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MTB News & Racing Round-up, June 12, 2009

Date published:
June 12, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Gravity East Series heads to Pennsylvania

    Article published:
    June 11, 2009, 17:10 BST
    By:
    Sue George

    Elite racing returns to Seven Springs

    Just one week after its most recent round at the Chumba Capital City Cup in Maryland, Seven Springs Mountain Resort in Pennsylvania will host the third stop of the Gravity East Series on June 12-14. The weekend marks the first time the resort has hosted the popular Gravity East Series, although it has previously been the venue for three elite mountain bike national championships, two collegiate mountain bike national championships and the 24-hour Champion Challenge, now in its tenth year.

    Downhillers will race a newly designed course by former four cross world champion Eric Carter.

    The weekend-long event will consist of races for 17 categories. For more information, visit www.7springs.com.

  • New mountain bike stage race planned for Pisgah, North Carolina

    Article published:
    June 11, 2009, 17:14 BST
    By:
    Sue George

    Brevard to host inaugural event in October

    Mountain bike stage racing is coming to the popular riding destination of the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina. Blue Ridge Adventures will host the inaugural Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race on October 15-18 in Brevard. The event will feature a prologue followed by three days of racing and over US$15,000 in prize money.

    Racers will be treated to 145 miles, 38,000 feet of climbing and legendary singletrack. All stages will start and finish at the event headquarters within the town of Brevard.

    With entries limited to 150 racers, some of the best riders in the US are already lining up. Jeremiah Bishop, the US National Champion in marathon and short track, is one professional rider who looks forward to competing in the event. "When I dream of an awesome mountain bike adventure, I think of trails like those being used in the Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race. I can't wait to get down there and ride," he said. "No matter how your race is going, you'll still have a fun time riding. It's spectacular, rugged backcountry mountain biking at its best."

    Race Director Todd Branham is proud that his event will be "a true mountain bike race" loaded with singletrack. For riders not familiar with Pisgah, the gnarly trails are sure to be an eye opener, though Branham said, "It's a course made for everybody. We're not out to demoralize people. The fireroad comes when you want it. We've had a lot of feedback on the course."

    Each stage will include three fully stocked aid stations with food, water, mechanical and medical assistance. The event will kick off with an Industry Expo.

    Branham also promotes the Off Road Assault on Mount Mitchell and the Swank 65. For more information, visit www.BlueRidgeAdventures.net.

  • DCM racers ready for Induna marathon

    Brandon Stewart and Max Knox (DCM Chrome)
    Article published:
    June 11, 2009, 17:18 BST
    By:
    Sue George

    Knox and Kritzinger looking forward to another race

    "No rider can race week-end after week-end and continue to win. Therefore, I am going to start rotating my riders to make sure that they get enough time off to recover." This is what Ian van der Walt, owner of the DCM Chrome team, said after the MTN South African cross country event in Pretoria.

    Van der Walt's statement was not mere rhetoric. The fact that Max Knox and Johnny Kritzinger will be the only two riders from DCM Chrome who will compete in the 125km Induna Ultra race in Hazyview this weekend, is proof that he keeps his promises.

    A look at Knox's racing CV for the year, shows that he is definitely one of the in-form riders at the moment. Not only had he won the Barberton Ultra race as well as the Sabie Marathon race, but during the past weekend he also won the two-day Rooiberg Eco Ride.

    There is a good reason why Knox is dominating the ultra races in the Lowveld. He is a born and bred Lowvelder who grew up in Sabie. One could say that he had learned his trade on the slopes of the Drakensberg.

    "I know what to expect during these races," is how Knox explains his victories. He denies that there is more pressure on him to win when he is racing in the Lowveld.

    "Yes, the Lowveld is my home, and people do expect me to win, but the only real pressure there is on me, is the pressure I put on myself because of my own determination to win."

    One of the highlights of the Induna race could be the battle between Knox and Kevin Evans (MTN). During the first stage of the Rooiberg Eco Ride, Evans managed to beat Knox by a mere second. Unfortunately an untimely puncture during the second stage sabotaged Knox's chances of challenging Evans again in the final sprint.

    What counts in Knox's favour is the fact that he is a tenacious little rider who can climb with the best on a good day and who can sprint as well when necessary. Knox realizes that if he wants to complete his hat trick of three consecutive wins in the...

  • O'Deas back to regular racing

    Article published:
    June 12, 2009, 17:23 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    School's out, time to race

    Former Cyclingnews diarists, Eddie and Namrita O'Dea, have had a hectic first half of the year, but not only due to riding and racing. Namrita finished up her master's degree in nutrition last month. Eddie has been travelling and racing for their team Topeak Ergon.

