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

Date published:
June 01, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Double header of four cross racing coming up in Cheshire

    Joost Wichman leads his new team through a training run.
    Article published:
    May 27, 2010, 15:33 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Euro Four Cross and National Points series hold rounds this weekend

    Four cross racers are heading to the Hales Superbole in Harthill, Cheshire, United Kingdom, for a doubleheader weekend of racing including both the National Points Series round two on Saturday, May 29 and the Euro Four Cross series round four on Sunday, May 30.

    World Cup stars Joost Wichman, Tomas Slavic, Guido Tschugg, Micheal Prokop and Chris Kovarik have confirmed they will be racing against British stars Scott Beaumont, who is the current British four cross national champion, and Dan Atherton and Will Longden. Five thousand euros are up for grabs as prize money.

    The track in Cheshire was built by designer Phil Saxena. It's a big, fast track with lots of passing and massive jumps that are designed to produce fun racing and spectating.

    The Euro Four Cross Series takes place in five different countries. It started in the Czech Republic, then went to Poland and Germany. Taking place just one week before the gravity World Cup in Fort William, many racers are coming to Harthill for this weekend's racing one week early to test their legs. The final round of the Euro Four Cross Series will take place next month in Leogang, Austria, on June 26, as part of the Out of Bounds Festival designed by Guido Tschugg.

    For more information, visit

  • Merida Bike Vysocina takes stage racers to Czech

    Jose Antonio Hermida and a teammate lead at the Bike Vysocina Festival
    Article published:
    May 29, 2010, 16:38 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Three-day mountain bike event kicking off on June 4

    The third edition of the Merida Bike Vysocina Festival is coming up on June 4-6 in Nové Mesto na Morave. This year's main attraction, a category S1 race, will cover three stages and three days. The cross country stage, to be held on Saturday, will also double as part of the Czech National Mountain Bike Cup.

    An 800m sprint stage will start the action on Friday evening. The cross country stage is Saturday, on a 4.1km-lap course, followed by a point-to-point marathon stage on Sunday. The final stage will be handicapped at the start based on the cumulative results from the previous two stages.

    Czech racers Tereza Hurikova, Jaroslav Kulhavy and cyclo-cross World Champion Zdenek Stybar will be racing against international stars like Jose Antonio Hermida, Ralph Näf, Rudi Van Houts, Adam Craig, Gunn Rita Dahle Flesjaa, Cedric and Cecile Ravanel and the Polish team led by Anna Szafraniec.

    Last year, Hermida and Hurikova won the cross country race, which was then a UCI cat. 2 event.

    The weekend of racing will be broadcast on Czech television, using 20 cameras, and racers' positions will be tracked in real time by an online GPS tracking system.

    Organizers of the Merida Bike Vysocina have submitted an application to the UCI to host a World Cup in 2011. Should the bid be successful, it would be the first time in 14 years that the World Cup is held in Czech.

    For more information on the event, visit

  • Counting down to Trans Germany

    2009 Trans Germany winner Thomas Dietsch
    Article published:
    June 01, 2010, 15:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Defending champion Dietsch faces mammoth task against international field

    The Trans Germany will begin on June 2 at the Richard-Strauss square, right in the center of Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany. 1,200 mountain bikers will then hit the trail towards Lermoos, Austria, the finish town of the first stage, before the next days will bring some tough legs to Pfronten and Sonthofen (both in Germany) and the final finish in Bregenz, Austria. Defending champion Thomas Dietsch (Team Bulls) will line up in the first row facing some strong competition on his task to keep hold on the title earned last year.

    And although the month of May didn't turn out well for him, Dietsch is optimistic for the upcoming four days of racing. "I didn't bring home any good results and didn't feel so good either. But I think my shape is coming back and I hope to be able to race in front."

    The reigning French Champion also points out that the look of the race will be a different one compared to last year. "Because of the reduction to four stages, the race will be less tactical. You have to give 'full gas' in order to be in front. You have to be in front all day and cannot allow oneself the luxury to have bad legs at one day."

    Strong competition in the battle for victory

    Besides his German teammates Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm, who both won the debut event of the Trans Germany in 2007 as a team of two, the main contenders for victory may be two pros from Multivan Merida Biking. Reigning German Champion Jochen Käß and his countryman Hannes Genze both clinched three out of seven stage triumphs in 2009.

    Last year's opening stage, however, was won by another national champion. Austrian Alban Lakata is estimated to be highly motivated as not only the first but also the last stage leads to his home country. He will get some big support by another big name of the scene, his German Topeak Ergon Racing mate Robert Mennen.

    In addition, there are two pros with huge international experience who could...

  • BC Bike Race welcomes unicyclist

    Unicyclist Kris Holm enjoys singletrack, too.
    Article published:
    June 01, 2010, 15:45 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Holm to race seven-day Canadian stage race

    Unicyclist Kris Holm will race the BC Bike Race from June 27 to July 3. With 23 years of riding spanning 14 countries and including the Great Wall of China, ancient trade routes in Bhutan, and the first unicycle descent of a Bolivian Volcano, Kolm was the first rider to bring mountain unicycling to the mainstream, through film, television, and magazine features.

