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MTB News & Racing, Round-up, July 16, 2010

Date published:
July 16, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Stander is favorite for South African championships

    Burry Stander sets the field alight.
    Article published:
    July 15, 2010, 10:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Buys, Beukes to challenge Under 23 World Champion in Pretoria

    South Africa will host its cross country national championships at the Pretoria Fountains on Saturday, July 17. Given the non technical nature of the course, it should be a close race.

    "The course is fast and technical with no serious climbs on the route. This means that there will probably not be big time gaps between the race leaders," predicted the top favorite and Under 23 World Champion Burry Stander (Specialized / Mr. Price). "That will make for exciting racing."

    Saturday will be the last time South African cycling fans will be able to see Stander in action for a while. Next week he will be back in Europe to compete in World Cup races. His first World Cup race will be the one in Switzerland that he won last year.

    The general consensus is that Stander ought to win Saturday's elite race quite easily. However, being the professional he is, he does not take anything for granted.

    "I will be honest. I want to win because it is always an honour for me to compete for a South African title. But for me, it will not be just about winning. Since the MTN event in Mankele, I have not raced at all, but I did a lot of training. It is now important for me to test myself to the limit to see what I am capable of at the moment."

    At present Philip Buys (Garmin-adidas) and Matthys Beukes (Scott) are the only two riders who are capable of giving Stander a run for his money on Saturday. In Stander's absence they dominated the MTN series. Beukes won in Pietermaritzburg and Buys in George.

    Buys agrees with Stander that Saturday's racing will be exciting.

    "We will race on long singletrack sections and through sharp corners, which will make it difficult to pass the riders in front of us. Therefore, what happens during the first few minutes after the start will be decisive. You don't want to get stuck behind a bunch of slow riders."

    According to Buys, he is prepared to challenge Stander.

    "But I also have to...

  • Beckingsale, Killeen to battle at British cross country nationals

    Liam Killeen (British National Team)
    Article published:
    July 15, 2010, 19:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Atherton, Moseley aim to repeat downhill titles this weekend

    British Mountain Biking's biggest domestic race takes place this weekend, July 17-18, with Olympians and World Championship winners competing for the highest accolade in UK racing; that of national champion.

    On Sunday, Ae Forest in Dumfries will host the downhill event with 2009 World Champion Steve Peat and 2008 World Champion Gee Atherton leading the race against the clock, while Pippingford in Sussex is the location for the cross country, where Olympians Oli Beckingsale and Liam Killeen will line up against a field of over 50 riders.

    Whoever wins their respective races on Sunday afternoon will have the honour of wearing the red and white British Champion's jersey for the coming year both nationally and internationally, with all the action and reaction covered by British Cycling Online.

    Killeen and Sue Clarke were the winners of the cross country titles last year while Gee Atherton and Tracy Moseley collected 2009's downhill titles.

    For more information on the British Mountain Bike Championships, visit

  • Undefeated Breckenridge 100 winner Tostado aims for another victory

    The Breckenridge 100 takes racers across the Continental Divide.
    Article published:
    July 15, 2010, 20:00 BST
    Ryan O'Dell

    Horanyi also hopes to repeat at NUE series round four

    Hundreds of ultra-endurance athletes will roll out from Carter Park for the start of the Breckenridge 100 Mountain Bike Challenge on Saturday, July 17 at 6:00 am. The Colorado race is round four in the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series.

    With 13,719 feet of climbing, this course offers three Continental Divide crossings, altitudes of over 12,000 feet and spectacular, jaw dropping, "hey man, keep your eyes on the trail" scenery. Each rider will be treated to a test of high altitude strength and endurance like none other in the NUE Series. The Breckenridge 100 has arguably earned its place as the toughest kid in town.

    Five-time undefeated Breck 100 Champ, Josh Tostado (Bach Builders/Santa Cruz) is set to tackle this beast, battling it out yet again with the reigning National Ultra Endurance Series Champion, Jeff Schalk (Trek Co-op). Last year featured a close race between the two until an intense push from Tostado in the final stage of the race left Schalk to chase atop Boreas Pass, the last major climb, which tops out at 11,500 feet of elevation.

    Earlier this season, the competition stiffened with a battle at NUE Series round three at the Mohican 100 in Loudonville, Ohio. In Mohican country, Schalk raised his spear atop the podium once again. Earlier in the season, he also topped the charts at the Cohutta 100 in Tennessee and the Lumberjack 100 in Michigan and with three wins in this best four of eight series, he appears unstoppable in the men's open division.

    However, Tostado had his best finish ever at Mohican, taking third in the largest race so far and by all appearances, seems to have gained strength, steadily moving up the NUE rankings each year. His home course advantage also comes into play at Breck. In addition to his five straight victories at this race, it is rumored that Tostado resides in the clouds at 10,200 feet.

    But this race includes more than the two most likely contenders. Like vulture’s...

  • Kurschat will not defend German national title

    Wolfram Kurschat (Topeak Ergon) will not defend his title at the 2010 German cross country National Championships
    Article published:
    July 16, 2010, 7:41 BST
    Cycling News

    Broken ribs sideline champion

    Wolfram Kurschat (Topeak Ergon) will not compete in the German National Championship race this weekend because of multiple rib fractures.

    The reigning German National Champion is suffering from injuries sustained in training for the recent Swiss Bike Trophy in Bern. Following a fall, doctors were unable to find anything but bruising, which allowed Kurschat to race. However, he was in so much pain that he finished only 12th and felt further examination was required.

    On Wednesday, an MRI scan revealed multiple breaks in two ribs. It also showed that the healing process had already begun.

    "I would have really liked to defend the title," said Kurschat. "Doing that with an injury though doesn't make sense. I can train, but only lightly. The championship course is different and difficult, including lots of jumps. It would be hard on the entire body."

