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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Friday, September 7, 2012

Date published:
September 07, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Peat on target for Worlds after Bringewood victory

    Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate)
    Article published:
    August 29, 2012, 3:02 BST
    Cycling News

    Moseley ready for final appearance at Championships

    Steve Peat (Santa Cruz - Syndicate) and Tracey Moseley (T-Mo Racing) took their first British Downhill Series wins of the year when in Bringewood at the weekend. ‘Peaty’ and Mosely will now turn their attention to the upcoming UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Austria on 2 September.

    Peat took out the Elite men’s field ahead of Joseph Smith and Matthew Simmonds after qualifying in third sport the day before. The multiple World Cup and World Championship-winner rode a time of 2:27 and finished a full 3 seconds faster than second-place Smith to capture the win.

    "The course has been pretty tough all weekend," Peat told British Cycling. "We had a lot of bad weather yesterday afternoon and the course rutted up pretty bad in the top woods but it did seem to clear out this morning," he said.

    The Santa Cruz - Syndicate rider is looking to capture his second World Championship title - in just a couple of days - after his emotional win in Canberra back in 2009. The win in Bringewood delivered a much-needed confidence boost for the 38-year-old.

    "I'm happy to take a win to go to the World Championships next week. This is my first National win for quite a while, I've had a few 2nds and 3rds, I was injured at the beginning of the year so it feels like I've had to build up from there and it's coming good at the right time," he said.

    Moseley has been absent for most of the year after turning her attention to endurance racing but after a dominant performance in the women’s field, looks to end her downhill career on a high in Austria.

    "This is my first national series race this year, I did Fort William World cup and Val D'Isere but crashed out in qualifying so this is the...

  • Preview: UCI Downhill and Four Cross Mountain Bike World Championships

    Gee Atherton (Great Britain) in the fog
    Article published:
    August 31, 2012, 20:36 BST
    Rob Jones

    Top riders descend on Austria

    Ten years after the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships took place in Kaprun, Austria, the event has returned to the same region for the 2012 edition, to take place in Leogang for the gravity events and Saalfelden for the cross country.

    The championships kick off with the fan favourite downhill and four cross events, running August 31 to September 2 in the village of Leogang, well known for the World Cup it has hosted over the past few years. The competition begins with the four cross starting qualifying on Friday evening and the finals on Saturday evening, and then followed by the downhill finals on Sunday.  There is no official qualifying round at Worlds.

    The 450-meter four cross course was designed by German pro Guido Tschugg for the World Cup series and has been updated, while still retaining many of the features that have made it so exciting. Out of the start, the riders hit a sharp left and then right turn before negotiating the rock garden and then a third banked turn. From there, they jump a bridge and negotiate a washboard section before a final right turn and jump into the finishing straight.

    The women's field is headed by Anneke Beerten (Netherlands), the defending world champion, who qualified first, just ahead of Romana Labounkova (Czech Republic). Others to watch for include American Melissa Buhl, the 2008 world champion, and local Austrian favourite Anita Molcik, who will certainly step up her game in front of the home crowd.

    On the men's side, there is likely to be a battle between the three Czech riders - Michal Prokop, Tomas Slavik and Lukas Mechura - however, David Graf (Switzerland) has regularly made the podium and will certainly be a factor, after qualifying first, just in front of Slavik and Prokop.

    The 2.6km downhill run will favour riders with fitness and endurance. The very fast course has a "Bike Park" feel to it, and requires riders to pedal hard to maintain speed all the way...

  • Australian 2013 MTB National Series schedule announced

    Tracey Hannah races toward victory at Stromlo Forest Park
    Article published:
    September 04, 2012, 6:19 BST
    Cycling News

    National Championships return to Stromlo, Tasmania to host Oceanias

    Mountain Bike racing will return to Mt Buller in the Victorian high country this summer with Cycling Australia and MTBA announcing that it will host the first of three events in the elite 2013 MTB National Series.

    The summer schedule will also include the Subaru MTB National Championships in Canberra from February 19-24, followed by the Oceania Championships in Glenorchy, Tasmania from 27-31 March.

    "Mt Buller and our neighbour Mt Stirling have some of the most amazing MTB single track in Australia, so we're thrilled to host the opening round of the MTBA National Series," said Katie Bowker, Events Manager at Mt Buller.

    MTBA President Russell Baker was just as enthusiastic.

