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MTB News & Racing Round-up, March 21, 2010

Date published:
March 21, 2010, 0:00 GMT
  • Evans hopes to prolong good form through Cape Epic

    Kevin Evans and Alban Lakata won the Subaru Sani2c race.
    Article published:
    March 18, 2010, 15:30 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    South African aiming for stage and overall wins

    After winning the South African road time trial championships, the ultra marathon championships and the three-day Sani2C mountain bike stage race in recent weeks, Kevin Evans (MTN-Energade), who also finished second overall at the Giro del Capo road race, has proven he has the legs for his next objective: the Cape Epic.

    Evans is aiming to win the Cape Epic with his Austrian teammate Alban Lakata.

    "If we do not win the Epic, it will be of no importance to us in what position we finish overall. Whether we finish second, third, fourth..., it makes no difference. All it means is that we have lost," said Evans. "The only other option that would be tolerable to me, is not to win overall, but to win a few stages."

    Having competed in all the Cape Epics thus far, Evans is a seasoned campaigner. He has always finished in the top 10.

    In 2004 he was fourth overall; 2005 - third; 2006 - fourth ; 2007 - seventh; 2008 - third and 2009 - fourth. He also managed to win a stage, thereby earning the privilege to wear the coveted yellow jersey for one day.

    2010 might just be the year in which South African mountain bike history will be made because, apart from Evans, Burry Stander (Specialized/Mr Price), who will ride with Christoph Sauser from Switzerland, also has a realistic chance of winning the Epic overall.

    "With the Epic you cannot afford to leave anything to chance. You have to be as well-prepared as you possibly can, physically as well as mentally. And that is not all," said Evans. "You have to ensure that your equipment is 110 percent in working order. If you want to win you cannot afford to take any risks."

    "And even though you do everything correctly during the build-up to the Epic as well as during the tour itself, you still have no guarantee that you will win. Just look at what happened to Burry and Christoph last year. To win the Epic overall, you also need a lot of luck."

    According to Evans, there...

  • Emmett surprises herself with early season win

    Kelli Emmett (Giant Factory Team) does some early season riding in California.
    Article published:
    March 18, 2010, 20:08 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    'Cross fitness, moto riding helps Giant racer get up to speed

    Kelli Emmett went into the opening round of the Triple Crown mountain bike series last weekend with modest expectations but finished with a cross country win, a second in the Super D and third in the short track.

    Traditionally strong in the early season, the Team Giant rider  had delayed ramping up her pre-season training with the goal of riding stronger later in the year, yet the mental and physical respite seemed to serve her well in California.

    "There's not a lot of high priority races up front in the season, so I did way more skiing this winter. I stayed in Colorado. I did less bike specific training," she said to Cyclingnews. "We had a great winter in Colorado. I didn't have any days in the trainer this winter. With the mild winter, the trails were open, so I did a lot of trail riding."

    "A lot of times, I would train very hard in the early season, and I'd come into it riding really well, and then I'd fizzle out in July. This year I wanted to change it and focus more on the season."

    The 32-year-old Emmett has a few major goals in mind for 2010. First, she'd like to race more super Ds, a discipline at which she had excelled. Secondly, she'd like to do well at the US National Championships in Granby, Colorado, this summer and make the US team for the World Championships, which are in Mont Sainte Anne, Quebec, a venue she loves to race.

    "For this year, I'd like to do well at nationals. I haven't yet put together a good race at nationals," she said. "We'll have the US Pro XCT round in my hometown (in Colorado Springs, Colorado) the week before nationals, so I'm looking forward to both of those races." Competing in the US Pro XCT means Emmett won't be at Downieville.

    After her Bonelli Park race debut, Emmett will compete in the road racing at San Dimas, hit some US Pro XCT races, and the second round of the Triple Crown in Nathrop, Colorado. She also has her eye on a good performance at the...

  • Brentjens will take on Huber in 2010 Crocodile Trophy

    Bart Brentjens and Urs Huber will battle again at the Crocodile Trophy in 2010.
    Article published:
    March 19, 2010, 9:00 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Three podium finishers committed for next edition of Australian stage race

    European mountain biking's elder statesman, former world and Olympic champion Bart Brentjens, yesterday confirmed his place at the start line for the 2010 edition of Australia's Crocodile Trophy mountain bike stage race.

