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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Saturday, September 24, 2011

Date published:
September 24, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • US Pro Cross Country Tour (Pro XCT) announced for 2012

    Lea Davison (Specialized) on her way to a win
    Article published:
    September 21, 2011, 19:20 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sea Otter is out, new Colorado Springs event is in

    USA Cycling announced today the 2012 edition of its Pro Mountain Bike Cross Country Tour (US Pro XCT). In its fourth year, the Pro XCT will feature six events at which world-class athletes will race for UCI ranking points and prize purses.

    The series will kick off at Lance Armstrong's ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas as the Pro XCT makes its first stop with a UCI C1 event, The Mellow Johnny's Classic on March 3.

    It will continue with a pair of US Cup Triple Crown races. After a successful first appearance on the US Pro XCT in 2011, the US Cup Triple Crown - Bonelli Park has been upgraded to a UCI C1 level event and will again be an important stop on March 10. It will be followed up by UCI C1 and fourth-year Pro XCT event, the US Cup Triple Crown - Fontana on March 24.

    After a two-month hiatus, the tour will stop in Southern Colorado. Making its Pro XCT debut will be the brand new UCI C2 Ute Valley Pro XCT in Colorado Springs on June 16.

    The penultimate event on the Pro XCT will be the ever-popular Subaru Cup, part of the well-established Wisconsin Off-Road Series (WORS), on July 14 in Mt. Morris, Wisconsin. This fan favorite will again operate at the UCI C1 level.

    For the second year in a row, the Missoula Montana XC will close out the season-long calendar as a UCI C2-level event near downtown Missoula on August 4.

    The Pro XCT will rank the top male and female riders in the overall standings, provide leaders' number plates, Pro XCT medals, and a guaranteed cash purse for each race. In order for teams to earn points toward the overall Pro XCT team title, they must be registered as a UCI Trade Team or as a USA Cycling Mountain Bike Domestic Pro Team.

    Notably absent from the calendar is the 2012 Sea Otter Classic, which served as round 3 in 2011.

    "Sea Otter decided not to take part this year. They may be back next year," said Andrea Smith of USA Cycling.

    As in

  • South African marathon series resumes in Hilton

    Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN/Qhubeka)
    Article published:
    September 22, 2011, 4:50 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Still many overall contenders going into penultimate round

    Several of South Africa's top mountain bikers - Adrien Niyonshuti and Jacques Janse van Rensburg (both MTN-Qhubeka); Kevin Evans and David George (both 360Life) and Max Knox (Ghost) and Mannie Heymans (Garmin adidas) will battle at the next South African Marathon National Series round on Saturday, September 24. The MTN Hilton MTB Dirt Festival 50-miler is the second last race of the series.

    As matters stand, the series is wide open. This means that everything will depend on the two last races, namely the 50 Miler and the Crater Cruise.

    With his aggressive style of riding, Burry Stander (Specialized) could indirectly play a major role in the battle for the overall honours, especially because he has nothing to lose.

    On Saturday he will try to have as much fun as possible. In Stander's vocabulary the word "fun" means racing flat out and taking risks.

    The rider who manages to keep up with Stander will in all probability gain valuable points on his rivals, but keeping up with Stander could be very risky if something should go wrong.

    If Stander should get away early, the situation could develop into a race within a race.

    The five series contenders are all recognized climbers who can be tough competitors on the steepest of climbs and there is not much to choose between them. When it comes to technical skills, however, Evans and Knox may have a slight advantage.

    George is the only one of them who can boast with two victories in the series at the moment (Attakwas and Tulbagh). To stand a chance of winning the series overall, he has to compete in five of the MTN races. This means that he still has to do the 50 Miler as well as the Crater Cruise and in both these races he cannot afford to have Knox or Niyonshuti ride...

  • Windham confirmed as 2012 Mountain Bike World Cup venue

    Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized) wins the Windham World Cup convincingly.
    Article published:
    September 22, 2011, 15:35 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    UCI eliminates four cross World Cup

    In a Management Committee meeting held in conjunction with the UCI Road World Championships in Copenhagen, Denmark, the UCI made several significant changes affecting the highest level of cross country and gravity mountain bike competition in 2012. It eliminated the four cross World Cup effective in 2012 and confirmed that the World Cup will return to Windham, New York in the United States next year.

