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MTB News & Racing Round-up, June 29, 2009

Date published:
June 29, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Lakata quits Trans Germany after unlucky streak

    Alban Lakata (Team Topeak Ergon)
    Article published:
    June 25, 2009, 14:28 BST
    By:
    Daniel Simms

    Topeak Ergon rider to focus on Austrian marathon championships

    Team Topeak Ergon's Alban Lakata started out the Trans Germany on a positive note, by outsprinting Andreas Kugler (Multivan Merida) for a stage win and the overall lead, but his race has been filled with misfortune ever since.

    Lakata's luck ran out on the second stage when a mechanical cost him a lot of time. Thanks to teammate Robert Mennen, Lakata still reached the finish line in Bischofsheim, but he slid to fourth place in the GC.

    On the third stage, Lakata suffered another problem with his equipment, but he pulled off a second place for the stage. Again, Mennen was his hero of the day. The rider dropped back to help the Austrian National Marathon Champion after he heard of his misfortune. Mennen later withdrew from the race and will focus instead on the German Bundesliga race this weekend.

    Stage four brought still more bad luck for Lakata. After two flats en route, he was almost speechless at the finish line as he wondered what was happening to him."Sometimes it is like that. No matter what you do, these things happen," said Lakata. "The annoying thing is that my form is there." He was down to 17 minutes in eighth place behind the leader, Thomas Dietsch.

    However, that wasn't good enough for Lakata. "For me now, my chances of winning are low. The time difference is just too large for me to play a deciding role on the podium," said Lakata before deciding to abandon.

    "Normally it isn't what you do," said Dirk Juckwer, Topeak Ergon Manager. "A stage race is an experience in itself, and you should finish. However, given the circumstances, and the Austrian National Marathon Championships on Saturday, it makes sense for Lakata to be able to defend his jersey."

    Topeak Ergon is having much better luck in the women's race. British National Marathon Champion Sally Bigham has been riding a terrific race and climbing the GC daily. After stage five on Thursday, she was sitting in second place behind Esther...

  • Windham World Cup gravity courses set for weekend test

    Looking up the four cross course at Windham Mountain, New York
    Article published:
    June 25, 2009, 15:11 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Gravity East Series racers to compete on downhill and dual slalom courses

    Less than a week after New York's Windham Mountain was designated as a UCI World Cup venue for 2010, gravity racers will get to preview the World Cup downhill and four cross courses in competition. The Gravity East Series is heading to Windham Mountain on June 27-28

    With the addition of Windham Mountain to next year's World Cup, three of Gravity East's first four 2009 events have been, or will be, host to UCI World Cup Downhills. The Gravity East at Windham Mountain will utilize both new UCI courses this weekend. The new downhill course is roughly 3:20 long and based on the popular course first used at last year's national series event. There have been additions to both the beginning and end of the course, notably the "Black Bear Slide", a feature so technical that it will be used only for the expert and professional divisions. The weekend will also see the debut of Windham's brand new four cross World Cup course when it is used for the second race of Gravity East's dual slalom series. The course is expected to be nearly one-minute long.

    Windham Mounta is a well-known ski mountain, but the mountain bike program is new, with the first tree having been cut in April of 2008. Thus far, Special Events Director Rick Hodge and the Windham Mountain staff have been intent on establishing the resort as a first-class competition venue, but plans call for a full network of lift-assisted and cross country trails to be open for recreational riding by next spring.

    Heading into this weekend's racing, there is a tight battle for the overall championship. Jason Memmelaar (2wheelfreaks.com / Manitou) has 2,430 points and holds onto a narrow lead in the elite men's category ahead of Alejandro Ortiz (NEMA) with 2,340 points. Nine riders are still within one win of the lead in the overall.

    The wild card, however is dropped races. 2009 race winners Neko Mulally (Specialized Team America) and Sean McClendon both used one of their three drop...

  • British Cross Country Series to Crow Hill

    Racing at round three of the British cross country National Points Series
    Article published:
    June 25, 2009, 15:27 BST
    By:
    Daniel Simms

    Racers to compete in a less hilly Round four

    After the ups and downs of Dalby Forest and Margam Park, the British National Cross Country Series travels to the slightly less hilly New Forest for Round 4 at Crow Hill this weekend. Given that all three previous rounds were sold out, another bumper crop of entrants is expected.

    In the elite category, each round has featured a different winner in both the men's and women's events, but the British are still looking for a first win by one of their own in the women's race. Australian and New Zealand riders Katherine O'Shea, Kate Potter and Rosara Joseph have each won a round so far.

    Thus far, the national series has seen women constitute 20 percent of the total entrants in the age group categories.

    Racers will compete on a 6.1km course with lots of singletrack. The cross country is happening on Saturday, and the first staging of the English Marathon Championships will be run on Sunday on an extended 12.5km course.

    For more information on the national cross country series, visit www.britishxc.com.

    For more information about the English Marathon Championships, visit www.southernxc.com.

  • Battle shaping up between Sauser and Vogel in Engleberg

    World champion Christoph Sauser
    Article published:
    June 25, 2009, 16:10 BST
    By:
    Daniel Simms

    Next round of Racer Bikes Cup happening this weekend

    Reigning World Champion Christoph Sauser will race the Racer Bikes Cup Swiss National series on Sunday for the first time since last summer. Sauser will do battle with European Champion Florian Vogel. For the two Swiss stars, the race will be a dress rehearsal for the Swiss Championships coming up next weekend in Chur.