    "It turned into a lot more time writing than riding a bike," said Namrita of her spring spent finishing up graduate school.

    Meanwhile, Eddie kicked of his season with the Cohutta 100, but had some back luck off the start line when he flatted. During the race, he passed 100 people to finish with what he called a "respectable" time. From there, it was off to a local six-hour race in Georgia where he finished fourth and the Dirt Sweat & Gears, which might better have been called the Mud, Sweat and Gears this year.

    "I don't think any of the racers had ever encountered such mud that just stuck to everything. Riders were carrying (not riding) 90 to 100-pound bikes around the 11-mile course," said Eddie. "It turned to be more of a hike-a-bike race than an actual mountain bike race but it was still a good time as the party went on."

    The pair raced the Gunnison Growler 65-mile event at altitude in Colorado, where Namrita finished second in her class. Next, they will head to the Lumberjack 100, the Wilderness 101 and the Fool's Gold 100, the latter which they promote.

    The pair is riding Rotwild frames for the season, of course with Ergon GX grips.

  • Kugler signs for Multivan Merida Team

    Article published:
    June 12, 2009, 17:25 BST
    By:
    Sue George

    Marathoner finds new sponsor

    Andreas Kugler signed with the Multivan Merida team, effective immediately. The Swiss racer will specialized in marathon races for the team. Together with Hannes Genze, he will compete in international stage races.

    Kugler achieved a third place overall at the Cape Epic in March. At the end of April, he left his former team following a contract dispute. Kugler used to ride for Felt International team, a team which recently lost its title sponsorship.

    Kugler and Genze have long raced together. At the European Marathon Championships in 2005, the entered the final home straight together and Genze won the race by just a few centimeters over Kugler. The team will do events such as the Trans Schwarzwald, the Trans Germany and the TransAlp Challenge.

    Kugler is replacing, Jochen Kass, who is shifting his focus to Olympic distance cross country events.

  • Chengyuan takes third Chinese title

    Ren Chengyuan (Orbea Jiangsu)
    Article published:
    June 12, 2009, 17:26 BST
    By:
    Sue George

    Chinese star mountain biker looks to worlds

    For the third time in a row, Ren Chengyuan (Orbea Jiangsu) won the Chinese National Championships. She finished well ahead of her compatriots.

    "I'm very happy to have won," said Chengyuan after finishing second in the sixth and final race of the championship series. "It was very tricky race, but I gave it everything I had. I can't wait to go and celebrate it with my team. We've had a fantastic season."

    The Orbea Jiangsu biker won all five previous races in the series, but conceded the final one to fellow Orbea racer Liu Ying. Chengyuan's season so far has been a good one. In addition to winning the World Cup in Offenburg, she finished third at the World Cup in Houffalize, Belgium.

    "I love Offenburg and Houffalize," she said. "They're both spectaculars circuits where you can really feel the fans get behind you. I was lucky enough to win at Offenburg and get on the podium at Houffalize."

    The Asian rider will get her next chance to excel internationally at the World Championships in Canberra, Australia in early September.

    "The World Championships is a truly wonderful competition," she said. "I'll be going all out in Australia."

  • US ProXCT finale may get earlier date

    The men's start at the Bump 'n' Grind round of the US ProXCT
    Article published:
    June 12, 2009, 17:30 BST
    By:
    Sue George

    Racing may happen in conjunction with Interbike's Dirt Demo

    The finals of the US ProXCT elite cross country races, now scheduled for Saturday, September 26, may be moving up a few days on the calendar. Organizers are considering shifting the finale of the seven-race series to be run in conjunction with Dirt Demo at Interbike on Tuesday, September 22.

    "We're pursuing the change aggressively and we have support from major industry teams," said Ty Kady to Cyclingnews on behalf of series organizers. "But nothing is definite yet. We still have to sell it to the organizers of the Dirt Demo." Kady expects to know for certain by about June 15, so racers and team support personnel may want to hold on finalizing travel plans. The Dirt Demo is the outdoors, test portion of the Interbike Trade Show.

    Kady outlined several reasons for the change, despite the fact that the new date comes only a few days after the previous weekend's UCI World Cup final round. First, many of the mountain bikers will be trying to make the cyclo-cross USGP in Wisconsin on the weekend of September 26-27, and the new date would enable racers to do both events. Those not racing 'cross would also be able to finish their USProXCT series before standing on their feet for several days at the Interbike trade show.

    On the flip side, some riders and support personal may have already made travel arrangements with the original date, and those returning state-side from the World Cup in Europe will have overcome the jetlag with just three days in between events.

    Regardless of whether the elite ProXCT finals move, amateurs will still race on September 26 as originally scheduled.