    "Mt Buller has seen very exciting racing in previous national rounds. It is a great venue for the start of the new series, and also a great location to start the new means of delivering what will become an Australia-wide national series for mountain bikers in coming years."

    The second national series event will be staged at the famed New South Wales ski-town of Thredbo, February 6-10 with the third event in Bright March 13-17 which will lead into the Oceania Championships. It's been over a decade since the Bright trails have been showcased.

    Meantime, it will be the first occasion for Tasmania to host the Oceania Championships, taking place March 27-31.

    MTBA's Technical Director for the National Series and Subaru National Championships, Simon French, says the venues give a good mix for Australia's emerging talent.

    "This year's venues provide us with an excellent canvass for developing truly world-class racing opportunities," said French.

    "From the iconic alpine trails of Mount Buller to the perpetual riders' favourite, Glenorchy Mountain Bike Park, I believe we are offering Australia's best racing venues this season. I look forward to working with the venue hosts towards delivering an incredible season of racing."

  • Mechanical failure derails Gwin's Worlds chances

    Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) at the UCI Mountain Bike Championships in Leogang, Austria.
    Article published:
    September 04, 2012, 22:12 BST
    Cycling News

    Brake problems ruin American's final downhill run

    Pre-race favorite Aaron Gwin's hopes of taking home a downhill world championship title came to an end around one minute and 20 seconds into his final run on Sunday in Austria. Inexplicably, both his front and rear brakes failed, resulting in a crash for the American.

    Shortly after the crash, Gwin pumped the brakes to try and get some pressure going, but it was insufficient to complete the course safely at speed, and he cruised to the line disappointed that he was unable to throw down a run on the three and half minute course.

    At the Worlds, there is no qualifying round or seeding run, but a timed practice session where riders can check their general race speed against official timing. Gwin was happy with his fourth in the timed practice and as race day drew nearer, and the sun came out drying the track dramatically, all was set for a classic Gwin winning run. Unfortunately, the brake failure, something he has never experienced before and in fact is his first mechanical in a race run since joining the team, took him by surprise.

    Gwin said at the finish line, "I really don't understand what happened. I warmed up as usual, tested the brakes as usual at the top, walked down the course to have a look at how the track was running, went into my run, brakes working fine for the first minute or so, and then bang, nothing. I crashed and got up as soon as I could, pumped to see what was there, but it wasn't enough, and knew my day was run".

    According to Gwin's Trek World Racing team, the brakes have been taken back to Japan for further analysis as there was nothing immediately evident from the post-race inspection, and nothing new was done to these brakes that Gwin and the team has run for most of the season.


  • Plaxton pulls the plug on 2012 season

    Max Plaxton (Specialized) was attempting to get onto the podium again
    Article published:
    September 05, 2012, 18:57 BST
    Cycling News

    No mountain bike Worlds for Canadian national champion

    Specialized rider Max Plaxton opted out of the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, missing the event for the first time in 10 years. It's a disappointing end to what has been Plaxton's best season to date, but he is optimistic that the time off will serve him well.

    "Missing the world championships for the first time since I was a first-year junior is a tough pill to swallow, but I need some time off mentally and most of all for a knee injury that's been causing problems since early July," said Plaxton.

    "With some quality time off to let the mind and body rest and recover, I am looking forward to next season and to carry on where I left off." Plaxton thanked both his team and the Canadian Cycling Federation for their support.

    In the 2012 season, Plaxton claimed his second consecutive Canadian Cross Country National Championship, his first World Cup podium, and the opportunity to represent Canada in the Olympic Games.

  • Downhill world champ Minnaar reflects on emotional win in Austria

    Greg Minaar (Santa Cruz-Syndicate) throws it sideways during practice with Steve Peat close behind
    Article published:
    September 05, 2012, 20:45 BST
    Cycling News

    South African says final wasn't that fun

    Greg Minnaar was visibly emotional after taking his second world championships title in Austria last weekend. The 30-year-old has been at or near the top of the World Cup series for more than a decade but his most recent championship win was in 2003. The South African won the overall World Cup title on three occasions - 2001, 2005, and 2008 - however, this victory was reward for a number of near misses over recent years.

    "The podium was a tearjerker!" said Minnaar's Santa Cruz Syndicate Team Manager Kathy Sessler. "Greg was beaming, and tears welled up in his eyes. He proudly accepted his medal and while the South African national anthem played tears rolled down my face."

