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MTB News & Racing Round-up, October 13, 2009

Date published:
October 13, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Trans Germany breaks new ground

    Peter Musch rides in the Trans Germany.
    Article published:
    October 12, 2009, 20:18 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    2010 will bring fewer days and a new route

    In its fourth year the Trans Germany is striking out on a new path. True to its motto of "travelling through the most attractive mountain bike areas of Germany", the stage race will be organised on a new route for 2010. In the years to come, several other course alternatives will be used.

    In 2010, the race will shrink to four days and move to a slightly earlier spot on the calendar, June 2-5. It will happen in the southwestern part of Germany, tentatively kicking off in Garmisch-Partenkirchen and stopping in Tannheimer Tal, Pfronten and Sonthofen as well as finishing in Bregenz right at the Lake Constance. More than 250km and 10,000m of climb will have to be mastered.

    Although the race will take place using new stages, the format will remain the same and include solo racers or teams of four. Registration will open at the end of November.

    The 2008 edition was won by Thomas Dietsch (Team Bulls) and Esther Süss (Wheeler iXs Pro Team).

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  • Paulissen reigns as king of Roc d'Azur

    Roel Paulissen (Belgium)
    Article published:
    October 12, 2009, 21:10 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Beligan world champ wins marathon and cross country

    Last year, Roel Paulissen became the first man to win both the Roc d'Azur's Roc Marathon 83 and the cross country in the event's then 25-year history. This year, he did it again, continuing his reign as the king of the Roc d'Azur in France.

    On Friday, reigning World Champion Paulissen did what he does best - race to a win in long races. At the end of the 83km marathon, he came out ahead of the other top three contenders such as Alban Lakata in second and Jochen Kass in third.

    Two days later, on Sunday, he faced a talented field with many World Cup contenders on hand for a 53km cross country race. He took the win ahead of Leonardo Paez and Ruben Ruzafa as well as Lakata in fourth and Kass in fifth.

    Christoph Sauser was a favorite on the start list and was riding among the leaders when a flat tire cost him a chance for the podium.

    "Traditionally in one of the two races, I puncture here at the Roc d'Azur, and unfortunately this tradition continued...," he wrote on his website, Sauser flatted while in the lead group with just one flat section remaining to the finish. "I tried to refill it with a CO2 cannister, but after a few minutes, the air was gone again."

    "Sauser was strong today," said Paulissen. "He was dangerous throughout the race."

    "At the end of this week, I'll give a party, and I'll treat after a good season," said Paulissen who added that the Roc d'Azur is a perfect place for a mountain biker to spend a week after a long season.

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  • iXS Dirt Masters Festival returns for 2010

    A racer at the Scott 4X Challenge as part of the iXS Dirt Masters Festival
    Article published:
    October 13, 2009, 13:52 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Enduro joins downhill, four cross, slopestyle events

    The 2010 iXS Dirt Masters Festival, Europe's largest mountain bike freeride festival, will take place on May 21-24. Preparations for the fourth edition are well underway. The focus ofthe festival is three events that in recent years have joined together: the iXS German Downhill Cup, the Scott 4X Challenge and the Mongoose slopestyle contest. In addition, 2010 will feature an iXS Rookies Cup and for the first time, an enduro race open to everyone.

    More than 30,000 specators and 1,400 participants from 20 nations attended this year's event at the Bike Park Winterberg in Germany.

    Last year's Scott 4X Challenge was one of the largest of its type in the world. Among the over 300 competitors were Jared Graves, Roger Rinderknecht, Michal Prokop, Joost Wichmann and Guido Tschugg. In 2010, the finals will be run under the lights on a permanent four cross course.

    "We're building some extra flowing, new freeride trails in the Bike Park," said Bike Park operator Georg Brinkmann, who is preparing courses for the race.

    The festival will also include an expo, a party and live music.

    For more information, visit or

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  • Defending champions sidelined by flu-like illness at Moab

    Pua Sawicki (Ellsworth) looked good early in the race.
    Article published:
    October 13, 2009, 15:57 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Eatough does not start, Sawicki abandons at US 24-hour championships

    Both the 2008 US 24-hour men's and women's solo national champions were unable to defend their titles this weekend at the 24 Hours of Moab, which doubled as the 2009 nationals. Chris Eatough (Trek Co-op) and Pua Sawicki (Team Mata) were ill with flu-like symptoms.

