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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Saturday, July 20, 2013

Date published:
July 20, 2013, 04:00

Edited by Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking. Feel free to send feedback, news, & releases to mtb@cyclingnews.com and results, reports & photos to cyclingnews@cyclingnews.com.

  • Steve Smith among favorites for Canadian downhill nationals

    Canadian Steve Smith was in good form but fell just short of the podium.
    Article published:
    July 12, 2013, 17:50
    By:
    Cycling News

    Beer and Brown enter weekend as defending champions

    The 2013 Canadian Downhill Mountain Bike Championships, scheduled for July 13-14 at the Panorama Mountain Resort in Panorama, British Columbia, will attract some of the best downhillers of the country, including number three-ranked Steve Smith (Devinci Global Racing) and the two reigning Canadian Champions Matthew Beer and number nine-ranked Casey Brown.

    This will be the third time in the last four summers the resort has held the downhill race. Riders will compete there for the famous and sought-after "red and white jersey" awarded to each Canadian Champion.

    The resort has hosted both downhill and cross country races from the local level to national. Panorama's Bike Park opened originally in the summer of 2002.

    "This year's event will be bigger and better than last year's Canada Cup. We want to make Panorama's Downhill Mountain Bike Championships a must do for the best downhill mountain bikers in Canada. We have an outstanding venue here and are improving our trails every year," said Patrick Gillespie, Panorama's Race and Mountain Events Manager.

    Racing will be held at the Panorama Bike Park, using the Insanity Bike Run.

    The event runs Saturday with the qualifying races and Sunday with the championships races.

  • Spitz back to winning after injury

    Sabine Spitz on her way to winning the German cross country national title
    Article published:
    July 15, 2013, 17:10
    By:
    Cycling News

    German rider earns cross country national title

    Eight weeks after injuring her shoulder, Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike) was back to winning at the German cross country national championships this weekend in Bad Salzdetfurth. It was her 12th cross country title and her 24th German national cycling title.

    The 41-year-old underwent surgery on her shoulder and only recently returned to racing. She had injured it in a crash while training for the season-opening Albstadt World Cup in Germany in mid-May.

    "I'm even a little surprised," said Spitz. "A great healing process made this possible. This is a very special title for me."

    Spitz crossed the line to win the German championship in 1:30:14, over a minute ahead of the runner-up Elisabeth Brandau.

    Spitz raced a 29er for the first time, which she said helped her feel more confident on the downhills and a bit more upright, thereby lessening the pain in her shoulder. She tried not to take risks on the downhills since her shoulder is still healing.

    Her strategy was to race from the front, so she would have time to pick her way on the technical sections and to make up any lost ground on the climbs.

    "During the race, I gave little thought to my shoulder," she said. As the race progressed, her victory looked more certain and her only thoughts were on not crashing or having a mechanical.

    Spitz will race her first World Cup of the year in Andorra at the end of the month. She is focusing on the Worlds in late August in South Africa.

  • British cross country stars ready for mountain bike nationals

    Kenta Gallagher will race for the Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team in 2013
    Article published:
    July 16, 2013, 09:00
    By:
    Cycling News

    Scottish venue hosts nationals ahead of 2014 Commonwealth Games

    Olympic athlete and five-time British Champion Liam Killeen, eliminator World Cup winner Kenta Gallagher and Scottish Champion Lee Craigie will lead a world class field of athletes at the 2013 British Cycling Mountain Bike Cross Country National Championships taking place at Cathkin Braes Country Park, Glasgow on Saturday, July 20 and Sunday, July 21.

    Athletes from across Britain will head to Cathkin Braes Country Park with the hopes of clinching the British titles on the 2014 Commonwealth Games course. Around 500 competitors will compete in six races over the two days, testing the newly built course and determining national champions in 18 categories.

    Scottish Cycling's Chief Executive, Craig Burn said, "We are delighted that the British Cycling National Mountain Bike Cross Country Championships are taking place at Cathkin Braes Country Park for the first time. It will give cycling fans the chance to see world class riders in action on home soil.

    "I have no doubt that world class events taking place in Scotland will aid the development of cycling in this country, by providing inspiration to our current riders and encourage spectators all over Scotland to try their hand at this fantastic sport."

