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MTB News & Racing Round-up, May 12, 2010

Date published:
May 12, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Marathoner Evans makes cross country comeback

    Kevin Evans on his way to second place overall at the MR Price Karkloof marathon in KwaZulu-Natal.
    Article published:
    May 11, 2010, 10:50 BST
    Cycling News

    South African National Series heads to George this weekend

    Kevin Evans (MTN-Energade), the South African marathon champion, will make his comeback to cross country racing in George on Saturday, May 15, after an absence of three years.

    It will not be a surprise if Evans should win the MTN national elite race, especially with Burry Stander (Specialized/Mr Price), the world's second best ranked cross country rider, having decided to take a break.

    After Evans had won the George race in 2007, he decided to stop competing in cross country races and specialize in marathon racing instead.

    "At the time I felt that it was difficult to be at your best in both disciplines. You become a jack of all trades, but master of none. That is why I competed only in marathons during the past few years. I still don't see myself making a full-time come back to cross country racing.

    "The main reason why I have decided to compete, is loyalty to my province and sponsors. I know that the guys have put in a huge effort to ensure that this weekend's event will be a success and that the people would love to see me racing on my home turf."

    Evans was not prepared to make any predictions on the outcome of the race, apart from saying that he would not put his wheels on the line if he had no intention of racing to win.

    "I honestly don't know what to expect from the other riders, but I do know that someone like Philip Buys (Garmin-adidas) will be strong on the technical sections.

    "After competing in the MR Price Karkloof marathon in KwaZulu-Natal, I am quite confident of my technical abilities. As far as I am concerned, Karkloof was basically a three-hour cross country event. I was the only rider who could stay with Burry. He only managed to drop me at the last technical section, so I must have done something right."

    Actually, Sunday's Karkloof marathon was an exact repetition of the previous year's event with Evans and Stander the main protagonists. The moment the two of them opened a gap, it...

  • Successful Colorado CycleFest surpasses fundraising target

    Special guests Susan DeMattei and Dave Wiens at the Colorado Cyclefest fundraiser.
    Article published:
    May 11, 2010, 14:40 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Inaugural high school mountain biking leaders' summit scheduled for June

    The inaugural Colorado CycleFest, held on May 1-2, was graced by a dazzling array of cycling stars and even a Colorado State Senator. It proved a runaway success - selling all tickets and surpassing the fundraising target with a total of US$25,000.

    "This was a truly great evening for all involved with the Colorado League," said League director Kate Rau. "To have such resounding support at the outset is incredibly exciting and shows how much potential there is for high school mountain biking in Colorado. We are expecting at least 12 teams to sign up. For our first year, that would be brilliant!"

    Mountain biking celebs Susan DeMattei, Dave Wiens, Greg Herbold and Travis Brown, joined pro road team manager Jonathan Vaughters at the gala evening. Also present was Colorado senator, Chris Romer. Addressing the gathering, he highlighted the importance of youth sports such as mountain biking in creating a healthier adult population.

    Building on the momentum for the start up of the new league, a leadership training session will be held in the next month on June 12-13 at the Tahosa Boy Scout Camp, Ward (near Boulder), Colorado. This will be provided at the first annual Colorado High School Cycling League Leader's Summit. On day one of this two-day summit, participants will spend time on mountain bikes and receive Lee McCormack's expert training in teaching mountain bike skills ranging from basic to advanced. Experiential teaching techniques, accommodating different learning styles and abilities, and creating positive learning environments are other topics that will be covered.

    On the second day, participants will attend a series of seminars on successful management, leadership of and working with a high school mountain bike team. Topics covered include: culturally competent coaching, engaging and motivating adolescents, securing and sustaining sponsorships, race day procedures, recruiting, female students. Costs are $85 for a single day...

  • Nys to kick off mountain bike season in Gooik

    Sven Nys (Belgium) racing at the 2009 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Canberra, Australia
    Article published:
    May 11, 2010, 17:00 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Round two of the Belgian Grand Prix set for Thursday

    Sven Nys will exchange his skinny tires for fat ones on Thursday when he kicks off his summer mountain bike race season with the Fidea Mountain Bike Cup in Gooik.

    For the past two weeks, the Belgian cyclo-cross star, who also races his mountain bike, has been training on the island of Majorca.

    "The training went very well. I've mostly worked on my general fitness, that is, high mileage," said the Landbouwkrediet racer. "During the first week, we had the best weather with temperatures at around 30 degrees Celsius." Encountering wet weather during the second half of his stay, Nys said, "I still pulled of my plan and got the necessary hours sitting on the bike. Here in Belgium it is also more like autumn than spring."

