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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Friday, November 2, 2012

Date published:
November 02, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Schwalbe Euro Four Cross Series announced for 2013

    A four cross racer in Leibstadt
    Article published:
    October 26, 2012, 18:04 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Popular series returns with three rounds

    The Schwalbe Euro Four Cross Series will be back for 2013. In its third year with Schwalbe as title sponsor, the series will run over three rounds on some of Europe's top four cross tracks.

    The Euro 4X Series was created four years ago to provide a vital step for riders between national events and the World Cup series. The 4X ProTour has now replaced the World Cup Series, but the Schwalbe Euro 4X Series still provides a vital learning ground for riders to gain experience and race at international events before taking on the ProTour.

    2012 Euro 4X Champions Scott Beaumont and Katy Curd are already confirmed to be back to defend their titles in 2013. Tomas Slavik, Joost Wichman, Mechura Brothers, Felix Beckeman, Lucia Oetjens, Anneke Beerten and Celine Gros will be fighting for the overall title.

    However, as mentioned, this series is not just about the stars of the sport. It was created to give riders a great opportunity to sample international events, without the pressure of world competitions. The atmosphere is relaxed, and the pro riders will be on hand to offer advice and help to new riders in the series.

    In 2012, over 250 riders took part in the Schwalbe Euro 4X Series and in 2013, still more are expected.

    Round 1 will be in Winterberg, Germany on May 19, 2013. The permanent track in Winterberg Bike Park, provided an opening round in 2012 with close racing and action from start to finish.

    Round 2 will be held at Harthill in the United Kingdom on June 6, 2013, and will take place one week before the 4X ProTour round in Fort William. Harthill is a high speed track in central England that is undergoing some track changes this winter.

    Round 3 will be held in Leibstadt, Switzerland on August 11. Its 4X track features a permanent Bensink start gate, clubhouse and massive LCD TVs in the clubhouse that show all races live.

    For more information, visit

  • Trek continues support for cross country mountain bike racers

    Anton Cooper (New Zealand) on his way to winning the junior world championship in Saalfelden, Austria
    Article published:
    October 26, 2012, 20:32 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Future for former Trek World Racing riders to be determined

    Following news of the end of the cross country racing part of the Trek World Racing team earlier this week, Trek will continue to support cross country racing at various levels.

    When asked whether Subaru-Trek or another Trek-sponsored team would absorb some or all of Trek World Racing's cross country stars, Team Manager Jon Rourke told Cyclingnews, "At this time, I can tell you Trek is still very much committed to cross country racing both at the international/World Cup level as well as in various domestic markets worldwide. Negotiations are still ongoing for the 2013 team roster."

    Rourke noted that in the past,  Trek athletes, including those on both Trek World Racing and Subaru-Trek teams, had participated in a variety of types of cross country and endurance-type events, from Leadville to marathons and stage races.

    "So while those may not be the focus of World Cup sponsored athletes, we will have a quiver of riders racing aboard Treks pursuing victories in those categories," said Rourke.

    Three cross country athletes were part of the Trek World Racing cross country team in 2012: Mathias and Lukas Flückiger, both of Switzerland, and Anton Cooper, of New Zealand.  The Flückiger brothers both made the cross country world championship podium this year while Cooper won the junior cross country world title.

  • Knox achieves goal with marathon series win

    Max Knox being chased down by Kevin Evans in the flowing singletrack
    Article published:
    October 29, 2012, 19:18 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    South African is one of a few to dominate national marathon series

    2012 will be remembered as the year in which Max Knox (Specialized) fulfilled his mountain bike potential by winning South Africa's MTN National Marathon Series.

    For his loyal fans, his success was a long time in the making, especially because they had already predicted five years ago that Knox had what it takes to become one of South Africa's best mountain bikers. The main reason why his success took such a long time to materialize was mechanical failures at crucial moments during races.

    Knox has always been quite philosophical about his bad luck. "That is mountain biking for you. You have to learn to take the good with the bad," is his famous quote. A fierce battle for supremacy has been going on in the MTN National MTB series between Knox and Kevin Evans (Nedbank360Life) during the past three years. Evans can truly be called Knox's nemesis.

    In 2010, Evans managed to win four races and Knox two. Last year, Evans won two races and Knox one.

    This year, Knox finally managed to turn the tables on Evans by winning three out of the eight races (Clarens, Gravel Travel and Hilton). Evans was victorious on two occasions (MTN Sabie and MTN Ride Crater Cruise).

