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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Saturday, October 22, 2011

Date published:
October 22, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Training underway for next wave of NICA leaders

    A NICA leader's summit in Austin, Texas
    Article published:
    October 15, 2011, 19:09 BST
    Cycling News

    Programs help new Indie club program leaders nationwide

    The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) is holding fall Leaders's Summits during which new and returning high school mountain bike coaches can fulfill many of the fundamental training requirements. Now underway, the summits are open to participants from across the United States.

    Leaders' Summits and Wilderness First Aid courses are taking place this fall in Northern California, Southern California, Texas and Washington. Spring leaders' summits are planned for Colorado, Minnesota, Utah and the East Coast.

    The NICA coach curriculum, team model and race format are integrated, each designed to provide for and accommodate the specific aspects and demands of the racing program in order to deliver the greatest benefit to student-athletes. Over 1,000 student-athletes are coached by NICA coaches, with an average rider-to-coach ratio of 3:1.

    Thanks to the recent 50-state Indie Club Program, a state league need not exist prior to setting up a mountain bike club for high school-aged students.

    "This really expands the scope of who can attend these foundation-level training courses," said Austin McInerny, NICA's Educational Programs Director.

    NICA Indie Clubs can compete in existing mountain bike races, including NICA events in neighboring states.

    Groups or individuals interested in setting up a NICA Indie Club must have at least one coach that has attended a Leaders' Summit (as part of their NICA Assistant Coach or Head Coach License).

    Details of NICA's 50-state Indie Club program are available at NICA's website.

    NICA offers travel scholarships to its Leaders' Summits to highly motivated individuals who can demonstrate progress in developing new state or regional leagues. For more information, contact

    The fall line up of Leaders' Summits and Wilderness First Aid courses is listed below.

    Northern California
    October 15-16: Leaders'...

  • Sauser renews contract with Specialized Racing

    Christophe Sauser (Specialized) assumed second position on the final climb
    Article published:
    October 16, 2011, 14:30 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    World marathon champ will focus on Olympics in 2012

    Marathon world champion Christoph Sauser renewed his contract with Specialized Racing for an additional two years in 2012 and 2013.  The agreement contains an option for an additional year in 2014.

    Earlier this season, the 35-year-old Sauser, who excels in both cross country and marathon mountain bike disciplines, had struggled with the decision about whether to switch his focus from cross country to predominantly marathon, but with the Olympic Games looming in 2012, he opted not to do so and continues to race in both disciplines. 

    "Next year, my focus and complete commitment will be the Olympics in London and cross country world championships," said Sauser, who won bronze at the Olympics in Sydney in 2000. Cross country is the only mountain bike discipline in the Olympic Games.

    "After that, I can call cross country racing a day. I will switch over to long distance racing, something I have always been very passionate about. Cape Epic, (Marathon) World Champs, Leadville and all the other classics will add so much more... I am looking forward to it!"

    Sauser twice won the marathon world title (2007, 2011) and also won the cross country world title in 2008. He won the UCI cross country World Cup in 2004 and 2005 and has 10 World Cup career wins on his palmares.

    Sauser is happy to stay with his long-time sponsor Specialized, which backs the number-one cross country team in the world as ranked by the UCI. "I have always been very comfortable in the S Racing Team! We are a great bunch of people. It is the balance of super professional work, having the best equipment and still being relaxed and having fun!"

    "Many thanks to Specialized for this great long term commitment. I am proud to be part of a company that is the...

  • iXS and UCI partner on 2012 European Series

    The iXS and the UCI are partnering on the 2012 iXS Downhill Series
    Article published:
    October 20, 2011, 9:03 BST
    Cycling News

    Seven rounds augment Continental downhill calendar

    The UCI announced the iXS Downhill Cup as the "official UCI European downhill series for 2012". The news comes after several years of close cooperation between the UCI and iXS promoters and after a new, independent downhill series called the DH1 was recently announced.

    "A number of UCI decisions have received a lot of coverage from a wide range of media recently and there has been much discussion about the sport's future," read a press release from the iXS Downhill Cup. "Even if the reasons behind developments are not 100 percent clear to laymen, it should be emphasised that the International Cycling Union has done a lot for the downhill discipline in recent years. There has been a World Cup series for two decades now, and its value is priceless, despite some ups and downs. Without a doubt, not everything is perfect but the success story can only be continued through a constructive partnership."

    Then iXS Dowhill Series, with its up to 20 races per year, will continue to provide grass-roots input from competitors, teams and individual venues based on the experience gained in running the races.

