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MTB News & Racing Round-up, July 14, 2009

Date published:
July 16, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Vélirium festival to kick off in Québec

    Marie-Helene Premont (Rocky Mountain) descends
    Article published:
    July 09, 2009, 18:47 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Three weekends of racing will culminate with UCI World Cup

    The seventh edition of Vélirium, which will include the 18th edition of the UCI mountain bike World Cup at Mont-Sainte-Anne is just around the corner. Canada's biggest mountain bike festival will be held at Mont-Sainte-Anne, Québec from July 11 to 26.

    The following competitions will be held during this year's festival: UCI World Cup, Québec Cups, Vélo Mag Raid, Genuine Innovations Freeride Cup, Yop Tropixs Urban Delirium, and the Shimano Véli-Kidz.

    Organizers are using the Vélirium 2009 as preparation for the 2010 Mountain Bike World Championships, which will be hosted in Mont-Sainte-Anne.

    "With a CAN$2.4 million budget, the 2009 edition is gearing up to treat the 2,500+ athletes and 60,000 visitors to an extra special event," said Gestev VP Chantal Lachance.

    Key races that are part of this year's festival include the Downhill Québec Cup on July 12 and the Vélo Mag Raid cross country race on July 18. In the later, Raphaël Gagné (Lac-Beauport) and Josiane Mathieu (Québec City) will be two racers to watch.

    The Genuine Innovations Freeride Cup will also be run during the second weekend of the festival on July 19. Look out for last year's winners Geneviève Larouche (Québec City) and Luc Proulx (Québec City), who should be back to defend their titles.

    In the final weekend, amateurs and pros will test their legs in the Cross Country Québec Cup on July 24. Caroline Villeneuve and Gagné won last year's cross country overall and this year Cindy Montambault and Francis Morin are currently leading the standings.

    The next day, pro downhillers and four crossers will race the UCI World Cup, and the festival will conclude with the cross country portion of the UCI World Cup on July 26. In addition to an elite international field, Canadians Steve Smith and Claire Buchar (downhill); Hans Lambert (four cross);...

  • European cross country racers ready for continental championships

    José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Multivan Merida Biking Team) couldn't catch any of the Frenchman and missed out on the podium as a result.
    Article published:
    July 09, 2009, 19:47 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Favorites to do battle in Zoetermeer

    This weekend, Europe's fastest cross country racers are meeting up in Zoetermeer, The Netherlands, for the European Championships. The team relay was set to kick off the action on Thursday, with junior races on Friday, Under 23 races on Saturday and elite races on Sunday.

    The 5.3km circuit has been described as fast and without much climbing. The course is built around three man-made hills, the first and second are about 15m high, and the final one is 20m high. Riders will climb the hills multiple times per lap, but the climbs will only take between 15 and 25 seconds each. The downhills are described by organizers as "loose gravel", but "never very technical". Each lap should take about 13-14 minutes to complete, and racers have been commenting that they are expecting a tactical battle.

    In the elite races, the man to beat would be Frenchman Julien Absalon of Orbea. He's proven his form already this year at the World Cups with several wins; however, he'll be sitting out this weekend's racing to prepare for the upcoming World Cups.  Therefore, Massi's Jean Christoph Peraud, also of France, will be looking for a good result for France as will a third Frenchman Stephane Tempier, who was runner up to Absalon in last weekend's Coupe de France round.

    Another man to watch will be Jose Antonio Hermida, who will be racing for the Spanish team. The Multivan Merida rider said, "I feel good and very motivated, but I would prefer that the race would fall later on the calendar. If you are already strong at this race, it's difficult to keep your form for Worlds (in September). For me, the European Championships are very important; it is a competition that I always prepare for intensively."

    Hermida has won three European titles and finished as a runner-up once. He'll be joined by fellow Spaniard Ivan Alvarez Gutierrez, who races for Team Giant Italia.

    Roel Paulissen will be there racing for Belgium and testing out his new...

  • TransAlp changes stage one route

    The TransAlp mountain bike stage race will kick off in just one week.
    Article published:
    July 10, 2009, 14:03 BST
    Daniel Simms

    All other stages remain the same

    One week before the start of the 12th Jeantex Bike TransAlp on July 18, organizers changed the route of stage one for the 550 teams of two that are expected. Instead of conquering the Vereiner Alm as originally planned on the way to Reith im Alpbachtal, the first day's race will follow a route used in the 2007 edition of the race through the Karwendel Valley.

    Stage one will start in Mittenwald for the tenth time and then head to Scharnitz and into the Karwendel Valley. The Hochalmsattel will be the first climb of the week, and after it, racers will go downhill to Eng and then onto Plumsjoch and Achensee.

    The last minute route changes were implemented for "natural" reasons. "At this time, many animals breed in the region," said race director Uli Stanciu, who considered the changes an improvement nonetheless.

    No other route changes are planned for the other seven stages. The race will also visit Mayrhofen in Austria and Brixen, St. Christina, Sarnthein, Kaltern and Andalo and the finish in Riva del Garda in Italy.

    The race will cover 634km and 22,000m of climbing, including 17 passes and the longest climb in TransAlp history.

