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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Saturday, June 23, 2012

Date published:
June 23, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Saalfelden Leogang ready to host 2012 Worlds

    Greg Minnaar races in Leogang
    Article published:
    June 17, 2012, 21:33 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    UCI Mountain Bike World Championships to Austria

    Austria's Saalfelden Leogang will host the UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships from August 31 through September 9. The area is ready to host the event and is selling tickets online.

    Since the UCI announced in 2010 that the 2012 Worlds would take place there, Saalfelden Leogang has undergone plenty of developments. The whole area is busy preparing, organizing, building, shaping and testing "like there is no tomorrow" according to race organizers.

    In less than three months, the world's best will converge on Saalfelden Leogang. Those expected to race for world titles are riders such as Julien Absalon, Nino Schurter, Gunn-Rita Dahle, Brian Lopes, Danny Hart, Aaron Gwin, Greg Minnaar, Steve Peat, Rachel & Gee Atherton and Michal Prokop, just to name a few. 

    For the first time, the UCI is splitting the mountain bike World Championships over two weekends. Four cross and downhill gravity events start August 31 while cross country-related events happen over the next weekend. It will be the first time the UCI holds a cross country eliminator world championship.

    Saalfelden Leogang is perfectly set up and looking forward to its biggest bike event ever. "We're ready for great sport here in Saalfelden Leogang. We successfully expanded our already existing infrastructure. Also we got a lot of support from volunteers to make this event an unforgettable show so we are really looking forward to the World Championships," said Kornel Grundner, head of organization of the world championships. "Considering the big names we will see and the very moderate ticket prizes, we expect great support from the mountain bike community."

    Day tickets will cost 10 euros and are available online at www.saalfeldenleogang2012.at/de/wm-info/tickets/.

    For more information, visit

  • Mulally belatedly awarded 2011 US downhill national title

    Neko Mulally (Trek World Racing) in action
    Article published:
    June 19, 2012, 15:42 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Error in championship results corrected by UCI

    During this past weekend's racing in Vermont, many people saw that Neko Mulally (Trek World Racing) was wearing the US National Flag on his left sleeve, as is required under UCI rules for national champions in downhill racing. This, despite the fact that in earlier races this year Logan Binggeli (KHS) was wearing that sleeve.

    According to Mulally's Trek World Racing team, the UCI has declared Mulally the 2011 US Downhill National Champion and informed USA Cycling about this decision.

    The confusion stems from the fact that even though Mulally rode the fastest time on the day at the 2011 US National Championships, he was told to ride the junior category as per his age in 2011. He was awarded the junior national title by USA Cycling and Binggeli was awarded the elite title. However the UCI does not, at national championship level, recognize the junior category and as the results were awarded UCI points based on scratch results (irrespective of category), Mulally, as the fastest rider, is the national champion under UCI rules. This is also the case in Canada and Norway this year.

    This means for the next two World Cups in Mont-Sainte-Anne and Windham, Mulally will proudly be running the US National Champion sleeve, alongside Justin Leov in his New Zealand National Champion sleeve. Mulally will also run this at the Highland Park US Grand Prix, before going to Beech Mountain, North Carolina on July 21 and 22 where he will be hoping to defend his two 2011 national titles: dual slalom and the recently acquired downhill.

  • Ropelato to fill-in for injured Brosnan

    Mitch Ropelato
    Article published:
    June 19, 2012, 19:45 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Monster Energy-Specialized switches roster for next World Cups

    With Monster Energy-Specialized racing's Troy Brosnan at home recovering from a training injury sustained in Austria, Mitch Ropelato is ready to step up to the opportunity to fill-in for Brosnan.

    "Mitch was our first choice when we thought about a possible fill-in rider and we look forward to having him onboard. He's a talented rider, and I think he'll have a good time on the program," said Team Manager Sean Heimdal. "It's a shame to have Troy sidelined and we hope his recovery goes as planned!"

    Ropelato has been racing in the US for Specialized Racing-USA gravity onboard his Demo and will now debut for the Monster Energy-Specialized Team at both the Mont-Saint-Anne, Quebec, Canada and Windham, New York World Cup rounds.

