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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Monday, December 5, 2011

Date published:
December 5, 2011, 18:00

Edited by Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking. Feel free to send feedback, news, & releases to mtb@cyclingnews.com and results, reports & photos to cyclingnews@cyclingnews.com.

  • Milka-Trek becomes Milka-Superior in 2012

    Bart Brentjens
    Article published:
    November 30, 2011, 21:28
    By:
    Cycling News

    New bike sponsor for mountain bike team

    The Milka-Trek mountain bike team will be known as the Milka-Superior mountain bike team in 2012 when the team switches bike sponsors. Founded in 2008 by Olympic champion Bart Brentjens, the team will ride Superior frames instead of Treks, which it was riding for the past three seasons.

    "After riding with Trek for two years as part of the Dolphin Team, Trek became the main sponsor of my own team in 2009. We have worked together for three years and got some amazing results," said Brentjens. "I regret the fact that they could no longer sponsor my team, but I am thankful for the good working relationship during the last three years."

    The Superior brand was founded in 1993 and taken over in 2001 by BikeFun International Sro. Superior is mainly a Czech brand which sells to Eastern European countries. It has previously backed national teams like the S&H-Superior MTB team and was the first European brand to have a 29er production bike in 2003.

    "I am happy that my team becomes the first factory team in the Superior's history," said Brentjens. "It is a nice challenge to help the Superior bikes technically to an even higher level and to give the brand Superior more awareness with the team and its results."

    "We are proud to start working together," said Petr Lavicka of Bike Fun International. "The feedback of the team will help us to develop the Superior product..., and Milka, the main sponsor of Bart's team, shares the same goals of nature, leisure and sport in the mountains. We hope for a long and successful cooperation with the team."

  • Bike Buller mixes up schedule for 2012 edition

    A rider on some singletrack in Bike Buller
    Article published:
    December 1, 2011, 04:10
    By:
    Cycling News

    Fourth year event to include new singletrack

    Going into its fourth year, the Bike Buller mountain bike festival has shifted to a long weekend on March 10-12. The three-day celebration of singletrack will coincide with the popular "Picnic in the Park" food, wine and music festival held at the base of Mt. Buller in Australia.

    For the first time, the new Copperhead Trail, freshly built by trail building guru Glen Jacobs, will be incorporated into the activities. It is a mix between a beginner downhill and a cross country trail, and it will be ridden top-to-tail as part of the stage 3 Cornhill Cranker race. Sixty percent of it will also feature in the stage 2 Brakeburner Enduro.

    "Copperhead is a unique concept, incorporating a flow country style but with a downhill edge," said Jacobs in announcing the trail's creation recently. "We've incorporated a few of our innovations from over the years to create a trail that will suit both downhill and cross country bikes and all types of riders."

    Other changes to the line-up include the addition of a 30km option for riders wanting to take things easier than the tough 50km cross country course demands, while those riding the five-hour Brakeburner Enduro will now finish among the throngs enjoying the party atmosphere of the food, wine and music festival at the bottom of the mountain.

    The festival is designed to cater for riders of all abilities. It will also include a Bike Expo and the Merrijig Rodeo.

    "New trails, bigger parties, more fun for everyone, riders and non-riders - it's shaping up to be a big long weekend," said event organiser Sam Maffet of Rapid Ascent. "We're pretty excited that ours will be the first event to get stuck into the new Copperhead Trail, and we're planning a few tweaks to really make sure Bike Buller cements its place as the biggest mountain bike party on the calendar."

    For more information, visit www.bikebuller.com.

    2012 Bike Buller

    Stage 1 - A Stirling Circuit: 30km or 50km cross country over Mt Stirling and back again on the new "Stonefly" singletrack and other flowing trails in an alpine setting.

    Stage 101 - The Kids Race: 10km: held on the singletrack around the village

    Stage 2 - The 5hr Brakeburner Enduro: a five-hour multi-lap enduro down a flowing cross country-downhill course where you catch the lift up as part of each 6km lap including part of the new Copperhead trail, until the final 12km descent Super D Mt Buller to the food and music festival at the bottom of the mountain. Suitable for cross country bikes.

