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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Monday, January 24, 2011

Date published:
January 24, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Team Jamis signs La Ruta winner Sonntag

    Ben Sonntag refuels during a tough stage 3
    Article published:
    January 19, 2011, 17:45 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Four new riders join mountain bike team for 2011

    German Ben Sonntag is one of four new signings by the Jamis mountain bike team for 2011.

    In November, the 30-year-old Sonntag, who resides in Durango, Colorado, became one of only three non-Costa Ricans to have won the La Ruta de los Conquistadores. As a former two-time Winter Triathlon World Champion, Sonntag has groomed himself into one of the best endurance stage racers in North America.

    "Ever since moving to Durango to go to college, I've been enthralled with mountain bike racing in the US," said Sonntag. "Continuing to develop my career and to have found a home with Team Jamis is certainly a highlight to this journey."

    Sonntag will make his Team Jamis debut at the Trans Andes mountain bike stage race starting January 24 in Patagonia, Chile. Sonntag will join teammate Jason Sager to compete as a duo squad in the six-day stage race while Team Jamis' Blake Harlan will compete in the solo category.

    "Going down to Chile to race a six-day race straight from a very snowy January will be interesting," said Sonntag, "however I love my new bikes and think we're going to have an exciting and rewarding season!"

    Team Jamis also welcomes three additional new members: Puerto Rican National Champion Eudaldo "Bebe" Asencio, new Utah based professional Kelsy Bingham and southeastern racer Thomas Turner.

    Several others are returning to Team Jamis for their third year, including Israeli National Champion Rotem Ishay, Super D stalwart Adam Snyder, endurance racer Blake Harlan and manager Jason Sager.

    "We worked closely with Jamis to select riders that not only represent the spirit of the Jamis brand, but also target specific areas of the racing market. They're fast and they fit the team's family dynamic - everyone brings something special when it comes time to cook dinner at the team house," said Sager.

    The team will race a mix of cross country and endurance events including the US Pro XCT series; the Trans Andes...

  • Jonnier trades bike for skis for a weekend of racing

    World Cup Champion downhill racer, Sabrina Jonnier, of Hyères, France, prepares to race the women's Val d'Allos Urge Ski Enduro
    Article published:
    January 19, 2011, 18:55 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Frenchwoman spends the off-season at home instead of New Zealand

    Current World Cup downhill champion Sabrina Jonnier traded her mountain bike for skis and finished fourth at the Val d'Allos Urge Ski Enduro held at Val d'Allos, France, on Saturday.

    The Maxxis - Rocky Mountain rider of Hyères, France, lined up on the snow with skis clipped to her feet. Apparently a gifted athlete on snow, too, Jonnier placed in the top five at her first-ever ski race and the world's first-ever Val d'Allos Urge Ski Enduro event.

    Jonnier has spent the last few European winter seasons training and riding with friends in New Zealand's summer, but opted to stay at home and to spend as much time in the snow as she could this year.

    The inaugural Val d'Allos Urge Ski Enduro was an easy choice for her she said."The event is very cool - it is skiing, but in a mountain bike enduro race format," she said. "Competitors left the start gate in 15 seconds intervals and nobody knew the tracks - you just had to look for the flagged course."

    Each racer did two runs on the first two courses then one run on the third course. Their five runs added up to about 4500m of vertical descent at the Val d'Allos ski area.

    "Most of the time we were taking mountain bike tracks so that was pretty fun for me," said Jonnier.

    Jonnier was happy with her fourth place and seeing her good friend and fellow mountain biker Cécile Ravanel win the women's event. She admitted that she didn't do any special training other than "skiing whenever I could".

    Jonnier said the ski race was tougher than she expected. "A few of the women dropped off during the day - it's really physical and many people just couldn't keep going - it was so hard. It uses different muscles to when I ride my bike and so my legs were burning the whole way down," she said.

    Next year would be even tougher, she said. "They are talking about making the same race next year over two days with 10 runs - that will be fun. It will be very...

  • Coloma signs two-year deal with Wild Wolf-Trek team

    Carlos Coloma (Wild Wolf-Trek)
    Article published:
    January 19, 2011, 22:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Spanish mountain biker joins new teammates Mantecon, Trujillo

    The Wild Wolf-Trek team signed one of Spain's top cross country mountain bikers, Carlos Coloma, for 2011-2012.

    The 29-year-old Coloma, who is from La Rioja, joins Wild Wolf-Trek teammates Sergio Mantecón and Juan Pedro Trujillo. He will pair up with Spanish National Champion Mantecón to race the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race starting on March 27.

    "I loved the Wild Wolf-Trek project from the beginning. We'll be one of the big teams, and I'll work flat out to make it successful.

    "I have friends - Sergio Mantecón and Juan Trujillo - on the team, and I'm ready to begin racing."

