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MTB News & Racing Round-up, January 29, 2010

Date published:
January 29, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • USA Cycling releases 2010 Mountain Bike National calendars

    Jenn Rinehart leads the drop in on the famous lakeside drops at the Laddies Loppet Stage Race in Minnesota.
    Article published:
    January 27, 2010, 16:54 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Cross country, downhill and endurance events listed

    USA Cycling announced the dates and venues for the 21 events that will comprise its USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Calendars. In their fourth year, the three calendars will provide professional and elite-level athletes with racing opportunities in the discipliens of cross-country, gravity, and ultra-endurance.

    Consisting of 10 events in six states, the cross country calendar will kick off with the US Cup Fontana in Fontana, California on March 27 and will wrap up on September 6 with the Laddies Loppet Stage Race in Callaway, Minnesota. All Pro Cross Country Tour (Pro XCT) events are part of the calendar.

    The eight-event gravity calendar will span five states, featuring downhill, four cross, super D, and dual slalom competitions. The series will begin April 10 with the Santa Ynez Valley Classic in Buelton, California, and will conclude on September 12 with the Whiteface fifth Annual 5k Downhill in Wilmington, New York. The gravity calendar also includes all Pro Gravity Tour (Pro GRT) event though one race venue remains to be finalized.

    A five-race ultra-endurance calendar will give competitors the chance to duke it out in 12-hour, six-hour, 24-hour, and marathon events, starting with the 12-hours of Santos in Ocala, Florida on February 20 and ending with the USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships in Breckenridge, Colorado, on the Fourth of July.

    Each event on the three calendars will award ranking points to athletes. At the end of the season, overall titles will be awarded to each calendar's top male, female, and team.

    A complete listing of the events of each calendar is below.

    US Mountain Bike National Cross Country Calendar
    March 27: United States Cup - Fontana*, Fontana, California (XCO) (US Cat. 1) (UCI Cat. 1)
    April 10-11: Santa Ynez Valley Classic, Buellton, California (XCO) (US Cat. 4)
    April 18: Sea Otter Classic*, Monterey, California (XCO) (US Cat....

  • Favorites Stander and Evans to battle in Barberton

    The field climbs during the 2009 MTN Barberton ultra marathon.
    Article published:
    January 28, 2010, 15:09 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Knox aims to defend his title at South African marathon

    With Kevin Evans (MTN-Energade) and Burry Stander (Specialized/MR Price) expected on the start line for Saturday's MTN Barberton Ultra marathon in South Africa, predicting a winner is no easy task.

    Two years ago, Stander and Evans were involved in a dramatic battle that continued all the way to the finish line, with Stander just managing to outsprint Evans.

    Last year neither of them managed to win, but they made sure that there was adequate drama.

    Stander crashed spectacularly while racing at full speed down the mountain. He made a slight error of judgment around one of the corners in the thick mud and had to pay the price. His crash was not in vain as Herman Verwey, a photographer, managed to cash in on Stander's mud bath. He won a major local photographic competition with the picture he had taken of the all muddy Stander grimacing with pain.

    Evans's drama also led to some pain. He was involved in a war of words with Brandon Stewart (DCM) which ended with Stewart pushing Evans into the bushes.

    With many looking forward to the rematch of the Evans and Stander, Evans pointed out that it very seldom happens that both of them manage to race to the finish line.

    "Look what happened during last year's MTN South African Ultra marathon in Harrismith," said Evans. "I had a bad day with punctures and Burry won. Two weeks ago, at the MTN Attakwas Ultra marathon, it was Burry who punctured at a crucial moment, and I won the race."

    Evans made it clear that he is not obsessed with winning the Barberton Race, because this year his main focus is not on winning the MTN Series overall.

    "I had a good start to the season, winning the MTN Attakwas Ultra marathon. That has taken much pressure off me. So I will just go out and enjoy myself. I might even see if I could help one of my teammates to a podium finish."

    But having said that, Evans admits that he will probably not be able to contain himself. "When I...

  • El Reto de Los Volcanes stage race set for April

    A rider at the El Reto de Los Volcaes
    Article published:
    January 28, 2010, 18:50 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Race visits five volanoes in three days

    In its fourth edition, El Reto de los Volcanes - also known as "El Reto" will draw racer to Costa Rica for three days of mountain bike stage racing over the slopes of five volcanoes. The race will kick off on Saturday, April 9 and finish 245km later on Sunday, April 11.