    "I'm stoked about the BCBR - this race is like a summer's worth of great riding packed into a single week," said Holm when asked his thoughts on the event's start.

    The BC Bike Race is a seven-day mountain bike adventure, from Vancouver to Whistler, and it can be ridden as a team of two, three, four or five, or as a solo. It comes in two packages; the 'Epic'- avg 60km per day or 'Challenge' - avg 30km per day. The event has hosted World Champions, Olympians and this year boasts a field of 500 mountain bike enthusiasts.

    "When considering how people may view the BC Bike Race, hard or difficult, it is with great pleasure that we can host an icon like Kris who is used to doing things that are different and difficult," said Andreas Hestler, Marketing Director. "Kris is one amazing athlete and an inspiration to us all, he will make it look easy, but it is his sense of challenge that speaks to our clientele who are all here to push themselves, as teams and individuals."

    Holm considered the Epic with its 60km per day, but upon reflection and with a little training under his belt, he felt that the still impressive Challenge course of 30km per day would be plenty of singletrack and still leave him with enough energy to enjoy the full BC Bike Race experience, on and off the his unicycle. Though he is reserving the right to change his mind and go bigger.

  • Begy, Bell, English to race Mawson Mountain Bike Marathon

    Andrew Fellows races to a win in stage 2.
    Article published:
    June 01, 2010, 17:30 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    New Australian stage race set for mid-June

    The Kona Mawson MTB Marathon is Australia's newest cross country endurance mountain bike challenge. Set for June 8-12, it is attracting international and domestic elite mountain bikers, with all eyes on South Australia's famous backyard - the Flinders Ranges.

    Participants will complete the 360km route along the iconic Mawson Trail from Blinman to Melrose - amongst them former World Champion and two-time American national champion, Cristina Begy from Hawaii.

    "It is going to be an amazing adventure, and I am happy to be amongst the first riders to experience it!" said Begy.

    A field of Australian elite riders is lining up next to Begy to grab a share of the AUS$30,000 prize pool, with a first prize of up to $8,000 for the winning non-stop duo that records fastest team overall. For example, professional endurance rider Andrew Bell from Team Kona will be teaming up with current 2009 World 24Hr Solo champion Jason English.

    The inaugural Kona Mawson MTB Marathon will be filmed for an hour-long documentary scheduled for global TV broadcast, exposing the Flinders Ranges to over 200 million households around the world.

    "Bicycle SA is passionate about developing endurance riding events in the State and this particular marathon format is a first," said says Christian Haag, CEO of Bicycle SA. "We are seeing significant interest not just from local riders, but from both interstate and overseas. A combination of the majestic beauty of the Flinders Ranges and the opportunity to share in the over $30,000 cash and prizes pool will support the production and distribution of our documentary to provide a much needed boost for tourism to the region,"

    The event will finish on Saturday, June 12 in Melrose at the foot of Mount Remarkable, where riders can join the annual Melrose Fat Tyre Festival.

    For more information, visit

  • Shogren, Schalk return to defend past Mohican 100 titles

    NACT series leader Meredith Miller (California Giant Berry)
    Article published:
    June 01, 2010, 21:37 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Round two of National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series heads to Ohio

    The eighth annual Mohican Mountain Bike 100, round two of the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series, will roll into Mohican County, Ohio, on Saturday, June 5. It begins in downtown Loudonville, near Liberty Park.

    Jeff Schalk (Team Trek Co-op), winner of the 2008 edition of the race and reigning NUE series champion, is one of the favorites, especially after he won round one of the series in Cohutta in late April. Last year's winner, Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale), will be absent; he is currently racing the Trans-Sylvania Epic.

    However, Schalk will be challenged by Josh Tostado (Bach Builders / Santa Cruz). Last year, he was 13th at the Mohican and fifth overall. Tostado is also undefeated at the Breckenridge 100, the fourth stop on this year's NUE.  He's won the race five times.

    Others to watch include Michael Simonson (Gary Fisher/SRAM XX/NoTubes), who was fourth in the series and at the Mohican last year and Greg Kuhn (Team Fraser), seventh overall in the NUE and 12th at the Mohican last year.

    After back-to-back wins at the Mohican in 2008 and 2009, Betsy Shogren (Cannondale) will be back to try to make it three in a row. She is also the reigning NUE series champion. This year's Cohutta 100 winner Amanda Carey (Kenda / Felt) will be on hand to defend her lead in this year's series.

    Look out also for Cheryl Sornson (Team CF), a former NUE series champion in 2008 and previous third and fourth place finisher at the Mohican. Laureen Coffelt (Velosoul/The Natural Way) and Emily Brock ( are other regulars at the front of the end race who could surprise the favorites.

    In the singlespeed race, Harlan Price a former geared men's open NUE Series Champion, will be back in action at the Mohican, which he won in 2006. He'll take on Gerald Pflug (Salsa/SPK/Pro Bikes), who also made the move from the geared to the singlespeed division, but he did so earlier and is therefore the reigning NUE singlespeed...