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MTB News & Racing Round-up, October 15, 2010

Date published:
October 15, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Teams gear up for Cape Pioneer Trek

    The Cape Pioneer Trek peloton
    Article published:
    October 12, 2010, 13:56 BST
    Daniel Simms

    Evans, Niyonshuti pair up for mountain bike stage race

    With less than a week remaining until the start of the Cape Pioneer Trek, Kevin Evans and Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN-Energade) are among the favorites for victory at the South African mountain bike stage race. The six-day event will run through the Southern Cape and Klein Karoo mountains from October 18-23.

    Evans has proved himself this season by winning consistently throughout the MTN ultra marathon series. One of those rounds, the MTN Attakwas ultra marathon is doubling as the stage one route of the Cape Pioneer Trek.

    It is not just climbing ability that makes Evans so strong. He is also very astute when it comes to race tactics knowing how to do the right thing at the right time.

    In contrast to Evans, Niyonshuti, a young rider from Rwanda, is a rough diamond who has been improving with each race. Niyonshuti has been one of the most consistent performers in the MTN national series with five top five finishes in six outings. His best result was finishing second in the MTN 50 Miler. He was also fourth in Barberton and fifth respectively in the Attakwas, Clarens and Cullinan races.

    In his short life of 23 years, Niyonshuti has experienced unimaginable horrors, but the setbacks seem to have made him more motivated to train harder and push himself to the limit. The horrors started during the Rwandan genocide starting in 1994, when Niyonshuti lost seven brothers. Roughly estimated, 800,000 people were killed nation-wide, an estimated 20 percent of the country's population.

    According to Jock Boyer, technical director of the Rwanda Cycling Federation, Niyonshuti's best friend, Godfrey, was run over and killed by a motorist while he was riding on his bicycle. Godfrey, an up-and-coming cyclist, was a young orphan who lived with his mentor, Niyonshuti, in Rwanda.

    The accident happened shortly after Niyonshuti's father died 18 months ago from an unknown disease. Niyonshuti lives with his mother in a town called Rwamagana in...

  • Dean Racing Development partners with X-Fusion

    Dean Racing Development and X-Fusion will combine in 2011
    Article published:
    October 13, 2010, 18:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Two mountain bike race programs merge for 2011

    Dean Racing Development (DRD) and X-Fusion will partner to bring their respective mountain bike race programs together for 2011.

    "I'm ecstatic to have the opportunity to work with an emerging company like X-Fusion," said Dylan Dean, DRD owner. "X-Fusion's dedication to their race program and to US racing is second to none. Judging by the efforts to develop their products and produce top of the line suspension, along with the support they offer to their race team, can only be described as inspiring."

    The race program will focus its efforts in the United States by competing in the nation's premier cycling events, including the US Professional Gravity Tour (Pro GRT), Sea Otter Classic, and the US Open. In addition, the team will compete in several World Cups within North America and Europe, along with Crankworx, and select regional events and festivals.

    "Joining forces with Dean Racing Development for 2011 has been a collaboration of both parties experience and vision for US racing. Dylan Dean has been at the front of re-igniting gravity racing in America and is the perfect fit for this type of race program," said John Hauer, X-Fusion Marketing Coordinator.

    "The combination of both programs' resources and Dylan's complete dedication to US racing will position the team to benefit greatly. At X-Fusion we are also excited to work with a few new rider faces, some familiar ones and even a talented young junior. 2011 aspires to be a great year for American racing and the X-Fusion/DRD partnership."

    The DRD X-Fusion program will announce its factory team roster, including professionals and development riders, in the weeks to come.

  • Knox and Stewart to start Cape Pioneer Trek

    Max Knox during stage six
    Article published:
    October 14, 2010, 15:04 BST
    Cycling News

    Two teammates will race, but not together this time

    Team DCM racers Max Knox and Brandon Stewart will race the Cape Pioneer Trek in South Africa starting on Monday, October 18 and running through October 23. It'll be their second mountain bike stage race within nine days.

    Most riders would consider a six-day mountain bike tour as a tough enough challenge, but then Knox and Stewart (both DCM) are not your average mountain bikers. The two will compete in the Three Towers Tour in Lowveld, which wraps up Sunday, before jetting to the airport to fly to George, where they'll compete in the Cape Pioneer Trek starting on Monday.

    When asked whether they were not overdoing it somewhat, Knox's answer was a definite "no".

    "We are professional cyclists who are just doing the job we get paid for. I think it will be an interesting challenge," Knox said.

    There is a reason why the two will be competing in both tours. Last year Knox and Stewart won the inaugural Three Towers Tour and, being a born-and-bred Lowvelder, it is a matter of pride for Knox to defend their title.

    As far as victory in one or both tours is concerned, Knox and Stewart do not venture any predictions. "We are certainly going to race to achieve top results but in mountain biking... nothing can be taken for granted."

