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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Friday, May 6, 2011

Date published:
May 06, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Henderson grabs first podium in Europe

    Henderson on the podium in Houffalize.
    Article published:
    May 03, 2011, 5:33 BST
    Cycling News

    Aussie encouraged and hoping for more

    Last weekend’s Houffalize World Cup was a successful one for up-and-coming mountain biking talent Bec Henderson. Henderson took second in the under-23 race, 40 seconds behind winner Rozanne Slik (Feenstra Stevens Bike Team) but raced strongly and on another day may well have taken the win.

    "I started really well... and found myself at the front," she said on her blog.

    "I rode the lap shaking and a little uncomfortable thinking - what am I doing here? I don’t belong at the front of the race," the Aussie commented.

    When she was eventually caught at the front, it was only a lapse in concentration that ending up costing her a chance at the win.

    "I made the stupid mistake of looking behind on one of the climbs and stuffed up. This is where she got the gap and that was the race."

    "I gave it everything and got back onto her wheel, only an elite rider got between us and was stubborn and wouldn’t let me through."

    Describing the finale Henderson said that while it was disappointing to have been so close, she was more than happy with second.

    "The gap from me to her [Silk] first got as big as 40 second and as close as 25 seconds on the last lap. I was closing in on her but didn’t have enough in the tank to catch up."

    "I’m not sure what the final gap was [40 seconds], but I was stoked to cross the line in 2nd place, especially in such a highly ranked race."

    The day also marked the Australian’s first drug test for her time in Europe. Henderson was happy to be tested and hoped to be tested more.

    "If you’re being tested, you’re obviously riding well - so I want to be tested as much as possible."

    Henderson’s next race is the Racer Bikes Cup in Solothurn, Switzerland.

    You can follow all of the young Aussie’s riding reports

  • Plaxton and Davison remain 2011 Pro XCT leaders

    Lea Davison (Specialized) settled into second place by herself
    Article published:
    May 03, 2011, 16:24 BST
    Cycling News

    Mellow Johnny's Classic wraps up round four

    Max Plaxton and Lea Davison (Specialized) are the leaders of the US Pro Cross Country Tour (US Pro XCT) following the fourth round at the Mellow Johnny's Classic in Dripping Springs, Texas, on Saturday.

    Plaxton beat his teammate Todd Wells and Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek) for the win in the most recent men's round. On a 90-degree (Fahrenheit) day during which several riders wore ice vests at the starting line, Plaxton used a surge on the last lap to overtake Wells for the win. Plaxton had started the last lap with a deficit of approximately five seconds.

    "I let Todd push the pace at the start and just kind of sat on Sid (Taberlay) and Sam," Plaxton said. "But when Todd got that gap, I knew I couldn't wait too long to catch him. When I got on my own, I found that I was riding that stuff faster than anyone."

    As a result, Plaxton has opened a 40-point margin over Wells in the US Pro XCT standings. Schultz, Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale Factory), who was absent from round four and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Trek) round out the top five. Stephen Ettinger (BMC Mountainbike Development) is the top Under 23 rider, sitting in ninth place.

    In the women's round four, Georgia Gould (Luna Pro) finished five seconds ahead of Davison and Daniela Campuzano (Turbo Bike Team).

    Gould opened an early lead and never relented. "I wanted to be in front and pick my lines," Gould said. "I just rode my own race."

    Davison tried to stay with Gould in the early stages of the race, but changed her strategy at the midpoint. "It was important to relax and ride your own race because when I was focused on catching Georgia, I was all...

  • Tanguy and Beck sweep Cohutta 100 for Team CF

    Christian Tanguy (Team CF) on his way to winning the Cohutta 100
    Article published:
    May 03, 2011, 19:07 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Sornson podium adds to squad's early season success

    The argyle-clad Team CF came out swinging in Ducktown, Tennessee, at the Cohutta 100, the 100-mile National Ultra Endurance (NUE) mountain bike series opener on Saturday. Team CF, now in its sophomore year, has set its sites on dominating the expanded 2011 NUE series. If Saturday's race was any indication, the team will be visiting some more podiums in the near future.

    The men's race came down to aid station 3, where Christian Tanguy broke away from the lead group to chase down Michael Simonson (Gary Fisher/SRAM/Notubes), who was on a flyer. Tanguy went on to a solo win.

    Chris Beck, left alone with last year's series winner Jeff Schalk (Trek), began plotting his attack to ensure a Team CF one-two sweep.

    "At aid station 5, Jeff slowed down to grab a bottle," said Beck. "I figured, I hadn't stopped at an aid station all day, why start now? I had about half a bottle and a shot at the impossible - beating Jeff Schalk in a 100-mile mountain bike race.

    "I trained with Jeff this winter. I knew I was outclassed, but my new team, my supportive family and my new bike inspired me," said Beck, who was on an S-Works 29er. It worked. He attacked, Schalk couldn't answer. And team CF claimed first and second places.

