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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Monday, July 29, 2013

Date published:
July 29, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Davison claims first elite cross country MTB national title

    Lea Davison (Specialized) talking with announcer Larry Longo at the finish.
    Article published:
    July 20, 2013, 20:46 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Vermonter looks forward to Pro XCT finals on home course

    2012 Olympian Lea Davison (Specialized) has had her eye on the stars-and-stripes jersey for the elite women's national championship cross country race for years. As she's steadily worked her way up the national and international ranks, she's won the super D and short track national titles and placed well at World Cups, but hitherto, the US cross country title had eluded her.

    On a hot and humid Saturday afternoon at Bear Creek Resort in Macungie, Pennsylvania, Davison upset defending national champion Georgia Gould (Luna) for the win.

    "It's been a big build-up to the race. Year after year builds on each other. You keep having fun and a good attitude, and it all comes together," said Davison. "I am absolutely thrilled. It's a little bit surreal right now. I've been going for this title for years and I'm so excited."

    The battle royale expected between Gould and Davison ended much more quickly than anyone had expected. On the first lap, Gould crashed and flatted. After the race, Gould was not sure whether the crash caused the flat or vice versa.

    While luck may have helped Davison toward her win, no one can deny that she's been having a stellar season so far while Gould has struggled with her season.  Davison has won recent races such as the Windham and Subaru Cup Pro XCTs.

    "It's too bad when it comes down to bad luck and crashes and flats, but I guess that's all part of it," said Davison.

    Winning cross country nationals was a big aim for Davison's 2013 season. Having nationals on the east coast for the first time since 2008 provided added motivation for the Vermonter.

    "The course was unbelievable. I think it did the east coast justice," said...

  • Ettinger surprises with gold medal at US mountain bike nationals

    Stephen Ettinger (BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team) watching Todd Wells (Specialized) who is only 50 feet ahead.
    Article published:
    July 21, 2013, 10:40 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    BMC rider wins elite title two years after U23 title

    The spectators eagerly awaited the arrival of the US elite men's cross country national champion in the heat and humidity of a late Pennsylvania summer afternoon. They'd seen Stephen Ettinger (BMC) lead Todd Wells (Specialized) by just 10 seconds going into the final of six laps at Bear Creek Resort near Macungie, but wondered if youth would triumph over experience. After Ettinger caught Wells on lap four of six, no one knew whether Wells was hurting or holding something in reserve.

    Ettinger had clawed his way back to the front through sheer determination and skilful pacing, and he would emerge from a deep and rocky woods in first place, having cracked the veteran favorite, Wells.

    Two years ago, the unassuming Ettinger won the U23 cross country championship in Sun Valley, Idaho. He then quietly stepped into the elite ranks and started doing his time, earning the experience that would pay off this season. He has been regularly battling Wells at Pro XCT races this season and most recently at both the US marathon championships two weeks ago and the Subaru Cup Pro XCT last weekend, where Wells finished first.

    With 2012 champion Sam Schultz (Trek Factory Racing) absent due to back injury, the attention at nationals was shifted to Wells and Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale) as top favorites. However, Bishop was still suffering the effects of a crash last weekend at the Subaru Pro XCT in Wisconsin and while he initially mixed it up with Wells at the front, he faded as Ettinger surged. The two yo-yo'ed briefly until Bishop cracked, leaving Ettinger and Wells to do battle.

    The win still not completely sunk in, Ettinger said, "It's huge to win this. I'm so happy...

  • Neo-pro Dong breaks into top five at US Mountain Bike Nationals

    Evelyn Dong climbing just after she had passed Judy Freeeman
    Article published:
    July 23, 2013, 20:05 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Salt Lake City rider makes the switch from ski racing to bike racing

    Racing her first full season as a pro, Evelyn Dong has become a contender at many major US mountain bike events this year. Her progress up the ranks continued on Saturday, when she put in a top five performance at the US Cross Country Mountain Bike National Championships at Bear Creek Resort in Macungie, Pennsylvania. There, Dong finished fifth, just 11 seconds off fourth place.

    "Last year was the first year I got my pro upgrade," said Dong, "and this is my first season that I've tried to race most of the Pro XCTs, at least the West coast ones.

    "Last year was more about getting out and riding with friends and learning how to ride more technical stuff than I'm used to. There was a lot of crashing. This year, I decided to race more and crash less."

    Dong comes from a ski racing background. She began ski racing when she was a freshman in high school.

    "I ski raced for about 12 years. This was the first winter I didn't ski race. It was a nice break to not race all winter, so I could ride more."

    What may transfer over best to mountain biking from ski racing for Dong is her mental game. "I'm kind of competitive," she said, laughing.

