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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Saturday, February 15, 2014

Date published:
February 15, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Enduro World Series champ Moseley leads Trek Factory Racing team

    Tracey Moseley on her way to winning round 3 of the Enduro World Series
    Article published:
    February 09, 2014, 20:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    Six racers named to 2014 enduro squad

    Defending Enduro World Series (EWS) champion Tracy Moseley will lead the Trek Factory Racing enduro team for 2014. The team's European-based roster, announced this week, consists of Moseley, Rene Wildhaber, Justin Leov, Ross Schnell and American mountain bike über-couple Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and Heather Irmiger. 

    The team's riders will compete in select EWS events as well as hold down the North American scene racing throughout the continent in 2014, including the Big Mountain Enduro series.

    After dominating the women's division of the inaugural EWS in 2013, Moseley returns looking to repeat her commanding performance. The former UCI World Cup Downhill champion will focus her efforts exclusively on the EWS.

    "I love the new Factory Team structure," said Moseley. "I'm happy to continue my relationship with them and looking forward to defending my World Series title in 2014."

    Ever-present podium threat Wildhaber will look to improve on a solid 2013 season as well as take time for a few extra curricular activities.

    "I will devote all my energy for our team to defend the Enduro World Series title," said Rene. "Personally I will ride all the EWS races and one week-long enduro race as well as take on a few personal video projects. One thing I'm excited to work on is the construction of a big pump track close to my home that is going to support young mountain bikers and hopefully grow the sport."

    After taking a year away from competition, Leov will ride with Moseley and Wildhaber and set his sights on helping the team repeat its 2013 EWS win.

    "Just dabbling in enduro last year was all it took to hook me," said Leov. "Having the opportunity to go full time training and racing with Trek Factory Racing is a privilege. It's going to be an exciting year, and I'm going to push myself to the limit."

    Former All-Mountain World Champion Schnell will compete in North America as well as across the...

  • Lesotho fields its first-ever UCI-level team

    ACE -The Sufferfest - Lesotho Mountain Bike Team
    Article published:
    February 10, 2014, 23:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    ACE -The Sufferfest - Lesotho Mountain Bike Team makes history

    The International Cycling Union (UCI) published the list of teams which qualified for UCI MTB Team status in 2014 on February 7. For the first time, Lesotho and New Zealand are fielding such squads.

    The ACE -The Sufferfest - Lesotho MTB Team - powered by Unitrans is also the first black African team to achieve such status. The team aims to take on internationally accredited races in Southern Africa, featuring a cross country World Cup event and marathon world championships. Interspersed will be races from the UCI World Marathon Series and Southern African MTB Cup Series, which includes the first ever Class 1 cross country event and downhill event in Lesotho’s history. The team will also be targeting the fast-emerging Lesotho Sky UCI class 2 stage race later in the year.

    The UCI MTB Team status builds on an historic season in 2013, when Lesotho presented its first team at a world championships and managed to reach the lofty heights of 30th rank in UCI rankings (second in Africa). The team realized its riders have undoubted passion and potential but were lacking in organisation and exposure to regular international competition.

    ACE stands for Academy of Cycling Excellence and is all about taking the sport of cycling in Lesotho to the next level and developing for the future. The team is providing an opportunity for Lesotho riders to showcase their talents and gain vital experience on the biggest mountain bike races in the region. In so doing, the team will be improving the standard of cycling throughout the nation and building towards a bright future for aspiring cyclists.

    The team is starting from rock-bottom. Only three of its riders have reasonably decent bikes, whereas the others have to make do with old bone-shakers for training and borrow bikes for competition. Likeleli, Lesotho's women's national champion,...

  • More singletrack and enduro racing added to 2014 Trans-Sylvania Epic

    2013 NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic men’s winner Justin Lindine leads Sam Koerber on some rocky singletrack.
    Article published:
    February 11, 2014, 20:27 GMT
    Cycling News

    Route announced for fifth edition of Pennsylvania stage race

    The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage race announced on Monday the route for its fifth edition on May 25-31, 2014. This year’s race will offer more singletrack than ever before and will feature additional enduro segments during seven days of racing through the lush, green forests of central Pennsylvania.

    “Staying true to its roots, the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic will treat racers to a variety of stage types. There’s something for everyone - the climbers, the thrill-seeking descenders, the rock-hungry singletrack maestros and those with big engines,” said Trans-Sylvania Epic Race Promoter Mike Kuhn.

    “Off the bike and hanging out in between stages, racers can settle in for the week and enjoy the race’s relaxing, camaraderie-filled summer camp-like atmosphere.”

    Applying a new order to the stages, the enduro-centric stage will happen on day 3 while the traditional Coburn stage will occur on day 4. Throughout the week, several of the stages will include more singletrack and enduro racing.