    The race traverses several protected forest areas and visits limited-access cloudforest singletrack. With 2,000 cumulative meters of climbing and technical descending, racers will experience several types of tropical ecosystems, rapidly changing weather and high altitude conditions.

    The race will take place in the Central Valley. In 2010, the race will finish on the final day at a natural hot springs resort on the slopes of the Arenal Volcano, Costa Rica's most active volcano.

    A mixed pairs category is new for 2010. It is added to the established male, female, master A (30-39), master B (40-49), and veteran categories.

    2010 El Reto de Los Volcanes
    April 9: Stage 1 - Turrialba and Irazú Volcanoes
    April 10: Stage 2 - Barva Volcano
    April 11: Stage 3 - Poás and Arenal Volcanoes

    For more information, visit

  • Anna and Jörg Scheiderbauer join Felt Ötztal X-Bionic Worldcup Team

    Anna and Jörg Scheiderbauer
    Article published:
    January 29, 2010, 14:15 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Two all-arounders join and manage World Cup team

    Anna and Jörg Scheiderbauer will serve two roles in the 2010 Felt Ötztal X-Bionic Worldcup Team. As managing directors of the Scheiderbauer Sports GmbH, both are responsible for the leadership of the team, but they will also race mountain bike and triathlon events.

    In 2008 and 2009 the pair won a prize from the UCI, which named their Offenburg Cup as best cross country mountain bike World Cup of the year. They run a total of two mountain bike events and one triathlon event annually in Offenburg and manage a specialist mountain bike, road and triathlon shop.

    The Australian Anna Scheiderbauer and her husband Jörg have had successful careers. The 33-year-old Anna described the highlight as her participation at the Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia, in 2000, the year she was also ranked in the top 10 worldwide by the UCI.

    Together, she and Jörg won three consecutive overall victories at the TransAlp Challenge in the years 2004-2006. Jörg finished third at the Tour de France VTT in 2003 and is the 2008 German vice champion in 'cross triathlon.

    The pair now focuses on racing Ironman triathlons. Their big goal is the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii, for which they will compete in the qualifying Ironman race in China in March. The extreme training for their dream began in Ötztal last autumn during an altitude training camp. Currently, they are clocking up the kilometers on their new Felt triathlon bikes in the summer of Australia, where they are exposed to temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius.

    In 2003, the pair started the professional Team Ghost International. In 2007, that team won the award for best women's team in the World Cup, thanks in part to Olympic Champion Sabine Spitz.

  • Engen, Ilias will return to Cyprus Sunshine Cup

    2009 Cyprus Sunshine Cup winners Alexandra Engen (Sweden) and Periklis Ilias (Greece)
    Article published:
    January 29, 2010, 19:48 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Defending champs head to the island for early season racing, training

    With three weeks to go, the 2010 Cyprus Sunshine Cup is drawing a cast of favorites including the winners of the overall Cup from last year: Alexandra Engen of Sweden and Periklis Ilias from Greece.

    The young Engen suprised many last season by winning all three rounds, but she followed up her early season success with strong performances throughout the year including winning a silver medal at the Under 23 cross country World Championships and the Under 23 European championships.

    Engen will appear on the start line in the jersey of her new team, Rothaus-Cube. She will again use the series to prepare for her season. "My main intention is to get good preparation and a nice start for a long and exciting season," she said, "but it would be fun to defend the title."

    "I like the trails, the organisation and the atmosphere in the Cyprus Sunshine Cup, and it gives me a lot of joy to be there," said the 21-year-old Engen.

    In the men's Cup, defending champ Ilias will return to the sunny island to race with his ISD teammates. His competition will include Ukraine's Sergiy Rysenko and Swizterlands' Christoph Bischof. Recently a new father, Emil Lingren, who won two rounds last year, will make the journey from Sweden for some more training and racing.

    Some of the riders will be using the Cyprus Sunshine Cup to prepare for the Cape Epic in South Africa such as 2009 winners Stefan Sahm and Karl Platt (Team Bulls).

    The Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO) is backing the Sunshine Cup. It expects lots of riders to make the trip to the island as cycling is the nation's second largest tourism industry after football.

    The organizing committee announced a few changes to the Amathous course. The start and finish will be at an archeaological site, and the course will pass near the "Acropolis"of Amathous. It should be slightly more difficult than last year.

    "For the riders I think it's a good test before the big races,"...