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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Saturday, August 3, 2013

Date published:
August 03, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • NICA High School Cycling News Round-up - July 29, 2013

    The all-conquering Kate Courtney is one of the subjects of a new ad campaign launched by NICA in July.
    Article published:
    July 29, 2013, 20:30 BST
    Paul Skilbeck

    Leagues grow over 31%; Meet the student athlete: Taylor Smith

    The ending of a highly successful spring season for NICA leagues was followed by a the tally of the numbers revealing that participation in NICA's spring leagues grew from 2012 by an average of over 31%. Participation in all leagues is expected to be close to 3,000 student-athletes this year.

    NICA spring league student-athlete participation
    NorCal, +19%
    SoCal, +27%
    Texas, +48%
    New York - first year of operation, so not applicable
    Average growth across all spring leagues, +31%

    School might be out, but preparations for the fall leagues kept NICA staff occupied throughout June at the Berkeley headquarters in California. Registration has started for the fall leagues which include Colorado, Utah and Minnesota plus the two leagues in their inaugural seasons this year: Arizona and Tennessee. Racing will begin in September.

    With more than 800 licensed coaches, NICA's coach education is a huge part of the high school cycling movement. The coach education program stepped up a notch with NICA's first ever advanced coaching clinic, held in Utah and led by Lee McCormack of Lee Likes Bikes. Thanks to Booster Club support, 16 coaches from the nine leagues received sponsorship to attend and instruction was specifically aimed to create a group of licensed skills instructors to help coach new riders to increase awareness and control in a range of common situations.

    Summertime is camp time for NICA. The NorCal Camp took place among the redwoods of Mendocino. Guest speakers and riders included Carlos Perez, CEO Bike Monkey, Yuri Hauswald - Gu Energy Labs and Marin Bikes Pro-endurance rider, and Teal Stetson-Lee, pro athlete from Team Luna Chix.

    The SoCal camp ran Monday through Friday, June 24-28, with guest speakers journalist Jimmy McIlvain from Mountain Bike Action and Eddie McDonald of Felt Bicycles, and a session with Patrick Kell, the IMBA Southwest regional director.


  • Olympic and world champions head to Davos for BMC Cup

    Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike) on her way to winning
    Article published:
    July 31, 2013, 16:25 BST
    Cycling News

    Spitz, Dahle-Flesjaa and Näf among the favorites this weekend

    The penultimate round of this year's BMC Racing Cup will be staged this weekend on a new course in Davos, Switzerland. Last weekend's World Cup winner Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike), current marathon world champion Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa (Multivan Merida), Lukas Flückiger (BMC) and eliminator world champion Ralph Näf (BMC) are all slated to compete.


    The women's race promises an interesting duel after, to everybody's surprise, the 41-year-old Sabine Spitz earned the second World Cup victory of her career last Saturday in Vallnord, Andorra. After a thrilling race, the 2008 Olympic Champion Spitz triumphed in a very close decision over Katerina Nash (Luna), Eva Lechner (Colnago Sudtirol) and her old rival Dahle Flesjaa, the 2004 Olympic champion and record World Cup winner who was fourth, just nine seconds behind Spitz.

    Due to a shoulder injury suffered in May, Spitz had been out of action for seven weeks. Now that she is back in action, she's trying to get a bunch of racing in her legs. "It is still very important for me to get more competition practice and intensity," she said. She is also trying to accumulate more world ranking points.

    Dahle-Flesjaa has participated in only a few races this season so far due to various illnesses ."For me it is important to get back into competition mode," she said.

    Spitz's Haibike teammate Adelheid Morath, who suffered a broken collarbone in June while training for the European Championships in Bern, also appears among the best riders in the world. She finished her comeback race on 13th position last...

  • US Cup drops USAC sanctioning for its events to protest UCI Rule 1.2.019

    Racing the Fontana short track
    Article published:
    July 31, 2013, 20:00 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Pro XCT organizer frustrated with lack of progress to change unpopular rule

    Frustrated by a lack of change to the temporarily suspended UCI Rule 1.2.019 preventing racers from participating in non-sanctioned races, the US Cup, which organizes US domestic mountain bike races, will no longer sanction its events through USA Cycling.

    R. Scott Tedro, owner of Sho-Air International and The US Cup, announced that effective immediately, the US Cup will withdraw any USAC sanctioning for all future events. Tedro also said that the US Cup will no longer sponsor or subsidize other promoters whose events are sanctioned with USAC.

    The move comes after what the US Cup called "USAC's ambiguous stance and continued blame of the UCI for the possible enforcement of rule 1.2.019, which prohibits licensed pro and amateur riders from racing in non-USAC sanctioned events starting in 2014".