    Trans-Sylvania Epic elite men’s and women’s winners Justin Lindine and Amanda Carey had a blast en route to victory in 2013.

    “The Trans-Sylvania Epic is just an awesome race. The courses are amazing, real East Coast hard, and everything is well run without being super high stress,” said Lindine. “I don't think I could come up with a better way to spend a week racing my bike, I look forward to it every year!"

    Carey said, “What I like most about the Trans-Sylvania Epic is the variety of its terrain and how each day is just so different in character. There's everything from lengthy rock gardens to dirt road climbs, short enduro segments, both long and shorter days. You need a huge bag of tricks to succeed here. Even after racing and winning Trans-Sylvania Epic twice, I feel like I could still go back again and have a exciting, new and challenging...

  • Gallery: Whole Athlete/Specialized Team trains at Northern California camp

    The Whole Athlete-Specialized trains while at team camp
    Article published:
    February 12, 2014, 19:26 GMT
    Cycling News

    Team announced for 2014

    Twelve young athletes from around the country joined together at the Whole Athlete Performance Center in Northern California to kickoff the Whole Athlete/Specialized Cycling Team's 2014 season. The riders were treated to three days of great riding, sponsor introductions, product demos, organic food and yoga.

    Entering its sixth season, the Whole Athlete/Specialized Team sets out with an impressive line-up and ambitious schedule. The intrepid junior / under 23 development program, which includes two current and three former national champions, will target the US National Championships, the Pro XCT series, select UCI Junior Series races and World Cups, and the world championships.

    Honored as USAC's Mountain Bike Club of the Year for the third year running, and a Center of Excellence, the 2014 team lineup includes seven returning members and five new riders.

    U23s Casey Williams, Cypress Gorry, and Jacob Albrecht return to take that next step as young professionals, while 2013 junior world championship team members Sean Bennett and Neilson Powless are joined by Silas Blunk and Zach Peterson to round out the Junior 17-18s. National champ Christopher Blevins joins Cole Avery in the junior 15-16s, as 14-year-old junior Michael Mace comes aboard as the team's youngest rider. Stand-outs Haley Batten and Veda Gerasimek, both national champions, comprise the junior women 15-16s.

    2014 Whole Athlete/Specialized Cycling Team

    Sean Bennett, 18
    Neilson Powless, 18
    Silas Blunk, 18
    Zach Peterson, 17
    Christopher Blevins, 16
    Haley Batten, 16
    Cole Avery, 15
    Veda Gerasimek, 15
    Michael Mace, 14

    Under 23s
    Casey Williams, 20
    Cypress Gorry, 20
    Jacob Albrecht, 20

  • Anton Cooper wary of challenges for New Zealand title

    Anton Cooper and Dirk Peters in action in the 2013 national mountain bike championship.
    Article published:
    February 13, 2014, 0:22 GMT
    Cycling News

    Rotorua hosts mountain bike nationals and festival this weekend

    While his eyes are fixed on a potential Commonwealth Games medal later in the year, mountain bike star Anton Cooper has to get his head around a posse out for his scalp at this weekend's national championships in Rotorua.

    The New Zealand Mountain Bike Championships at the spiritual home of the sport in the Whakarewarewa Forest sparks the opening weekend of Rotorua's annual 10-day bike festival.

    Cooper, 19-years-old, is looking towards his second year as a professional with the Cannondale Factory Team in Europe after a mercurial 2013 when a debilitating virus wrecked his season.

    Now fully healthy, fit and raring to go, Cooper is ready for a big year with the key targets of the Commonwealth Games in Scotland in July and the world championships in Norway in September.

    First there is the challenge of defending his cross country title at the national championships on Saturday. Last year that was no mean feat, edging out hometown star Dirk Peters on the final bend as the two under 23 riders spread-eagled the elite field.

    This time Peters will again lead a band of young talent who are keen to add Cooper's prized scalp to their CV.

    "Dirk is one of my main competition. There are two or three guys that will push me hard, especially the locals up that way who know the tracks well and will want to get one up on me," Cooper said.

    "I am up for the challenge."

    He is also keen to return to the tracks in Rotorua.

    "Rotorua is the spirit of our sport. They always get passionate fans and families. There are great crowds and that's something you do not find anywhere else in New Zealand."

    The 2012 junior world champion believes he is well on the path for an improved year.

    "I learned a lot from last year, about what the body can handle. I...

  • Vos plans on less mountain bike racing, more breaks for 2014

    Marianne Vos takes the win
    Article published:
    February 14, 2014, 1:25 GMT
    Cycling News

    Road and 'cross world champion still thinking of Rio Olympics

    Road and cyclo-cross world champion Marianne Vos (Rabo/LivGiant) is re-arranging her season for 2014. After a year of racing road, 'cross and mountain bikes with few breaks plus dealing with an injury, the Dutch woman plans to cut back on her mountain bike racing this season. However, she remains focused on possibly racing both road and mountain bike events at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil in 2016.

