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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Saturday, January 4, 2014

Date published:
January 04, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Sho-Air Cycling Group announces new world class mountain bike race series

    Former US National Champion Sam Schultz races in the US Cup Series
    Article published:
    December 20, 2013, 14:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Four races comprise inaugural USA Cycling US Cup Pro Series

    Sho-Air Cycling Group announced on Friday a new, world-class cross country mountain bike series in partnership with USA Cycling. The four-race series, which will be known as the USA Cycling US Cup Pro Series presented by Sho-Air Cycling Group, is the result of a $500,000+ multi-year agreement.

    "I have agreed to create a new professional mountain bike race series, starting in 2014, which will be exclusively managed, promoted and maintained by the Sho-Air Cycling Group on behalf of USA Cycling," said Scott Tedro of the Sho-Air Cycling Group. "It will involve USA Cycling's management at the highest level and be overseen personally by Steve Johnson and Sean Petty."

    "I am thrilled by the creation of the four-race, USA Cycling US Cup Series presented by Sho-Air Cycling Group," said USA Cycling President & CEO Steve Johnson, "and I would like to personally thank Scott Tedro for his passion and long-standing support of American mountain biking."

    "I have been especially impressed with Scott's willingness to engage in constructive dialogue regarding both our immediate needs and future opportunities, and particularly his continued willingness to support that future financially," said Johnson. "Frankly, this has been a collaborative effort in every sense of the word, including extraordinary support from the UCI; at the end of the day, this is a tremendous step forward for North American mountain biking!"

    About the new series

    In 2014, the USA Cycling US Cup Pro Series will include three established races and one new race, including the Mellow Johnny's Classic in Texas; Bonelli Park in California; Fontana in California; and a final round to be created in Colorado Springs, Colorado. All four events will be sanctioned by the UCI as Category HC or Category 1 events.

    The deal came about after several months of productive meetings between the Sho-Air Cycling Group, USA Cycling and the UCI.

    "We agreed to...

  • Team CF becomes Rare Disease Cycling

    Gerry Pflug
    Article published:
    December 20, 2013, 20:18 GMT
    Cycling News

    Squad broadens its reach

    Team CF is rolling into its fifth year with an expanded mission, a larger squad, and a new name: Rare Disease Cycling, all aimed at raising awareness and ultimately research funds to fight the spectrum of rare genetic diseases well beyond cystic fibrosis, including muscular dystrophy, sickle cell anemia, hemophilia and more.

    "This new direction allows our cyclists to have an even greater impact on the lives of those suffering from rare diseases," said team director Jim Wilson, who is also a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania. "We will do so through advocacy and a very aggressive program to raise money for rare disease research."

    To date the members of Team Rare Disease Cycling have been a dominant force in East Coast racing in the United States, particularly on the endurance scene. Their success continued in 2013 as the team dominated the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series, winning the series championship in the women's (Cheryl Sornson) and singlespeed (Gerry Pflug) categories and placing first (Christian Tanguy), second (Cary Smith) and third (Rob Spreng) in men's overall.

    The team also made a splash in the mountain bike epic stage racing scene with Selene Yeager and her teammate, Specialized MTB Factory Team racer Rebecca Rusch dominating in the women's category of the Brasil Ride and Sornson and Pflug securing third place podium positions in their respective divisions of the La Ruta de Los Conquistadores.

    For 2014, the elite team will remain the same and will also include pro mountain bike and elite cyclo-cross racer, Cole Oberman. T

    "I'm so excited to be a part of the gathering momentum for the research of rare diseases and to be able to raise funds and awareness for this purpose by doing something I am passionate about: riding and racing my bike," said returning racer Stephanie Swan of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

    To facilitate its broader mission, the new team will partner with the University of...

  • 2013 Reader Poll: Nino Schurter and Rachel Atherton voted mountain bikers of the year

    2013 World Cup overall and world champion Nino Schurter
    Article published:
    December 23, 2013, 10:00 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    A cross country rider and downhiller share top honors

    Cross country racer Nino Schurter and downhiller Rachel Atherton were voted by Cyclingnews readers as Male and Female Mountain Bikers of the Year for 2013.

    Schurter dominates cross country circuit

    The rivalry of Swiss rider Nino Schurter and Frenchman Julien Absalon continued off the bikes at the end of the season with the 2013 Cyclingnews Reader Poll voting. Schurter took top honors in this latest round by winning the poll with 3,108 votes (23 percent). Absalon, a former Cyclingnews Reader Poll winner, proved he is still popular among readers, with 2,504 votes (19 percent).

    Schurter had a fantastic season, winning three (Nove Mesto, Val di Sole and Vallnord) out of six World Cup rounds, and in all but one World Cup, he placed in the top three. That gave him the overall World Cup title.