    Stage 2b - The Mt Buller Super D: a friendly 12km top to bottom race down a flowing 1,100m vertical descent to festival at the base of the hill. Suitable for cross country bikes.

    Stage 3 - Cornhill cranker: 25km cross country on the flowing singletrack around the Mt Buller village and neighbouring Corn Hill, taking in the new Copperhead trail top to bottom.

  • A look back at the 2011 South African marathon series

    Kevin Evans and David George chase Christoph Sauser and Max Knox up a stony ascent.
    Article published:
    December 1, 2011, 16:58
    By:
    Cycling News

    Four men and three women dominated

    During this season's South African MTN Marathon National Series, four men dominated the racing: David George, Kevin Evans, Max Knox and Adrien Niyonshuti. Between the four of them, they won 13 of the 24 podium places on offer during the eight races, taking six victories among them.

    Evans, who was a six-time overall winner, had dominated the marathon series, but in 2011, his streak came to an end through no fault of his own before the season even started. He had to undergo an emergency appendectomy in December last year. This meant that he was unable to race at Attakwas and was only half fit at Barberton.

    This was not the end of his bad luck. He crashed during the first stage of the Absa Cape Epic and broke his collarbone. This meant another six weeks without serious training.

    Fortunately all was not lost for his Nedbank360Life team. David George stepped up to the plate. With his victories at Attakwas and Tulbagh, third place at Barberton, third in Ride Crater Cruise, fourth in the Gravel Travel and fourth at Hilton Dirt Fest, he was not only the overall winner, but also made sure that the title stayed in the team.

    If a prize were to be awarded for the best team of the series, Evans and George would be definite contenders, because Evans also won two races: MTN Gravel Travel and MTN Ride Crater Cruise. It means that between them they won four of the eight races.

    Evans also made South African cycling history by being the first rider to win the MTN Ride Crater Cruise three consecutive times.

    Max Knox (Ghost) was the other rider who completed a hat-trick of victories when he again left all of his rivals behind on the slopes of the Barberton mountains.

    Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN-Qhubeka) also performed admirably throughout the series, being a contender every time he competed.

    His perseverance eventually paid off when he won the MTN Attakwas Marathon in Clarens. In doing so he also made cycling history because it was the first time that a black rider won one of the MTN races.

    Niyonshuti's victory was even more exciting because he managed to stay in front throughout what was certainly one of the toughest races in the MTN series for a long time.

    In this race the concept of a 'mud bath' acquired new meaning for many of the riders.

    Germany's Karl Platt and Burry Stander (Specialized) were the only other race winners in the Series. Platt won at Sabie and Stander at Hilton.

    If one takes into account that Platt won at Sabie and finished third at Attakwas and Sahm was second in Attakwas, it means that the rest of the local riders one won eight podium finishes in eight attempts.

    This is why the comeback of Jacques Rossouw (Team Fedgroup-ITEC) can be considered to be such an important event in South African mountain biking. Even though he only competed in two of the MTN marathons, he made his presence felt by finishing third in the Gravel Travel and second in the Rider Crater Cruise.

    With his aggressive approach to racing, Rossouw is the one rider who may upset the proverbial applecart. The new team that he rides for was put together by Brandon Stewart. The combination of these two riders will surely also make for some interesting racing with the addition of a new team to the scene.

    An important but unanswered question is "Where is the next generation of marathon riders in South Africa?"

    Stander, Knox and Niyonshuti are the only three twenty-something riders who are able to hold their own against the thirty-something gang, namely Evans, George, Stewart and Rossouw.

    At this stage, fans might expect a couple of 21-year-old riders indicating that they have what it takes to become a dominant force in the foreseeable future of the MTN series.

    The 2012 season will hopefully hold some answers with the likes of James Reid joining 360Life and Luke Roberts joining RE:CM. One of the exciting revelations of the MTN Marathons has been the meteoric rise of the 19-year-old Lourens Luus (Valencia). The youngster won nearly every marathon he entered in the series.

    While Stander used to beat the "old men" of South African mountain biking back when he was 19, such performances among young riders in marathons are uncommon.

    Women

    The women's MTN marathon series boiled down to an exciting battle between Yolandé Speedy (MTN-Qhubeka), Ariane Kleinhans (Contego/Giant/Sludge) and Eszther Erdelyi (then MTN-Qhubeka).

