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MTB News & Racing Round-up, July 30, 2009

Date published:
July 30, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • More challenging Mont Sainte Anne track wins over racers

    Marie-Helene Premont (Rocky Mountain - Maxxis) was one of only a few who rode the rocky descent.
    Article published:
    July 28, 2009, 18:07 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Favorites pleased and looking forward to worlds

    The long-running Mont Sainte Anne World Cup mountain bike venue in Quebec, Canada, is well-liked by many of the cross country circuit's racers. On Sunday, organizers only improved their reputation by making the course more technically challenging.

    "It's the most technical track of the year," said men's winner Julien Absalon (Orbea). "I'm very excited the World Championships will be here next year." Absalon, who is no stranger to winning at Mont Sainte Anne, took his fourth World Cup victory of the season on Sunday.

    A man-made, rocky section of course drew spectators and photographers alike.  Racers had the option to ride the rock garden or take a more meandering way around.  It wasn't any easy place to have to make a decision.  Even the lead moto crashed upon the approach to the rock garden during the men's race.  Fortunately, with a more than one-minute advantage, the driver had time to right his machine and get back underway before Absalon came along.

    While the men faced slippery conditions on the 5.7km course that added to the technical challenge, the women raced in an outright downpour earlier in the day. The heavens opened up as the women stood on the start line on a cold, chilly summer morning.

    "It was a tough race with the conditions and the course," said former world champion Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon), who finished in second place behind winner Catharine Pendrel (Luna).

    Local hero and past winner Marie-Helene Premont (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain Bicycles), who finished 10th, praised the course. "It's a nice course. I really like it, and I know I can do well here." When asked if she'd be back racing next year at the worlds, she laughed and said, "I might be!". Premont had planned to retired at the end of 2008, but then changed her mind to extend her career into 2009.

    Third place finisher Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain Bicycles) was happy to see the addition of...

  • Participation up for US Mountain Bike Nationals

    The junior men 10 and under roll off.
    Article published:
    July 28, 2009, 18:20 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    New location and terrain attracted more racers

    If the numbers are any indication, the US Mountain Bike National Championship, run earlier this month from July 15 to 19, was a success. The event was held for the first time in Granby, Colorado, after a few years in Mount Snow, Vermont. With a total of 1,875 entrants, participation was up approximately 150 riders or 8.7 percent from 2009 to 2010.

    "We attribute the increase to the sheer number of Colorado riders," said Andrea Smith of USA Cycling to Cyclingnews. "But it was also an accessible venue - just one and a half hours from a major metropolitan airport - Denver.

    "And there was great terrain," she added referring to the location in the Rocky Mountains. Most races were run on courses that ranged from 8,000 to 9,000 feet elevation, adding the element of coping with high altitude to the list of challenges many racers faced earlier this month.

    A look at the start lists showed a majority of riders from Colorado. Many made the trip from Texas and California, as well.

    Cross country racers comprised most of the entrants with 869, but downhill was not far with 500 entrants. 173 short track, 163 super D and 160 four cross racers also competed.

    Although in recent years, USA Cycling has had many venues host multiple years of national championships, no venue is has been picked officially for the 2010 US Mountain Bike National Championships.

  • Sauser to lead Swiss world championship mountain bike team

    Christophe Sauser (Specialized) riding to 21st place.
    Article published:
    July 29, 2009, 11:52 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Swiss select 41 racers to represent in Australia

    The Swiss cycling federation selected its team for the 2009 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Canberra, Australia from September 1-6. A complete roster of cross country, downhill, four cross and trials team members is below.

    Perhaps the best-known member of the squad is Christoph Sauser (Specialized Factory Racing), who will head Down Under to defend his cross country world championship title, which he won last year in Val di Sole, Italy.

    Swiss Team for the 2009 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships

    Elite women cross country: Nathalie Schneitter, Petra Henzi, Katrin Leumann, Marielle Saner Guinchard, Esther Süss
    Elite men cross country: Ralph Näf, Florian Vogel, Nino Schurter, Martin Gujan, Lukas Flückiger, Christoph Sauser

    Under 23 women cross country: Kathrin Stirnemann, Vivienne Meyer
    Under 23 men cross country: Thomas Litscher, Lukas Kaufmann, Mathias Flückiger, Fabian Giger, Martin Fanger, Sepp Freiburghaus

    Junior women cross country: Michelle Hediger, Vania Schumacher, Nicole Hanselmann, Reto Indergand
    Junior men cross country: Matthias Stirnemann, Roger Walder, Lukas Loretz, Emilien Barben, Pascal Meyer

    Downhill women:
    Emilie Siegenthaler
    Downhill men: Nick Beer, Marcel Beer

    Four cross men:
    Roger Rinderknecht, David Graf, Lucia Oetjen

    Trials women:
    Karin Moor
    Trials men: Roger Keller, Stefan Moor, Sebastian Honegger, Loris Braun, Lars Zysset, Louka Réal

  • Leuchs steps down from international mountain bike racing circuit

    Kashi Leuchs, of Dunedin, has left the international mountain bike racing circuit to take up new challenges from his base in New Zealand, including being an ambassador for the climate-change movement.
    Article published:
    July 29, 2009, 14:59 BST
    Cycling News

    New Zealander to promote cycling-based climate change action

    Three-time Olympic cross country mountain bike racer Kashi Leuchs has announced his departure from the international racing circuit. He is returning home to New Zealand to take up new challenges.