    Coloma finished sixth in the 2010 cross country elite men's world championships and ninth at the Champéry World Cup. He routinely placed in the top 30 of several other World Cups in recent years. He represented Spain for a 28th place at the Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008 and is a former Under 23 Spanish national champion.

    "Carlos Coloma fits perfectly into the team philosophy, and not only for his undoubted qualities as a sportsman, but his personality and way of life," said Team Manager Juan Antonio Vilar. "We are very pleased to add a rider of Carlos's class. I think we have a very strong team and will have an interesting season."

    Coloma will race and train on the Trek Elite 9.9 SSL, Top Fuel 9.9 SSL, and the Remedy off-road and the Madone 6.9 on the road.

  • Hermida, Absalon, Schurter to kick off season at Maremma Cup

    Top pros, with organizer Thomas Frischknecht, on the start line of the 2010 Maremma Cup
    Article published:
    January 20, 2011, 17:28 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Second edition set for Italian mountain bike event

    Some of the world's top cross country racers will be attending the 2011 XX Maremma Cup, an important early-season European event. World Champion Jose Antonio Hermida, World Cup champion Nino Schurter, two-time Olympic Gold medallist Julien Absalon and Italian star Marco Fontana are some of the confirmed racers for the events in Massa Marittima, Italy, from February 26 to March 6.

    "We are proud to present the second edition of the XX Maremma Cup powered by SRAM as an hors category cross country event, the highest level for a race below a World Cup event,"said organizer and mountain bike legend Thomas Frischknecht.

    Teams like Scott-Swisspower, Multivan Merida, Cannondale Factory Racing and Orbea have chosen the XX Maremma Cup as their debut for the new racing season. They'll test their new bikes and equipment on a world class course with top level racing.

    "We are lucky to have the best ingredients to organize the kick off of the 2011 mountain bike season. With ... the best riders from over 15 nations we have a true get together of the mountain bike racing scene," said Frischknecht. "Combined with the good food, great region and sun of Tuscany, it makes for a real nice happening. And the riding in Maremma is just spectacular!"

    SRAM renewed its title sponsorship of the event. XX, the world's first 2x10 mountain bike groupset, was introduced globally in the spring of 2009 in Massa Marittima, after the first prototypes had been tested there a few months earlier at the Maremma Cup.

    2011 Maremma Cup
    February 26: Elite "short race", Massa Marittima
    February 27: Cross Country (UCI category 2) Massa Marittima
    March 1: Elite "short race", Porto Santo Stefano
    March 2: Elite "short race", Grosseto
    March 3: Elite "short race", Arci dosso Monte Amiata
    March 4: Elite "short race" Massa Marittima
    March 5: Cross Country (UCI category HC), Massa Marittima

    ...
  • Blind racer to complete Ironman as preparation for Cape Epic

    Hein Wagner (left) and Gerrie Olivier
    Article published:
    January 20, 2011, 20:01 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Wagner, Olivier team up for both events

    Blind adventurer Hein Wagner and his riding partner Gerrie Olivier will take on the Ironman 70.3 - a half Ironman - in East London, South Africa, this coming weekend in preparation of this year's Absa Cape Epic mountain bike stage race.

    "I've taken on many daring adventures including mountain climbing, sailing from Cape Town to Rio and running marathons. I also hold the World Land Speed record for a blind driver," said Wagner, who has been completely blind since birth. "I've previously only participated in one Ironman in Korea as part of a blind relay team, so this will be my first Ironman where I participate in all three disciplines."

    "Gerrie will be doing all three with me - we shall run and swim with a cord connected to each other so that I have a very good idea of the direction to go. I'm really excited about this weekend's Half Ironman.

    "Our preparation for the Cape Epic has been reasonably good. We've been training for the past four months and also participated in an intensive training camp in December," said Wagner, "so I think we'll finish comfortably."

    "As far as I know, I'll be the only blind participant and would like to thank Ironman SA - they've been very accommodating with regards to my special needs (e.g. our tandem bike)."

    "Hein and I have been very busy training in preparation for this year's Cape Epic and believe that we've done the base work for this event," said Olivier, four-time Cape Epic finisher.

    "Our main goals are to complete the Cape Epic as Team Pragma Beyond Vision and to then participate in Ironman South Africa. We both really enjoy challenges and would like to qualify for the Ironman World Championship Kona, in Hawaii next year."

    Olivier reckons that Wagner is much better in two of the disciplines than he is. "I'm quite an experienced cyclist, but literally had to learn to do open water, long distance swimming. Hein is definitely a much stronger swimmer and runner than I am....

  • Trans Andes kicks off in Chile

    Beautiful scenery in the Trans Andes Challenge
    Article published:
    January 24, 2011, 15:39 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    South American stage race draws international field

    The third annual Trans Andes Challenge, with 130 racers from 18 different countries, kicked off today, Monday, January 24, in Chile. For six days and 450km, racers are competing among the beautiful landscapes of the Patagonian Andes Mountain Range.

