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MTB News & Racing Round-up, June 8, 2010

Date published:
June 08, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Italian female MTB rider positive

    A narrower section of trail on the pro cross country course.
    Article published:
    June 03, 2010, 10:33 BST
    Hedwig Kröner

    Elena Gaddoni awaits hearing date

    The Italian Olympic Committee has announced that Italian female MTB rider Elena Gaddoni (Scapin Stihl Torrevilla) has returned a positive doping test result. She tested positive for exogenous testosterone, with a T/E ratio above 4.

    The sample was taken out of competition, during a training camp of the 30-year-old in Garda on April 24, 2010. Gaddoni won the Prosecchissima race in Miane, Treviso, earlier that month.

    The Cross Country specialist was temporarily suspended by the Anti-Doping Tribunal on request of the Anti-Doping Procura that investigates all cases of doping in Italian sport. Gaddoni is likely to be questioned by the Procura and then will have to wait for the setting of the date of her hearing in front of the Tribunal. If found guilty, she faces a two-year ban from competition.

  • Kiwi Cole shocked by Fort William podium

    Cameron Cole (New Zealand)
    Article published:
    June 07, 2010, 11:02 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Just five tenths off World Cup win

    New Zealand downhiller Cameron Cole (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) was shocked to finish second at the weekend’s MTB World Cup round in Fort William, Scotland. Cole’s time in the finals placed him just five tenths behind eventual winner Gee Atherton, giving the 22-year-old his first elite podium with his second placing.

    "I don't know what to think or say – it has just been unreal," said Cole. "I didn't really expect my first podium to be a second place – I thought maybe I would pull a fourth or a fifth, but to be second and to nearly win has been pretty amazing."

    The former junior world champion was surprised to qualify third in Scotland, but didn’t think too much about what that could mean for the finals. He benefited greatly from the course’s changes, which made it faster for 2010, having crashed in the excluded technical sections in 2008 and 2009.

    "I just rode my own race all weekend. On the morning of the race I was very nervous – especially when I was in the gate at the start,” he said. “But I just rode my own race and fixed up the bits of the track that I needed to. I managed to save some time on the dry and slippery corners and then smashed the pedalling at the bottom part of the course.

    "My final run didn't feel amazing – it just felt like another run – that is maybe a good thing," he said. "I thought the last two guys to come down might beat me and relegate me back to third or fourth, but it never happened."

    One of those final two riders was World Cup leader Greg Minnaar. The South African rider couldn’t beat Cole’s time however and instead finished in third place.

    "Justin Leov was with me and he said, 'dude, you're second', and he was nearly crying and I was nearly crying – it was amazing," he said. "Gee Atherton was amping and the crowd was going off, everyone came over to shake my hand – it was a pretty wild...

  • Graves notches up second World Cup victory of the season

    Jared Graves (Yeti-Fox).
    Article published:
    June 08, 2010, 0:16 BST
    Cycling News

    Four cross World Champion rides to victory in Fort William

    Reigning four cross world champion Jared Graves recorded his second World Cup victory of the year at Fort William in the Scottish Highlands this weekend, further strengthening his lead at the top of the 2010 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup standings.

    As the countdown continues to August's 2010 UCI World Mountain Bike Championships in Canada, the 27-year-old Queenslander lived up to his reputation as the world number one by comfortably defeating Joost Wichman, Michal Prokop and Romain Saladini in Saturday's final.

    In uncharacteristically warm and dry conditions, the course was dusty and loose, causing numerous washouts in the corners. A new rock garden through the middle section of the course added a new element of difficulty.

    The final saw Graves once again shoot to the front out of the gate, closely followed by Prokop, who managed to squeeze in ahead of Wichman before the first corner. However, Wichman fought back, with an impressive inside pass on the third corner to take the second spot behind a disappearing Graves, who continued to extend his lead. Graves easily held on to secure his third consecutive win on the Fort William course, while Wichman managed to hold off Prokop for second.

    "The corners were getting bad," said Graves, "so I was pretty much worried the whole way down.

    "I'm so happy to get the win. It was a sketchy start (to the final). I was banging elbows with Joost, and I thought we might both go down. He certainly kept me honest."

    On track for back-to-back UCI World Cup titles, Graves has a commanding lead in the series standings with 350 points, followed by Wichman (225 points) and Slavik (150 points) in third.

    The next four cross (and downhill) World Cup will take place on June 19-20 in Leogang, Austria.

  • Gee Atherton thrills home crowd in the Highlands

    Gee Atherton (Commencal) negotates a technical track at Fort William on his way to a World Cup round win.
    Article published:
    June 08, 2010, 3:20 BST
    Cycling News

    Brit wins Fort William World Cup downhill

    Gee Atherton (Commencal) thrilled the home crowd to take an inaugural win at the second leg of the UCI Downhill Mountain Bike World Cup in Fort William, Scotland, this weekend.

    In a nail-biting finish to a superb weekend of racing, the middle Atherton sibling avenged his brother's and sister's bad fortunes and solidified his chase on the overall World Cup title.

