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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Saturday, October 13, 2012

Date published:
October 13, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Bear Development Team supports new women's mountain bike team

    Josie Nordrum is joining the Bear Development Team for 2013
    Article published:
    October 05, 2012, 0:28 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Young squad expands for 2013

    The Bear Development Team will be expanding to include an elite women's development mountain bike squad in 2013. Five young women will make up the new ladies' team, which is being run by Julia Violich.

    Stu Bone started Bear Development, which had its first season, with only male racers, in 2012. "The genesis of the team was an accident. I never set out to create a junior biking team," said Bone to Cyclingnews. "I just knew a lot of kids from Santa Cruz. They were winning races regionally and deserved to be at national caliber races, but didn't know how to get to them."

    "As soon as we had a guys' program, I felt like we needed to have a women's program. [Pro road racer] Evelyn Stevens is a friend of mine. She talks about how she discovered the sport late in life and how she wished she'd had an opportunity to get into the sport earlier in life. That's part of why I thought it was a good reason to have a women's development team. Hearing a story like hers, I realized it was important to provide same opportunities as for the guys."

    In 2012, the team supported 10 male racers who competed in road and mountain bike. The team had a lot of success off-road, fielding three of the seven racers selected by USA Cycling to do a European MTB racing program. Tobin Ortinblad and Bryan Duke were also among the team's most successful racers at junior nationals.

    Bone knew he needed help with a growing team, so he brought onboard Violich in preparation for 2013. "Part of the reason why Julia is so great for our program is that I don't have a lot of experience with mountain biking. For some of our kids, that's the entirety of their program," said Bone, who also appreciates her experience with young, female athletes.

    "I've been doing junior development for about 12 years and have focused on women in the last five years," said Violich. "I've been very successful in creating a couple of national champions. I'm excited to work with...

  • Fourth Cape Pioneer Trek sees rapid growth in participation

    Swiss 2011 Marathon World Champion, Christoph Sauser and teammate Max Knox won four stages last year. Sauser's participation in the first three editions has led to a large Swiss contingent entering the 2012 Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek.
    Article published:
    October 05, 2012, 17:06 BST
    Cycling News

    South African MTB stage race draws international field

    In keeping with the continued international growth of marathons and stage races, the decision to place more emphasis on quality over quantity has led to an almost 40 per cent increase in entries for the 2012 Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek mountain bike stage race, which takes place from October 14-20 in South Africa's Western Cape Province.

    Not surprisingly, the majority of the field for the fourth edition of the seven-day stage race is composed of South Africans, with a growing international contingent eager to join in.

    Eighteen per cent of the total entrants will compete in the increasingly popular solo category and the remainder in two-rider teams. Many of the more established high profile mountain bike stage races only offer a two-rider team option.

    The international entries make up 25 per cent of the total field, with Switzerland boasting almost half of the international representation and the second biggest nation entry after South Africa. The remaining nations represented are The Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, United Kingdom, Australia, Namibia and Austria.

    "We're very excited about the growing numbers, both in total and the international segment," said Henco Rademeyer of Dryland Events, the organisers. "Our decision to tighten up the stages in terms of overall distance and difficulty is likely to ensure even bigger numbers in 2013, since the experience should be more memorable and attractive."

    The difficulty of the race has been increasing each year, and the 2011 six-day event had a total of 659 kilometres with 12,670 metres of vertical ascent - a significant challenge, even for the professionals. But the organisers decided to take a new approach and focus instead on quality, not quantity. So the 2012 edition will take place over seven days with a total of 534km and 11,516m of vertical ascent.

    "With the abundance of brutal terrain at our disposal, it's simple to make a race ridiculously hard. But there comes a...

  • 24 Hours of Moab continues

    The Moab landscape
    Article published:
    October 05, 2012, 21:25 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Utah mountain bike event happening this weekend

    The future of the 24 Hours of Moab was in doubt after last year's edition of the race. Low turnout led the promoter Laird Knight to question whether the interest was still sufficient to make running the race a financially viable project.

    In response to subsequent racer input, Granny Gear Productions decided to carry on and is again hosting the 24 Hours of Moab in Utah in 2012. This year's edition is happening this weekend, October 6-7, just one weekend after the US 24-hour national championships was run in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The 24 hours of Moab has at times doubled as the US national championship event.