    By also winning the world championships in Pietermaritzburg, Schurter proved again that he is the most consistent rider on the international cross country circuit. He even made an appearance at the season-ending Enduro World Series round for a different type of fun.

    Absalon won one World Cup in Mont-Sainte-Anne after a few earlier rounds including some mechanical trouble. He raced to an impressive sixth place at Worlds despite broken ribs, but had to sit out the final round of the World Cup in Norway due to those injuries.

    Gee Atherton was the top gravity rider in the 2013 Reader Poll, in third place with 1,863 votes (14%). Atherton led the downhill World Cup for much of the season after winning the first two rounds in Fort William and Val di Sole; however, he lost the overall title in the final round to Steve Smith.

    Marathon world champion Christoph Sauser of Switzerland finished in fourth place in the poll, ahead of downhill world champion Greg Minnaar, who defended his rainbow stripes at home in South Africa.

  • UCI upgrades Crocodile Trophy stage race

    Mark Frendo, the 2013 Crocodile Trophy Champion, the first Australian in eight years to claiming the race victory in eight years since fellow Queenslander Adam Hansen
    Article published:
    December 23, 2013, 22:18 GMT
    Cycling News

    Race becomes S1-level for its 20th edition

    The well established Crocodile Trophy mountain bike stage race will celebrate its 20th anniversary edition from October 18-26, 2014 as a UCI-categorized S1 event.

    Race organizers decided to make the event UCI sanctioned in 2014. The race, which will remain open for professionals, amateur racers, as well as recreational cyclists, draws competitors from around the globe to the Outback of Australia.

    In addition to the race's new status, organizers confirmed that for 2014, there will be at least four completely new stages in the nine-day program. The new stage plan through the remote Australian Outback and lush rainforests in Tropical Far North Queensland will be publicized by the end of January.

    With a new and larger infrastructure, the Crocodile Trophy will be able to host more participants than in previous years.

  • Seven rounds announced for 2014 US Pro XCT series

    The women's field at the start of the 2013 Missoula Pro XCT.
    Article published:
    December 27, 2013, 15:17 GMT
    Cycling News

    US cross country domestic mountain bike race series schedule set

    USA Cycling announced the seven races that will comprise its 2014 Professional Cross Country Tour (Pro XCT) calendar. At the end of the seven races, the top five men and women riders will be awarded an equal share of a $15,000 prize purse. This marks the first time USA Cycling has offered a prize purse to the winners of the Pro XCT.

    Going into its sixth year, the Pro XCT features elite domestic cross country mountain bike races and crowns the top professional man, woman and team as calculated by season-long standings. The calendar boasts a line-up of races with high-level UCI categories.

    Six races return as part of the Pro XCT in 2014: Bonelli Park, Fontana City, Mellow Johnny's Classic, Missoula XC, Subaru Cup and Catamount Classic. The first three races of the series are also part of the newly created USA Cycling US Cup Series presented by Sho-Air Cycling Group, along with a brand new race in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

    The Mellow Johnny's Classic US Cup, scheduled for March 1 in Dripping Springs, Texas, has been on the Pro XCT calendar since 2011 and has been the first race on the annual calendar since 2012. This race is the first of four races on the Pro XCT calendar inscripted as C1 by the UCI. A pair of Australian riders, Daniel McConnell (Trek Factory Racing) and Rebecca Henderson (Trek Factory Racing) claimed the top steps of the men's and women's podiums last year.

    For the fifth consecutive year, the Bonelli Park US Cup race will be part of the Pro XCT calendar on March 15. The 2014 edition has been inscripted as a UCI HC-category event, a first for an American race. In 2013, Jeremiah Bishop (Team Sho-Air-Cannondale) and Lesley Paterson (Scott Bikes) earned the wins.

    The Fontana City US Cup, which has been inscripted by the UCI as C1 on March 23, race has been on the Pro XCT since the...

  • Stage added to Afxentia mountain bike race

    The scenery during the Afxentia mountain bike stage race in Cyprus
    Article published:
    December 30, 2013, 20:01 GMT
    Cycling News

    Four days of early season racing on tap in Cyprus

    The Afxentia mountain bike stage race is adding one stage to its 2014 edition. Instead of the three days, the race will happen over four days from February 27 to March 2. The race will also feature two all-new stages.

    In its 18th year, the Afxentia mountain bike stage race will be a UCI category HC event, which means it will offer plenty of points toward world rankings for elite riders.

    Organizers hope that by adding a day, the race will appeal to more potential pro and amateur racers who are preparing for the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race later in March.

    "We tried to create an extended format with a good mixture of attractive scenery and a pure kind of mountain biking," said Bikin' Cyprus organizer Mike Hadjioannou.