    Eatough had planned to race Moab as the final race of his career. He made it as far as the pre-race press conference, but feeling terrible, he decided not to start the race on Saturday morning.

    "Of course it was bad timing. It came on during the buildup to Moab," said a disappointed Eatough to Cyclingnews. "Thursday and Friday and I was feeling pretty crummy. I knew on Friday that I wouldn't be able to ride the race. It would have been worse to start and have to pull out after five laps and then take forever to get well again." Eatough eventually tested negative for the flu, but it didn't matter; the flu-like symptoms had kept him from racing.

    Sawicki was going to go for a Guiness World Record for the "most miles ridden in 24 hours on a mountain bike". She'd taken all precautions to stay healty prior to the record attempt.  She was able to start, but the race did not go according to plan.

    "Pua had a perfect start putting about seven minutes on her closest competitor. After several hours she had about 30 minutes on the entire field," said husband and number one supporter Ron Sawicki. "As things progressed Pua started to feel that something was wrong, she was still gaining on the chasers but much less per lap. She told her pit crew that her stomach felt bad."

    As her lead grew to 45 minutes, she felt body aches and had trouble with her vision. Her support crew encouraged her to go on, but then her lead began to shrink, falling to 30 minutes.

    "She felt so sick that she could not continue, we urged her to just go to the finish line and pull out of the race," said Ron. "She did that and we got her the medical attention she needed right...

  • Peraud takes a mellow approach to Roc d'Azur

    Jean Christophe Peraud (Team Massi) visited the beach at the Roc d'Azur
    Article published:
    October 13, 2009, 20:23 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Frenchman has some fun during his final race of the season

    Jean Christophe Peraud ended up taking a leisurely approach to the end-of-season Roc d'Azur mountain bike race in France, where he finished 56th.

    The French mountain biker, who also excels at time trials on the road, competed for Team Massi in the 53km cross country race on Sunday. The race brought together many of mountain biking's top European stars for a low pressure event to close out the 2009 European season.

    Peraud won the race in 2003 and 2007 and started this year's edition with the intention of staying at the front as the leaders approached the first singletrack. Twelve kilometers into the race, he was enjoying a spot near the front of the race. However, as the kilometers ticked by, he wasn't feeling as good any more and instead took the approach of finishing the season with some fun.

    Along one section of the track lined with thousands of spectators, Peraud gave some time to journalists, doing an interview as took a side trip, running on the beach of St. Aigulf.

    A few other stars shared Peraud's good spirits. He crossed the line with friends Inaki Lejarreta Errasti, Maxime Marotte and Stephane Tempier, all riding together while enjoying the day 17:21 behind the winner Roel Paulissen.

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  • Absalon extends contract with Orbea

    Orbea Team Manager Ixio Barandiarán and Julien Absalon shake hands upon the renewal of Absalon's contract for three more years.
    Article published:
    October 13, 2009, 21:54 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Frenchman happy to stay with team until end of career

    French mountain biker Julien Absalon extended his contract with his Orbea Racing Team for three more years, through the London Olympic Games in 2012. The rider and his team signed the agreement during the Roc d'Azur mountain bike race in France this past week.

    "I love being with Orbea. They offer me reliability, the best bikes and a great team. I want to stay here until I retire," said Absalon.

    "Orbea's offer has always been excellent, and I'm sure I couldn't be better off anywhere else. I believe in the Orbea people and they've shown me that they believe in me," said Absalon.

    Team Manager Ixio Barandiarán gave a press conference together with Absalon to announce the news."He's the best biker and part of the family now. He not only wins races. He's also involved in developing the bikes, and he's an icon for us," said Barandiarán.

    Absalon has won two Olympic cross country races, one in Athens, Greece, in 2004 and another in Beijing, China, in 2008. He is already looking ahead to the next Olympics in London. "I'm going for my third Olympic gold medal, and I want to win the World Championships again. I've got some very important challenges before me, and I'm motivated to go all out for them."

    Absalon has won the World Championship cross country four times, most recently in 2007. He withdrew from the 2008 worlds and finished second to Nino Schurter in the 2009 worlds, however, he claimed the 2009 World Cup overall win, his fourth consecutive such title.

    The French star is clearly happy at Orbea. "I want to stay here until the end of my sporting career. Helping to create bikes, and perhaps after I retire, I'll dedicate myself to endurance cycling, which I really like." Along those lines, he'll be taking part in the Megavalanche on Reunion Island this December, as he does every year.

    Absalon has been with the Orbea team since 2006.

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