    The race started approximately 1,000km south of Santiago at the Huilo Huilo Reserve on Monday morning. The opening stage included a transition over a ferry, which took all the riders across the Pirihueico Lake. The race will finish at Pucón on Saturday, January 29.

    The Trans Andes Challenge has attracted several international stars including Andreas Hestler, Mary McConneloug, Michael Broderick, Jason Sager, Ben Sonntag, Blake Harlan, Marty Lazarski, Neil Kindree, Eva Lechner and Nathalie Schneitter, to name a few.

    When asked about the early season adventure, Hestler expressed sentiments representative of many of the foreign competitors from the northern hemisphere. "Well it's 10 degrees Celsius (50 degrees Fahrenheit) at home in North Vancouver, and summer in Chile is approximately 27 degrees C (80 degrees F). Why wouldn't I be there? This is a great opportunity to travel, see an amazing country, do an amazing event and get some early season miles in."

    The race is organized by Juan Pablo Santiagos, a former downhill World Cup racer.

    Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for coverage of the 2011 Trans Andes Challenge.

  • Kulhavy returns to Cyprus for Sunshine Cup

    Jaroslav Kulhavy celebrates a win in Cyprus at a Sunshine Cup round.
    Article published:
    January 24, 2011, 18:54 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Series draws U23 champion Engen among others

    Number one world ranked cross country rider Jaroslav Kulhavy will return to the Cyprus Sunshine Cup in February. Kulhavy began his breakthrough 2010 season at the series, and is looking to get his 2011 season off to a similar start.

    Last year, the Czech Kulhavy climbed up to the top of the world ranking, grabbed the European title and took the silver medal at the world championships at Mont Sainte Anne, Quebec, Canada.

    "To be at the Sunshine Cup is very important for me. I can get up to speed and find out my fitness after winter," said Kulhavy. "Other important facts for me are the weather and how the race is run."

    Under 23 world champion Alexandra Engen will be another top racer participating in the Cyprus Cup. Engen is a part of the Swedish National Team, which has attended for several years. Engen won the Sunshine Cup series in 2009 and finished third in 2010.

    Finally, Team Bulls will return to Cyprus as its racers prepare for the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race. The past few years, Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm honed their fitness in Cyprus before going on to success at the Cape Epic. This year, Sahm will be without his teammate Platt, but teammates Tim Boehme and Thomas Dietsch will come with him for training and racing.

    Course changes at Macheras

    The three-day Afxentia stage race in the Macheras Mountains, which will be upgraded and run as a UCI category HC event for the first time this year. It has undergone some course changes.

    Organizers have changed the cross country course in Macheras Mountains. It was cut down from 7.6 to 5.5km per lap with about 230 meters of climbing.

    "It will be hard, but it's more fun to ride and the course is now very compact," said organizer Mike Hadjioannou.

    In addition, the changes mean that the maximum distance from the start-finish area to any point on the course will...

  • iXS announces Gravity Events for 2011

    Sandra Rübesam races downhill in Bad Wildbad
    Article published:
    January 24, 2011, 20:30 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    European, Swiss, and German national series set

    The iXS Downhill Cup, a European race series, will include six rounds in 2011. Instead of stopping in Great Britain this year, the series will visit Switzerland. It will host additional rounds in Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Italy and France.

    iXS will also host the 2011 European Championships in downhill and four cross. Scheduled for August 27-28, one week before the world championships 150km away, the European championship race is expected to draw some top competitors.

    The organization will continue to promote its two national downhill race series: five rounds in Switzerland and four rounds in Germany.

    Finally, iXS will host a Rookie Cup, a series for beginners in all age groups.

    The complete schedule for all series and the European Championships is below.

    For more information, visit www.ixsdownhillcup.com.

    iXS European Downhill Cup
    April 30-May 1: iXS European Downhill Cup #1, Monte Tamaro, Switzerland
    May 21-22: iXS European Downhill Cup #2, Todtnau, German
    June 18-19: iXS European Downhill Cup #3, Leogang, Austria
    July 30-31: iXS European Downhill Cup #4, Spicák, Czech Republic
    August 13-14: iXS European Downhill Cup #5, Pila, Italy
    September 17-18: iXS European Downhill Cup #6, Châtel, France

    European Downhill and Four Cross Championships (run by iXS)
    August 27-28 iXS European Championships, Zermatt, Switzerland

    iXS Swiss Downhill Cup
    July 2-3: iXS Swiss Downhill Cup #1, Chur
    July 16-17: iXS Swiss Downhill Cup #2, Wiriehorn
    August 20-21: iXS Swiss Downhill Cup #3, Anzère
    September 10-11: iXS Swiss Downhill Cup #4, Disentis
    October 1-2: iXS Swiss Downhill Cup #5, Bellwald

    iXS German Downhill Cup
    June 4-5: iXS German Downhill Cup #1, Winterberg
    July...