    "I'm super excited that I get the opportunity to ride with Sam Hill, work with Jacy and Sean under the Monster/Specialized tent," said Ropelato. "It's really just a dream to be able to work with one of the top MTB teams in the world and really thankful that Specialized has lent me this opportunity to work with Monster Team. So, these next two weeks I'm just sitting on cloud 9 without a worry in the world and just go out and have some fun riding my bike."

    Brosnan said, "I'm happy to see Mitch filling in for myself and glad that he will be getting a factory ride at the next World Cup rounds to show what talent on a bike he really has!"

  • 2014 mountain bike marathon Worlds awarded to South Africa

    Manuel Fumic (Cannondale Factory Racing) flies over the rocks
    Article published:
    June 20, 2012, 17:55 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Pietermaritzburg to host another championship

    The UCI awarded the 2014 mountain bike marathon world championships to Pietermartizburg, South Africa at the second meeting of its Management Committee in Salzburg, Austria.

    It will be the fourth world championship to be held in South Africa in a three-year period. This year, the nation will host the singlespeed world championships (not sanctioned by the UCI). In 2013, it will also host the UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships - both the Masters version and the elite/junior version.

    Pietermartizburg, South Africa, has hosted several rounds of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup - most recently in March of this year.

    The popular mountain biking venue of Karkloof was evaluated and considered the selected marathon venue by Simon Burney, UCI's technical delegate, with the area and its abundance of forestry roads, dual track and singletrack lending more to what the endurance race would need for the championship course design.

    Event director Alec Lenferna has been instrumental in securing prestigious UCI events to the Pietermaritzburg area since 2009, when the city first hosted the 2009 UCI MTB World Cup, offering the cross country and downhill races to take place at the same venue.

    "It is most encouraging to get very positive feedback from the UCI every time we stage an event," said Lenferna, according to the South Africa Cycling website. "Each time we successfully host an event at world championship or World Cup level we deepen the pool of officials and administrators with the experience and ability to stage competitions to the very highest standards."

    Cycling SA MTB Director Brett Coates was elated with the news. "It is wonderful to see South Africa regularly included amongst the world's destinations when it comes to elite mountain bike racing," said Coates. "There will be participation from a large international...

  • Four mountain bikers named to Canadian Olympic team

    Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team)
    Article published:
    June 20, 2012, 20:05 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Two men and two women headed to London

    Cycling Canada, in collaboration with the Canadian Olympic Committee, announced the nomination of Catharine Pendrel, Emily Batty, Geoff Kabush and Max Plaxton to the 2012 Canadian Olympic Team set to compete at the Olympic Games this summer. The announcement was made in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, in advance of this weekend's UCI World Cup racing.

    Canada qualified the maximum two spots for the women's race, and two spots of a maximum of three possible for the men's race.

    The Canadian women's team has excelled over the last two years, currently sitting in first place of the UCI Nations standings.

    "We're just thrilled to welcome our four intrepid mountain bikers to the nominees for the Canadian Olympic Team," said Mark Tewksbury, Canadian Olympic Team Chef de Mission for London 2012. "Our Team and the excitement about Canada's performance in London grow stronger by the day!"

    "Canadian athletes are among the best in the world and we are looking so forward to watching them compete in London," said Marcel Aubut, President of the Canadian Olympic Committee. "Congratulations to all four mountain biking nominees; I know you will all continue to give your everything this summer as you ride toward your Olympic dreams."

    The Canadian mountain bike program is led by Head Coach, Dan Proulx who has been at the helm of the program for the past four years. During that time, the mountain bike program has been revamped and has improved significantly.

    Proulx is proud of the team heading to London. "We have a very strong team. Each of the riders has...

  • First inductees announced for UK Mountain Biking Hall of Fame

    Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate)
    Article published:
    June 22, 2012, 14:03 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    12 mountain bikers named

    The new United Kingdom MTB Hall of Fame has announced its first inductees on Friday. Although in future years, inductees will be voted by the public from a list created by members of the bike industry, this inaugural group of inductees was chosen by the organisers and some of the founder supporters of the UK MTB Hall of Fame.