    The way in which Knox and Evans have been able to dominate the series since 2010 is somewhat disconcerting. Of a total of 22 races, they managed to win 14 between them. If the results of David George (Nedbank360Life) are also brought into the equation, it means that three riders managed to win 17 of the races.

    Between the three of them, they can also boast with 10 second places and eight third...

  • Applications invited for 2013 Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew visit

    Brian Matter (Gear Grinder / Trek) sets the pace through the singletrack for Nathan Guerra (Wheel and Sprocket / Vision) and Jesse Lalonde (Lalonde Brothers Racing / T6).
    Article published:
    October 29, 2012, 20:22 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Program celebrates 16 years

    The International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) is accepting applications for receiving a visit from the Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew in 2013. The deadline for bike clubs, local trail groups and land management agencies to apply is Monday, November 5.

    Active organizations are invited to apply for this opportunity to learn about sustainable trail building, club growth and community trails development.

    Thanks to ongoing support from Subaru of America, IMBA will celebrate the 16th anniversary of its Trail Care Crew program in 2013. Two crews of professional educators and trail builders travel the US 10 months each year, teaching sustainable trailbuilding, energizing mountain biking communities and bringing together land managers, city officials and trail users.

    The required weekend component, the IMBA Trail Building School, is a half-day of classroom education followed by several hours of building new trail, rerouting and reclaiming old trail or adding new features to an existing trail.

    The Trail Care Crews also offer several presentations designed to bring different groups to the table, helping to grow acceptance of mountain biking and trailbuilding.

    Club Care is designed to teach mountain biking groups how to grow their membership, sustain leadership, remain fresh and fun and better reach out to their communities.

    Land Manager Training educates those overseeing the places where you ride about IMBA's mission, managing mountain biking on public lands and the methods and importance of sustainable trailbuilding.

    Better Living Through Trails is a great way to bring together community and business leaders to teach them about the economic, health and wellness benefits that trails and mountain biking bring to an area.

    For more information about the program or to apply for a 2013 Trail Care Crew visit, go to

  • Mountain Bike Australia's President speaks out against doping

    Russ Baker, president of Mountain Bike Australia
    Article published:
    October 30, 2012, 4:04 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Baker responds in wake of cycling's recent doping news

    The President of Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA), Russell Baker, sent a strong anti-doping message recently to the organization's members. Baker spoke out adamantly against doping generally and proposed that key personnel associated with MTBA take an anti-doping pledge.

    "I wish to make my position on the use of performance enhancing drugs in sport abundantly clear," wrote Baker in a statement to MTBA members on October 24. "I abhor them and they represent a tarnishing blight on sport, creating an environment in which drug cheats damage the reputation of the whole sport and deny rightful team placings and professional careers to clean athletes. In short, I would rather our riders come 50th clean, than win dirty. Cheating is not the Australian way.

    Noting that mountain biking is a way many future road pros come into the sport of cycling, Baker said, "While mountain biking is an international sport in its own right, it is also an introductory and pathway sport to road cycling for many riders. We have an obligation to young riders entering our sport, and to their parents, to provide them with a safe and drug-free environment in which to begin their sporting careers and develop their personal sporting values. We must never forget that we are the first exposure to competitive cycling for many young Australians. We also have obligations to those who support our sport, from Governments through Sponsors to the countless volunteers without whom mountain biking would not happen in Australia.

    "I will be proposing to the MTBA Management Committee for their approval, that the MTBA Management Committee, Staff, Selectors, Coaches, Managers and Contractors sign statements reflecting their noninvolvement in performance enhancing drugs. We will also look to those who act as role models and mentors for our riders as they enter the top-level competitive ranks, and seek the same commitment from them. We already require similar commitment from our riders when...

  • Cape Epic mountain bike stage race presented for 2013

    Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser in Koggelberg Biosphere during stage 5 of the 2012 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race from the Overberg Primary & High School in Caledon to Oak Valley Wine Estate in the Elgin Valley, South Africa on the 30 March 2012
    Article published:
    October 31, 2012, 20:20 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    New route will take participants through unexplored territory in 2013

    The new route of the 10th edition of the Absa Cape Epic, which will take place from March 17 to March 24, 2013, promises to be as exciting and challenging as previous years. Both local and international riders will take on the demanding eight-day mountain bike race over 698km with 15,650m of climbing from Citrusdal to Lourensford Wine Estate.

    The route, which changes significantly each year, will lead 1,200 participating cyclists, world champions and dedicated amateurs, through vast distances of challenging terrain. With its unexplored landscapes, the stage locations of Citrusdal, Tulbagh, Wellington and Stellenbosch await the most prestigious mountain bike stage race in the world, before riders again finish at the Lourensford Wine Estate, as has been tradition since 2007.