    Executive Member for the Commonwealth Games at Glasgow City Council, Cllr Archie Graham, said, "We designed and built the Cathkin trails to be used by the people of Glasgow; but also to be capable of hosting world class talent and major championships like this one.

    "With just over a year to go until the Commonwealth Games, to have one of our newest venues hosting another national championship is a great moment for sport in Glasgow."

    Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer of EventScotland said, "The Cathkin Brae trails have been developed in the lead up to the Games and with some of the best British talent on show, it will be a great introduction to the discipline for people in the city."

    The 5.5km course has been developed by Glasgow City Council ahead of the Commonwealth Games but it's already a successful legacy project giving the city an exciting challenging course, open to all mountain bikers just 20 minutes from the city centre.

  • 2013 Mountain Bike National Championships index page

    Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team)
    Article published:
    August 3, 2013, 01:00
    By:
    Cycling News

    Quick links to national championships around the globe

    Mountain Bike National Championships happen year-round depending on country and discipline, but a majority of the cross country championships, among countries in the northern hemisphere, happen in July, with many on the third weekend of that month.

    Late September is when many nations will hold their marathon national championships, as suggested by the UCI, while a few nations will wrap up their marathon championships at other times of the year.

    Below is an updated index of the 2013 MTB National Championship coverage on Cyclingnews. Click on the appropriate link to access coverage for cross country, downhill, four cross, eliminator and marathon disciplines.

    Australia: Cross country, eliminator and downhill, marathon
    Austria: Cross country
    Belgium: Cross country
    Canada: Cross country, downhill, marathon
    Czech: Cross country
    Denmark: Cross country
    France: Cross country and downhill
    Germany: Eliminator, cross country, marathon
    Great Britain: Marathon, cross country, downhill
    Italy: Cross country, marathon
    Netherlands: Cross country
    New Zealand: Cross country and downhill
    Spain: Cross country and downhill
    South Africa: Marathon, cross country and downhill
    Sweden: Cross country
    Switzerland: Cross country and eliminator
    United States of America: Marathon, cross country and short track, downhill and dual slalom

  • A steamy US cross country nationals starts Thursday in Pennsylvania

    Steven Ettinger leading the pack
    Article published:
    July 17, 2013, 10:15
    By:
    Cycling News

    Gould, Wells and Davison return to defend titles; Schultz absent

    The 2013 USA Cycling Cross Country National Championships are set to roll from July 18-21 at Bear Creek Mountain Resort in Macungie, Pennsylvania. The four-day competition will be held in the Eastern time zone for the first time since 2008 at Mount Snow, Vermont.

    Three riders who represented the United States at the 2012 London Olympic Games are expected to compete in the Lehigh Valley. Bronze medalist and defending national champion Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) and Lea Davison (Specialized Factory Racing) highlight the pro women's field stocked with talent.

    Among the competitors vying for Gould's national championship are Maureen Bruno-Roy (Cycle Loft Velo), Judy Freeman (Crankbrothers Race Club), Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven-Stan's NoTubes), Teal Stetson-Lee (Team Luna Chix) and Chloe Woodruff (Crankbrothers Race Club).

    The men's field is overflowing with top-flight riders poised to unseat Sam Schultz (Trek Factory Racing) as the national champion. Schultz himself will be absent as he continues to heal a back issue.

    Schultz's teammate in London at the 2012 Olympic Games, Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing), who has collected countless national titles, is in good form after winning the Subaru Cup Pro XCT and short track in Mt. Morris, Wisconsin last weekend. The previous weekend, he won the US marathon national title.

    Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale), Michael Broderick (Kenda-Seven-Stan's NoTubes), Carl Decker (Giant Factory OffRoad) and 24-year-old Stephen Ettinger (BMC Mountainbike Racing Team) are some of the racers looking to challenge Wells.

    The men's U23 race also boasts a wealth of talent as Russell Finsterwald (Trek Factory Racing) is set to compete against Howard Grotts (Fort Lewis College), Keegan Swenson (Cannondale Factory Racing) and Kerry Werner (BMC U23 Development MTB Team).

    A scorcher in the works

    Most racers were expecting it to be humid given the time and location of July in Pennsylvania, but the weather is shaping up to bring not only the infamous summertime high humidity of the region, but also high temperatures. The forecast currently calls for temperatures in the low to mid 90s through Saturday - near record temperatures for the area.  The excessive heat could well play a role in the outcome of many races, especially those in the middle of the day.