    Kleinhans (Attakwas, Tulbach, Ride Crater Cruise) and Speedy (Clarens, Gravel Travel, Hilton) both won three races and Erdelyi two (Barberton and Sabie).

    Speedy won overall because of her consistency throughout the series.

    What made the performances by Speedy and Kleinhans remarkable is the fact that both battled with injuries but refused to give up.

    Kleinhans is a Swiss rider who has only been racing in South Africa since last year and Erdelyi is a former Hungarian rider who has also recently started to compete in local races.

    Speedy has been a stalwart of South African mountain biking for more than 10 years.

    The 18-year-old Candice Neethling (Bizhub) was the only youngster who showed any promise in the MTN series.

    Yolandi du Toit (Bizhub), Ischen Stopforth (Bizhub) and Karien van Jaarsveld (USN) are the only other riders who consistently finished in the top three.

  • Seventeen mountain bikers named to US Olympic Long Team

    Lea Davison (Specialized) battles with Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) on the the climb.
    Article published:
    December 1, 2011, 21:30
    By:
    Cycling News

    Eight men and nine women are candidates for racing 2012 Olympics

    USA Cycling announced today the list of 17 mountain bikers who are eligible to be nominated to represent the United States at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

    As part of its Olympic Team nomination process, USA Cycling named a Long Team of eligible athletes in the disciplines of men's and women's cross country mountain bike . The Long Team will serve as a pool of riders from which the Olympic Team will be selected in mid-June of 2012. The mountain bike events at the Olympic Games will happen on August 11-12, 2012.

    Men's Mountain Bike Long Team

    Of the eight men named to the squad, five received automatic nominations. 2008 mountain bike Olympian Todd Wells (Specialized) finished inside the top 10, in seventh, at the 2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships and finished 10th in 2011 UCI World Cup round 1 to secure his automatic nomination.

    Twenty-six year-old Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek) is the youngest automatic nominee, after finishing third overall in USA Cycling's 2011 Pro Cross Country Tour (Pro XCT) standings.

    2004 mountain bike Olympian Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Trek), Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) and 2008 mountain bike Olympian Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant) all finished inside the top 60 of the UCI individual world rankings, therefore earning automatic nominations to the Long Team.

    2011 US Cross Country national champion in the U23 division Stephen Ettinger (BMC), Spencer Paxson (Kona) and Michael Broderick (Kenda-Seven-NoTubes) all received discretionary nods.

    Women's Mountain Bike Long Team

    A similar model was used to select the women's mountain bike Long Team as five athletes earned automatic nominations.

    With top 10 finishes at the 2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, UCI Mountain Bike World Cups rounds 6 and 7 and as the winner of USA Cycling Pro XCT in 2011 Lea Davison (Specialized) locked up her automatic nomination.

    With a fifth-place finish at the 2011 UCI World Cup round 5 and second overall in the 2011 Pro XCT, 2008 mountain bike Olympian Georgia Gould (Luna) secured her spot.

    The wife of Horgan-Kobelski, Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Trek) earned the automatic nod after finishing the year ranked 24th internationally.

    Mountain bike Olympian in 2004 and 2008 Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven-NoTubes) and Katie Compton (Rabobank), who also excels in the cyclo-cross discipline, also earned automatic nominations via their top-50 international ranking.

    Willow Rockwell (Trek World Racing), who won the bronze medal at the 2009 and 2010 World Championships is a discretionary nominee, along with Chloe Woodruff (BMC), Krista Park (Cannondale-No Tubes) and Judy Freeman (Kenda-Felt).

    "USA Cycling would like to congratulate the athletes who have earned nominations to the 2012 Olympic Long Team in these disciplines," said USA Cycling's Vice President of Athletics Jim Miller. "The hard work and determination of these athletes has helped USA Cycling advance its vision of making the US the most successful country in the world of competitive cycling. They are evidence of the United States' ability to be a legitimate medal contender across all four disciplines of competitive cycling in London. The athletes on this list have either proven their capabilities to win medals in major international events or illustrated the potential to do so in the future."