    "In 17 years time this race has become one of the single greatest mountain bike races in the history of the sport. Each year, thousands of racers, support crew, and spectators have made the pilgrimage to Moab to enjoy this amazing event," read a statement on the race website.

    "A precipitous drop in attendance in 2011 put the continuation of the event in question but the results of a recent, comprehensive survey and numerous communications from racers indicates that the enthusiasm for the return of this amazing, life-changing event is at an all-time high."

    There are 28 men and 2 women pre-registered to contest the solo open categories plus a few singlespeeders. The race also supports numerous two, four and five-person team categories.

    2008 and 2009 race winner Josh Tostado is one of the favorites among the men who will be competing for the $3,000 in prize money with $1,500 going to first place.

    The race will begin at noon on Saturday and end at noon on Sunday.  For more information on the 24 hours of Moab, visit

  • Video: Crocodile Trophy coming up in two weeks

    Brad Davies, Justin Morris (Subaru/, Kevin Hulsmans (Darrell Lee-Donckers Koffie Cycling 1)
    Article published:
    October 06, 2012, 0:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Scenes from last year's race remind us of what's to come

    The 18th annual Crocodile Trophy will start on October 20, 2012 in Cairns in Far North Queensland. Participants from five continents are aiming to make the finish in Cooktown on October 28 after nine gruelling days and more than 1,000km through the Australian Outback.

    With a reputation as one of the hardest mountain bike stage races in the world, the race traverses the Outback and rainforests in Queensland.

    Race organizers shared this teaser video below to get racers and fans alike in the mood for the upcoming edition.

    Last year's race was won by Dutchman Jeroen Boelen (Milka-Trek) and Australian Jessica Douglas. The 2012 edition is expected to be shorter and include more technical terrain.

  • Australian champion English ready to defend title at Scott 24

    Jason English (Australia) on his way to a win.
    Article published:
    October 12, 2012, 7:32 BST
    Alex Malone

    Race being used as preparation for Crocodile Trophy

    Stromlo Forest will once again play host to the Scott 24 Hours Australian Mountain Bike Championships. The event kicks off on Saturday 13 October at midday and wraps-up the next day at noon. Stromlo Forest was the same location used to hold the 2009 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships and will also hold the WEMBO World Solo 24 Hour Championships in October 2013.

    The purpose-built park will play host this weekend to over 2000 cyclists competing in solo and teams categories with 2012 Australian 24-hour solo and world solo champion Jason English ready to defend his title. The Port Macquarie Physical Education high school teacher has been a dominant force at the Scott 24.

    English has won the Male Solo category for the past five years but says that despite preparing well for the race during the school holidays, he’s unsure of how this weekend’s race will unfold given the high level of local and international competition.

    "The regulars and getting faster. Throw [Canadian national solo 24 hour champion] Cory Wallace and [UK national solo 24 hour champion] Matt Paged into the mix and I think it’s going to be an interesting race," English told Cyclingnews.

    Working full-time isn’t too much of a hindrance for English who uses his time wisely to ensure his endurance it topped-up to a level capable of riding non-stop for 24 hours at a time.

    "In the school holidays I just go nuts. I’ve just come off two weeks of school holidays and I’ll do a 1,000km a week. Last week was just under 40 hours of training. So I just try and cram in as much as possible in the school holidays and work on intensity during the school term," he said.

    This year’s race sees the return of the two-lap course; the red...

  • Swanepoel returns home after successful summer racing in the US

    An exhausted Ben Melt Swanepoel at the finish of the 2012 MTB Clarens National Marathon Series race in South Africa
    Article published:
    October 12, 2012, 8:00 BST
    Zoon Cronje

    South African ready to race Crater Cruise

    Watch out for Ben-Melt Swanepoel (Merida/Squirt Lube) at the MTN Ride Crater Cruise marathon in Parys, South Africa, on Saturday, October 13. A study of the results of the Ride Crater Cruise reveals that Swanepoel has a unique record. Apparently there is something about even numbers that brings out the best in him.

    In the inaugural Ride Crater Cruise in 2004, he finished second and in 2006 and 2008, he went one better and won the race. The only blemish on his record was in 2010 when he missed a podium finish by a mere eight seconds to finish fourth.

    This year's race will mark the return of the "prodigal son" of South African mountain biking.

    Swanepoel missed most of this season's national MTN marathons because he was racing in the United States.