    Perhaps the most sweeping change to next year's World Cup is the elimination of the four cross discipline from all gravity World Cups. Four cross was still included as of the preliminary 2012 calendar released by the UCI in June; however, it was removed from the version published on the UCI site today.

    Four cross is still part of the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Austria. "Following the publication of the 2012 Mountain Bike calendar, the UCI confirms that four cross events will form part of the programme of the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships to be held in Leogang, Austria," read a statement from the UCI issued on Thursday after Cyclingnews asked the UCI to confirm the status of the four cross Worlds.

    The four cross World Cup decision comes in time for the 2012 Olympic year, when many four crossers were likely to switch their focus to BMX racing, which is an Olympic discipline while four cross has never been an Olympic discipline. Four cross courses are also notoriously expensive to build and the discipline consistently draws fewer competitors than downhill.

    "Due to the high costs of constructing tracks and their impact on the environment, the UCI has decided to withdraw this speciality from the programme of events at UCI Mountain Bike World Cups from next season," read a statement from the UCI explaining the decision.

    On the cross country side of racing, the UCI...

  • Euro Four Cross Series to wrap up in Czech Republic

    Four cross racers in action
    Article published:
    September 22, 2011, 17:24 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Wichman hopes to defend lead against Slavik and Beaumont

    The final round of the Euro Four Cross Series will happen on Saturday, September 24 at the Czech ski resort of Pec Pod Snezkou. Most of the world's top riders will be there racing at the fifth and concluding round of the series.

    They will compete on a track that is about one-minute long and offers plenty of time for passes. With natural rock sections, man-made rock sections, rhythm sections, 50-foot double jumps and a road gap that would look scary on a downhill bike, the winner in Pec will earn every point towards his overall series total.

    Currently, Joost "The Boost" Wichman leads the series with 396 points, 2010 World Champion Tomas Slavik is second with 300 points and "Boom Boom" Scott Beaumont is in third with 268 points. The fight for the overall title will be between these three riders as they are the only men who can mathematically take the title. With a total of 141 points up for grabs to the fastest qualifier and winner of the race, anything can happen at Pec.

    Czech favourites Kamil Tatarkovic, Lucas Mechura, Michael Mechura, Michal Marossi, Jacub Riha, and Petr Muhlhans will all be looking to dominate in front of their home crowd. However the man they will all be hoping to see is the newly crowned four cross world champion Michal Prokop, who will likely be making his debut in the rainbow jersey.

    Johannes Fischbach, Guido Tschugg, Adam Stasek, Scott Roberts and Premek Tejchman will add to the depth of the field.

    150 of Europe's top four cross riders have taken part in the Euro Four Cross series thus far. It will all end with a party on Saturday night.

    For more information, visit www.euro4xseries.com.

  • Vuelta a Espana runner-up Froome to race off-road in Langkawi

    Christopher Froome takes a big win
    Article published:
    September 22, 2011, 19:08 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sky rider will compete in mountain bike stage race

    Vuelta a España runner-up Chris Froome (Team Sky) will saddle up for the Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge next month. Currently competing with the British team in the road world championship in Copenhagen, Froome is looking forward to swapping his road bike for some off-road action on the island of Langkawi from October 17 to 23, 2011.

    "I actually started cycling through mountain biking, so it'll be a nice change to switch away from the road bike for a bit and go back to my roots," said the 26-year-old Froome.

    "Langkawi is a paradise for training, so I plan to ride an event or two and then spend some time enjoying a few outdoor activities, exploring a few places and taking in the scenery on my bike."

    The Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge is in its second year.

    "We are naturally delighted to have a rider of Chris's stature come to Langkawi and participate in our event," said race organiser and Human Voyage CEO Datuk Malik Mydin. 

    Froome's battle in the recent Vuelta a España with eventual winner Juan Jose Cobo had cycling fans around the world on the edge of their seats.

    The Kenyan-born Froome is highly regarded for his loyalty in assisting teammate Bradley Wiggins in the mountain stages of the Tour de France, the Giro d'Italia and the Vuelta a Espana. However, he has in the past year enjoyed his own success with top-10 finishes in the Tours of Castilla y Leon, Luxembourg, Romandie and Switzerland.

