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MTB News & Racing Round-up, July 1, 2010

Date published:
July 01, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Tour Divide experiences first fatality

    David Blumenthal racing the Tour Divide.
    Article published:
    June 30, 2010, 1:30 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Vermont racer passes away after collision with vehicle

    While racing the Tour Divide, a trans-continental mountain bike race from Banff, Alberta, Canada, to the US - Mexican border, David Blumenthal was hit by a vehicle and died. It was the 2,745-mile race's first fatality in its seven years running.

    The 37-year-old resident of Montpelier, Vermont, ran into a truck coming toward him on an unpaved road. After a brief visit to a local hospital following the accident, he was transported to St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver, Colorado, where he died last Thursday, according to TimesArgus.com. The racer was on the course near Steamboat Springs, Colorado, when the accident happened.

    "What happened was they were on a narrow mountain dirt road, and he was riding in the opposite lane and collided with the side of a pick-up (truck) that was coming in the opposite direction on a curve," said Colorado State Patrol Trooper Matthew Velasquez to the Times Argus.

    Based on where the bike, the rider and the pick-up ended up, the officer concluded that the driver of the vehicle was not at fault.

    "Dave sustained terminal head injuries," said Tour Divide organizer and participant Matthew Lee to Cyclingnews. "He probably didn't suffer."

    Although ambulance crews made it to Blumenthal within 20 or 30 minutes and then transported Blumenthal to a hospital, it was not enough to save his life.

    "I didn't know Dave other than that we corresponded by email periodically," said Lee to Cyclingnews. "He was a very bright, creative guy, and all who rode with him during the first half of the race talk about how he animated their days."

    Blumenthal was a passionate outdoorsman, who undertook other endurance adventures. He through-hiked Vermont's Long Trail in 2000 and the Pacific Crest Trail with his wife in 2004.

    Multi-time race winner Lee, who was leading the race at the time of incident, decided to continue his after some deliberation, but...

  • Lee wins Tour Divide

    Matthew Lee (Cannondale Factory Racing) poses for the finish shot after wining the 2010 Tour Divide in Antelope Wells.
    Article published:
    June 30, 2010, 20:45 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Cannondale racer dedicates victory to deceased fellow competitor

    Matthew Lee (Cannondale Factory Racing) won the seventh edition of the Tour Divide, a 2,745-mile trans-continental mountain bike race from Banff, Alberta, Canada, to the US - Mexican border. It was Lee's fifth Tour Divide victory, and this year he won in a time of 17 days, 15 hours and 10 minutes.

    "It was eight hours faster than the current Great Divide Mountain Bike course record, BUT we traded 70 miles of very difficult dirt riding for 60 miles of a paved detour," Lee told Cyclingnews. "Therefore, the Tour Divide will get filed in its own special race results category."

    Racers were forced to detour from the pre-defined route due to a fire near Santa Fe National Forest in New Mexico.

    Lee, who also serves as the director of the unsupported race, finished at 1:00 am on Tuesday morning, and Cyclingnews caught up with him later on Tuesday as he was buying some non-cycling clothes at the local Walmart in order to prepare for his trip home.

    Each year that Lee has raced, he's faced a different set of challenges. This year proved no exception.

    "There was lots of opportunity for personal growth," said Lee. "The 2010 Tour Divide was a tale of low and high pressure systems and low and high spirits.

    "The weather for a spell in Montana was the coldest, snowiest we've ever had. Then down south, it was high pressure domination with heat and stiff headwinds.

    "In my mind, it was classic Grand Tour drama that may go down as one of the more interesting story lines, despite the tragedy. Grand Tour racing is always a great metaphor for life. The 2010 Tour Divide is no exception."

    The tragedy Lee mentioned was that of the death of David Blumenthal while the latter was racing through Colorado. The Vermont resident collided with a pick-up truck and sustained fatal head injuries.

    Despite the remote setting of most of the race, news of Blumenthal quickly spread to racers, who call in and go...