    The series has been involved in the sport for 10 years in places like Switzerland and Germany and other European locations.

    The UCI's Peter van den Abeele, Off-Road Disciplines Manager, said, "We are pleased to have such a reliable partner who has been working for many years to continuously improve race events in accordance with UCI wishes and is further developing mass audience awareness of the sport through targeted PR work."

    Andreas Stöckli, event manager at iXS Sports Division, said, "Recognition of our Cup as the official UCI Europe Series confirms the significance we've developed together with our race organisers over the last four years. The goal was to create a...

  • IMBA accepting Trail Care Crew visit applications

    An International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) Trail Care Crew visit
    Article published:
    October 20, 2011, 23:10 BST
    Cycling News

    2012 marks 15th year for US program

    The International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) is accepting applications for a 2012 Subaru/IMBA Trail Care Crew visit until Friday, November 4. Local bike clubs, trail groups and land management agencies may apply for the opportunity to learn about sustainable trail building, club growth and community trails development.

    2012 will mark the 15th year of the Trail Care Crew (TCC) program. Two crews of professional educators and trail builders travel the United States for 10 months each year, teaching sustainable trail building, energizing mountain biking communities and bringing together land managers, city officials and trail users.

    The required weekend component, the IMBA Trail Building School, is a half-day of classroom education followed by several hours of building new trail, rerouting and reclaiming old trail or adding new features to an existing trail.

    The Trail Care Crews also offer several presentations designed to bring different groups to the table, helping to grow acceptance of mountain biking and trail building. The include Club Care, Land Manager Training and Better Living Through Trails.

    Club Care is designed to teach mountain biking groups how to grow their membership, sustain leadership, remain fresh and fun and better reach out to their communities.

    Land Manager Training educates those overseeing the places where you ride about IMBA's mission, managing mountain biking on public lands and the methods and importance of sustainable trail building.

    Better Living Through Trails is a great way to bring together community and business leaders to teach them about the economic, health and wellness benefits that trails and mountain biking bring to an area.

    To apply for a 2012 Trail Care Crew visit online, go to

  • Kerkove and Looney to return to Brasil Ride

    Jeff Kerkove and Sonya Looney train for the Brasil Ride mountain bike stage race.
    Article published:
    October 21, 2011, 8:57 BST
    Cycling News

    Pair hopes for good performance and better weather at second edition

    The international mountain bike stage racing spotlight has been steadily focused on Malaysia, South Africa and Australia this week, but the action is soon to start in the Brazil with the Brasil Ride beginning Sunday, October 23 through Saturday, October 29. Topeak-Ergon's Sonya Looney and Jeff Kerkove are headed back for the second edition of the race.

    At the 2010 edition of the Brasil Ride, the pair rode to third place overall in the mixed category after facing a mix of mechanical and physical issues. No strangers to stage racing, the two have proven they have what it takes to race well together over a span of a seven-day stage race.

    This will be the second trip to the Brasil Ride for both riders. "Last year was a learning experience racing in a different country and culture. It was an extremely well run event, but the weather was epic and destroyed equipment and bodies. This year, we are better prepared mechanically and physically," said Kerkove, prior to departing for Brasil.

    "I'm excited to return to the Brasil Ride after the roller coaster ride we had last year with so many ups and downs," said Looney. "It feels like a dream to return!"

    "I'm nervous because I'm still recovering from a concussion and neck injury two weeks ago, but I'm thinking positive and will give it my best. Prior to hitting my head, I was the fittest I have ever been and I think that will carry over. It will be an amazing adventure and I'm looking forward to being part of the community once again."

  • US Gravity Nationals move back to July for 2012

    Aaron Gwin showed some blazing speed on Saturday with a nearly 12-second margin over the field in his qualifying run.
    Article published:
    October 21, 2011, 20:07 BST
    Cycling News

    USAC releases full mountain bike nationals calendar

    USA Cycling announced its complete 2012 National Championship calendar including five mountain bike events. The most notable change in the line-up is the shift of US Gravity Mountain Bike Nationals from September to late July.

    For the second year in a row, gravity and cross country nationals will be split, happening at different venues and on different dates.

    As previously announced, the cross country nationals will return to Sun Valley, Idaho, for their second running there. Cross country, short track and super D titles will be up for grabs on July 5-8, 2012. The timing is a few weeks earlier than in 2011 and marks a departure from the UCI's designated weekend for cross country national championship racing.