    TransAlp 2009
    July 18: Stage 1 - Mittenwald - Reith im Alpbachtal, 73km
    July 19: Stage 2 - Reith im Alpbachtal - Mayrhofen, 88km
    July 20: Stage 3 - Mayrhofen - Brixen, 95km
    July 21: Stage 4 - Brixen - St. Christina, 84km
    July 22: Stage 5 - St. Christina - Sarnthein, 82km
    July 23: Stage 6 - Sarnthein - Kaltern, 77km
    July 24: Stage 7 - Kaltern - Andalo, 74km
    July 25: Stage 8 - Andalo - Riva del Garda, 61km

  • Mount Snow to host new festival

    US National Champion Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven) at the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup
    Article published:
    July 14, 2009, 14:36 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Rides, concerts and an expo will accompany US ProXCT stop

    The inaugural Mount Snow Mountain Bike Festival, scheduled for August 7-9 in Vermont, will include 50 racing and non-competitive events. Racing highlights will include rounds of the US ProXCT series, the Kenda Downhill series and the Trek Women's Triathlon series. There will also be a Bicycle Limbo Skid Contest, Tire Toss, a dozen led rides, fireworks and live music.

    "When coming up with this activity schedule, we focused on there being something for everyone," said Vinnie Lewis, Mount Snow's events and public relations manager. "Whether you are an avid biker or a family looking for something fun to do on a weekend, we feel there is enough to keep everyone entertained."

    Jeff Lenosky will entertain festival-goers with his signature brand of trials stunts.

    The festival expo - in conjunction with Racer Row - will be open throughout each day for people wandering about in search of ways to improve their ride through the savvy offerings by exhibitors like Kenda, Specialized, Gary Fisher, Subaru, Sho-Air, Princeton Tec, Longs Cycle, Jamis, Giant, and Fox Racing Shox.

    Mother Nature may have bullied the East Coast with more wet weather this year than usual but Mount Snow's trail care crew, along with the US Forest Service, has sculpted sustainable trails that shed water with the least amount of erosion. Unlike some past regional mountain bike festivals, where the trail system and venue would have to rise up out of virtually nothing in the days prior to the event, Mount Snow's trail system has been thoughtfully designed and constructed over time.

    Last year, Mount Snow hosted the US National Championships, where Adam Craig and Mary McConneloug won their respective cross country races.

    Parking for the daily festival fee is US$10, and all activities are free. For more information, visit

  • Frischknecht father and son excel in Downieville

    Andri Frischknecht, son of Thomas, won the junior race at the Downieville Classic.
    Article published:
    July 14, 2009, 15:43 BST
    Sue George

    Frischi the younger wins junior men's race

    It wasn't cross country mountain bike legend Thomas Frischknecht (Scott Swisspower) that topped the podium in Downieville this weekend, but his 15-year-old son, Andri Frischknecht. After two days of California racing, Andri won the overall unofficial "All Mountain" world championship title for the junior men.

    The Downieville Classic included a point-to-point cross country race on Saturday followed by a 45-plus minute long Super D on Sunday. Times were added together for both events, and each rider had to race the same bike on Sunday that he used on Saturday, with only changes to air pressure and lubing of chains allowed.

    The younger Frischknecht won the cross country in 2:17:25, ahead of Matt Dion and Casey Sanchez. Sanchez and Dion went one-two in the Super D, followed by Will Patterson, but Frischknecht's fourth was still good enough to give him the overall.

    Mountain bike legend and father Thomas finished seventh overall in the elite men's race, which was won by Adam Craig (Giant). Katerina Nash (Luna) won the women's race. The elder Frischknecht raced his final UCI World Championships last summer in Val di Sole, Italy.

    The race drew an all-star field with the likes of Brian Lopes, Miles Rockwell, Greg Herbold and Tom Ritchey.

  • Breck Epic shifts to August for 2010

    Defending champion Jeremiah Bishop (MonaVie/Cannondale) is the race favorite.
    Article published:
    July 14, 2009, 18:17 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Successful first edition wrapped up last week

    After a successful first edition of the Breck Epic mountain bike stage race in Breckenridge, Colorado, concluded last weekend, the race organizer announced that the second edition would slide to a later, less crowded spot on the 2010 calendar.

    "Next year, we will run the race from August 22 to 28," said Promoter Mike McCormack. "We'll also add some mileage, and we'll make it six full stages."

    In addition, the race will shift its headquarters, moving the venue to a location that is more centrally located and closer to the host town of Breckenridge.

    Jeremiah Bishop (MonaVie / Cannondale) and Jennifer Gersbach (Spot Bikes / Dale's Pale Ale) won the men's and women's races, which wrapped up last Friday. Gersbach took all of the women's stages, and Bishop won all but the final stage.

    "It came down to the very end," said Bishop to Cyclingnews. On the final stage, Jorge Espinoza (Horizon Organic Cycling) launced a bold attack and got a significant advantage on Bishop and eventual runner-up Travis Brown.

    "He almost got too much time," said Bishop, "and we thought there was more downhill at the end where we could reel him back in, but in fact, the whole race was a good one. Travis Brown challenged me the whole time. I didn't realize how much he'd been training for this event."

    Bishop noted that the Breck Epic was the only race he's done where he's had to race with an emergency space blanket. It was part of the equipment for the race, which was run at high altitudes, often above the tree line and at times across snow fields.

    The new date will move the race away from other established events on the calendar such as the US marathon national championships, the BC Bike race and the US cross country national championships.