  • Reigning champs lead Aussie worlds charge

    Jared Graves (Yeti Fox Shox) wins the race and the World Cup series, with two rounds remaining.
    Article published:
    July 01, 2010, 10:19 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Graves and Buchanan head to Canada in August

    Reigning four cross world champions Jared Graves and Caroline Buchanan will lead a formidable 38-strong Australian team at the 2010 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Canada this August.

    The championships, to be held from August 31 to September 5 in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada, will celebrate 20 years of international mountain biking.

    Graves will ride into the 2010 championships as the raging favourite, dominating the elite men's four cross event over the past two years. The 27-year-old is on track for consecutive UCI World Cup titles, securing three out of four possible wins and a 175-point lead over his closest rival, Tomas Slavik, at the half way point of the season.

    Buchanan's preparations will take a different path, balancing training between both her mountain bike and BMX commitments. The 19-year-old will represent Australia at the BMX World Championships in South Africa in July before making her way to Canada in August.

    Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA) high performance manager Chris Clarke said he was confident the squad will deliver some great results. "This is a very competitive team across the board, led by our two reigning world champions Caroline Buchanan and Jared Graves," said Clarke.

    "We have a good mix of riders who have the experience and know what it takes to compete, and win, on the world stage, and those who will benefit greatly from the experience of these leaders and the international competition."

    An exciting edition to the Australian lineup is young Troy Brosnan, the 17-year-old competing in the junior men's downhill in Canada during a season which has seen take the junior title at the Fort William round of the UCI Downhill World Cup.

    Dual downhill world champion Sam Hill (2006 and 2007) has also been selected, the 24-year-old joining five teammates in the men's elite downhill, including Shaun O'Connor, who makes the transition to the elite men's division.

    ...
  • Wells reclaims US Pro XCT lead from Kabush in Wisconsin

    Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) cornering at the bottom of the course.
    Article published:
    July 01, 2010, 11:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Gould dominates women's series

    A third place finish at the USA Cycling US Pro XCT race, the Subaru Cup, in Wisconsin this weekend bumped Todd Wells (Specialized) back into the lead of the series. Geoff Kabush (Rocky Mountain / Maxxis) had been leading, but he was racing at the BC Bike Race last weekend instead of Wisconsin.

    With 435 points, Wells leads the second-place Kabush who has earned 350 points. Max Plaxton (Sho-Air / Specialized) sits in third with 310 points, and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Trek) is in fourth ahead of the Subaru Cup's winner and fellow Subaru-Trek racer Sam Schultz.

    Taking another victory in Wisconsin, Georgia Gould (Luna) continues to dominate the women's series with 510 points compared to the 395 amassed so far by Saturday's second-place finisher, Willow Koerber (Subaru-Trek). Triple Crown winner Kelli Emmett (Giant) is in third with 335 points, and Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Trek) and Lene Byberg (Specialized) round out the top five.

    The finals of the US Pro XCT will be held July 10-11 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

    US Pro XCT standings after four rounds

    ...
  • Atkinson, Kintner lead US Pro GRT series

    Bryn Atkinson and Jill Kintner (Transitions) lead the US Pro GRT series after three rounds.
    Article published:
    July 01, 2010, 11:15 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Standings after round three

    Bryn Atkinson and Jill Kintner, both of the Transitions Team, lead USA Cycling's US Pro GRT standings after three rounds, the last of which was completed at Northstar-at-Tahoe resort in Truckee, California this past weekend.

    In the weekend's race, Atkinson finished second to Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate), who is ranked fourth overall. It was enough for Atkinson to keep his series lead with 205 points.  Andrew Neethling (Trek World Racing) is in second with 130 points, and his teammate Justin Leov sits third with 120 points.  Luke Strobel is fifth with 68 points.