    Her competitiveness has paid off as she's jumped straight into the deep end, racing among seasoned pros on the domestic circuit. She's still picking up on some cycling-specific skills, especially racing on very technical courses like the rocky trails used for this weekend's nationals.

    "I'm more of a Rocky Mountains kind of a girl, so this was a bit of a change for me," said the 28-year-old from Salt Lake City, Utah. "The technical parts [of the nationals course] were more about grunting it out. It was more like fitness-based technical riding as opposed to like skill. I tried to keep pedaling and not get too negative out there. It was a real different...

  • Gould keeps perspective during tough post-Olympic season

    Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) suffered a first lap flat about as far away from the tech zone as possible.
    Article published:
    July 24, 2013, 19:08 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    2012 London cross country mountain bike bronze medallist to try upcoming eliminators

    A year ago, American mountain biker Georgia Gould was approaching what would be a magical day at the Olympic Games in London, where she would win a bronze medal in the cross country mountain bike race. It was the highlight of an excellent season. Unfortunately for the Luna rider, 2013 is not going nearly as well.

    "I know I've been having a rough season. It's challenging, but it's part of the whole thing," said Gould to Cyclingnews. "As much as it's frustrating and disappointing, I have to remember that it's what makes you really appreciate it when everything is going well and smooth. If it always comes so easily, you don't appreciate it. I hope I'm paying my dues a bit right now."

    2013 was the year Gould was hoping for a first career World Cup win - that hasn't happened yet, although a few rounds remain. The world championships are another goal. So far, she has been struggling to match the placings she has had in previous years at both national and international races.

    At the US Mountain Bike Nationals at the Bear Creek Resort in Pennsylvania this weekend, the challenging season continued. In the cross country race, a flat tire on lap one put her near the back of the elite women's field. In an impressive show of determination, she continued racing after a visit to the tech zone, and worked her way back up to sixth place from almost last. It was a good ride, but not good enough to defend her 2012 US cross country national title.

    "For me, there is always someone who finishes last. It's not how I want to do it, but I respect everyone who finishes the race, no matter how they...

  • Investment in bike racing pays off for Pietermaritzburg

    Description: http://www.gameplanmedia.co.za/mtb/CliveCoetzee100.jpg "We are passionate about our international destination marketing, and the positioning of Pietermaritzburg as the continent’s "Bike City" is now well established," said Clive Coetzee, the General Manager: Infrastructure Management and Economic Services at the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Treasury.
    Article published:
    July 25, 2013, 21:35 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    South Africa's mountain bike world championship host city thinks big

    With thousands of mountain bike enthusiasts expected to converge on the Cascades MTB Park in a month's time for the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, the province has completed detailed studies that show that cycling events have brought more than a billion Rands worth of value and economic spend to the region.

    With the province of KwaZulu-Natal having invested R24 million into hosting major international cycling events over the past three years, the latest research shows that this has triggered an economic injection of R79 million into the regional economy, while at the same time providing international marketing exposure for the city valued conservatively at R1.68 billion, exclusively from the global TV coverage of the events.

    This substantial return on investment has resulted in the province making a long term commitment to sustaining its support for hosting international cycling events and reinforcing Pietermaritzburg's positioning as Africa's "Bike City".

    "We are passionate about our international destination marketing, and the positioning of Pietermaritzburg as the continent’s "Bike City" is now well established," said Clive Coetzee, the General Manager: Infrastructure Management and Economic Services at the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Treasury.

    "For the two weeks of the masters and elite world champs, almost every hotel and B&B in the city is fully booked out, and the visitors to the event will spend significantly on local products and services. Huge sums of money are generated through the hosting of these events," he said.

    "We got involved almost by default," said Coetzee. "When the uMsundusi municipality went into financial difficulty, it landed up on my desk. After evaluating it from a lot of different angles we realised that we have something really good going on here."

    "At...

  • Enduro World Series heads to Colorado for first North American stop

    Tracey Moseley on her way to winning round 3 of the Enduro World Series
    Article published:
    July 26, 2013, 16:50 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dan Atherton sits out next two rounds with shoulder injury

    Winter Park, Colorado's Trestle Bike Park has seen an influx of world class riding this week, as mountain bike athletes from around the world have converged in anticipation of the fourth stop of the Enduro World Series. A keystone event at the Colorado Freeride Festival, enduro will feature top-calibre, down-to-the-wire racing by riders from all around the globe.

    The contest to become the first Enduro World Champion remains tight with just 160 points separating the top three ranked Enduro World Series leaders, Jérôme Clementz (Cannondale OverMountain), Nicolas Vouilloz (Lapierre) and Jared Graves (Yeti).