    2012 Olympic US Men's Mountain Bike Long Team
    Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale)*
    Michael Broderick (Kenda-Seven-NoTubes)
    Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant)*
    Stephen Ettinger (BMC)
    Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Trek)*
    Spencer Paxson (Kona)
    Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek)*
    Todd Wells (Specialized)*

    2012 Olympic Women's Mountain Bike Long Team
    Katie Compton (Rabobank)*
    Lea Davison (Specialized)*
    Judy Freeman (Kenda-Felt)
    Georgia Gould (Luna) *
    Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Trek)*
    Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven-NoTubes)*
    Krista Park (Cannondale-No Tubes)
    Willow Rockwell (Trek World Racing)
    Chloe Woodruff (BMC)

    *Automatic Nomination

  • 2012 Rock N Road West Series Cup announced

    Pro men's podium at a US Cup Triple Crown race
    Article published:
    December 2, 2011, 15:11
    By:
    Cycling News

    Fontana no longer a US Pro XCT event

    The US Cup announced its 2012 calendar including the Rock N Road Cup West race series, the California state mountain bike championships, a 50-mile race series and a mountain bike gran fondo.  In contrast to previous news, the US Cup will be hosting one, not two rounds of the US Pro Cross Country Tour (US Pro XCT).

    The Rock N Road Cup will include seven rounds starting on March 3-4 in Vail Lake and wrapping up on June 3 in Big Bear. Run as a UCI Cat. 3 event, the Bonelli Park round on March 10-11 will again be a stop on the US Pro XCT while the Fontana round will not after it dropped out of the US Pro XCT due to cost and overall schedule concerns cited by the US Cup.  USA Cycling confirmed the US Pro XCT calendar change to Cyclingnews

    For next year, the US Cup will also offer an "amateur" version of the Triple Crown series in which Cat. 1 19-49 riders can compete against one another in short track, super D, time trial and short track events each weekend. The rounds of the Rock N Road Cup which will be designated as Triple Crowns are Vail Lake, Bonelli and Santa Ynez.

    The US Cup will organize three 50-mile events in conjunction with the cross country racing for those looking to get in more miles. The first two 50-mile events of the year will be a part of USA Cycling's Pro UET (Ultra Endurance Tour) series, the details of which are still to be announced.

    Finally, the addition of the inaugural Catalina Island MTB Grand Fondo on May 12 will mark the first time the US Cup will be organizing a mass ride event. This will be the first time in the island's history it has hosted a mountain bike ride, and it will grant riders special one-time access to sections of the TCT (Trans Catalina trail) for the event.

    For more information, visit www.uscup.net.

    2012 Rock N Road Cup West Series presented by Specialized
    March 3-4: Vail Lake Triple Crown
    March 10-11: Bonelli Triple Crown (also US PRO XCT round 2)
    March 25: Fontana (no longer a US Pro XCT round)
    April 1: Riverside
    April 28-29: Santa Ynez Triple Crown
    May 20: Sage Brush
    June 3: Big Bear & Series Finals

    California State Cross Country Championships
    June 17 - Big Bear

    Catalina Island MTB Gran Fondo
    May 12th - Inaugural edition

    50-Miler Race Series
    May 20: Sage Brush (also a US Pro UET round)
    June 3: Big Bear (also a US Pro UET round)
    TBD: Third race

  • 2011 Reader Poll: Hart becomes first downhill MTB poll winner

    Danny Hart (Great Britain) on his gold-medal winning ride.
    Article published:
    December 2, 2011, 15:48
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    World Champion's ride impresses readers

    If you hadn't heard of Danny Hart (Giant) before the 2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Champery, Switzerland, the odds are pretty good that you did by the time they were over. Hart pulled off an impressive run that netted him the downhill world championship title while the other favorites could barely get down the mountain without crashing in the incredibly rainy, treacherous conditions of that day.

    The video footage of his downhill run, complete with the famous whip at the end, went viral on the internet, instantly making the young British rider a major star. Apparently he also captured the hearts of Cyclingnews' readers, who voted him number one with 5038 votes or 23.3 percent of the total.

    Hart first made the headlines as a junior when he won the 2008 downhill World Championships in Val di Sole, Italy. After some time at Lapierre, Giant picked up on his potential and in 2010 signed the young rider who has been slowly but steadily working his way up the elite ranks ever since.

