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MTB News & Racing Round-up, November 4, 2009

Date published:
November 5, 2009, 20:45

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.

  • South African mountain bike series gets shorter

    Ischen Stopforth rode to a win in the race and the series.
    Article published:
    November 4, 2009, 15:05
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Racers get an extra month off with earlier finish in 2010

    The South African MTN series will be run over a shorter period of time in 2010. The 2009 season is ending this weekend with the MTN 50-miler in Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Next year, it will end instead in October.  Traditionally, the South African off-road series gets going in January.

    "We have realized that the local mountain biking season is too long," said Fritz Pienaar, organizer of the MTN series. "It is unrealistic of anybody to expect the riders to compete from early in January until November.

    "Therefore, the MTN Series will finish in October next year," he said. "I think we have prepared a most interesting series for next year.

    "The first half of the series, from January to March, will be a perfect build-up for the riders who are planning to compete in the Sani2Sea and the Cape Epic (mountain bike stage race).

    "Then, from May to the end of July, there will be a winter break." The MTN Series will resume in time to help those riders who are planning to compete in the marathon and cross country World Championships.

    With one event to go, Kevin Evans has the series virtually locked up. Other racers will battle for second.

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  • 2010 New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup confirmed

    Brook Macdonald (New Zealand)
    Article published:
    November 3, 2009, 21:34
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Nationals and Oceania Championships also set

    Mountainbike NZ (MTBNZ) and BikeNZ confirmed venues and dates for the 2010 New Zealand National Series, the RaboPlus New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup, which will kick off the second weekend in January. Competitors will visit a mix of established and new locations in their quest for national series honours.

    Several new venues on the New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup circuit for both downhill and cross country disciplines come online next summer - the Christchurch Living Springs development for both cross country and downhill events, the new Whakatane downhill race course, and a national event first-time stop at Waikato's Hamilton.

    Building on the growth of mountain biking in New Zealand, the two organizations will also bring a mountain bike festival to Wellington. With a range of competitive and non-competitive events, it will cater to both cross country and downhill racers as well as families and those new to mountain biking. As part of the 10-day festival starting February 26, the New Zealand National Mountain Bike Championships in downhill, four cross and cross country will be run. Six titles will be awarded. The marathon national championships will be run on Saturday, March 6 as part of the 25th edition of the Karapoti.

    The UCI's Oceania Continental Championships will return to New Zealand. Dunedin will host the Oceanias for the first time in 2010.

    The series confirmation was delayed after Coronet Peak in Queenstown pulled out of mountain biking.

    "The late withdrawal of Queenstown's Coronet Peak venue created a major challenge for MTBNZ in scheduling a series that both fits the needs of participants and creates a showcase for the sport," said MTBNZ's Chris Mildon.

    "While this final confirmation is quite late, we are confident that the 2010 events package will deliver on both counts, and MTBNZ eagerly looks forward to seeing Christchurch get things rolling in just over two months time. We are also pleased to have the NZCT returning as a key funder, and RaboPlus and Nature Valley returning as principal and associate sponsors of the events package."

    The series is expected to draw a range of national and international talent. Athletes such as 2009 Junior Downhill World Champion Brook MacDonald will springboard off the Oceanias competition into the northern hemisphere's World Cup racing season.

    RaboPlus New Zealand MTB Cup, Downhill Series
    January 8-9: Round 1 - Christchurch
    January 15-17: Round 2 - Dunedin
    January 23-24: Round 3 - Nelson
    February 5-6: Round 4 - Rotorua
    February 12-13: Round 5 - Whakatane
    February 20-21: Round 6 - Rotorua

    RaboPlus New Zealand MTB Cup, Cross Country Series
    January 10: Round 1 - Christchurch
    January 16: Round 2 - Dunedin
    January 23: Round 3 - Nelson
    February 7: Round 4 - Tokoroa
    February 14: Round 5 - Hamilton
    February 20: Round 6 - Rotorua

    RaboPlus New Zealand National Mountain Bike Championships
    February 26 - March 1: Wellington

    New Zealand Marathon National Championships
    March 6: Wellington

    UCI Oceania Mountain Bike Championships
    March 18-21: Dunedin, New Zealand

    For more information, visit www.mtbnz.org.

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  • Battle for second sets up South African MTN finale

    Kevin Evans
    Article published:
    November 3, 2009, 17:39
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Evans has first place locked up in marathon series

    At approximately noon on Saturday, the first rider will cross the finish line of the MTN 50-Miler in Hilton, KwaZulu-Natal. That's also about when everyone will know the results of the South African MTN Series.

    Kevin Evans (MTN-Energade) has dominated the series to such an extent that there is no need for him to race on Saturday. He has already won the overall by winning three of the six races in which he has competed. In doing so, he accumulated 18,963 points.

    Francois Theron (Garmin adidas) is second overall with 16,174 points; Marc Bassingthwaighte (Garmin adidas) third overall with 15,675 points; Philip Buys (Garmin adidas) fourth overall with 14,568 points; Ben-Melt Swanepoel (Specialized/Mankele) fifth with 14,146 points and Johnny Kritzinger (DCM) sixth with 12,830 points.