    One of the most visited tourist attractions in the southern hemisphere, the Victoria & Alfred (V&A) Waterfront, will again play host to the opening celebrations and registration for this pioneering, tough and breathtaking mountain bike race on March 15-16, 2013.

    For the sixth time in the Cape Epic's history, riders will compete in a prologue. A common feature in road cycling Grand Tours, the prologue at Meerendal Wine Estate will allow spectators to see teams race against the clock. This showcase event will decide which teams will wear the coveted leaders' jerseys at the start of stage 1 on Monday, March 18, from Citrusdal.

    "The Absa Cape Epic has again selected some of the finest terrain that the Western Cape has to offer," said Kevin Vermaak, Director and Founder of the Cape Epic. "Our route designers have managed the perfect balance between challenging terrain, exciting singletrack and scenic beauty in their quest for the ultimate mountain biking experience."

    "We'd like to honour the effort that so many of the world's top riders make to ride the race, travelling from around the world to be here, with our increased prize purse of R1 million,"...

  • Wells returns to La Ruta to defend title

    Race leader Todd Wells (Specialized)
    Article published:
    November 01, 2012, 11:35 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Last year's winner predicts shorter race will still be plenty hard

    Todd Wells (Specialized Racing) is returning to La Ruta de los Conquistadores to defend his overall victory from 2011. Back to Costa Rica for his second year of competing in the mountain bike stage race, he is looking forward to the start at 6:00 am on Thursday morning.

    "Last year, I didn't expect to do so well, but I had better training coming in, had better fitness and was a little bit lighter," said Wells to Cyclingnews. "This year, I don't know... we'll see. I have more knowledge of the course this year, so I'm hoping that will offset my extra weight and a little bit less fitness."

    It's the end of a long, difficult though successful 2012 Olympic season for the American, but despite the toll its taken, he didn't want to miss out on returning to La Ruta.

    "With the World Cups starting early this year, and then I had an injury, that took a lot of mental energy. Then there were the Olympics, which are so crazy and took a lot of mental energy. I feel like this season has been extra long and extra hard," he said.

    "Coming back to La Ruta, I'm not in as good shape as last year, but coming down here, the people are awesome, the course is cool, and it's such a great experience. Even if I felt a little off, I'd want to come down and defend the jersey and take part in a great event."

    The 20th edition of La Ruta returns to a three-day format and when asked how that might affect the race, Wells said, "I saw that the race will be shorter and maybe it will be faster, but what we saw last year was that it was the first day and then the places only changed a little after that. The first day is the longest, hardest day. The second day can also have some impact, but that third day, we don't have any of the climbs we...

  • Booyens and Laws to compete in 2013 Cape Epic

    Ladies overall and stage winners Hanlie Booyens and Sharon Laws embrace one another after the final stage.
    Article published:
    November 02, 2012, 2:40 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Duo to celebrate 10th edition of mountain bike stage race

    The most televised mountain bike stage race in the world, the Absa Cape Epic, will be in its 10th year in 2013. This legendary eight-day duo team stage race, which attracts the world's most accomplished and seasoned riders, will take place from March 17-24 next year. With the ladies' division set to be as exciting as the men's, distinguished riders Hanlie Booyens and her partner Sharon Laws, will be aiming to give 110% and celebrate the 10th Cape Epic as well as the growth of the sport.

    Thirty nine-year-old Hanlie Booyens, who lives and trains in Stellenbosch, will be participating with 38-year-old Sharon Laws as team Pragma Ladies. Booyens finished first in the ladies' category in 2004 and 2009, with partner Laws. Further to this, she has took second place in 2005, fourth place in 2008 and third place in 2011, with her respective racing partners. "I don't know what makes me come back for more. This is a question I've asked myself many, many times. Maybe the hype. Maybe the personal challenge or maybe it's the friends I've made for life. It's a strange thing - I both hate and love it!" said Booyens.

    Booyens will ride for physical asset management company Pragma, for the first time in 2013. She said tongue in cheek, "It's not a case of who you are but who you know. I've been in discussions with Pragma on previous occasions, but this was the first year where it worked for all involved. They're now such an integral part of the race that it made a lot of sense to approach them for assistance and we're immensely grateful for their willingness to support us in 2013."

    After taking first place in the ladies' category in 2009, for the second time, Laws and Booyens made a pact to come back for the 10th edition of the race. "It will be a reunion, an anniversary of the start of a great friendship and a thank you for 10 years of solid bike racing! A podium spot will be a fantastic bonus but in all honesty we're here to celebrate the 10th anniversary...