    The top five male riders, including Remy Absalon (Commencal) and Fabien Barel (Canyon Factory Enduro Team), will all make the trek Stateside for the fourth stop of the World Series. The additional influx of the top-ranked North American enduro racers to the series, including Mark Weir (Cannondale OverMountain), North American Enduro tour leaders Aaron Bradford and Mason Bond, and Enduro Cup leaders Ross Schnell (Trek Factory Racing) and Joey Schusler, only increases the possibility of another shake-up on the podium.

    In the women's series, while Tracy Moseley (Trek Factory Racing) has consistently dominated the top step, US Enduro Cup leader and fellow Trek Factory Racing team rider Heather Irmiger will join Cecile Ravanel (GT Skoda) and Ines Thoma (Canyon Factory Enduro Team), who are currently rounding out the Enduro World Series top three, as challengers. Anne Caroline Chausson (Ibis) will also be looking to re-establish herself amongst the Series front-runners, coming back from an injury sustained in Punta Ala in the first round.

    The top-ranked teams are also in a tight contest, with Lapierre just ahead of Trek Factory Racing, followed by GT Factory Racing. GT Factory Racing's Dan Atherton will miss the next two rounds of the Series as he nurses a dislocated shoulder, leaving the quest for team points in the hands...

  • Paxson keeps climbing up the elite ranks

    Spencer Paxson (Kona) before his fourth place ride
    Article published:
    July 26, 2013, 21:27 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Mountain biker cracks top five at cross country nationals

    Spencer Paxson (Kona) is one of a few elite male pro racers on the mountain bike circuit who balance working a full time job with pro racing. In recent years, he has been steadily climbing the domestic ranks, and he's also tested his legs at some international competitions.

    While many pros and aspiring pros are trying to ditch their non-cycling day jobs, Paxson enjoys the diversity of activity.

    "I still work full time at Ridgeline Energy [a company that develops and constructs wind and solar projects throughout the United States and Canada]," said the 28-year-old Paxson. "It's kind of a desk job."

    "Thanks to them having a progressive view, I've been there for five years, and it's complimentary to my racing at this point. I don't think I'd change it. Each one can be a confidence booster if the other is lacking. I'm grateful for that."

    Paxson had an excellent race at the US Cross Country Mountain Bike National Championships at Bear Creek Resort in Macungie, Pennsylvania last weekend. He finished in fourth place, his best nationals finish yet.

    "It was awesome - it's good to be back on the east coast," said Paxson, who lives in Seattle and previously went to school at Middlebury College in Vermont. "I had to beat my seventh place streak of the last three years. My first goal was to improve."

    "I've been gunning for this race all year, but those top three guys were in a league of their own today. I didn't have the best start, but I worked my way up from 11th. I knew these climbs were about finesse and power finesse, a little like cyclo-cross. You could pass on the climbs, and that's where I made my move each lap. I would accelerate on the steep, punchy parts and stay clean on the descents."

    Leading up to the London Olympic Games in 2012, Paxson was a member of the long team and a long shot for making the US squad,...

  • Schurter celebrates 10th career World Cup victory

    Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) on a climb
    Article published:
    July 29, 2013, 17:50 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Scott-Swisspower rider wins despite early flat tire

    It is one thing to win a World Cup on a perfect day and another to win even with a flat tire. That's just what Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) did this weekend at the cross country World Cup in Vallnord, Andorra, where he celebrated the 10th World Cup victory of his career.

    Round four was held at altitude, 2000m above sea level. Some riders came up far in advance to get used to the altitude, but Schurter opted to arrive at the last minute, hoping he would not feel the effects of the altitude too much.

    Oddly enough, on the first lap, the stars were missing from the front. There was no Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized), Julien Absalon (BMC) or Schurter. The latter was absent because he had gotten a flat front tire while leading the race. Luckily for him, he was able to continue racing and only dropped to about 11th.

    Kulhavy struggled all race and finished in 34th while Absalon dropped his chain 200m after the start and had to battle his way up through the field. For much of the race, he was fastest but he continued to be plagued by chain problems and would finish eighth.

    Ondrej Cink (Multivan Merida) led the race after breaking away from the other leaders on lap one. He had as much as 40 seconds on everyone else in his long solo effort. Schurter chased with Florian Vogel, Maxime Marotte, Stephane Tempier and Gerhard Kerschbaumer. It looked like they were racing for second, but eventually their high pace melted Cink's gap to 18 seconds with a half lap to go.

    Schurter smelled blood and took off, not worried about risks, on the downhill where he had flatted on the first lap. This time luck was on his side and he caught Cink and immediately attacked him.

    It was an intense battle with...