    The Dutchman struggled to acclimatise to the merciless climbs of the opening stage from Cairns to Lake Tinaroo in his debut race last year and finished second to Swiss champion Urs Huber. He announced his intention to avenge his defeat in the 2010 edition of the race.

    Inking a deal with the founder of the Trek-Bart Brentjens Racing last week in Vienna, Austria, Crocodile Trophy race owner Gerhard Schönbacher confirmed that the Dutch marathon champion would once again confront the opening 98km stage with 3,000 metres of climbing and 20 percent gradients in an attempt to add a Crocodile Trophy victory to his already full palmarès.

    "As an organisation, we are both delighted and honoured to welcome Bart Brentjens to the Crocodile Trophy in 2010," said Schönbacher. "Bart brings to the race qualities of a true champion with a mix of supreme professionalism, sportsmanship and humility and he will once again be a great example to both the professionals and the amateurs in the Crocodile Trophy of 2010."

    "With both the 2009 race winner Huber and the third-placed Belgian Mike Mulkens also confirmed in their participation for 2010, all the podium finishers from last year will be present when the race starts in Australia's tropical capital of Cairns on October 19.

    The 2010 parcours will mostly mirror the 2009 route, with one key change being a competitive individual time trial featuring the gruelling climbs of Australia's Daintree Rainforest on the final day.

    "Given the terrain, it is possible the 38km time trial will decide the race at the end of 10 days and 1,200 kilometres of racing," Schönbacher added.

    According to the race tradition, when the time trial ends on...

  • DeMattei and Wiens to host Colorado CycleFest

    Dave Wiens from Team Topeak - Ergon rounds the corner before descending the rock drop option at the Kona Bikes 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo race in Tucson. Wiens' Topeak-Ergon team took second place in the Five Person Co-ed 150-199 Combined Age category of the event.
    Article published:
    March 20, 2010, 19:15 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Fundraiser to support Colorado High School Cycling League

    Olympic and World Cup stars Susan DeMattei and Dave Wiens are offering Colorado cyclists a memorable weekend when they host the inaugural Colorado CycleFest, on May 1-2 in support of the Colorado High School Cycling League.

    In a joint statement, DeMattei and Wiens said, "CycleFest is the main fundraising drive of high school mountain biking for Colorado, so it's really important that mountain bikers across the state come out and support this. More than just competition, high school mountain bike racing will introduce cycling to a whole segment of our youth that otherwise may never be exposed to it. Every boy and girl on your local high school mountain bike team gets to compete on race day; there is no sitting on the bench! We are really looking forward to meeting everybody, and anyone who loves bicycles should definitely be there!"

    Attendees at the Colorado CycleFest weekend will enjoy a gala dinner and silent auction on Saturday, May 1, in Palettes Restaurant at the Denver Art Museum. Then on Sunday, May 2, there is an opportunity to ride with the two mountain biking greats, when they lead a road ride from Boulder followed by lunch at the Bacaro Venetian Taverna, hosted by Fabio Flagiello.

    Wheat Ridge Cyclery and Trek Bikes have provided a 2010 Trek Fuel EX8.0 for raffle. The lucky winner will be given a choice of color and frame size, or else to apply $2,200 to any Trek bike at Wheat Ridge Cyclery. Tickets cost US$5 and may be purchased online at www.coloradomtb.org/cyclefest_raffle.html or at the door. A host of prizes for the silent auction have been donated by Specialized, SRAM, Trek, Wheat Ridge Cyclery and Yeti.

    CycleFest tickets are $100.00 regular, and $150 for Patron tickets, which provide admission to a special cocktail hour. Proceeds from the ticket sales go to supporting the Colorado High School Cycling League.

  • Bekkenk to lead Koga Team for 2010

    Koga Mountain Bike Team: Martin Schuttert (Team Manager) Mark Groen, Ramses Bekkenk, Ad de Brabander, Ingrid van Lubek, Bart Barkhuis, Wilco Verwegen, Arend Barkhuis and Frank Luikens.
    Article published:
    March 21, 2010, 10:31 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Dutch mountain bike squad presented

    The Koga Mountain Bike Team, based in the Netherlands, will race national and international cross country and marathon races for 2010. The team is formerly known as the Nissan Mountain Bike team.