    Over the last eight years, the US Cup has promoted and or subsidized over 110 USAC-sanctioned mountain biking events, more than any other promoter in the US. It is perhaps best known for annually hosting rounds of the US Pro XCT, including races such as Bonelli Park and Fontana in California.

    Earlier in 2013, the UCI said it would begin enforcing the longstanding Rule 1.2.019 and its related rules, which prohibit any licensed riders from competing in non-sanctioned events without risk of punishment by suspension or fine. It told its national federations, such as USA Cycling, that they must also enforce the rules. 

    Following that announcement and a subsequent uproar from North American racers, the UCI relented and agreed to

  • Canada announces team for UCI Mountain Bike World Championships

    Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing)
    Article published:
    August 01, 2013, 15:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Thirty-two athletes headed to South Africa

    Cycling Canada announced its team for the upcoming 2013 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships to be held in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, from August 26 to September 1, 2013.

    The Canadian world championships team is comprised of 32 athletes - 20 cross country riders and 12 downhillers - who will compete in the cross county, downhill and trials races in junior, U23 and elite categories.

    "We continue to have the ability to stand on the podium at these events. Our cross country program has been one of the strongest in the world over the last Olympic cycle with world titles and World Cup titles, as well as several medals in downhill. We are heading to South Africa with the objective to continue our momentum of performance at the highest level as we enter a new and exciting cycle that will take us to Rio," said Jacques Landry, High Performance Director and Head Coach at Cycling Canada.

    In the cross country events, the dynamic duo of Emily Batty and Catharine Pendrel, who both have demonstrated podium performances this season on the UCI World Cup tour, will be looking take the top spot at the women's race. Pendrel won the world championships race in 2011.

    Six-time Canadian Champion Geoff Kabush, two-time Canadian Champion Max Plaxton and current Canadian Champion Derek Zandstra will be looking to post big performances this year in the elite men's cross country race. Kabush is known in mountain biking for his ability to perform on demand at major events such as world championships, while Plaxton is now a consistent contender in elite field.

    The U23 men's cross country field in Canada has depth with many riders challenging for a spot on team. The Canadian...

  • Davison and Wells target Pro XCT titles in Vermont

    Lea Davison (Specialized) was gapped by Chloe Woodruff but maintained contact with Gould
    Article published:
    August 01, 2013, 20:24 BST
    Cycling News

    US cross country national series wraps up at Catamount Classic this weekend

    It was only two short weeks ago when Olympian Lea Davison (Specialized) and surprise victor Steve Ettinger (BMC) won the US Cross Country National Championships in Pennsylvania. They will continue their east coast tour with their next stop at the Specialized Catamount Classic, the final stop in the US Pro XCT national series. The stage has been set for an epic battle for the overall title this weekend with a tight men's and women's contests.

    Team Specialized experienced unprecedented domination at the last Pro XCT in Wisconsin winning both the short track and the cross country for men and women. On the women's side, Vermont local favorite Davison won both the Subaru Cup and the Missoula XC, garnering enough points to snatch the overall lead from Chloe Woodruff (Crankbrothers). Davison's teammate Todd Wells did the same after winning the last Pro XCT in Wisconsin, taking the overall lead from Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale). With several Olympians, world champions, and athletes from four countries towing the line, the race is all but wrapped up.

    The Specialized Catamount Classic is taking a different approach to racing. Race Director Eric noted that this is the first time - as far as he knows - that a Pro XCT is being held by a not-for-profit, 501c3 organization. Any proceeds from the race will go back to promoting the sport through programs at Catamount Outdoor Family Center.

    In addition, the Catamount Classic has a social mission to empower women. The women's race will not be the opening act for the men's race; instead, the crowd can enjoy the men's cross country race at 11:00 am and the women's race at 2:00 pm on Saturday. The men's short track will be at 2:00 pm and the women's short track at 2:45 pm on Sunday. Another goal is to have the men and women race the same distance within the existing UCI rules.

    The Catamount...

  • Shaw and Kintner among favorites for US downhill nationals

    Jill Kintner (Norco)
    Article published:
    August 02, 2013, 18:24 BST
    Cycling News

    Angel Fire hosts top US downhillers for national championships

    America's best downhillers and dual slalom racers will be crowned this weekend at the 2013 US Gravity Mountain Bike National Championships. Angel Fire Resort, located in northern New Mexico, is playing host to hundreds of riders looking to claim a Stars-and-Stripes jersey.