    The weekend looked to be a sad affair for the Atherton family as Dan the eldest exited Saturday night's four cross event in the quarter finals. This was then followed by little sister Rachel, who got pipped to the women's downhill win by just over a second by Frenchwoman Sabrina Jonnier.

    This left Gee with it all to do and he didn't disappoint.

    Atherton's time of 4:35.70 set the mark with only five riders left to descend, although all came close at the intermediate times it was Gee's lower section that set him apart from the rest of the field.

    Cameron Cole of New Zealand, the number two seed, came closest to toppling the Brit in front of the 15,000-strong crowd, just two tenths of a second down at the intermediate split, Cole could not regain enough on the Brit to take over the lead.
    This left South African Greg Minnaar the only person capable of silencing the home crowd. Minnaar trailed only four tenths at the last split and was looking good, but the current World Cup leader and former World Champ did not quite have enough in the tank to topple Gee.

    As the South African crossed the line to claim third, Gee stood up to salute the masses, and a deafening noise erupted at the Nevis Range resort.

    "Winning in Fort William means so much to me, I honestly can say that it is right up there with winning the World Championships in 2008," said Gee Atherton.

    "It comes almost as a relief to me, all the hard work, not just this winter but the last few years - today made it all worth it. The crowd were just un-real and I'd like to thank every one of...

  • Jonnier wins her first downhill World Cup of 2010

    Sabrina Jonnier (Maxxis / Rocky Mountain) on her way to a World Cup win in Fort William.
    Article published:
    June 08, 2010, 9:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Frenchwoman leads World Cup standings after victory

    After a two-week break, World Cup downhill racing resumed in Fort William, Scotland, the site of the 2007 World Championships and an annual stop for the World Cup circuit. Maxxis-Rocky Mountain's Sabrina Jonnier owned the World Cup circuit in 2009, winning six events and the World Cup overall title. This weekend, she earned her first World Cup win of 2010.

    With the United Kingdom's Rachel Atherton (Commencal) back in 2010 from a serious injury, this season has provided tighter competition for Jonnier. After a second place to Atherton at the Maribor round, Jonnier was looking to get back on top of the podium in Fort William.

    In qualifying, it was Atherton first, then Jonnier two seconds back in second and France's Florian Pugin in third place. It was clear that the race would be between Jonnier and Atherton in the finals.

    Fort William is a rider favorite, as it is one of the longest courses on the circuit at almost five minutes, and it is extremely technically challenging. In addition, Fort William attracts thousands of rabid fans that line the course cheering riders with a deafening roar.

    In the finals, one rider after the other took the hot seat in tight succession, but it was the UK's Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing), the 2008 Fort William champion, who set the first time under 5:20 with a 5:16:46. France's Pugin was down next and squeaked out a tiny two hundredths of a second faster time than Moseley to take the lead.

    With two riders to go, it was Jonnier blowing the race apart with a five-second faster time than Pugin, with most of that advantage gained on the pedaling intensive lower section of the course. Atherton was last to go and only trailed Jonnier at the midway point by half a second, but by the end of the race, she had lost over two seconds. With the win, Jonnier assumed the lead in the World Cup series by a scant 15 points.

    "It was a long run," said Jonnier. "I hit my pedal on the top section and...

  • BC Bike Race sells out 2010 edition

    Staging for the BC Bike Race
    Article published:
    June 08, 2010, 17:58 BST
    Cycling News

    Pendrel, Kabush, Sheppard among those to start

    The BC Bike Race has sold out of entries for its 2010 edition. In its fourth year, the BC Bike Race has again reached 100 percent capacity. All 500 participants will start on June 27 in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

    The BC Bike Race deliberately limits capacity. "With singletrack and environmental issues to be considered, we must be very careful of our footprint each year," said course designer Andreas Hestler. "Each of the other events in this category has their own flavour and their own capacity, but we don't foresee being able or interested in hosting more than 500 each year. It's simply the most sustainable number for our area."

    For 2010, women's partipation has climbed to a noteworthy 19 percent.

    The BC Bike Race annually draws a top-notch field, and this year is no exception with Luna Team's Catharine Pendrel teaming up with Maxxis / Rocky Mountain's Geoff Kabush in the mixed category. Pendrel recent won her second-ever World Cup. Kabush is looking forward to doing the full event after a sampling last year.

    The pair will face another mixed team: Wendy Simms and Norm Thibault (Kona Factory Team). Simms will be fresh off of maternity leave as they try to defend their mixed title from 2008.

    Three-time Xterra World Champion Melanie McQuaid will also be on the line. "I have been a secret admirer of the BC Bike Race since the first inception of the race when it began in Victoria. I am sure it is not only an amazing training opportunity but will be a lifetime adventure from which I'll take many amazing memories and new friends," she said.

    La Ruta de los Conquistadores winner Manny Prado (Team Sho-Air) will put his endurance skills to the test in the men's race.

    Chris Sheppard (Rocky Mountain Factory Team), winner of the 2009 edition of the race with teammate Seamus McGrath, will compete in the solo category this year, but Barry Wicks and Kris Sneddon (Kona) will continue to race as a team...