    "I had a perfect day to have a track that was technical, wet and in the pouring rain, and I had a faultless run," said Hart after winning the Worlds. "Maybe I made a few mistakes, but it was good overall. I saw I was leading by a few seconds and I thought, 'That has never happened before!'"

    Hart's elite Worlds win is particularly noteworthy in that he'd never previously won a downhill World Cup. He did, however, start making regular appearances on World Cup podiums during 2011: second at Fort William, fourth at Mont-Sainte-Anne and second at Val di Sole with a fourth overall.

    Hart could not be reached for comment following his Cyclingnews award win.

    Past reader poll winner (in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010) Julien Absalon (Orbea) put up a good fight with 4649 votes or 21.5 percent of the total. Absalon did not dominate the cross country World Cup as he has in years past, but he still put up a good fight throughout the season. He won the Offenburg World Cup and finished third at Worlds. The cross country star even dabbled in the world of marathon racing, showing up to race marathon Worlds.

    Christoph Sauser edged out his Specialized teammate Jaroslav Kulhavy for the third spot. Sauser collected 2515 votes (11.6 percent) to Kulhavy's 2498 (11.5 percent). Both riders had exceptionally good seasons with Sauser regaining the title of marathon world champion and Kulhavy winning both the World Cup and his first-ever elite world championship title. The two riders have been at the forefront of the increasing movement to race 29ers at World Cup events. In particular, Kulhavy logged the first elite men's World Cup win on a 29er at Dalby Forest this spring. He was onboard a full suspension.

    Honorable mention also goes to 2010 World Champion Jose Antonio Hermida (Multivan Merida), who could win awards for most personable athlete on the circuit. Hermida is a consistent World Cup contender who is quick to smile and joke with those around him.

    Other nominees included four cross World Cup winner Jared Graves, downhill World Cup winner Aaron Gwin, National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series winner Christian Tanguy, four cross world champion Michal Prokop and former World Champion and World Cup round winner Nino Schurter.

    2011 Best Male Mountain Biker
    1 Danny Hart 5,038 (23.3%)
    2 Julien Absalon 4,649 (21.5%)
    3 Christoph Sauser 2,515 (11.6%)
    4 Jaroslav Kulhavy 2,498 (11.5%)
    5 Jose Antonio Hermida 1,668 (7.7%)
    6 Jared Graves 1,483 (6.9%)
    7 Aaron Gwin 1,121 (5.2%)
    8 Christian Tanguy 995 (4.6%)
    9 Michal Prokop 993 (4.6%)
    10 Nino Schurter 674 (3.1%)
    Total: 21,634

  • 2011 Reader Poll: Dahle Flesjaa tops female mountain bike category

    Gunn Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida) on her way to a top three finish.
    Article published:
    December 2, 2011, 18:15
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Norwegian back among the best after having a baby

    The more things change, the more they stay the same. Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida) won the 2011 Cyclingnews Female Mountain Biker of the Year category of the reader poll with 4162 votes or 19.2 percent of the total.

    It's been a little while since Dahle Flesjaa won the poll, but in the past, she has dominated it with wins in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008). 2011 was a comeback kind of a year for the Norwegian cross country star. As many readers will know from following her blog on Cyclingnews, after having a baby in 2009, she has steadily worked her way back to being competitive among the world's fastest women.

    "What a great surprise. I'm honored. Thanks to all the readers who voted for me," Dahle Flesjaa told Cyclingnews after learning of her win. "In one way, I thought I didn't deserve it based on my results since Catharine (Pendrel) won the world championships. At the same time, I think people have seen that I worked hard in recent years after giving birth."

    In 2011, Dahle-Flesjaa won the European cross country championships and near the end of the season, she stepped back onto the World Cup podium with a fourth place at the Czech round and a third place at the Italian round. She was sixth at Worlds.

    "Becoming European champion in cross country is more than I could have dreamed of at the start of the season. I'd had a bad winter. I was sick for two months and did nothing. I started at zero and was hoping to get back into feeling good. The week leading up to the European champs, I felt stronger and stronger and using my experience paid off as it was a good day."

    "Being back on the podium in the World Cup was like a dream come true."