    Two riders who notched top-10 finishes at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Vallnord, Andorra, this past weekend are expected to put a wheel to the line in Angel Fire: Luca Shaw (Specialized Gravity DH), who placed fifth in the juniors men's downhill, and Jill Kintner (Team Norco International), who finished eighth in the elite women's race.

    Additionally, there will be several riders competing who rank in the top five in the USA Cycling Pro GRT standings, including women's leader Anne Galyean (Trek-Integrity Racing-Deity), third-ranked Amber Price (BikeSource Gravity Racing) and fourth-ranked Mary Elges (Integrity Racing - Deity).

    The downhill races will start at 10,500 feet above sea level, and competitors will descend nearly 2,000 feet as they cover about 2.5 miles to the finish line. The dual slalom course is a quarter-mile long and includes about 100 feet of elevation loss.

    The elite categories will contest dual slalom finals on Saturday and and downhill finals on Sunday.

    The Angel Fire Bike Park has previously hosted the USA Cycling Collegiate MTB Nationals the past few years.

  • Zakelj aims for rainbow stripes at mountain bike Worlds

    Tanja Zakelj (Unior Tools Team)
    Article published:
    August 03, 2013, 15:52 BST
    Cycling News

    Slovenian in search of her first elite world championship title

    Current women's cross country world number one ranked Tanja Zakelj has her eyes firmly set on claiming her first rainbow striped jersey in the elite women's cross country race at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships at the Cascades MTB Park starting on August 26 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

    The Unior Tools Team rider has had a stellar season with two wins from the four UCI MTB World Cup events that have been staged so far in the season with a still solid fifth position in the last leg in Andorra being her worst result of the year thus far.

    "So far my season has gone amazingly well," the 24-year-old said. "In the first World Cup in Albstadt, I managed to finish fourth - that was my first podium in the World Cup.

    "Then the event at Nové Mesto was even better because I won my first World Cup, and in Val di Sole I managed to defend the World Cup leader's jersey with another win so I've been very happy so far."

    To add to her two World Cup wins, the Slovenian went one better by grabbing the continental title in Switzerland.

    "I also managed to take the European Championship in Bern this year.

    "These results have been fantastic for me, and I want to continue to carry my form through to the world champs."

    Being world champion is not a foreign concept to the Slovenian; she has a couple of age group world championship crowns, but is still in hot pursuit of that special elite crown.

    "I have won the world championship twice - once as a junior in 2006 and then in the U23 category in 2008. My biggest wish is to win the rainbow jersey in the elite cross country category though, and I'll have the opportunity to try do that in Pietermaritzburg so I'm very excited," said Zakelj.

  • British, German and Belgian teams announced for mountain bike Worlds

    Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike) on her way to winning
    Article published:
    August 03, 2013, 20:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Three weeks to go until Worlds in South Africa

    Great Britain, Germany and Belgium announced their rosters for the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships on August 26 to September 1 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

    Great Britain will be represented by five British Cycling Programme riders in the cross country event, including Kenta Gallagher who recently took his first World Cup podium when he won gold in the eliminator event in Czech Replublic. Fellow Podium Programme rider and Olympian Annie Last misses out on selection due to recovering from a back injury. Rachel Atherton and brother Gee Atherton have been included in the selection for the downhill, both having had consistent success in the World Cup series this year.

    Germany's cross country team will be led by 2008 Olympic champion and recent Andorra World Cup winner Sabine Spitz and Manuel Fumic.

    Belgium will send riders for the cross country and eliminator events. Kevin Van Hoovels and Githa Michiels will represent in the cross country while Fabrice Mels does the honors in the eliminator.

    British team for 2013 Mountain bike Worlds

    Cross country

    Grant Ferguson (U23 men)
    Kenta Gallagher (U23 men)
    Beth Crumpton (U23 women)
    Michael Thompson (Junior men)
    Alice Barnes (Junior women)

    Gee Atherton (Elite men)
    Danny Hart (Elite men)
    Josh Bryceland (Elite men)
    Greg Williamson (Elite men)
    Steve Peat (Elite men)
    Marc Beaumont (Elite men)
    Matt Simmonds (Elite men)
    Brendan Fairclough (Elite men reserve)
    Bernard Kerr (Elite men reserve)
    Rachel Atherton (Elite women)
    Manon Carpenter (Elite women)
    Fionn Griffiths (Elite women)
    Michael Jones (Junior men)
    Phil Atwill (Junior men)
    Innes Graham (Junior men)
    George Gannicott (Junior men)
    Sam Herd (Junior men)
    Tahnee Seagrave...