    Kintner leads the women's standings with 185 points after winning round three. Tracy Moseley, who was absent at round three, is second with 165 points.  Melissa Buhl, Jacqueline Harmony and Darian Harvey round out the top five with 110, 70 and 68 points respectively.

    Next, the Pro GRT series moves to Trestle Bike Park inthe Rocky Mountains of Winter Park, Colorado, on July 29 – August 1, in conjunction with Crankworx Colorado.

    US Pro GRT standings after three rounds

  • Elite men
    # Rider Name (Country) Team Result
    1 Todd Wells 435  pts
    2 Geoff Kabush 350  
    3 Max Plaxton 310
    Elite men
    # Rider Name (Country) Team Result
    1 Bryn Atkinson 205  pts
    2 Andrew Neethling 130  
    3 Justin Leov
  • Beytagh leads Gravity East series into round three

    A racer at the Gravity East Series in the Plattekill Bike Park in Roxbury, New York
    Article published:
    July 01, 2010, 13:35 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Downhillers to spend Independence Day weekend at Plattekill Bike Park

    Many American downhillers will celebrate Independence Day at the Gravity East Series as it moves north to the mountain that started it all, Plattekill Bike Park in Roxbury, New York. Round three will happen July 2-4.

    The Gravity East series is heating up, with a three-way tie for second place in the men's elite field between Gavin Vaughan, Jason Memmelaar and Richie Rude. Geritt Beytagh leads the series.

    Fifth placed Leif Lorenzen and the rest of the elite men are close behind and all in striking distance.

    In the elite women's field, Dawn Bourque, Karen Egan and a new rider to the elite women's scene, Rae Gandolf, will battle it out.

    In the amateur fields, all the point races are tightening up, with the top five spots being up for grabs in every division. With two races in the books, it could be anybody's series. There are eight races total, with one drop.

    Plattekill Bike Park has prepared a long fast and technical course on the famed north side of the mountain. The venue has been working to make 2010 its best season ever. The Bike Park has a new start gate an all new timing system and years of experience to make sure race day runs smoothly.

    For more information on the Gravity East Series, visit www.gravityeastseries.com.

  • Irmiger, Horgan-Kobelski aim to defend marathon titles at Firecracker 50

    Husband and wife team Heather Irmiger
    Article published:
    July 01, 2010, 21:31 BST
    By:
    Dave McElwaine

    Breckenridge, Colorado hosting US Marathon Championships this weekend

    Twelve national championship jerseys will be awarded this weekend when athletes from around the country converge on the quaint western town of Breckenridge, Colorado. They will compete on a 50-mile course consisting of two challenging 25-mile loops through the Rocky Mountains. In addition to the championship events, 750 racers will be competing in the 10th annual Firecraker 50.

    The race starts on Main Street, on the Fourth of July, in front of thousands of spectators assembled for the holiday parade and festivities. It is pure Americana with balloons, cotton candy, and parade floats.

    Last year's champions, Heather Irmiger and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski ran away with the competition, besting their rivals by 10 and 14 minutes respectively. The two not only are part of the newly formed Subaru-Trek team (formerly Subaru-Gary Fisher) but are also married. Both will be returning to defend their jerseys at this year's race against field that includes both endurance specialists and several other World Cup cross country racers.

    The 50-mile distance is a bit shorter than the traditional 100k (62-mile) distance that marathons have been raced at. The shorter distance makes the race much more appealing to some of the nation’s cross country stars. In contrast, the recently completed European Marathon Championships were 129 km (80 miles).

    The men's race is going to be stacked with talent. Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) has been riding extremely well lately, wining the Trans-Sylvania stage race and the Massanutten Triple Crown cross country race. In the latter, he beat Sid Taberlay (Sho-Air/Specialized), which is no small feat at the cross country distance. While last year he suffered with the altitude, he proved at Snowmass in 2006 that a sea level dweller can still win.

    The winner of USA Cycling's Pro XCT in Wisconsin last weekend, Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek), will be competing in the Firecracker for the first time. Schultz is a...