    On the women's side, Cheryl Sornson was hoping to take advantage of her early season race fitness coming off the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race in South Africa to get a "W" in a race where she has been the bridesmaid twice.

    "I came to Cohutta in the best shape I've ever been in this early in the season. I was gunning to hit eight hours and came in at 8:02:54, a personal best," said Sornson.

    That PR wasn't enough to put her ahead of Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt), however, who turned on the heat in the second half to come in at a blistering 7:33:41.

    "I lost her about mile 30. For the rest of the race,...

  • Mata back on top after Whiskey 50 victory

    Pua Mata (Sho-Air/Specialized)
    Article published:
    May 03, 2011, 21:07 BST
    Cycling News

    Sho-Air/Specialized racer beats tough competition in Arizona

    Monique "Pua" Mata served noticed that she is back to her old form, after taking a brief hiatus away from the sport at the end of 2010. Mata won the Whiskey 50 on Sunday in Prescott, Arizona, taking her first major win since rejoining the Sho-Air/Specialized squad for the 2011 season.

    The 2011 women's Whiskey 50 main event was stacked with top female competition, including Catharine Pendrel (Luna), who is currently ranked as the number one female cross country racer in the world. The race also included Kelli Emmett (Giant) and endurance icon Rebecca Rusch (Specialized), among others in the field.

    The race came down to Pendrel, Emmett and Mata, and the latter used her endurance racing savvy to overtake the two racers within the last few miles of the race.

    With just over a few miles to go in the race, Mata caught Pendrel and Emmett on the final descent leading into town. Seeing that her competitors were spent after over three solid hours in the saddle, Mata laid down a final, decisive attack. Then she rode away from both women toward victory.

    "Pua's win makes the whole team so proud," said Sho-Air/Specialized team president R. Scott Tedro. "She's been working hard these last few months and we hope to give her the environment we give all our athletes, and that is a place where they can thrive and focus on winning and being happy.

    "We are excited to have her back onboard with us and focusing solely on endurance events again."

    Earlier this season, Mata also won the first round of the US Pro Ultra Endurance Tour (US Pro UET), the Spa City Extreme in Arkansas.

  • 2011 Crocodile Trophy presented

    Bart Brentjens, Urs Huber and Mike Mulkens are the three top riders from the past two Crocodile Trophy editions
    Article published:
    May 04, 2011, 2:58 BST
    Cycling News

    New finish for Australian mountain bike stage race

    The Crocodile Trophy mountain bike stage race will be held for the 17th time on October 18-27, 2011. Organizers presented this year's edition of the race, including its motto "Back to the roots ... and aiming high".

    The 2011 race will go further into the Australian outback than usual, so racers can expect more nature and less civilization.

    Starting at the infamous "Lagoon" in Cairns, the race will head towards the "Grassy Hill" in Cooktown. The historic township in Far North Queensland has already hosted 13 stages for the Crocodile Trophy in recent years; however, it will be the first time as the race's final destination.

    Between the tropical, holiday resort and the picturesque finish line at the foot of a lighthouse are 10 stages and 1,200 kilometres of heat, sand and physical exertion. The deliberate move away from civilization will test racers' endurance.

    "We will stay overnight in little villages only twice, for all other stages we will set up camp in the bush, rainforest, on rivers or lakes," said race organiser Gerhard Schoenbacher.

    It is expected that the top three finishers in the 2010 edition of the race will be back to battle again.

    Belgian Mike Mulkes, who finished third the past two years, has already confirmed his participation. Two-time runner-up and Olympic Champion Bart Brentjens of the Netherlands is bringing along reinforcements with his Milka Trek teammate Jeroen Boelen and said, "Slowly but surely, it's time for a new Croc champion."

    Two-time winner Urs Huber was probably thinking otherwise when he registered last week. The Swiss rider will be aiming for his third overall win.

    A larger than ever international field is expected with riders from Europe, Australia, South Korea, Mexico, the US and South Africa.

    2011 Crocodile Trophy
    Stage 1: Cairns - Lake Tinaroo, 98km
    Stage 2: Lake Tinaroo - Koombooloomba, 127km
    Stage 3: Koombooloomba -...

  • Schurter aims for fifth win of the season in Solothurn

    Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) races in Houffalize
    Article published:
    May 05, 2011, 19:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Tough competition at next Racer Bikes Cup round

    The next round of the Racer Bikes Cup in Solothurn will be a part of the Swiss Velo Bike Festival Days, which last year drew more than 17,500 people. Nino Schurter, 2010 World Cup overall champion and winner of the first 2011 World Cup round, will face tough competition like Florian Vogel, the Flückiger brothers, Martin Gujan, Christoph Sauser, Patrick Gallati and German champion Milatz Moritz.

