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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Saturday, October 15, 2011

Date published:
October 15, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Canadian and American mountain bikers head to Pan Am Games

    Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale) stuck like glue to the lead group
    Article published:
    October 11, 2011, 17:02 BST
    Cycling News

    Racers hope to dodge hurricane

    Canada and the United States are fielding mountain bike teams for the 16th Pan-American Games to be held in Guadalajara, Mexico. The mountain bike race will be held on October 15.

    Canada is sending four athletes - two men and two women. Max Plaxton, who surprised many by winning the Canadian cross country title this summer, will be looking to extend his successful season in Guadalajara. He will be accompanied by Derek Zandstra, who had a strong performance at the world championships in Switzerland last month.

    Mikaela Kofman of Toronto will be gunning for gold in the women's cross country race, along with her teammate Amanda Sin. Kofman is the current U23 Canadian cross country national champion.

    The United States named a three-person delegation to Mexico. Veteran racer Jeremiah Bishop, fresh off victory at the Pisgah Mountain Bike Stage Race, will team up with Under 23 cross country national champion Stephen Ettinger to tackle the mountain bike circuit near Tapala, Mexico. Along with Bishop on the men's side, Heather Irmiger is an automatic qualifier to the women's squad by virtue of her silver medal performance at the Continental Mountain Bike Championships in Bogota, Columbia last spring.

    The Pan Am Games race could be jeopardized by a pending hurricane named Jova. According to, the category 3 storm was scheduled to make landfall on Tuesday evening in the Mexican states of Colima and Jalisco. Guadalajara is the capital of Jalisco.

    US Mountain Bike Team for 2011 Pan Am Games
    Men: Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale Factory Racing), Stephen Ettinger (BMC MTB Development Team)
    Women: Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Trek)

    Canadian Mountain Bike Team for 2011...

  • spawns new international downhill series

    Men's Maribor World Cup winner Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate)
    Article published:
    October 12, 2011, 0:53 BST
    Cycling News

    DH1 Downhill Mountain Bike Pro World Tour to feature six rounds

    Downhillers will have a chance to compete in a new international-level series in 2012. announced the DH1 Downhill Mountain Bike Pro World Tour last week. Although no specific venues and dates have been publicized, approximately six events are expected. has been the source for online streaming of UCI Mountain Bike World Cup events through 2011, but the company's contract with the UCI was not renewed for 2012, so it was looking for an alternative series to cover.

    According to the series website,, the new DH1 series will not conflict with the UCI Downhill World Cup, an important strategy since it will be looking to draw from the same pool of top gravity talent. Each event will be covered with eight HD cameras which feed the online TV production. Rob Warner will provide the live commentary. Each round will offer 11,025 euros in prize money while 23,228 euros will be associated with the overall.

    Open to men and women, the format will include qualifying for 150+ entrants. 30 riders will move into the small final and 30 riders into the pro final including the top 20 pros who will be "protected" for a guaranteed spot in the finals. Gaps between the top 20 racers will be adjusted to that the entire run of each racer can be broadcast. The best five races will count toward series standings and racers must participate in five of six events to qualify for overall prize money.

    While no series specifics have been announced, the series website promises that the first DH1 event will be announced on Facebook when the number of fans reaches 10,000, which could happen as soon as the end of this week.

    Whether the series events will be UCI-sanctioned events is yet to be determined.

    According to Mountain Bike Rider, the split between

  • Southeast Bike Expo slated for February 2012

    Southeast Bike Expo's temporary logo
    Article published:
    October 12, 2011, 21:55 BST
    Cycling News

    New event features consumer demo opportunities for bikes and lights

    A new bike industry expo is coming to the southeastern United States early in 2012. The Southeast Bike Expo will happen on February 25-26, 2012, in Georgia.

    In its inaugural year, the outdoor expo will focus on mountain biking, although it may expand to include road bike products in the future. Based at the Georgia International Horse Park in the Conyers, Georgia, site of the 1996 Olympic Games cross country race, the expo will be open to consumers as well as industry personnel and will include access to onsite trails, so attendees can demo bikes and other products.

    Companies including the likes of Trek, Specialized, GT, Niner, Felt, Colnago and Look are expected to be there with demo fleets while others such as Thomson, Cane Creek, Stan's Notubes, Yakima, Camelbak, Saris/Cycleops, GoPro, Garmin and Timex will likely be showing their products.