    The Fidea MTB Cup Gooik will serve as round two of the Belgian Grand Prix of Mountain Biking.

    "With the return to fitness, it is now time to step into racing and to raise my level. Gooik is one of the many brand new mountain bike races this season, which I can only applaud. The motocross site is a beautiful location and good for organizing a MTB contest. I'm looking forward to it. I'm even starting to get a bit nervous, and that is a good sign."

    A talented field is expected in Gooik. World marathon champion Roel Paulissen (Cannondale) will be among the starters. Jimmy Tielens (Saeco) won the first round of the Belgian Grand Prix at the Grote Prijs Antwerpen this past weekend. En route to victory, he beat number-nine world ranked Geoff Kabush (Maxxis - Rocky Mountain) of Canada. Kabush and Tielens will be two of the favorites for Thursday's contest along with Rudi van Houts (Multivan Merida), Gerben de Kneght and Bart Aernouts (Rabobank). The Trek-Brentjens team, the Lingier Versluys, and the Trek KMC trade team are also fielding riders.

    "The spectators should be looking forward to many leaders at the race. I will immediately know where I stand," said Nys. "The other mountain bikers have already...

  • Favorites to battle it out at South African cross country round in George

    Yolande Speedy is in a class of her own
    Article published:
    May 12, 2010, 15:10 BST
    Cycling News

    Absent Stander takes a break in between World Cups

    The third elite cross country race in the South African MTN National Series will take place in George on Saturday, May 15. This race might just boil down to a showdown between, on the one side, the two locals , namely Kevin Evans (MTN-Energade) from Plettenberg Bay and Matthys Beukes (Scott) from George and, on the other side, the three musketeers from Garmin-adidas, Philip Buys, Marc Bassingthwaighte and Francois Theron.

    Due to the unpredictability of cross country racing, it would be foolhardy to make predictions about possible winners, because history has shown that everything can change in a mere second.

    Burry Stander (Specialized/Mr Price), currently the second best ranked cross country rider in the world, will be absent. He is taking a well deserved break this weekend and will continue his World Cup campaign next week in Offenburg. In Stander's absence, the in-form riders will be Evans, Beukes, Buys, Bassingthwaighte and Theron. Rourke Croeser (DCM) and Ben-Melt Swanepoel (Mr Price/Specialized) will be the two riders who could spoil their fun.

    Beukes caused quite a big surprise in Pietermaritzburg when he won the elite race at the Cascades. What also counts in his favor is that he lives in Oudtshoorn and regularly trains on the George track. He considers it his home territory.

    According to Beukes, the course suits his riding style. "The course is not too technical, but it is quite bumpy because of the tree roots and rocks along the route. The riders will have to concentrate hard all the time if they do not want to take a tumble. The climbs are power climbs, which I like.

    "I am actually looking forward to the race. My sponsor, Scott, provided me with a new Spark RC full suspension mountain bike. Riding the Oudtshoorn course on my new bike was like a dream come true. Now that I have the perfect bike, winning or losing depends solely on myself."

    Evans, who lives in Plettenberg Bay, also claims that George is...

  • Barel out of World Cup after crash

    Fabien Barel goes off a jump on his way to second place.
    Article published:
    May 12, 2010, 17:20 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Frenchman recovering from broken femur

    Fabian Barrel (Mondraker Factory Team) was in the midst of a final testing sesion in the wind up to the first gravity World Cup when he crashed and broke his femur last weekend. He has since undergone surgery and is beginning the recovery process.

    "It is for sure a big disappointment for me. I know that we did an amazing job over the winter, and I was ready to start rocking the circuit," said Barel. "Being stopped that way is tough, but part of the game. I know that better than anyone and as soon as I can, I will stand and walk forward."

    The Frenchman was on a track he knows welll, but he landed slightly off line on a jump and caught his wheel in a rain rut. He tried to pull it back, but due to the high speed nature of the section (more than 50km/h), he could do nothing to save it. He went down hard and caught his leg between his frame and the ground.

    Thanks to quick thinking of his friend Olivier from Sospel VTT, a doctor was on the scene in minutes and he was taken by helicopter to the hospital. Barel also injured his wrist and suffered a concussion.

    The crash happened on Friday, May 7, and that same evening, Barel underwent surgery to pin his leg. After 24 hours, we was able to start to move his leg and 72 hours after the crash, he had regained 120 degrees of flexibility in his knee. Doctors predict a recovery time of two to three months.

    Barel had been feeling on top of his physical and mental game with one week to go until the gravity World Cup in Maribor, Slovenia.