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MTB News & Racing Round-up, March 13, 2010

Date published:
March 16, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Giant set to debut high-end 29er

    Giant's highest-end 29er at the moment is the mid-range XtC 29er 1 but that's set to change at Sea Otter with the expected introduction of at least one new premium model.
    Article published:
    March 12, 2010, 6:44 GMT
    By:
    James Huang

    Sea Otter Classic will see new hardtail launch

    After admitting that, "sales of the 29er have really taken us by surprise," Giant revealed that it will finally debut a high-end big wheeler at next month's Sea Otter Classic to complement its current entry-level and mid-range 29" aluminum hardtails.

    Giant global product marketing manager Andrew Juskaitis wouldn't say much on the record prior to the bike's official launch but he did suggest that the target user group for the new bike is the "performance trail market" and all-mountain, ride-all-day riders. As such, the most likely possibilities are aluminum 29"-wheeled versions of the company's highly versatile Anthem X or Trance X platforms.

    Juskaitis also hinted that the new platform would likely be available with several different types of build kits to suit a wider variety of applications. Expected features include a tapered OverDrive front end, Giant's well-proven Maestro linkage system and Fox Racing System suspension components, perhaps a press-fit bottom bracket, and other recent corporate design elements such as the rectangular MegaDrive oversized down tube.

  • Spink and Douglas return to Bike Buller MTB Festival

    A rider at the Bike Buller MTB Festival.
    Article published:
    March 12, 2010, 7:57 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Both aim to defend titles this weekend

    The Bike Buller MTB Festival is attracting nearly double the competitors for four races over two days of competition this weekend, March 13-14. Nearly 400 riders from all over Australia will be on hand, including defending champions, Murray Spink and Jess Douglas.

    Four racing stages will capitalise on the best bits of the Glen Jacobs-built singletrack that slaloms through the region's snow gums.

    The action will kick off on Saturday morning with a 25km cross country race in and around Mt Buller Village using more new trails, followed in the afternoon by a super D course that drops over 300 vertical metres. In between will be a junior event to encourage the riders of the future. After a party on Saturday night, riders will saddle up again on Sunday morning for a tough 50km cross country race over neighbouring Mt.Stirling and back again.

    Aongst the participants are a few of Australia's finest mountain bike riders including Tory Thomas, who will give Australian 24-Hour champion, Jess Douglas, a good run for her money.

    Shaun Timberlake, teammate of Murray Spink and runner-up last year, is no doubt keen to make some waves as well. He'll have to work hard though as Spink says his "form is okay". After experiencing two flats that caused him to retire early from the coveted Otway Odyssey two weeks ago, he's eager to make amends. When asked what brings him back this year his answer was a simple, "It's a good event. Good course, good trails, good fun."

    Spink will be accompanied by his wife and a few Giant Bike teammates and is looking forward to a good mix of riding and socialising. Friends and families of competitors will enjoy a range of on-mountain activities like horse riding, rock climbing, tours, bush walking, scenic chairlifts and cafes.

    For more information on the Bike Buller MTB Festival, visit www.bikebullermtbfestival.com.

  • US 24-hour mountain bike nationals move to Moab in October

    Always good scenery at the 24 hours of Moab
    Article published:
    March 12, 2010, 14:54 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Utah to host for second year after 24 hours of Big Bear cancelled

    After the race promoter cancelled the event that was to serve as the 24-hour mountain bike national championships in Hazelton, West Virginia, in mid-June, USA Cycling announced a new venue and date for the championships. For the second consecutive year, the 24 hours of Moab will host the race for the stars and stripes. This year's edition will happen on October 9-10 in Moab, Utah.

    "It's unfortunate that Big Bear isn't happening this year," said USA Cycling's Mountain Bike Events Director Kelli Lusk. "But it's exciting to have the 24 Hours of Moab host our 24-Hour Mountain Bike National Championships again. We are certainly looking forward to a great second year in Moab."

    Granny Gear's Laird Knight confirmed to Cyclingnews yesterday that he was cancelling the 24 hours of Big Bear for 2010 for financial concerns although he hopes to bring the race back for 2011. Knight's company also runs the 24 hours of Moab. The championships would have been held in West Virginia on June 12-13.

    In Moab, USA Cycling will award national titles in 15 different categories: male and female solo, singlespeed, duo, 4-person team, junior 4-person team, master 4-person team 35+, master 4-person team 45+, as well as mixed duo.

    For more information on the 24 hours of Moab, visit grannygear.com.

  • Wetter round of International MTB-Bundesliga race cancelled

    The women start round one of the Bundesliga series.
    Article published:
    March 12, 2010, 18:33 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Only four races remain in German national mountain bike series

    The Bundesliga International Mountain Bike Series has lost another of its rounds for 2010. The July 3-4 round, scheduled for Wetter / Ruhr will not be held as the organizers, MBC Bochum und RSC Tretlager Wetter, announced Wednesday after the partial withdrawal of a major sponsor's support.