    A feature of this particular expo that may appeal to mountain bikers is a three-hour night light test event on Saturday, February 25 from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. Night light companies will be on hand with demo lighting systems for riders to test firsthand.

    The expo will be open to consumers and industry personnel and will cost $20 per person for the entire weekend. Admission is limited to 5,000 people, and a portion of the collected fees will go to support the International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA).

    The new expo joins the likes of other expos open to consumers, including Outerbike, Eurobike, National Hand Made Bike Show and the Philly Bike Expo.

    For more information, visit the Southeast Bike Expo's Facebook page.

  • Sauser gets new partner for Cape Pioneer Trek

    Christoph Sauser (Switzerland) is the marathon world champion
    Article published:
    October 13, 2011, 16:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Marathon world champ to team up with last year's winner Knox

    Until a week ago Max Knox (Ghost/Do-it-now) told everybody that he would not defend his DCM Cape Pioneer Trek title because he did not have a partner. He had planned to team up with Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN-Qhubeka), but when Jacques Janse van Rensburg signed a contract to ride for MTN-Qhubeka, matters changed.

    "Perhaps it happened for the best. It has been a long season, and I have been on an emotional roller coaster ride. Not many people realize what I had to deal with off my mountain bike this year. Mid-season I even had to battle to have a job as a professional mountain biker.

    "I don't want to go into all the details because it may sound as if I am feeling sorry for myself, which is not the case. I am just grateful to Ghost/Do-it-now for giving me a second chance," Knox said last week.

    Merely 24 hours later, everything changed.

    Christopher Sauser (Specialized), the Swiss world marathon champion, announced that he was looking for a partner. Sylvio Bundi, his teammate of last year, can no longer come to South Africa due to parental obligations.

    To make a long story short, Knox will team up with Sauser.

    Sauser has become one of the stalwarts of the Cape Pioneer Trek. He has made it clear on more than one occasion that he does not want to miss this race.

    "I have so much fun during and after the stages when I race the Cape Pioneer Trek. For me it feels like a great holiday," said Sauser. "The staff and riders become like members of my family during the six days of the Trek. The comradeship among the riders is unbelievable."

    "The Cape Pioneer Trek is not only about racing and winning. After the stages we have so much to laugh and joke about, not to mention the legendary parties that we enjoy. The...

  • TransAlp will visit two new host towns in 2012

    Urs Huber and Konny Looser (Team Stöckli) win the TransAlp
    Article published:
    October 13, 2011, 17:59 BST
    Cycling News

    Dates and stages set for 2012

    The 15th edition of the Craft Bike TransAlp mountain bike stage race will begin on July 14, 2012 and will wrap up eight stages later on July 21.

    The organizers, Delius Klasing publishing house, have come up with a completely new start to the race, which will begin in Oberammergau, Germany. The municipality, which belongs to the Upper Bavarian county of Garmisch-Partenkirchen has previously served as a stage start host town and thus has experience staging an event of the TransAlp's magnitude.

    "We are really happy to have brought one of the world's most popular mountain bike stage races to Oberammergau and to co-organize it. We would like to show all of the participants and guests how varied biking can be in the Ammergauer Alps," said Thorsten Unseld, who handles Culture and Event Marketing at the Ammergauer Alpen GmbH.

    "The region is unbelievably diverse. Due to our exceptional sub-alpine setting within Bavaria's biggest conservation area, the cyclists will find the terrain exceptionally challenging at every level."

    From Oberammergau, the 2012 TransAlp route will head as usual via Imst to Ischgl before the participants arrive at the next new stage town. It is the municipality of Nauders in Tyrol which lies above the Inntal, between Finstermünzpass in the north and Reschenpass in the south, and geographically belongs to the Vinschgau region.

    Next, the TransAlp racers will leave Austria and continue to Scuol, in the Engadin in Switzerland before they reach Italian ground. There the route will lead them via Livigno and Ponte die Legno to Madonna di Campiglio.

    As it has every year, the race will finish in Riva del Garda, Italy.

    Urs Huber and Konny Looser (Team Stöckli) and Martina Miessgang and Katrin Neumann (Mountain Heros 2) won the 2011 TransAlp.

  • Sea Otter Classic sets 2012 dates

    Lea Davison (Specialized) descends in the Sea Otter short track
    Article published:
    October 13, 2011, 20:09 BST
    Cycling News

    22nd edition returns to Laguna Seca Raceway

    The Sea Otter Classic has confirmed its spot on the 2012 calendar. The 22nd annual edition will happen April 19-22 at the Laguna Seca Recreation Area in Monterey, California.