    Although they often race together, at the Cape Pioneer Trek, the two will not race as a pair. Instead, Knox will race with Switzerland's Thomas Zahnd, while Stewart will team up with Jacques Janse van Rensburg. Both DCM teams will be in the contest for a podium finish.

    Kevin Evans, who will team up with Adrian Niyonshuti (MTN-Energade), and Christoph Sauser (Specialized), who will race with Silvio Bundi, will be the other two teams to watch. Sauser was originally expected to pair up with Burry Stander.

    Zahnd is no stranger to South African mountain biking. He has competed in four Cape Epic Tours. His best result was winning a stage in 2007. The Swiss rider is also a previous winner...

  • TX Active-Bianchi signs Longo

    Tony Longo (Italy) rides an uphill wooded section of the course
    Article published:
    October 14, 2010, 19:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian mountain biker hopes to build on momentum from 2010 season

    The TX Active-Bianchi mountain bike team added Italian Tony Longo to its roster for the next two years starting in 2011. The signing comes shortly after former junior world mountain bike champion Gerhard Kershbaumer joined the team.

    Longo, 26, won nine races in 2010, including the Swiss Racer Bikes Cup and three stages at the Giro della Valle d'Aosta. He consistently produced solid results at the international level and has earned four podium spots at world championships so far during his career.

    "I'm very happy to be part of the TX Active-Bianchi's mountain bike project," Longo said after signing his contract. He makes the move from Team Full-Dynamix.

    Talking about his goals for 2011 he said, "My aim is to hit the World Cup series in peak shape. Of course, the world championships in September will be one of the main targets of the season as well as the Italian national championships held in the Trentino region, on my home soil."

    "He will reinforce our team's roster in 2011 in the cross country events," said Team Manager Massimo Ghirotto. "He's a good climber and strong on demanding courses. He will benefit hugely from the way we work, and I expect him to get back at top of his game in the most important international competitions such as the Internazionali d'Italia and the European and world championships. I think he can move into the first 15 positions in the UCI ranking."

  • Garmin-Transitions' Dean to contest Singlespeed Worlds

    Garmin's Julian Dean rides his trainer, perhaps too afraid of the gendarmes to go out on the open roads.
    Article published:
    October 15, 2010, 4:19 BST
    Cycling News

    Kiwi roadies looking for a laugh in Rotorua event

    Garmin-Transitions’ Julian Dean will swap his Felt road bike for a mountain bike next weekend as he tackles the 2010 Singlespeed World Championships in Rotorua, New Zealand. Dean will be one of two big-name roadies taking part in the October 23 race, with Gordon McCauley also taking to the start line.

    "I’m really looking forward to participating, though solely from a fun point of view, and I’m super stoked to be supporting such a great event in Rotorua,” said Dean. "Why am I doing something as crazy as this? Because wherever a good laugh might be lurking is an absolute magnet for me."

    Marcus Diprose, one of the singlespeed Worlds organisers, was pleased to see some of New Zealand’s top road riders embracing the event. “Gordon calls himself ‘The People’s Champion’, with tongue firmly in cheek,” said Diprose. “He’s like Julian with the right sense of humour - and he enjoys a good time.”

    McCauley has just returned from representing New Zealand in the road race and time trial at the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India. "He’s promising to ride a massive gear and try and make a break on the other contenders at the start,” said race director Dean Watson. "Hopefully without vomiting."

    Some 900 riders from 30 countries will take part in the event. Rotorua is no stranger to holding major mountain biking events, having played host to the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in 2006.

  • Gujan headed for Brazil

    Martin Gujan of the Cannondale Factory Team
    Article published:
    October 15, 2010, 9:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Several racers confirmed for Claro Brasil Ride stage race

    While the racing seasons of many mountain bikers in the northern hemisphere have wrapped up, a few are still competing. Among them, Cannondale Factory Racing's Martin Gujan is headed to Brazil for the Brasil Ride mountain bike stage race from November 14-19, 2010. The six-day race will cover 650km in Chapada Diamantina.

    After a 12-week recovery post-knee surgery, Gujan managed a top 10 at the European mountain bike championships in Haifa, Israel. He was also in the top 20 at the world championships in Canada, where the Swiss racer finished 16th. The two-time (2006 and 2008) Swiss Racer Bikes Cup winner has placed as high as sixth in a World Cup (Bromont, Canada, in 2008).

    In Brazil, Gujan will race with fellow Swiss racer Christof Bischof, who has 46 national and international victories on his own palmares.

    Some other racers committed to the event include Topeak Ergon's Sonya Looney and Jeff Kerkove as well as Jenny and Brian Smith. Looney and Kerkove won the co-ed duo category at the Breck Epic stage race in August while Jenny Smith is a Cape Epic stage race veteran.

    Neither Looney nor Kerkove have ever competed in South America. "Honestly this race was not on the radar, but then we got the invite. It is going to be exciting to extend the season and training for this opportunity to race in Brazil. The fire and fitness still burns hot," said Kerkove.

    For more information on the race, visit