    "With the greatest of regrets, we must tell you that we have to carry forward our plans for the race in Wetter / Ruhr and that there will be no elite cross country race this year,"  said race Co-Chairs Sylvia and Dirk Schaten Wienen according to the German federation's website. "After the Ruhr bicycle festival, in the context of the economic crisis, lost a sponsor from the previous year, the two clubs MBC Bochum and RSC Tretlager Wetter tried to carry on."

    But a 50 percent cutback in another sponsor's commitment sealed the fate of this year's edition of the race. "We'd hoped to restore elite racing in the Rurh area, but from the outset, we were operating with a budget shortfall," organizers admitted.

    "The news hits us hard. There is also the risk that the international prestige of the MTB Bundesliga will suffer. The Mountain Bike Coordinator of the German Cycling Federation (BDR) stressed that the federation had no problem with us organizers and noted that mountain biking, unlike other cycling disciplines, had thus far been largely spared from the economic crisis."

    A replacement for the Bundesliga race, which was to occur the week prior to the European Championship, is being sought, but the chances of finding one are believed to be small.

    The associated Ruhr Bike Festival will go on, but as a stripped-down version, though still including a marathon race. Wetter is also still planning to host the German Championship in 2011.

    Earlier this year, the St. Märgen event withdrew from the Bundesliga series due to financial reasons. After the Under 23 race in Leißling was called off due to opposition from hunters,...

  • USA Cycling names Continental Mountain Bike Championships team

    Sam Schultz at the crest
    Article published:
    March 12, 2010, 21:55 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    21 riders headed to Guatemala

    USA Cycling announced Friday the 21 riders named to the US squad for the upcoming Pan American Continental Mountain Bike Championships in Guatemala City, Guatemala on April 9-11.

    Former USA Cycling Development Program athlete Sam Schultz (Subaru-Gary Fisher) earned the first automatic nomination to the men's cross country squad as the number 33 rider in the UCI rankings, the top American next to Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant) who is ranked 25th internationally, but is unable to compete due to injury. Also earning automatic nominations are Todd Wells (Specialized) and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Gary Fisher) who are ranked 40th and 46th respectively. Michael Broderick (Kenda-Seven-NoTubes) will round out the elite men's squad as a discretionary pick.

    Willow Koerber (Subaru-Gary Fisher), Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven-NoTubes), and Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Gary Fisher) all earned automatic nominations to the women's cross country squads based on their UCI rankings - 12th, 14th, and 26th, respectively. Katie Compton (Katie Compton Coaching) completes the women's squad as a discretionary pick.

    As the highest-ranked American under 23 athlete in the UCI rankings, USA Cycling Development Program athlete, Rob Squire is the only automatic nomination to the men's under 23 cross country squad. Joining Squire will be discretionary picks Tad Elliott and Ethan Gilmour.

    All the gravity athletes representing the US are discretionary selections. Chris Van Dine (Cannondale), Shawn Neer and Brian Buell will don the red, white, and blue in the elite men's downhill and four cross competitions. Joey Schusler (Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team), Geoffrey Ulmer, Luciano Worl (Corsair-Atomlab), Ethan Quehl and Graeme Pitts (Team Geronimo-Banshee Bikes) will join them for the downhill.

    Two women will represent the US in the elite women's gravity competitions in Guatemala. Rachel Bauer (Team Geronimo-Banshee) and Katie Holden will contest both the...

  • New Swell-Redshift team launched

    The Swell-Redshift Mountain Bike Team
    Article published:
    March 13, 2010, 11:11 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Australian mountain bike squad adopts road development team approach

    The Swell-Redshift mountain bike team was launched on Thursday, just prior to the final round of the Australian National Mountain Bike Series in Canberra. Swell-Redshift is taking a unique approach to racing, development and sponsorship, akin to teams of the European peloton rather than traditional Australian mountain biking. The team has its naming rights sponsor from the private sector, Swell Design Group, along with specific support from within the cycling industry.

    Due to the extensive funding cuts to elite mountain biking announced by Cycling Australia late in 2009, the team believes it is a critical time to secure alternative development pathways to ensure that Australia's recent gains in the sport continue to advance the sport nationally and internationally.

    The team's riders will target races that are important to their development, rather than targeting Australian mass-participation races. The latter approach is taken by many Australian mountain bike teams.

    The Swell-Redshift mountain bike team is focused on Olympic format cross country racing and will support the ambitions of qualifying members of the team for this year's World Championships in Canada. The team has the longer term goal of developing riders for the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games.

    "We may not have the budget of RadioShack or Saxo Bank, but we have the foundations in place to develop Olympic format cross country riders for the international stage," said Team Manager Chris Clarke.

    It's objectives are to focus on development of Australian cross country riders; to bridge the gap by creating pathways to Europe for Australian riders to further their careers; to promote the sport of mountain biking in Australia; and to provide novel and tailored benefits to maximise the return for sponsors.

    The Canberra-based team is preparing is making its debut at the fourth and final round of the 2009-10 Australian mountain bike national series at Stromlo...