    The two new stages, 1 and 2, will begin at Lefkara, in the southern Trodos mountains.

    Marianne Vos and Fabian Giger won the Afxentia stage race in 2013.

    2014 Afxentia Stage Race
    February 27: Stage 1 - Lefkara, 5.6km time trial
    February 28: Stage 2 - Lefkara-Skarinou, 55km point-to-point cross country
    March 1: Stage 3 - Lythrodontas, point-to-point cross country
    March 2: Stage 4 - Mantra tou Kampiou cross country (5.5km laps)

    The Cyprus Sunshine Cup will include only one other round in 2014: The Voroklini C1-category cross country race on March 9. In recent years, the series has included three or four rounds.

  • Mike Jones joins Team CRC - Nukeproof

    Mike Jones will race for Team CRC - Nukeproof in 2014
    Article published:
    January 02, 2014, 17:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former world champion Sam Hill stays with team

    Young Welsh rider Mike Jones has joined Sam Hill and Joe Smith on Team CRC/Nukeproof for the 2014 season. Wrapping up a stellar 2013 season riding for the FMD/Intense team, Jones finished second in the junior UCI Downhill World Cup series and managed a bronze medal in the junior world championships

    "Joining CRC is a dream come true for me. Ever since I started racing, it always looked like the team to be on," said Jones. "Moving up to elite is a big step for me, but riding alongside the likes of Sam and Joe will help me a lot and bring my riding along and hopefully I can get the results I am aiming for."

    "For 2014, I am looking to break into the top 20 in the World Cups and try and get on the podium at the national rounds. I'd like to say thanks to Nigel for giving me the opportunity for next season."

    Team Manager Nigel Page welcomed Mike to the team. "Mike is a talented rider and already one of the fastest young talents in our great sport. As well as having the speed and skills to step up to a world class team he also has some good banter and I am sure he will fit in great with us!"

    "We have high hopes for Mike's career ahead of him and we are looking forward to helping him grow and achieve his goals for the future."

    Returning team member Sam Hill, a former downhill world champion, is raring to get back to racing. "I had so much fun with the team last year and am absolutely loving my Nukeproof Pulse. I think that 2014 is going to be a good season for myself and the team."

    Smith is coming off a solid winter of training. "I'm excited to be riding for Team CRC/Nukeproof again for the 2014 season. I feel that we have a great team and the best sponsors out there. I'm looking to pull some really good results out of the bag and can't wait to get stuck in at the races."

    The team said goodbye to former rider Matt Simmonds after six years. He had his best season to date with the team in 2013, finishing fifth at the...

  • Orange Monkey Team signs Rab Wardell

    Rab Wardell with Ben Roff and David Fletcher - Guiyang International Mountain Bike Invitational, ChinaRab Wardell with Ben Roff and David Fletcher at the Guiyang International Mountain Bike Invitational, China
    Article published:
    January 04, 2014, 15:35 GMT
    Cycling News

    Mountain bike pro a last minute addition for 2014

    Scottish Commonwealth mountain biker Rab Wardell has joined the UK's leading cross country mountain bike team for a milestone 2014 season. The Glasgow-based racer was left stranded following a last minute announcement that his 2013 team, Trek Factory Racing, would be downsizing their cross country program to focus on the road, cyclo-cross and enduro market. Following talks with a number of teams and sponsors at the end of 2013, a deal was struck with the Orange Monkey Pro Team.

    Orange Monkey is about to embark on its 10th season and has grown to become one of the most well recognised outfits on the World Cup circuit. The UCI Mountain Bike Team's reputation for developing talent and allowing that to flourish, and are a great fit for Wardell, now into his 10th season an elite racer. The deal gives a boost to the Glasgow-based racer's campaign to represent Scotland in his second Commonwealth Games to be held in Glasgow this summer.

    Wardell will make his debut for Orange Monkey at Dig in at the Dock, a leading cyclo-cross race in Scotland, and will then contest the British Cyclo-cross Championships in Derby. Following this brief cyclo-cross campaign, he will resume training for a heavy mountain bike program in South Africa and Europe running from March and into May.

    He will race the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race in South Africa alongside teammate Ben Roff. The time spent in South Africa will offer a number of Glasgow 2014 qualification opportunities including round 1 of the UCI World Cup in Pietermaritzberg, South Africa. The rest of the year will be a mix of British Cycling Cross Country Series, UCI World Cup and if selected for Scotland the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at the end of July.

    "I'm really looking forward to the coming year with Orange Monkey Pro Team," said Wardell. "Through 2012 and 2013 I've been impressed with Orange Monkey's vision and professionalism. To have the opportunity to join them for what is for both...