    With Theron and Swanepoel both opting not to ride on Saturday, it means that the main battle for second overall will be among Buys, Kritzinger and Bassingthwaighte. Judging by their results of the past four weeks, the safe money will be to bet that the battle for the second position will be between Buys and Kritzinger.

    Apart from Evans, Buys has certainly been the most consistent rider during the past four weeks. Since the MTN Clarence Event, he has been on the podium weekend after weekend. The past Sunday he won the Addo Mountain Bike Challenge in the Eastern Cape.

    Kritzinger is also in good form, having won the inaugural six-day Cape Pioneer Trek in the Klein Karoo with Erik Kleynhans (GT/Mr Price). Both Kritzinger and Buys have only one wish for Saturday and that is, "Please don't let it rain."

    Kritzinger, who finished third in last year's race, says he hopes that he does not have to go through that mud battle again.

    "In normal circumstances the MTN 50-Miler is a tough challenge because of all the technical singletrack sections and the constant climbs, but when it rains, it becomes a nightmare with all the mud. I think last year the winning time for 80 kilometers of racing was well over three hours."

    Kritzinger says that his participation in the Cape Pioneer Trek will help on Saturday.

    "I have got the miles in my legs. On Sunday I participated in a road race just for the fun, and I was surprised by how strong my legs felt. On Saturday I have to avoid doing something stupid that will cost me the race."

    Buys' technical expertise and kamikaze approach when things get tough, will definitely count in his favour. According to himself, he has got about two good races left in his legs before he will also begin to consider taking a break.

    Bassingthwaighte will be the proverbial "Joker" on Saturday. He has kept a very low profile during the past few weeks which could mean that the Namibian is ready for a good race.

    Fritz Pienaar, organizer of the MTN series, described the race as a real MTB race with lots of undulating climbs and purposely-built singletrack that will be thoroughly enjoyed.

    "It is a scenic race and a very suitable way to end the season," said Pienaar.

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  • Three mountain bikers among finalists for Australia's People's Choice award

    Caroline Buchanan wins the women's world championship for Australia.
    Article published:
    November 3, 2009, 16:20
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Four crossers Buchanan, Graves, Willoughby on the list

    Three mountain bikers are among the eight finalists for the 2009 People's Choice Cyclist of the Year award by Cycling Australia.

    Current four cross world champions Caroline Buchanan and Jared Graves are on the list as is 2008 Cycling Australia junior male mountain biker and BMXer of the year Sam Willoughby. Buchanan and Graves won their world titles in Canberra, Australia, in September, and Willoughby also finished ninth. In addition to mountain bike races, all three compete in BMX.

    The trio faces tough competition in the form of riders like World Road Champion Cadel Evans and Grand Tour stage winner Simon Gerrans.

    Finalists are Brendan Bailey, Buchanan, Evans, Gerrans, Graves, Anna Meares, Mark Renshaw and Willoughby.

    The national body invites Australian cycling fans to select their winner, which will be announced at the Jayco Australian Cyclist of the Year Awards in Melbourne, Victoria on November 22, 2009. Voting will close at midnight Friday 6, November 2009 AEST. Voting is open to Australian residents only and all those who lodge a nomination will go in the draw for a prize pack, which includes flights and accommodation to attend the awards night.

    Visit Cycling Australia's finalist page to vote for your favourite from the final eight (link opens to an external website in a new window).

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  • Granny Gear sets 24-hours series dates for 2010

    The 24 Hours of Moab venue
    Article published:
    November 3, 2009, 15:25
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Solo racers Anderson, Baumgardt win 2009 series

    With the dust barely settled on the 24 Hours of Moab, which doubled as the US 24-hour Mountain Bike National Championships in October, Granny Gear Productions announced its National Points Series (NPS) for 2010.

    Next year's series will include the same three venues as in 2009. The action will kick off with its East Coast stop at the 24 Hours of Big Bear in Hazelton, West Virginia on June 12-13. Next up is the 24 Hours of 9-Mile in Wisconsin in the Midwest on July 31-August 1. Finally, the series will conclude again at the 24 Hours of Moab in Utah on October 9-10.

    The 24 Hours of Big Bear will serve as the 2010 US 24-Hour National Championships. It is the only one of the three venues which has not yet served as the US nationals.

    Robert Anderson won the solo men's series for 2009 with 610 points thanks to a second place at Big Bear and a third place at 9-Mile. He was also fifth at Moab. Brandon Draugalis, who won both Big Bear and 9-Mile, and was the favorite to win, but was forced to drop out after eight laps, so he finished in 21st place and with only 15 points in Moab. Still, Draugalis finished third in the series with 515 points. Brad Majors finished second in the overall with 535 points.

    In the women's action, Liz Baumgardt took top honors with 430 points ahead of Eszter Horanyi with 250 points and Suz Falvey in third, also with 250 points. Baumgart won 9-Mile and also raced Big Bear while Horanyi only raced Moab and Falvey only raced Big Bear. Each of the top three women won one of the races in the series.

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