    The team's roster for 2010 include Martin Schuttert (Team Manager), Mark Groen, Ramses Bekkenk, Ad de Brabander, Ingrid van Lubek, Bart Barkhuis, Wilco Verwegen, Arend Barkhuis and Frank Luikens.

    "With our top rider Ramses Bekkenk, we are aiming at several wins in marathon and beach races, which are his speciality," said Team Manager Martin Schuttert. "In 2009, Ramses won three beach races and in the latest in Scheveningen, he bested, for example, road pros like Lars Boom (Rabobank) and Martijn Maaskant (Garmin-Transitions). He is also aiming for the World and European Marathon Championships in the 2010 season."

    The team's main sponsor is Koga Miyata, which is also based in the Netherlands. Koga is a bike manufacturer which also sponsors the Skil - Shimano professional team and the Dutch national track team.

  • Central Pro team presented in Cyprus

    central Pro Team 2010: Mona Eiberweiser, Anja Gradl, Lisi Osl, Sabine Spitz and team manager Ralf Schäuble
    Article published:
    March 21, 2010, 15:59 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Number-one ranked mountain bike squad hopes to build on its success

    The central Pro Mountain Bike Team was presented to 300 guests at the Club Aldiana in Cyprus on Friday. For 2010, the German squad includes four women: Olympic gold medallist Sabine Spitz, World Cup Winner Lisi Osl, Mona Eiberweiser and Anja Gradl.

    The two-year-old team hopes to build on last year's success as the top-ranked women's World Cup team. Thanks to Spitz, the team collected in 2009 a gold in the marathon World Championships and a bronze in the cross country European Championships. During the season-long World Cup series, Osl also earned three victories and the overall title.

    Team leader Sabine Spitz predicted that the bar would be very high for the team this year. During the off season, Spitz has been off the bike recovering from a groin injury, but she is optimistic about her chances this season. "I hope that I am at the Marathon World Championships in St. Wendel (Germany) and the cross country World Championships in Mont Sainte Anne (Canada)."

    Mona Eiberweiser is a new member of the team and racing in her first year out of the junior ranks. The young German hopes to make her mark in the elite women's field. Even after her surprise early season victory in the Cyprus Sunshine Cup, Eiberweiser remained realistic about the transition she is facing. "This has changed nothing. I am proud to be part of this great team and want to gain experience, above all," she said.

    After a breakthrough 2009, the Austrian Osl stands ready to defend her World Cup title. She's found herself more in the public eye than ever before. "I can't expect wins, so I'll just continue to ride. I want to acknowledge my achievements so far and then be among the front runners at the World Cup," said the Austrian of her 2010 ambitions. She also has her eye on doing well at the European and World Championships.

    Anja Gradl is aiming for a podium at the German cross country championships after just missing out with a fourth place last year. ...

  • Singlespeed worlds registration nearly full for New Zealanders

    Ross Schnell used his smooth, fast style to easily win the 2009 Single Speed World Championships.
    Article published:
    March 21, 2010, 18:12 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    700 riders already signed up for 2010 singlespeed world championships

    Three months after entries for the 2010 Singlespeed World Championships, in Rotorua, New Zealand, opened and seven months before race day on October 23, the limit for New Zealand entries is just hours away from being reached.

    "Rotorua's Whakarewarewa Forest trail network is pretty big, but there has to be a limit, so people can enjoy the race and our magnificent singletrack," said Dean Watson of the event organizing team. "There are nearly 700 entries at this stage. There are still places for international riders, but we've had over 200 from overseas, already."

    There is no qualification to enter the Championships except a one-geared mountain bike and a good sense of humour.

    "The biggest overseas contingents are from the USA and Australia, and there will be riders from all over Europe, and countries like Israel, Singapore and South Africa," said Watson of those already entered. "And there are most of the current New Zealand cross country national champions in the start list and the top Kiwi rider of the last decade, Kashi Leuchs, has also entered.

    "We've had some interesting reports about the costumes some of them are planning to wear."

    The competition for first place and the tattoos for the men's and women's winners will be fierce. However, even the top riders get dressed up, and the majority of the big race field will be in Rotorua for fun and a few laughs.

    "We're planning a whole week of bike-related stuff," said Watson. "It' will be a real celebration of just what makes singlespeeding and cycling so great."

    Heather Irmiger and Ross Schnell won the 2009 Singlespeed Championships.

    For more information on Singlespeed worlds, including updated entry lists, visit www.sswc10nz.com.