    Team Manager Dirk Juckwer said, "We have to do what is best for the athlete and support the decision completely. The healing process is the most important thing now. The focus will move to the closing races of the season and the World Cup in Champery, Switzerland, is also now not possible for Kurschat."

  • Cannondale Factory Racing drops Paulissen after positive test

    Roel Paulissen (Cannondale)
    Article published:
    July 16, 2010, 15:03 BST
    Cycling News

    Belgian to retire

    Cannondale Factory Racing officially parted ways with Roel Paulissen. The reigning mountain bike Marathon World Champion from Belgium tested positive for clomiphene in June and announced his retirement soon afterward.

    "I am shocked. I have always been a strong fighter for a clean cycling sport and fair-play competition. I can’t understand what caused this, but I will initiate an extended and intensive investigation. Nevertheless I will take the full responsibility for this situation and will accept all consequences of it," Paulissen said of his positive test.

    Clomiphene is a little used drug, that is mainly used against infertility problems. The extend to which clomiphene works as a performance-enhancing product is questionable.

    A statement issued by Cannondale today confirmed that "Cannondale Factory Racing (CFR) has ended its sponsorship of and relationship with Roel Paulissen after Paulissen violated the team's clear anti-doping policies."

    Meanwhile, Cannondale General Manager Bob Burkbank said, "We are very disappointed that Paulissen violated Cannondale Factory Racing's anti-doping policies. We believe in a level playing field and support all efforts and agencies working to clean up the sport of cycling."

    Dr. De Boer, who was present at the analysis of the B-sample on July 15, has started an investigation into the possible cause of the presence of the product . "The first analysis proved that the found quantities of clomiphene are low," said Dr. De Boer. "It is unlikely that athletes would knowingly use clomiphene, since there is no scientific evidence of performance improvement. The WADA database of positive tests more or less confirms this. It is, however, very likely that male athletes unintentionally and unknowingly take the product as a result of contamination or pollution of a dietary supplement."

  • Irmiger and Horgan-Kobelski hope to repeat wins in Granby

    Mary McConneloug in the short track at US Nationals
    Article published:
    July 16, 2010, 17:00 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Top US mountain bikers compete for national titles

    The US Mountain Bike Nationals have returned to Sol Vista Bike Park in Granby, Colorado, for the second consecutive year. Throughout the weekend, more than 1,000 racers are competing for 70 stars-and-stripes jerseys in cross country, short track, downhill and super D.

    All eyes will be on Jeremy Horgan Kobelski and Heather Irmiger (both Subaru / Trek), who made history at last year's event when they won the elite men's and women's cross country national championships, just two weeks after both winning the marathon national championships. The stage is set to see if they can repeat the feat since both won their respective marathon titles at the Firecracker 50 over the Fourth of July.

    More national titles won't come easy for the husband and wife duo as each will have plenty of competition. In the men's race, Adam Craig (Rabobank/Giant) is looking for a national title and strong second half of the season after sitting out the first half while he rehabilitated his knee after surgery. Specialized's Todd Wells is hoping for a win to make up for bad luck last year, when he suffered a last-lap mechanical while battling JHK off the front. Also, don't count out Sam Schultz (Subaru / Trek), who won his first national series race a few weeks ago and Ryan Trebon (Kona) and Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale).

    In the women's contest, Irmiger will face a challenge from Georgia Gould (Luna), who has been dominating the US Pro XCT national cross country series this year and from Willow Koerber (Subaru / Trek), who has had a stellar first half of the season on the World Cup. Katie Compton (Plante Bike), Kelli Emmett (Giant), Krista Park (Incycle / Cannondale) and former cross country national champion Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven/No Tubes) are others to watch.

    Elite and junior riders will race on a 4.32-mile cross country course with 710 feet of climbing per lap. The course is different than last year; a rut-filled downhill has been...

  • Kabush, Plaxton, Zandstra ready to race at Canadian Nationals

    Riders are having problems with this little dropoff.
    Article published:
    July 16, 2010, 20:25 BST
    Rob Jones

    Pendrel the favourite in women's race

    The 2010 Canadian cross country National Championships will take place at the beautiful Canmore Nordic Ski and Mountain Bike Centre, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains at the entrance to the world-famous Banff National Park area. Canmore is located one hour west of Calgary, Alberta. The Centre has played host to World Cups and Canada Cup events in the past.

    The seven kilometre circuit is drawing mixed reviews from riders. It will be physically difficult, with a long series of climbs almost from the start that are a mix of gravel road, doubletrack and some wooded twisty singletrack.

    The downhills, which are drawing most of the criticism, are not technical, consisting of doubletrack gravel and fire road. There are very few of the usual technical sections. To do well will require power and endurance, but not much in technical skills.

    The elite and under 23 Men will do five laps, the elite and under 23 women four laps, the junior men four laps and the junior women three laps.

    "It's not a very fun course," said defending men's champion Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain). "It will be a hard race, but not too interesting."

    Derek Zandstra (3 Rox Racing), one of the podium contenders for the men was more blunt, "When does it [the course] get hard?"

    However, women's defending champion Catharine Pendrel (Luna) said, "I think it will be a good race course, and lead to some hard racing."

    For the men's race, Kabush is the clear favourite but, in addition to Zandstra, he will face competition from Max Plaxton (Specialized-Sho Air), who has been very strong on the US pro circuit this season. Andrew Watson (Norco) could also put in a strong ride to upset one of the three favoured riders.

    On the women's side, Pendrel will be missing her greatest rival - Marie-Hélène Premont (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain), who has opted to pass up on the National Championships due to bronchitis. Premont does plan to...