    In contrast, the gravity nationals are moving to July 20-22, the designated UCI weekend for nationals. They will happen for the second consecutive year at Beech Mountain, North Carolina.

    "Not only is that the UCI mandated date for Gravity nationals, but [USAC National Events Director] Kelli Lusk really felt it would offer more opportunity for students to be able to attend before heading back to school. We also hope the weather will be even more ideal that time of year," Andrea Smith, Director of Communication of USA Cycling told Cyclingnews.

    As in 2011, marathon nationals will again be held in Bend, Oregon, at the same time of year, on September 15.

    Also like in 2011, the 24-hour nationals will be again be hosted in Southern Colorado, on September 29-30.

    Collegiate racing will happen up on October 19-21 at Angel Fire, New Mexico. The 2011 Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals have not happened yet - they are slated for October 28-30, also at Angel Fire. Student-athletes will fight for overall omniums, as well as national titles in cross country, short track, dual slalom, and downhill...

  • Croc Trophy stage winner Boelen happy to be a mountain biker

    Jeroen Boelen (Milka Trek)
    Article published:
    October 21, 2011, 22:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Milka-Trek rider transitioned from road racing

    By winning stage 4 of the Crocodile Trophy on Friday, Jeroen Boelen (Milka-Trek) showed again how has made a successful transition from road to mountain bike racing.

    "Mountain biking is my new passion," said Boelen. "I think I am more talented as a road rider, but I needed a new challenge. This year I started in six road races. I won three of them, so I didn't forget how to do that, but I am as happy now. I hope I can win more stages to win the points classification, but I'm not giving up hope on that red jersey either."

    Earlier this year Boelen had finished, with Bart Brentjens, seventh in the famous Absa Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, and he had second overall in the Dutch Top Competition Series.

    In his former road career, Boelen won two stages in Olympia's Tour in the Netherlands and was overall winner of the Tour de Liège in Belgium ahead of Robert Gesink and Johnny Hoogerland. He was also successful at the Route Nivernaise Morvan in France.

    Boelen's stage 4 Croc Trophy came when he outsprinted the other top riders at the finish, including race leader Urs Huber and another talented contender Wolfgang Krenn.

    "Before the Crocodile Trophy, my team owner Bart Brentjens had briefed me that I would always be able to win a the sprint against Huber, but I had no idea about the sprinting skills of Krenn," said Boelen. "First (Josef) Benedseder misjudged the last corner, and then I passed Krenn and I won. I am very happy. This is also a victory for Bart Brentjens who should have been here."

    Boelen had planned to help Brentjens win the Crocodile Trophy, but the Olympic Champion was forced to withdraw from the race...

  • 24 Hours of Moab future uncertain

    The desert sunset in Moab,
    Article published:
    October 22, 2011, 14:15 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Decision pending on fate of long-running race

    The 24 Hours of Moab is one of the best known and most popular 24-hour races world-wide. On October 8-9, 2011, the 16th edition of the race was run for what may be the last time. Granny Gear Productions, which promotes the event, is in process of deciding the future of the event.

    "I told the racers at the event that I would be making a final determination, one way or the other, by Thanksgiving," said Granny Gear's Laird Knight to Cyclingnews, "so that for my Thanksgiving holiday, I would either be very excited about the next chapter of my life or very excited about bringing the race back in 2012 and beyond."

    Knight is in process of handling all the post race-production. "I haven't thrown in the towel yet. I have to get all my vendors paid-off let the financial dust settle and see where I sit. It's not a matter of breaking-even, it's a matter of seeing how much I'm in the whole. Of this I have no doubt."

    The man who has been behind several great 24-hour races across the US, including the 24 Hours of Cannaan (which became the 24 Hours of Snowshoe and then the 24 Hours of Big Bear) said the 2011 24 Hours of Moab was run in perfect weather and superb course conditions.  Each year, it happens at a venue locally as "Behind-the-Rocks", about 12 miles south of Moab. It's famous for its stunning remoteness and beauty and showcases high desert racing.

    "There was tremendous support for the return of the race, and I'm buoyed by all the commitments that folks are making to put a shoulder into making next year happen in a big way," said Knight.

    "I can't do it all myself. I'm going to need support from every entity that has a stake in the ongoing success of the race, namely the racers (both pro and amateurs), my suppliers, sponsors, and the media."

    What it all boils down to is sustainability. "This race is deeply loved and I'm certainly game for continuing...