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MTB News & Racing Round-up, October 6, 2010

Date published:
October 06, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Last year's podium getters to return for Crocodile Trophy

    The favorites from the 2009 edition of the race will return to do battle at the Crocodile Trophy
    Article published:
    October 03, 2010, 22:01 BST
    Cycling News

    Croc Trophy newbie Kirsipuu joins the contest with Huber, Brentjens

    Just a few weeks remain until the 16th edition of the Crocodile Trophy, where last year's top three finishers - Urs Huber, Bart Brentjens and Mike Mulkens - will return to do battle again this year. They'll be joined by Estonian road star, 11-time national champion, Jaan Kirsipuu, who has also won the yellow and green jerseys at the Tour de France. The Crocodile Trophy will happen from October 19-28.

    It's a bit of a tradition for big names on the road scene to compete at the Crocodile Trophy, which is understood by many to be the toughest mountain bike stage race in the world. Kirsipuu would like to add the leader's jersey of the Crocodile Trophy to his collection.

    In 2009, the Estonian demonstrated his seriousness as an off-road competitor. The now-40-year-old won the Estonian marathon national championships. He'll make the journey to Australia for the Crocodile Trophy with 2009 European marathon champion Allan Oras.

    Kirsipuu will have his hands full against Worlds medallist Huber, Olympic champion Brentjens and the young Belgian Mulkens. Brentjens, in particular, is looking forward to better luck at what will be his second attempt at the Crocodile Trophy. In 2009, he missed out on the win by just one minute and 20 seconds after 10 stages of racing.

    Defending champion Urs Huber, on the other hand, has already seven marathon victories under his belt in 2010 and will be coming into the race in top form.

    Rene Haselbacher is another former road racer who will be contesting the race.

    On a sad note, multi-time Race Across America (RAAM) winner Jure Robic, who was training for the 2010 edition of the Crocodile Trophy, was killed while training in September.  It would have been Robic's fifth time participating in the race.

    2010 Crocodile Trophy

    October 19 - Stage 1: Cairns - Lake Tinaroo, 98km
    October 20 - Stage 2: Lake Tinaroo - Granite Gorge, 122km
    October 21 -...

  • Milatz departing Multivan Merida team

    Mortiz Milatz celebrates winning the elite men's race.
    Article published:
    October 05, 2010, 15:50 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Mountain biker moving to a new squad

    Moritz Milatz is wrapping up his final season as a pro for the Multivan Merida Biking Team. After seven years with the top-ranked mountain bike team, the German cross country racer and the team have decided to part ways.

    "We wish Moritz all the best in his upcoming career," said team manager Andreas Rottler on the amicable parting. "It was a pleasure to help Milatz develop from a cross-over entrant into the sport of mountain biking to a top performer on an international level. And we're looking forward to seeing him at race venues across the globe in the future as well."

    Milatz made the transition to cycling from running, signing with the squad in 2004. It did not take the Freiburg native long to win his first race, a marathon World Cup in 2005.

    In 2006, he won his first German cross country national championship and established himself as one of Germany's strongest mountain bike racers. One of Milatz's career highlights to date was a third-place finish at Madrid's World Cup race in 2009.

    This season, which got off to a difficult start with a rough early season crash that resulted in a broken nose and facial injuries, Milatz won the German national championship and his national series, the German Bundesliga.

    The 28-year-old Moritz was offered a lucrative contract extension from Multivan Merida, but he decided after careful consideration to turn down the offer.

    "I owe the Multivan Merida Biking Team a large part of my career, and I always like to remember the past," said Milatz on his website. "Now it is time for me to set new targets in a new environment to take a step forward athletically and personally. I leave the team in gratitude and friendship and look forward to continuing to see everyone involved in the racing scene."

    Milatz is considering offers from other teams. Although he has made a preliminary decision, he has declined to announce his new team until the contract is signed.

  • Evans, Knox, Swanepoel to battle at Crater Cruise

    Ben Melt Swanepoel winds his way through some singletrack.
    Article published:
    October 06, 2010, 14:37 BST
    Cycling News

    Luck and cleverness will pay off at South African ultra marathon

    Saturday's MTN Ride Crater Cruise might just turn out to be the most exciting race of the MTN ultra marathon series because there are three interesting scenarios that can play out. The Crater Cruise is the final event of the South African MTN ultra marathon series.

    If Kevin Evans (MTN-Energade) wins, he will be the first rider to defend his Crater Cruise title successfully; if Max Knox (DCM) manages to be the first across the line, he will complete an amazing hat trick of victories in the space of just four weeks; if Ben-Melt Swanepoel (Specialized/Mr Price) wins, he will the first to boast three Crater Cruise victories.

