Mountain Bike Championships about to launch

    Kiwi mountainbiker, Rosara Joseph (Rabobank) in the bunch
    Article published:
    March 09, 2012, 3:27 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Super D and cross country eliminator make debut at Oceanias

    The 2012 edition of the southern hemisphere's most important mountain bike race is all set to go this weekend, in the Whakarewarewa Forest in Rotorua. The RaboDirect Oceania Mountain Bike Championships, presented by Nature Valley returns to New Zealand every second year, and its status continues to grow as the highest level domestic mountain bike event for all of the Oceania countries represented.

    Rotorua is no stanger to hosting high level international mountain bike events - last hosting the Oceanias as a lead-in event to the 2006 world championships. Many of the same organising crew are involved for local hosts the Rotorua Mountain Bike Club, and a great deal of pride is taken with ensuring the event is up to scratch and worthy of the support of Oceania's best mountain bike athletes. Tremendous local support has kicked in behind the club this year, with major backing also coming from the Rotorua District Council - always on board for anything mountain bike-related in this riding destination.

    Action begins in earnest on Friday, with the super D event taking place during the afternoon and early evening. Best described as a downhill endurance event, super D commonly draws the best cross country and downhill exponents together on a course that evens out the playing field for both. This is only the second time super D has been run at a national level in New Zealand - trialled recently and successfully at the national championships in Nelson at the end of January.

    The Oceania super D has also drawn Taupo's John Kirkcaldie out of retirement - Kirkcaldie was a trailblazing downhill racer in the late 90s and early part of this century, retiring from competition at the conclusion of the Rotorua world championships. A multi-time NORBA champion, the lure of Rotorua and competition couldn't be...