    Minnaar will proudly show off his rainbow jersey at the final World Cup race of the year in Hafjell, Norway in a week and a half. The recently crowned world champion lies in second place overall behind the Trek World Racing's Aaron Gwin and while his lead is out of reach, Minnaar has Gee Atherton (GT Factory Racing)  following closely behind in third. He is determined to finish the season off strongly in the final race of the year.

    I'll put that jersey on with pride next week in Norway, and in 2013, I will do my best to reverse the curse of the world champion’s jersey!" he said following his victory in Leogang.

    After taking his eighth world championship medal Minnaar thanked his Santa Cruz-Syndicate team for its support and for his carbon bike, which he rode to a history-breaking first - his Santa Cruz V10 Carbon is the first carbon downhill bike to be ridden to a world championship victory.

    "From Marshy (mechanic) to Roskopp (team owner) and everyone in between, thank you! I’m honored you have...

  • Olympic medallists Gould and Fontana ready for Worlds

    Marco Fontana (Italy) started the team relay Worlds like a man on a mission
    Article published:
    September 07, 2012, 0:09 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Bronze medal winners keep motivation up for Saturday's cross country

    It's somewhat anti-climatic to have the world championships after the Olympic Games, but Olympic cross country mountain bike bronze medallists Marco Fontana and Georgia Gould are both motivated for the world championship cross country races on Saturday in Saalfelden, Austria. It's only been three weeks since the London Games, but the time has flown past and both racers are hoping that they can leverage some of their excellent Olympic form for another weekend.

    Italy's Fontana, who was with eventual winner Jaroslav Kulhavy and runner-up Nino Schurter at the Olympics, until near the end of the race, when his seat post broke and his seat fell off, was delighted with winning a medal in London.

    "I'm feeling pretty satisfied with what I did," said Fontana to Cyclingnews. "Everything was working great for four years, and a medal is something that gives you back for what you did that whole time. I'm really happy."

    After the Olympics, Fontana said that he "had a few days off, actually a week off, and coming back to racing was a little tough. I think I'll be ready for Saturday. It's a different form for sure. I can't say that it's the same as for the Olympics, but obviously it's the same for the other guys. You can't peak for two months."

    Fontana considered the favorites for Saturday's race, a list that is longer than those seen at the front of the Olympic race. "Sure a few guys will want to prove that they are strong, like Lukas Flueckiger (Switzerland), who didn't come to the Olympics (because he was not selected by the Swiss team) and is one of my personal favorites. Between me, Manny (Fumic), Julien (Absalon), Nino (Schurter) and (Jaroslav) Kulhavy - we are the ones to watch.

    Fontana's Cannondale Factory trade teammate Manuel Fumic, who is racing for Germany at Worlds and...

  • 2013 UCI Mountain Bike Worlds presented

    Elite men's cross country podium in Pietermaritzburg
    Article published:
    September 07, 2012, 4:38 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    South Africa will host back-to-back elite and masters championships

    The 2013 UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships were officially presented at this year's Worlds in Saalfelden, Austria, on Thursday night. Pietermaritzburg, South Africa will host next year's mountain bike world championships from August 26 to September 1, 2013.

    In contrast with 2012, the 2013 edition will return to being a single-week format that includes both gravity and cross country events. Saalfelden seems to have been a one-year experiment in splitting the two major sub-disciplines onto separate weekends. The 2012 format has not been popular among racers, teams or the media.

    Four cross Worlds will happen again in 2013. After being excluded from World Cups in 2012, but still being part of the 2012 world championships, there was some question as to whether the discipline would continue as part of the world championships.

    Pietermaritzburg has hosted the UCI World Cup for the past several years for cross country and downhill as well as four cross prior to 2012. It has an established four cross track. Because it is hosting the Worlds in 2013, it will not host a World Cup.

    Finally, for the first time in 2013, a venue will host both the masters and the elite mountain bike world championships. The two will be held back-to-back, with the masters going first. However, the organizers CRA World Events Management, assured those attending the 2013 elite world championships launch that the two championships will be run on different courses at the same Cascades venue so that the elite courses would not be damaged from traffic from the thousands of masters athletes expected in the days prior to the elite championships.

    2013 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships - Provisional Schedule
    August 28 - Team relay cross...