    "I'm leaving France and my career as a pro mountain biker to return home to Dunedin to follow a new passion," 31-year-old Leuchs said.

    Leuchs's new passion is a blend of environmental stewardship as an ambassador for the movement. Also, his newly formed company, Adventure Media Group Ltd, will focus on marketing within the adventure sports industry.

    "The aim of Adventure Media Group is to raise the global profile of some of the amazing mountain biking and adventure destinations and events we have in New Zealand," Leuchs said.

    Leuchs has also re-enrolled for further study through University of Otago.

    "My interest in the environment and concern over the changes taking place led me to a course in Environmental Studies. I have been involved with already for quite a while and now with Adventure Media Group, we have a platform to make a really big difference. Adventure Media Group has volunteered its services to run a cycling-based climate-change action to raise awareness on issues of climate change, and hopefully influence our political leaders to be bold and brave when they travel to Copenhagen later this year for the super important UN meeting on climate change," he said.

    In association with 350 NZ, Leuchs' company is organising the "350 Riders" climate-change movement.

    "We want to encourage all New Zealand cyclists to get involved by joining us and placing a green number plate with the number 350 on their bikes, then riding them anywhere and everywhere. The idea is that people throughout the country will start noticing them and asking what they are about, inspiring conversation and education," Leuchs said.

    The 350 Riders movement hopes to gather as many 350 riders as possible,...

  • Gravity East heads to Sugarbush

    Richard Rude Jr. of Santa Cruz – All Ride Academy rails a berm at an earlier Gravity East race (Highland MTB)
    Article published:
    July 29, 2009, 17:01 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Round seven to be run at historically signficant venue

    Sugarbush continues celebrating its return to mountain biking by hosting round seven of the Gravity East Downhill Series on August 1 and 2. The huge, two-mountain ski resort in Warren, Vermont, used to host regular mountain bike events before gradually fading from the scene.

    When Summit Ventures purchased the resort, mountain biking again became a priority and the resort has spent six years restoring and constructing trails and park features. Today, Sugarbush has a freeride park and over 18 miles of lift-assisted cross country and downhill trails. Last year, Sugarbush hosted its first mountain bike race in nearly a decade as the Gravity East Series roared down the resort's Lincoln Peak.

    The race track used at Sugarbush, and first unveiled last year, fittingly represents the history of downhill racing at "the 'Bush". The course starts with an old-school fire road section reminiscent of the type of downhill racing that was in vogue in Sugarbush's mountain bike halcyon days. The riders fast forward through the opening section and find themselves in a thoroughly modern downhill course with bermed corners, steep drops and difficult technical sections.

    As part of its efforts to return to its mountain bike roots, erlier this season, Sugarbush hosted an Xterra off-road duathlon and a Women's Wrench and Ride clinic. Lift-assisted riding will continue through October 11.

    For more information on the Gravity East round, visit

  • Gee Atherton heads up British contingent heading Down Under

    World Champion Gee Atherton (Animal Commencal) rides to fourth place.
    Article published:
    July 29, 2009, 19:39 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Squad picked for mountain bike worlds in Canberra, Australia

    Gee Atherton is among the 28 riders selected by British Cycling  to travel to Canberra in Australia for the 2009 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships on September 1-7.

    As current World Champion, Atherton will be aiming to retain his title in the downhill.  His toughest competition may come from his own teammate, Steve Peat, who is second place in the downhill World Cup competition after six rounds.  Last year's junior world downhill champion, Josh Bryceland will be racing in the senior ranks this time around.

    Commonwealth Cross Country Gold medallist Liam Killeen has also made it onto the men's cross country team.  He and Oli Beckingsale will be two riders to watch on the circuit in Canberra.

    Great Britain will field a strong crop of youngsters at the event, including Annie Last who has shown fantastic form recently when she beat champion Sabine Spitz twice and finished second overall in the recent Tour de l'Ain. Junior downhill rider Danny Hart, currently leading the junior World Cup series, has also made it onto the squad along with current junior European Downhill Champion Bernard Kerr.

    Missing from the squad is defending downhill World Champion Rachel Atherton, who been sitting out all competitions as she recovers from a shoulder injury sustained in an accident with a vehicle during training earlier this year.

    British National Team for 2009 UCI World Mountain Bike Championships
    Elite men cross country: Oli Beckingsale, Liam Killeen
    Elite women cross country: Sue Clarke

    Under 23 men cross country:
    David Fletcher, Scott Thwaites
    Under 23 women cross country: Annie Last, Lily Matthews

    Junior men cross country:
    Kenta Gallagher, Steve James

    Elite men downhill:
    Gee Atherton, Marc Beaumont, Josh Bryceland, Brendan Fairclough, Steve Peat
    Elite women downhill: Fionn...