    Dahle Flesjaa is currently spending some time in the Canary Islands training for 2012. "I've done more training now for the off season than I did last year. I'm far ahead compared to last year. I feel great. I'm motivated. It's great to be on the bike again. I'm having lots of my fun on my bike. It's about enjoying every day. I'm back to what I did before 2004 - that was my best season." 2004 was the year she won the Olympics.

    The Norwegian rider said life has changed after the birth of her son. "I have to think a little differently because my total day is different now that I have a little boy. Before him, I trained, ate, slept and rested and now I get back from training and if I'm lucky I have time to stretch and eat, and the rest of the day I run after my little boy."

    Nonetheless, training in the Canaries is much more appealing than training in Norway at this time of year. "I've been in the Canary Islands for three weeks no. I keep asking why didn't we do this before? But I believe everything has its time and this year, I needed the change. I couldn't risk being sick again."

    She will focus her 2012 on peaking for the Olympics, but said, "It's important to have good results before. It has to do with your confidence and strength. I hope to perform well - maybe not the first World Cup but I'll target the second and third. If things stay as they are, Norway will have two places, and it is likely that Lene Byberg and I will make the team, but we both have to put in good results early in the season. My results last year from the Europeans and World Cups are good enough to select me as long as we have the spots we have."

    Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing) took a close second place with 3317 votes (15.3 percent). The downhiller spent most of 2011 wearing the rainbow striped jersey she won at the end of 2010 and while she did not manage to defend her world championship title, she had a consistent season and won the World Cup overall. She may also have won over our cross country readers by participating in the 2011 Absa Cape Epic and the 2011 world championship cross country team relay.

    Third place went to Catherine Pendrel (Luna) with 2745 votes or 12.7%. The Canadian achieved a career-long goal of winning the UCI cross country mountain bike World Championships at the end of an excellent season. She was second overall in the World Cup - along the way, she won the Mont-Sainte-Anne, Czech and Val di Sole World Cups.

    Honorable mention goes to fourth placed Julie Bresset (BH-Suntour), the young Frenchwoman who spent the first two thirds of the season beating the elite women at cross country World Cups even though she is still technically an Under 23 racer. Bresset also won the under 23 world championships.

    Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt) also gets honorable mention for her fifth place in the poll. The American endurance racer dominated the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series on her way to taking the overall title.

    Other nominees were marathon world champion Annika Langvad, runner-up at the cross country worlds Maja Wloszczowska, four cross world champion Anneka Beerten, downhill world champion Emmeline Ragot and downhiller Floriane Pugin.

    Notably absent from this year's poll was last year's winner Willow Koerber (Trek World Racing), who had to sit out the season after becoming pregnant early in 2011. She expects to return to racing early in 2012.

    2011 Best Female Mountain Biker
    1 Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa 4,162 (19.2%)
    2 Tracy Moseley 3,317 (15.3%)
    3 Catherine Pendrel 2,745 (12.7%)
    4 Julie Bresset 2,581 (11.9%)
    5 Amanda Carey 2,230 (10.3%)
    6 Annika Langvad 2,002 (9.3%)
    7 Maja Wloszczowska 1,603 (7.4%)
    8 Anneke Beerten 1,565 (7.2%)
    9 Emmeline Ragot 740 (3.4%)
    10 Floriane Pugin 689 (3.2%)
    Total: 21,634

  • Video: Beckingsale's road to recovery

    Oli Beckingsale, the leading British finisher in the elite men's race
    Article published:
    December 5, 2011, 17:45
    By:
    BikeRadar

    British racer rehabs broken femur

    This video offers an inside look at British cross country mountain bike racer Oli Beckingsale as he rehabilitates the broken leg he suffered on the circuit this season.

    The 35-year-old Beckingsale fractured the neck of his left femur in what he describes as a fairly innocuous fall during the Nove Mesto World Cup round in August in Czech.

    He is spending much of his close season building back up from what was a serious injury, with hours of Wattbike training and gym sessions ahead. He's not allowing the injury to set him back though, and is taking it as an opportunity to strengthen the parts of his body that are neglected during the season and return to action all the better for it. We'll be bringing you more from his recovery in the coming weeks.

    Beckingsale raced for Great Britain at the 2000, 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games.

    The video below is courtesy of Jon Riley.