    A tight battle is also expected in the women's race between last year's winner Esther Süss, who is the marathon world champion and Olympic champion Sabine Spitz. Irina Kalentieva is another favorite while Swiss stars Katrin Leumann and Nathalie Schneitter and Italian Eva Lechner are also podium contenders.

    The festivities will kick off with a short format race on Friday evening. Schurter and Dario Cologna will go head to head in the sprint distance event. Last year, two Swiss racers won this event: Severin Disch and Nathalie Schneitter. Racers will compete a time trial over two laps.

    On Saturday, Schurter will be targeting his fifth victory of the season in the cross country race. He's already won Racer Bikes Cup rounds in Schaan and Tesserete and the World Cup Opener. Last weekend, he took top honors in Houffalize.

    "Events such as the Bike Festival Days are very important for me because I get to compete with the world's elite," said Schurter. "So I get to know more about my form and how strong the competition is. Of course, it would be nice if I could bring home a victory this year, but the competition will be tough."

    "Solothurn is a very special race given the high proportion of asphalt - a bit like a road race," said Milatz. "It will be important to be among the frontrunners at the beginning, as the pace from the start will surely be very high. I am highly motivated, after all, this is a home race for our BMC team. I will try to beat Nino and Florian,...

  • New Ride Sun Valley Festival includes US Mountain Bike Nationals

    A rider flies along singletrack in Sun Valley, Idaho
    Article published:
    May 05, 2011, 19:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Championship races and fun events and rides pack the schedule

    The Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival, presented by Scott Sports, will be held in conjunction with the 2011 USA Cycling Mountain Bike Cross Country National Championships on July 14-17 in Sun Valley, Idaho. The week-long event will include the three national championship race disciplines of cross country, short track and super D as well as events like a fat tire criterium, a pump track championship and plenty of riding.

    "We couldn't be more pleased to be hosting an event of this caliber and starting a tradition of celebrating the amazing mountain biking which we are so stoked to have here," said Greg Randolph, General Manager of the Sun Valley Chamber of Commerce. "Once people get a taste of our community, trails, and surroundings, the biggest challenge will be leaving."

    On Thursday evening, July 14, a Fat Tire Criterium for cyclists of all ages and experience levels will be run in downtown Ketchum. Held on a fast, technical course, this race is designed to create inspiring rides and spectator excitement.

    The cross country, super D and short track races will be held on Bald Mountain, a ski area operated by Sun Valley Resort. Over 1,000 racers are expected to participate. Scott will be backing a two-day all mountain competition, combining the results of the super D and cross country races.

    There will also be a "Week of Epic Rides", which are daily guided and shuttled mountain bike rides in addition to the aptly named "Ride Sun Valley Local Stoker Rides" that will feature some of Sun Valley's most epic trails. Cyclists can experience the regional back country scenery while riding demanding Northwest trails.

    On Saturday, July 16, the Ketchum Bike Parks pump track will host the Second Annual Idaho Pump Track State Championship. Riding on the success of 2010's event, this year's competition is prepared to bring the next level of pump track racing to the national stage. This fun, family-oriented event, will round out the week's...

  • Nash strikes balance between mountain bike and 'cross racing

    Katerina Nash (Luna Pro Team)
    Article published:
    May 06, 2011, 3:43 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Video: Luna racer gets mountain bike season off to later start

    Katerina Nash is the only original member of the Luna Women's Pro Cycling team still racing. The elite Czech racer competes regularly in mountain bike races and cyclo-cross and is in her 10th year with the Luna squad. Cyclingnews recently spoke with her to talk about her 2011 mountain bike season just as she was kicking it off.

    "It's amazing - hard to believe," said Nash when asked about her longevity on the squad. "People ask me why I've been on the same team so long, but I say, why wouldn't I? The fact that I'm starting the 10th year, I think explains everything."

    When Nash started racing in Luna colors, she was teammates with former world champion Alison Dunlap, Marla Streb, Kelli Emmett and Gina Hall.

    The 33-year-old Nash has kept racing fresh and interesting by mixing competition in several disciplines: mountain bike, road and cyclo-cross. She's best known for the off-road disciplines, which she says compliment each other, but uses the road races mostly for training.

    "At the end of the day, it's still about pedalling your bike," said Nash. "Of course, mountain bikers have an easier time jumping in the 'cross races and road races because we bring the skills from the dirt, but it's the other way around, too. Plenty of roadies come do 'cross races and mountain bike races. I think you just have to ride your bike hard and the technique and the terrain will also play a role."

    "Cross and mountain biking go hand in hand. There are a lot of overlaps in technique," said Nash. "In 'cross you get to use tactics a bit more just because you stay with a pack a bit longer. That helps in short track or in cross country courses that have a lot of pavement."

    Nash spends summers in the northern hemisphere racing her mountain...