    The event includes racing, a festival and an expo that draws 50,000 cyclists and fans. Participants can race, ride, cheer on others or check out new products in the expo area, which will include 300 exhibitors.

    Mountain bike events include cross country, dual slalom, short track, and downhill. Unlike in 2011, the cross country and short track racing will not be part of the US Pro Cross Country Tour (US Pro XCT) and per the current version of the UCI calendar, Sea Otter will not be a UCI-categorized event.

    Road events are road racing, criterium, and circuit racing on the Laguna Seca Raceway.

    Less competitive riding options are also available: Salinas Valley-Carmel Valley, Coastal, and Mountain Bike Routes are offered in a Gran Fondo. And, new for 2012, a cyclo-cross event will be held during Sea Otter.

    As a family-friendly event, daily activities will encourage children's interest in cycling including a Bike Play Zone, Kids' Races, BMX Demos and a traditional Sea Otter Egg Hunt.

    The Sea Otter Classic website will update on November 1, when athlete registration also begins.

  • Huber aims for third consecutive Crocodile Trophy win

    From left: Olympic Champion Bart Brentjens (Ned), European Champion Urs Huber (Swi), Mike Mulkens (Bel)
    Article published:
    October 13, 2011, 23:26 BST
    Cycling News

    Swiss rider faces challenge from past podium finishers Brentjens, Mulkens

    Switzerland's Urs Huber will be back to defend his Crocodile Trophy title starting next Tuesday, October 18 in Cairns, Australia. Having won twice, he will take on two other previous podium finishers, including two-time runner-up Bart Brentjens of the Netherlands and Mike Mulkens of Belgium.

    "It is definitely one of the hardest races that I know of and that I've done," said Huber. "For 10 days, there's nothing but heat and dust."

    "To top it off, the track is fairly flat. On this terrain, it is almost impossible to claim a gap among the lead riders and still you mustn't loose track of your goals. That means, on those sections of the track where you can make a difference, you have to be ready. To be able to claim a gap on a difficult section after 100 flat kilometres is not easy. It's like you have to be able to flip the switch."

    "Also, most riders sleep in tents, have to be self-sufficient and in the 10 days the whole field becomes like a big family. At most other races, this is not the case, at least not among elite riders. At the Crocodile Trophy this is part of the experience and that's a good thing."

    Huber commented on what makes the Crocodile Trophy so tough, "The most challenging thing is being able to recover mentally over and over again throughout the 10 days. You have to relax after each stage and not stay absorbed by the race itself - somehow try to distract yourself from it, otherwise you use up too much mental energy."

    "Of course you also have to be consistent over the 10 days, a weak moment means instant punishment. And then the gear has to be reliable as well - luckily, at my second Crocodile Trophy I again didn't have any mechanical problems at all."

    Huber has been racing since 2002 and counts two Croc Trophy wins on his palmares, but he doesn't do anything in particular to prepare for the epic race.

    "I don't do any special...

  • Stander bound for Langkawi

    Burry Stander is interviewed after pre-race
    Article published:
    October 15, 2011, 15:30 BST
    Cycling News

    South African to do one last stage race of the season

    Burry Stander (Specialized) is heading to Malaysia to race the 2011 Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge (LIMBC) next week. His participation was confirmed on Friday by organizer Datuk Abdul Malik Mydin.

    Ranked sixth in the world in the UCI cross country standings, Stander is a podium contender for the race, which begins on Tuesday, October 18.

    The 24-year-old, who finished 15th in the Beijing Olympics in 2008, bagged the Cape Epic title, the African championship and the South African national championship earlier this year.

    Stander is known for his aggressive style, technical skills and climbing prowess that brought him the bronze medal in the UCI World Championship in Quebec, Canada, last year and the UCI Under 23 World Championship in 2009.

    Stander joins several other top mountain bikers who are competing in the LIMBC including Germany's three-time Cape Epic champion Karl Platt and France's former European champion Thomas Dietsch.

    In addition to the mountain bikers, a few road pros will be on the start line including Chris Froome (Sky), the runner up at the most recent Vuelta a Espana, and Adam Blythe (Omega Pharma Lotto).

    LIMBC will run from October 18-23 and features five stages.

    Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage of the LIMBC.