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

Date published:
December 05, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Milka-Trek becomes Milka-Superior in 2012

    Bart Brentjens
    Article published:
    November 30, 2011, 21:28 GMT
    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 01, 2011, 4:10 GMT
    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


  • 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 01, 2011, 16:58 GMT
    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...

  • 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 01, 2011, 21:30 GMT
    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.

  • 2012 Rock N Road West Series Cup announced

    Pro men's podium at a US Cup Triple Crown race
    Article published:
    December 02, 2011, 15:11 GMT
    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

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

    Danny Hart (Great Britain) on his gold-medal winning ride.
    Article published:
    December 02, 2011, 15:48 GMT
    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,...

  • 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 02, 2011, 18:15 GMT
    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."


  • Video: Beckingsale's road to recovery

    Oli Beckingsale, the leading British finisher in the elite men's race
    Article published:
    December 05, 2011, 17:45 GMT

    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.