    He rode a blistering time trial on stage 10 of the Vuelta to hold the overall leader's jersey for a day, before a week of relentless attacks in the high mountains finally paid off with a memorable win on stage 17. By the time the race reached its finale in Madrid, Froome lay...

  • Wisconsin group wins 2011 Trail Tune-Up Grant

    A racer in the Chequamegon 40
    Article published:
    September 22, 2011, 21:30 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Cable Area Off Road Classic will get new singletrack

    USA Cycling (USAC) and the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) named the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association as recipient of the 2011 IMBA/USAC Trail Tune-up Grant.

    The Wisconsin group will receive a $2,000 grant, as well as a visit from IMBA's trail crew, to help jump-start its Cable Area Off Road Classic Mountain Bike Race course improvement.

    Due to new land use regulations in the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, the 16-year-old Wisconsin race recently suffered the loss of some valuable singletrack. The $2,000 grant will help the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association construct six miles of singletrack to enhance the racers' experience and alleviate safety concerns resulting from the race's current use of an ATV trail. A new 2.5-mile trail will take the race course from the National Forest to the adjacent County Forest. Then, an additional 3.5 miles of country forest trails will be constructed to make the final link to the traditional course.

    Applicants for the IMBA/USAC Trail Tune-up Grant were USA Cycling and IMBA member clubs from all over the country. The grant is awarded annually and completely funded by USA Cycling members through an optional land access checkbox on USA Cycling license applications and renewal forms.

  • Four crossers stunned by UCI World Cup decision

    Scott Beaumont (Rocky Mountain UK) in the air
    Article published:
    September 24, 2011, 18:12 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Alliance promises to run replacement world-level series

    The UCI's decision earlier this week to eliminate four cross racing from its Mountain Bike World Cup series has surprised and upset many four cross racers in the sport. In response the Four Cross Alliance has promised to put together a new, alternative world-level series so elite-level racers can continue to compete on the world stage in the run-up to the 2012 UCI Four Cross World Championships next September in Austria.

    "The Four Cross Alliance is as stunned and surprised as are the majority of people out there...," read a statement from Scott Beaumont and Chris Roberts of the Four Cross Alliance.

    "The discipline that has provided so much entertainment during the 2011 Mountain Bike Series seemed to have secured its future with the UCI after what will be remembered as the finest, most unpredictable race series ever seen."

    The organization also explained that it was concerned that the UCI would not respect existing rider contracts.

    "This decision to simply remove the discipline with no warning to riders, teams, federations or organisers, with a complete disregard to any contracts that are currently in place is probably the point that we are most annoyed about," said the statement. "There are teams and riders out there who have contracts which will run through 2012 to race World Cup Four Cross. We definitely feel that some better consultation and warning would have been an appropriate move from UCI."

    The statement continued: "We really feel sorry for the World Cup organisers who have successfully won their bids and have contracts in place for the 2012 Mountain Bike World Cup season which was due to include 4X.

    "Although we see this decision as being entirely the wrong one from the UCI and its management committee, the Four Cross Alliance now sees this as an opportunity to help develop the sport to its full...

  • One week to go until Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day

    A group of kids participates in IMBA's annual Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day
    Article published:
    September 24, 2011, 21:20 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Eighth annual edition on for Saturday, October 1

    The International Mountain Bike Association (IMBA) will celebrate its eighth annual Take a Kid Mountain Biking Day (TAKMBD) on Saturday, October 1, 2011.

    Many IMBA clubs and chapters, retailers, volunteer groups and Trips for Kids chapters will host events in conjunction with TAKMBD. Events may range from a few kids in a neighborhood to larger festival style events in a community park, open space or trailhead.

    For general information on TAKMBD, visit www.imba.com/kids.

    To find TAKMBD events around the globe, visit www.imba.com/tkmbd/local-events.

    In support of First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move!" initiative, IMBA has pledged to get 30,000 children participating in 300 cycling events on October 1. IMBA is encouraging all to sign up for the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA), whereby they pledge to be active at least five days a week for six weeks. According to the program, youth (6-17 years) should get moving for at least 60 minutes per day, and adults (18 years or older) should be active for 30 minutes per day.