    Patrick Adams and Jill Greenfield of Pacific Edge Events, who came up with the whole idea explained, "These guys are all at the top of the tree in the UK mountain biking world. They are legends, not only here, but in some cases around the world. We felt it was time they were recognised for everything they have done that has shaped UK mountain biking into what it is today. They have built a sport on which an entire industry has grown. We are proud of each and every one of them."

    The 12 first inductees are Jason McRoy; Barrie Clarke; Caroline Alexander; David Baker; Martyn Salt; Helen Mortimer; Tim Flooks; Steve Peat; Tracy Moseley; Rob Warner; Tim Gould; Nick Craig.

    The induction ceremony will take place this Friday evening at the Mountain Mayhem event at Eastnor Castle Deer Park in Herefordshire.

  • Photo gallery: A day at Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup

    Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek) in action on an infamous rocky downhill section
    Article published:
    June 23, 2012, 2:55 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Course walk and pre-ride impressions

    The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup is making its first of two North American stops this weekend in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada.

    High heat and humidity made for a sweaty day of cross country pre-riding and downhill practice and qualifying on Friday.

    "It's a little bit on the chilly side," joked Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek) to Cyclingnews. "No, really I'm melting. It's been unseasonably cold and rainy in Missoula lately. I'm used to being wet when I ride, but not from my own sweat; rather from the rain."

    Schultz, who was recently selected for the US Olympic team, is enjoying the always technical course at Mont-Sainte-Anne, which has hosted cross country World Cup or World Championship action every year but one in the past 20 years.

    "It's like a full body workout out there. It'll be great to race," he said. "It's super fun. They changed things up a little bit. Where we had a gravel road climb before, we have full body technical climbing. The back stretch used to be more recovery in the past, but now it's full on. It's going to hurt out there, but if things are going well, it's going to be good."

    Schultz's teammate Jeremy Horgan Kobelski shared his impressions of the course after pre-riding it. "This year, the course is hard. Physically it's more demanding than it has been. There are a couple more technical bits in there, mostly climbing," said JHK to Cyclingnews. "It feels like you can't ride anything easy out there. You have to be pushing just to make it through some of the sections smoothly. It's going to be hard tomorrow."

    "There is more up and down and they routed one of the singletrack sections the opposite way. It used...

  • Batty jubilant upon Canadian Olympic team selection

    Emily Batty (Subaru-Trek)
    Article published:
    June 23, 2012, 13:28 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Subaru-Trek racer proud to be representing Canada

    Emily Batty (Subaru-Trek) was named earlier this week as one of four Canadian mountain bikers heading to the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Having made a rapid rise through the elite ranks after moving up from the U23 ranks, the 24-year-old was overjoyed at the news.

    A four-time Canadian U23 National Champion from 2007-2010, Batty enjoyed immediate success on the World Cup elite scene, finishing eighth overall in her rookie season in 2011. Earlier this season, she made her first World Cup podium in Pietermaritzburg, South African with a second place.

    Batty beat Marie-Helen Premont (Rocky Mountain) for the second Olympic team spot after world champion Catharine Pendrel (Luna) had pretty much locked up the first. It's been a long road, but Batty is now one of Canada's star mountain bikers herself.

    "One time Chrissy Redden acknowledged me at the end of a race. I was maybe 13, and from then on, I always looked up to her," said Batty. "Marie Helen Premont is another woman I've always looked up to. Eight years ago I started coming here to this World Cup [in Mont-Sainte-Anne], and she was racing and fans were cheering her on."

    "Early in my career, it was hard," said Batty upon looking back. "I went from racing out of the back of our family van from weekend to weekend and then in 2009, I signed with my first pro team. That was a really big challenge. I went from having not much to everything and the added pressure at the age of 21 was a lot to take on. It was too much at the time - I crumbled."

    Batty noted that being patient is one of the hardest and most difficult things to do as an athlete.

    She was initially inspired to race by her brothers and wanting to...