    "With Rio in sight, I decided to opt for a longer rest time between 'cross and road," said Vos according to her team's website. "In addition, there will be no focus on mountain bike racing this year, although that doesn't mean I won't be mountain biking."

    She will start her road season later than usual with the Fleche Wallone on April 23. Together with her team manager Koos Moerenhout, she is arranging a 2014 race program that better balances rest time and competition.

    "It's been very busy for the past few years for Marianne," said Moerenhout. "The seasons ran into each other and they went from peak to peak, but that took a lot of strength. Last year, she found her limit. There has to be a different approach. Sometimes you have to put on the brakes. Even Marianne has to stop sometimes."

    Vos realizes that she often asks a lot of herself. "The past year has been very heavy. It was good for me, especially in view of Rio. I think we now are less likely to overload me. My mindset about the year-round program should be different. It'll be good to encourage my teammates to step up. I'm convinced that we have a world-class team that can compete for the win on all fronts."

    Vos reported that her back problem seems to be solved. She underwent surgery in the fall of 2013 to address the issue.

    "I am not fit. I feel good. My back pain is gone, and I...

  • Coles chase piece of mountain bike history in New Zealand

    Amy Cole nee Laird is looking for success at the New Zealand downhill national championships this weekend.
    Article published:
    February 14, 2014, 4:35 GMT
    Cycling News

    Husband-wife pair aims for double national titles in Rotorua

    Cam and Amy Cole will be attempting to become the first husband and wife pair to win New Zealand Mountain Bike national titles in Rotorua this weekend.

    They would likely settle for strong performances in the downhill competition on Sunday after Cole, the former junior world champion, spent much of last year recovering from a serious crash on the UCI World Cup circuit.

    New wife Amy Cole (nee Laird) won the downhill title in Rotorua last year while her partner bypassed the event as he prepped for a full season on the UCI World Cup circuit. This ended in disaster when he suffered a compression fracture of his vertebra in Andorra and was airlifted from the course.

    The pair is among a world class list of riders for the national downhill championship to be held on the famed Taniwha National Downhill Track used for last year's event, following Saturday's cross country championships.

    Cole, who moved to the Commencal Riding Addition pro team in Europe this year, is among the elite group of leading Kiwi professionals headed by world number five ranked Sam Blenkinsop (Lapierre International), defending champion Brook MacDonald (Trek World Racing), who is fully-fit after injury cut short his international season last year, and in-form George Brannigan (Trek World Racing) who has won the opening round of the national mountain bike cup recently.

    Added to the potential challengers include Matt Walker, Louis Hamilton and Matt Scoles in the elite men with a bevy of talented young internationals also looking to show their hand in this top-notch field.

    Laird, very much a part-time rider these days, will still pose a serious threat in the women's competition where Queenstown's Alanna Columb will be the favourite after an outstanding effort to finish in the world's top-20 in her first full season on the UCI World Cup circuit in...

  • Feenstra-Felt announces 2014 mountain bike team

    Robby de Bock (Feenstra-Felt MTB Team)
    Article published:
    February 15, 2014, 17:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Olympian Klemencic among team's top riders

    Feenstra, a Dutch environmental control company, and Kenda tires are backing a new pro mountain bike team for 2014. The Feenstra-Felt team is a blend of young international talent and more experienced professionals. Blaza Klemencic from Slovenia, Lisa Mitterbauer from Austria and Robby de Bock and Ruben Scheire of Belgium lead the team for this season.

    Klemencic posted a second place at the European elite women's cross country championships and is a two-time Olympian. Scheire was second in the Belgian under 23 men's cross country national championship.

    Other riders on the team include U23 men Thijs Zuurbier, Gosse van der Meer and Roy Beukers. The team expects to add one more rider from Scandinavia, but has not yet said who.

    "This is a further milestone in the development of an exciting project," said Team Feenstra-Felt Manager Maarten Kemperman. "Feenstra-Felt demonstrates our expanding commitment to pro mountain bike racing as we build a truly world-class team."

    The team's eight riders' long term goal is the cross country Olympic race in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil in 2016. As part of the initiative to get its riders to the Olympics, the team will work with professional trainer and former top triathlete Rob Barel and sports psychology consultant Bart Boogaard.

    Sporting operations for the team will be managed by Robert Pintaric. "Robert brings many years of pro-sport experience into the team. With him we can further professionalize," said Team Manager Maarten Kemperman.

    Klemencic has already begun her season on a positive note, with a second place finish at the four-day Lanzarote stage race in January.

    For 2014, the Feenstra-Felt squad is licensed as a British team. Kemperman said the arrangement will allow his team to more easily participate in the British mountain bike series.

    Look for the Feenstra-Felt squad at World Cup races, the German Bundesliga Series, the Sea Otter Classic and select...