    Course description

    The trails at Bear Creek Mountain Resort include 150-year-old mining switchback roads up the mountain. The trails also feature rocky, technical sections which demand as much power, skill and technique on the ascents as on the descents.

    The amateur cross country course spans just short of seven miles and includes many of the course features available on the mountain. The pro course includes the mountain's signature feature, a rock drop plus a triple log crossing and a rock jump just before the finish.

    For more information on the Bear Creek Mountain Resort course, read this article.

    Schedule

    Thursday's racing will feature a mix of amateur cross country and short track races.

    The action will heat up on Friday with the U23 men's and women's cross country races on the pro course. The women's U23 race will open the day of racing at 8:30 am while the men's race is slated to begin at 10:30 am. The category 1 juniors women's 15-16 and 17-18 races are scheduled to begin at 8:33 am.

    The U23 men's race will be followed by the category 1 juniors men 15-16 and 17-18 starting at 10:33 am. The spectators' focus will shift to the juniors cross country course for six races beginning with the juniors men's and women's 13-14 races beginning at 12:30 pm. The juniors men's and women's 11-12 races will begin at 2 pm. before the juniors men and women 6-10 toe the line at 3:30 pm. Seven groups of masters racers will cap the day's racing with two laps of the amateur cross country course.

    More amateur racing kicks off the action Sunday morning before the elite men and women takes to the cross country course. The women's race is slated to begin at 1 pm. while the men's race will start at 3:30 pm.

    The event concludes with super D and short track racing on Sunday. The racing begins at 9 am on the super D course. The short track will take center stage in the afternoon with four races spanning 20 minutes plus three laps. The category 1 women's race begins at 1:30 pm before the category 1 juniors men 15-18 is set to begin at 2:15 pm. The penultimate race of the day features the pro women at 3 pm before the pro men cap the day's racing at 3:45 pm.

    Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage from US Cross Country Nationals.

  • Batty well positioned to win first Canadian elite cross country title

    Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) passed Gunn-Rita Dahle  Flesjaa (Multivan Merida Biking Team) to move into 3rd
    Article published:
    July 18, 2013, 12:00
    By:
    Cycling News

    Plaxton and Kabush expected to battle in men's championship

    The top cross country mountain bikers of Canada will compete this week for the ultimate domestic prize, the coveted Red and White jersey.

    In the elite women's category, all eyes will be turned on Ontario cyclist Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing), of Brooklyn, who has an open door to win her first elite title with the absence of reigning Canadian Champion Catharine Pendrel, who has recently been sidelined with a fractured collarbone, and Marie-Hélène Prémont, who is on a maternity leave. Other challengers include Sandra Walters, who has been perfect so far this season on the Canada Cup tour, Amanda Sin, Andreanne Pichette, Mikaela Kofman and many others.

    Batty, a four-time Canadian U23 Champion, rebounded this season after recovering from a broken collarbone while training at the Olympic Games, and stepped once on the World Cup podium this campaign. Batty, along with Pendrel, represented Canada at the last Olympic Games in London.

    In the elite men's race, Max Plaxton (Sho-Air/Cannondale) will be looking to win his third straight title, having won back-to-back titles in the lead up of the Olympic Games. Racing with Canadian-based Scott-3RoxRacing team, Geoff Kabush is coming to Barrie with the ambition to regain the title and win back the jersey he owned for six consecutive years. Both Kabush and Plaxton represented Canada in London at the Olympic Games last summer.

    Derek Zandstra is always a rider to watch for at Canadian Championships, as he's very consistent. Other young riders such as Raphael Gagné and Evan McNeely will be providing some stiff competition.

    The reigning Canadian Champions in the U23 categories, Mikaela Kofman and Léandre Bouchard, will both be defending their titles.

    The 2013 Canada Cup Series leaders entering the Canadian Championships week are Antoine Caron and Sandra Walter in the elite categories, and Felix Burke and Rachel Pageau in the junior category.

    Eliminator makes debut At Canadian Championships

    The week of Championships activities at Hardwood start on Thursday with the presentation of the eliminator race, which is held of the first time at Canadian Championships. The eliminator is presented for its first season on the UCI World Cup Tour, and Canadians fared well in the short-race, elimination format.