    It will be the first time the Swiss cross country series stops in Engelberg.

    Vogel has been regularly racing the Racer Bikes Cup this season, and he's been routinely in the top three. After five rounds, he leads the overall series. Last year's overall winner, Martin Gujan and the two Flueckiger are expected to race, too, as will the young racer Fabian Giger.

    Swiss champion Kathrin Leumann is the favorite for the women's race. She is leading the overall standings and will face challenges from other favorites including Nathalie Schneitter and Eva Lechner.

    In the junior and amateur / masters category, Matthias Rupp is a likely winner.

    Michelle Hediger and Vania Schumacher will battle in the junior women's race while it should be an exciting junior men's race with Matthias Stirnemann, Lukas Loretz, Reto Indergand and Roger Walder.
     

  • Intermontaine Challenge MTB stage race offers equal prize money

    The Intermontaine Challenge will bring stage racing to Kamloops.
    Article published:
    June 25, 2009, 16:54 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    First year race appeals to elite women

    In its first year, the Intermontaine Challenge mountain bike stage race will be offering equal prize money for men and women - not only for the winners, but for all the places. Nonetheless, the race is still hoping to attract a stronger women's field.

    "We're a little surprised we don't have more women so far considering that we are doing the equal prize money," said promoter Chuck Brennan. "However, I'm dedicated to keeping the prize standard for 2010 for sure. We'll see how it goes after that."

    The decision to award equal prize money came, in a way, through Brennan's wife. "I saw inequality in race prize money. I saw that the men earned about 10 times as much as the women. My wife was standing beside me at one point and said, 'That's bullsh*t!'. "The last time I checked a woman has to train just as hard as a man to get to the top. And many of them aren't far behind the top men."

    Brennan is the first to admit it's not a great time to start a new stage race - despite the format's popularity. "We probably picked the worst year," he said, referring to the ongoing global recession. However, given time, he's hoping the race will become established in its late-July time slot. This year's event is set for July 27-31.

    The race will follow a clover-leaf format with all stages starting and finishing in the same town of Kamloops. The course will run through a semi-arid setting, similar to Colorado, according to Brennan.

    The Intermontaine Trail Legacy Society is overseeing trail management and development for the race. "We have tons of trails, but just about all of them are illegal - often on private land. There's no arrangement between landowners and the cycling community."

    "This year's race will be on existing trails that we're getting permission to use. Down the road, in four or five years, we'll likely still be dealing with existing trails."

    Many of the trails are established trails that have fallen out...

  • Past winners to battle at the BC Bike Race starting Sunday

    The start of a stage of the BC Bike Race
    Article published:
    June 27, 2009, 10:14 BST
    By:
    Daniel Simms

    Seven-day race set for its third edition

    The BC Bike Race is set to launch its third edition for over 400 racers on Sunday, June 28. The seven-day Canadian race features a revised course with a North Vancouver start. The race will also visit the famous North Shore trails and include two new stages. It finishes on July 4.

    This year's list of favorites reads like a who's who in endurance mountain bike racing.

    In the women's race, Alison Sydor and Lea Davison will pair up as Team Rocky Mountain Bicycles. Their number one challengers are likely to be Catherine Pendrel and Katerina Nash of Team Luna.

    The men's race will be a battle of past winners. 2008 winners Kris Sneddon and Barry Wicks of Team Kona will take on 2007 winners Chris Eatough and Jeff Schalk. Seamus McGrath and Chris Sheppard, of Team Jamis and Team Santa Cruz, will also throw their hats into the ring.

    Sue Butler will pair up with Bryan Alders (Monavie-Cannondale) in the Mixed category. Team Luna's Georgia Gould and Team Kona's Ryan Trebon are another match to watch.

    Stayed tuned to Cyclingnews for race coverage.

  • Unemployed Compton seeking sponsorship

    Katie Compton racing in Colorado in June
    Article published:
    June 28, 2009, 15:16 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Spike Shooter ends support sooner than expected

    American Katie Compton has had to cancel most of her short term racing plans after losing her Spike Shooter sponsorship. The mountain bike and cyclo-cross star plans to continue training while she looks for new sponsorship, but nearly all of her racing intentions are on hold for the time being.

    "We got cut off sooner than we'd like. [Former sponsor] Spike Shooter wanted to change direction. The only problem is that there wasn't a lot of warning. We've been searching since March, and there's not a lot of money out there," said Compton to Cyclingnews. The 30-year-old is the reigning US National Mountain Bike short track champion and has won the US cyclo-cross national championships every year from 2004 to 2008. "It's July and it's really hard to find contract in the middle of the season. We've talked to a lot of people."

    "It's poor timing," said Compton, who's heard often from potential sponsors that their budgets are fully allocated by this time of year. "We were hoping to make it through until December, but we don't have the money to race any more. Right now we're just trying to make ends meet by coaching. With coaching, we can make enough to pay the mortgage."

    Nonetheless, Compton is committed to training and maintaining her fitness. Although she had increased her plans for mountain bike racing this season, she'll have to scale them back. Compton recently finished second to Catherine Pendrel (Luna) at the US ProXCT round in Colorado Springs. She also won the Teva Mountain Games cross country this month.

    Compton replied to rumors that she was going to be riding for the Sho-Air / Specialized mountain bike team. "It's a possibility. The guys at Sho-Air are working hard to find a place for me, but their budget is pretty tapped with sponsoring the mountain bike series and backing a World Cup for next year."

    "I was planning to race the Canadian World Cups and the rest of the US ProXCT series," said Compton....