    Jock Green (Ghost/BBT), Marc Bassingthwaighte and Mannie Heymans (both Garmin-adidas) are the three "Jokers" that might just upset the proverbial ‘applecart' and in doing so spoil the fun for the race favourites.

    It does not matter to whom you talk about Saturday's race. Every rider agrees that to be able to win the Crater Cruise you need to have some luck and you have also got to be clever.

    There is no doubt about Evans's fitness after his strong performance in the recent four-day Clover Tour in the Lowveld which he won. The fact that Evans is already back in Gauteng to ensure that he is acclimatised in time for the Crater Cruise proves he is serious about winning even though he won't admit to it.

    "If it happens, it happens, and if doesn't it doesn't. I am out to enjoy the race. I might just sit back and see how the race unfolds," was Evans's reaction when asked whether he thinks he can win.

    "One of the big mistakes you can make is to underestimate the Crater Cruise even knowing that it is a 100km race. It is definitely one of the hardest races on the local calendar. My advice to novices is to race the course and not your rivals.

    "To be able to win, you not only need to be tactically brilliant. You have also got to ensure that you save your legs for the last 20 or so kilometers...

  • Absalon, Hermida expected for Roc d'azur

    Julien Absalon (France) on the move with one lap to go
    Article published:
    October 06, 2010, 16:45 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Thousands ready for European mountain bike season finale

    Approximately 17,000 cycling enthusiasts are expected to converge for the 27th annual Roc d'Azur in the François Léotard nature reserve in Fréjus, Roquebrune-sur-Argens and Sainte-Maxime, France. The festivities, which include everything from pro mountain bike racing to amateur racing, expos, trials competitions and tandem off-road racing, are scheduled from October 7-10, 2010.

    The Roc d'Azur is the last major mountain bike event on the European calendar, and it marks the final hurrah of the season for many international competitors.

    Two dozen events, many of them cross country and marathon mountain bike races, are on tap for this year's edition. The most famous is the Roc d'Azur cross country with its 53km and 1860m of climbing on Sunday, October 10 (note: 42km for the women on Friday, October 9 - Ed.). This year's event is a UCI category HC point-to-point cross country. A UCI Category C2 marathon, the Roc Marathon 83, is also being run on Thursday, October 8.

    Other events include races for various categories, including tandems, children and even journalists and members of the bike industry. A trade show expo, open to the public, will include 250 exhibitors over 20,000 square meters.

    This year's edition will be run with the memory of Alain Bianchi in mind. He became Roc d'Azur race director in 1997. He died on July 11 following a heart attack while on a bike ride according to

    A regular since 1995, Frenchman Julien Absalon is expected to attend. He'll be joined by cross country world champion Jose Antonio Hermida.

    Last year, Roel Paulissen won the Roc Marathon 83 and the Roc d'Azur; however the Belgian will be absent from the elite competition this year after having tested positive for clomiphene in July. Aleksandra Dawidowicz is the defending women's Roc d'Azur champion.

  • Breck Epic adds three-day version

    Race leader Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) at the front of the Breck Epic peloton.
    Article published:
    October 06, 2010, 20:59 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Annual mountain bike stage race set for August 2011

    The Breck Epic will return in 2011 for its third running in and around Breckenridge, Colorado. The week-long race will commence on August 14 and wrap up on August 19, about one week prior to its slot for 2010.

    Following in the footsteps of the TransRockies, the Breck Epic will also run a three-day version of the stage race. Unlike the TransRockies, both the short and long versions of the Breck Epic are solo competitions whereas the TransRockies seven-day event is a two-person team competition.

    "Our launch of the three-day event came after sitting down for a few beers at Interbike with Aaron McConnel, the owner of the TransRockies," said Mike McCormack, the promoter of the Breck Epic, to Cyclingnews. "It's obvious that the three-day event is a success there."

    McCormack went on to explain why the addition of a three-day race is appealing to mountain bike stage race promoters. "One thing that we all share is the fact that the overhead involved in a stage race is staggering. Because of that, we need to fill our fields. The three-day event is an opportunity to cultivate a group of riders who might not feel ready for all six days or just can't take that much time off. With the three-day version there’s less risk...and less of a time commitment as well."

    The idea is that some racers will also build up from the three-day version to the full version as they get more experience.

    The three-day version of the Breck Epic, with categories for open men, open women and men 40+, will run from August 15-17 and will include stages 2 through 4 of the full Breck Epic. A field limit of 20 riders per category has been set.

    Jeremiah Bishop and Pua Sawicki won the 2010 Breck Epic.