    Super Saturday

    Racers will enjoy a break in the schedule on Friday, with a training session, followed by all the championships races for Elite, U23, Junior, and Cadet to be held on Saturday. Masters will hit the course on Sunday to close out the event.

  • Powless celebrates first mountain bike national title

    Shayna Powless (BMC Mountainbike Development) riding in second place on lap one
    Article published:
    July 19, 2013, 20:15
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    U23 rider beats the heat and the rocks in Pennsylvania

    Newly crowned US U23 cross country national champion Shayna Powless was all smiles after the finish of her race on Friday morning at Bear Creek Resort in Macungie, Pennsylvania. The 19-year-old from Roseville, California had just won her first-ever mountain bike national title on a very hot and humid summer day.

    "It was a fun race and it was tough. I definitely had to clip out a few times because it was pretty technical, but it was one of my favorite races so far," said Powless to Cyclingnews.

    Racing her first year in the U23 division, Powless is also a student at UCLA, where she will be a sophomore in the fall. She is studying physiological science as preparation for what she hopes will be an eventual career in physical therapy.

    For a time, Powless battled defending U23 national champion Lauren Catlin (Durango Devo), but Catlin had a wheel problem and dropped out of the race after lap two.

    Powless has been racing a bunch of the Pro XCTs this season and even a few World Cups. "Last weekend I did the Subaru Cup and the week before that was Missoula. I also did Fontana, Bonelli and Sea Otter. I did three World Cups in Europe: Val di Sole, Albstadt and Nove Mesto."

    Her best finish was a 22nd in the U23 category in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic. She has also been getting top 15s in the Pro XCTS and their associated short tracks.

    Powless was second in the junior 17-18 national championship race in 2012. She is a former Xterra national champion, a title she won in 2010.

    The technical, rocky nationals course suited her well. "I liked this course more than last year's. I like the more technical courses, and there was less climbing this year. I love this kind of terrain. After doing the World cups over in Europe, the terrain is a lot like this , minus the drops. There is a pretty good drop here, and that reminded me of a World Cup course a little bit."

    She heads next to the Pro XCT finals at the Catamount Classic in Vermont, then to Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec for the World Cup.

    "I'd love to go to the world championships if I get invited," she said.

  • Werner crowned champion after dramatic U23 national race

    Kerry Werner (BMC Development MTB Team) is the new U23 National Champion
    Article published:
    July 19, 2013, 22:15
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    BMC rider happy to win in front of home crowd

    Kerry Werner celebrated winning a US cross country national championship title in the U23 men's race after winning at Bear Creek Resort in Macungie, Pennsylvania on Friday afternoon. Werner was delighted to be back racing in the area where he'd previously lived.

    "It feels great to have my hometown crowd here," said Werner. "I grew up racing here in high school. I was lucky enough to live 45 minutes from here with my parents, so I slept in my own bed last night, and I drove here with my grandparents. There all here."

    Werner, who used to live in Birdsboro, Pennsylvania, was full of adrenaline after a dramatic final lap. He had been battling it out with Howard Grotts (Specialized) and defending U23 champion Russell Finsterwald (Trek Factory Racing). In the last half lap of the five-lap race, two of them crashed and one of them dropped a chain. The lead shifted a few times.

    "Somehow or another, we switched positions and Howard had it going into the lead. Russell dropped his chain. I stacked it. Then Howard stacked it in the very last rock garden after I had stacked it. It was crazy. Oh my god, it was a battle."

    Then it was Werner's turn to take the lead. "I was ecstatic once I got up front. All I had to do was coast downhill. I was just being super careful. We had all messed up from the top of the hill onward, so I didn't know what was going to happen."

    Werner, who is a last year U23 rider, said of his new stars-and-stripes jersey, "It feels good to pull this off and to be heading into the elites with this on my shoulders."

    Part of the BMC Development Team, Werner has continued to rack up experience among the world's top riders.

    "My season has been going well - nice and steady since the beginning. I went over with USAC to Europe for a UCI race and the first two World Cups. I had a good UCI race and then I got a flat in the first World Cup and got sick in the second one. But I put together a good race at Val di Sole, and I've sinced recovered from that travel."

    The future looks bright for Werner, who is off to race the Pro XCT finals in Vermont in two weeks and then the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup. He is also hoping to get to race the world championships in South Africa at the end of next month.