    He was certainly not there just to make up the numbers. He won three stages in the Breck Epic in Colorado and finished fourth in the gruelling Breckenridge 100-miler.

    Another highlight was when he finished second in the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series Final at Fools Gold. American Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale), was the only rider who was able to catch up with and pass the South African.

    Swanepoel mostly competed in 100-mile mountain-bike races. Each race lasted from seven to nine hours. According to him, the 100-milers make for quite intense racing because they are usually contested on challenging singletrack sections.

    The experience gained by Swanepoel while racing in the USA, will certainly count in his favour during the Ride Crater Cruise race. Apart from the high mileage that he has done, there is something else that might count in his favour.

    Max Knox (Specialized), Kevin Evans and David George (Nedbank360Life) and Nico Bell (Westvaal Columbia) all competed at the UCI World Marathon Championship in France last Sunday.

    They are four of the major role players in the series but they will probably only arrive back in South Africa during...

  • Plenty of racing coming up for Evans and George

    Kevin Evans and David George
    Article published:
    October 12, 2012, 15:31 BST
    Zoon Cronje

    South Africans do the Crater Cruise - Cape Pioneer Trek double

    Kevin Evans and David George (Nedbank360Life) will give new meaning to the words "rush job" on Saturday, October 13 when they are competing in the 106km MTN Ride Crater Cruise National MTB marathon in and around Parys, South Africa.

    Actually the words of one of the songs from the classic musicals, My Fair Lady, come to mind - "Get me to the church on time" But in their case, the big rush has nothing to do with a wedding. Barely 24 hours after finishing the Ride Crater Cruise, Evans and George will start the prologue of the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek Mountain Bike Tour just outside Oudtshoorn.

    That is why this weekend is going to be a race against the clock in more ways than one.

    To ease matters somewhat, Evans convinced a friend of his to fly them down to Plettenberg Bay on Saturday afternoon in his Cesna210.

    "We will be saving a lot of time flying down in a private plane. Hopefully we will be in time to attend the Cape Pioneer Trek's dinner on Saturday night."

    Some might argue why go through all this trouble and rush? Would it not have been easier to compete in just one of these events?

    "The MTN Ride Crater Cruise is one of my absolute favourite events on the local calendar as is the Cape Pioneer Trek that is why I am prepared to go the proverbial extra mile to support both races."

    Evans has a proud history when it comes to racing the MTN Ride Crater Cruise. He became the first rider last year to win it three years in succession. He can also boast with a second and third place. When asked whether if he feels under pressure to make it four in a row, Evans answer was an emphatic no.

    "Last year I had to pressure to win it a third time, but not now. "All that matters is that the title stays within the Nedbank360Life team. So if David or James (Reid) wins I will still be happy."

    Evans is not too worried about the fact that George and he competed over the past weekend at the

  • UCI awards best mountain bike World Cup venues of 2012

    The start of the Big Final in the eliminator in La Bresse
    Article published:
    October 13, 2012, 18:16 BST
    Cycling News

    Nove Mesto, La Bresse and Fort William take top honors

    One month after the crowning of the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup winners, organizers from the best venues were recognized for their efforts. As is the tradition, racers, UCI Mountain Bike Teams, media, sponsors, and UCI officials voted for the top events for each of the three World Cup disciplines: cross country, downhill and eliminator.

    Olympic cross country: Two in a row for Nove Mesto Na Morave

    Nove Mesto Na Morave made it two for two. 2012 was the second time the Czech town hosted a World Cup cross country event and it was the second time it was voted best event.

    Voters were seduced by the course and the start-finish area in a biathlon stadium which next year will host the 2013 Biathlon World Championships. The grandstands in the stadium allowed spectators to make the most of the event, while television spectators benefited from high quality production from Czech National Television.

    La Bresse, France and Pietermaritzburg, South Africa were voted second and third best events respectively. In 2013, Pietermaritzburg will host the world championships while La Bresse will not be a part of the World Cup.

    Cross country eliminator: La Bresse first winner

    The eliminator discipline was introduced into the World Cup this year, and La Bresse, France immediately came up trumps. The course through the town provided lots of action that delighted the crowds that had turned out in mass to encourage the riders.

    La Bresse added this latest trophy to those won in 2009 and 2011 for its downhill events. It headed off Nove Mesto Na Morave in second and Houffalize, Belgium in third.

    Downhill: Fort William returns to the top

    A long time venue on the World Cup circuit,