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MTB News & Racing Round-up, September 15, 2009

Date published:
September 16, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Flueckiger brothers fuelled to first World Cup cross country podium double

    Mathias Flückiger (Trek World Team) runs a bog.
    Article published:
    September 14, 2009, 0:45 BST
    Cycling News

    Matthias and Lukas both make the top five in Champery, Switzerland

    The Flueckiger Brothers, 25-year-old Lukas and his 20-year-old Mathias, made World Cup history for their Trek World Racing team by finishing fourth and fifth in round seven of UCI World Cup cross country. They became the only brothers ever to be on a UCI World Cup mountain bike podium together in Champery, Switzerland. It was also Mathias' best World Cup result yet.

    Their parents were on hand to watch, as the race was held a little over an hour from the family home. Champery will also be the host venue for the World Championships in 2011, something both riders are looking forward to.

    With perfect conditions for racing, no rain but partly cloudy skies, a field of 146 men started the seven-lap event (one start loop and six full laps). Originally the race had been set to be one lap longer, but at the last minute, the UCI lowered the total number of laps and aimed for a shorter race.

    Lukas had a front row start, but Mathias, who had missed the two Canadian World Cup rounds to regain some form for the second half of the season, found himself several rows back. By halfway through the start loop, however, Mathias was up to 15th and could see his brother up in eighth. By the third lap, they had joined together and from then on, worked together keep their pace. Both were descending the technical singletrack faster than nearly all the other contenders.

    Steadily, the pair worked its way up through the top ten to be as high as third and fourth going into the last lap. However, the only rider descending better, fellow Swiss racer Ralf Naef, was slowly making ground and eventually passed the two in the last lap. The race was won by South African Burry Stander (Specialized), who passed Julien Absalon (Orbea) on the final lap.

    "During the race, I was comfortable in the top 10 for the first half, and when Mathias joined me it gave me good motivation," said Lukas. "With one lap to go, I was feeling a bit tired on the climb and having...

  • American's newest bike park opens in Pennsylvania

    Richard Rude Jr. of Santa Cruz – All Ride Academy rails a berm at a Gravity East race at Highland MTB Park
    Article published:
    September 15, 2009, 13:22 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Blue Mountain's Vertical Earth ready for hosting Gravity East round

    Vertical Earth became the newest mountain bike park in the US on Saturday, when it opened at Blue Mountain Ski Area in Palmerton, Pennsylvania, on Saturday. The facility will host the next round of the Gravity East downhill series on September 25-27. This past weekend, it hosted a US$500 Jump Jam as part of its grand opening.

    The facility features two jump parks, a pump track, eight new trails and a Neko Mullally-designed dual slalom course.

    "We've been trail building seven days a week since April," said Vertical Earth President Dan Whitehead. "For the remainder of this season, we'll be open as part of Blue Mountain's Adventure Saturday's from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm."

    "Next year, we'll expand with more trails, cross country facilities, rental bikes and a full schedule. We're even planning to bring cross country races to the trails we've already started building to compliment the gravity riding we already have." The ski resort is looking to mountain biking as a way to expand its year-round operations.

    Blue Mountainis located half an hour north of Allentown, Pennsylvania, and two hours from both New York and Philadelphia. For more information, visit or

  • Fullana sidelined with back injury

    Margarita Fullana and Irina Kalentieva chase.
    Article published:
    September 15, 2009, 15:57 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Fractured vertebra derails Spaniard's World Cup aspirations

    Marga Fullana went into Sunday's UCI World Cup cross country race in Champéry, Switzerland, with the goal of taking back the lead in the women's series. However, a crash on Friday, two days before the race during training, changed her plans, and the Massi rider was forced to withdraw on lap two.

    Fullana, the 2008 World Champion, was determined to compete on Sunday and started the race despite intense back pain. After the race, the Spaniard saw a medical specialist who diagnosed her with a transverse fracture of her L2 vertabra.

    The injury means Fullana's World Cup season is over. She will not contest the finale this weekend in Schaldming, Austria, as she will require approximately one month of recovery. However, she said she is already looking forward to next year and promised to return to contest the World Cup in 2010.

    Earlier this season, she won World Cup rounds in Madrid, Spain, and Houffalize, Belgium, and she was second in Offenburg, Germany.

  • Absalon donates his Olympic mountain bike to the World Cycling Centre

    Julien Absalon and UCI President Pat McQuaid, along with Absalon's Olympic-winning bike
    Article published:
    September 15, 2009, 17:02 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Former World Champion visited UCI on Monday

    Julien Absalon donated his Olympic mountain bike to the UCI's World Cycling Centre (WCC) on Monday, when the former World Champion and current Olympic Champion paid a visit to the international cycling federation's headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland.

    One day prior, at the penultimate round of the UCI World Cup cross country in Champéry, Switzerland, Frenchman Absalon placed second behind South African Burry Stander and secured his lead in the overall World Cup.

    "Despite the accumulated fatigue from the journey to Australia (for worlds) and not training every day, Julien had a great race," said Orbea team manager Ixio Barandiarán. "The day before the race, he trained well, and at the race itself, he led by 40 seconds, but was overtaken by Burry Stander."

    Absalon met with UCI President Pat McQuaid to hand over the bike, which joins the WCC's permanent exhibition of bicycles. According to the UCI, Absalon is no stranger to the WCC. He has trained at the center's velodrome as part of an off-season training camp with the French national team.

    Absalon, an Olympic Champion in 2004 and 2008, won the World Championship in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. He was second two weeks ago in the 2009 worlds.

    Just one round of the 2009 World Cup remains. It will be run in Schladming, Austria, on September 19-20.

  • Australians racing for marathon titles this weekend

    Jo Wall, from Bendigo, recently raced for Australia at the World Championships
    Article published:
    September 15, 2009, 17:20 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Bendigo to host its first-ever national championship event

    The Bendigo Mountain Bike Club will host the Australian Marathon Championships this Sunday, September 20 at Sedgwick near Bendigo. After bushfires destroyed the previous location, Bendigo was the chosen to fill in. According to club President, John Harvey, this will be the biggest event undertaken by the club. The championship will be run in conjunction with the Golden Triangle Epic.

    The City of Bendigo and local businesses are supporting what will be the first-ever national mountain bike event to come to Bendigo. The region will play host to Australia's best riders including local elite rider, Joanna Wall, who was part of the successful Australian Team to recently compete at the World Championships in Canberra. In addition, local youngster, Shelly Flood, will race the half marathon.

    The men's race is drawing two 24 Hours of Adrenaline Solo World Champions including last year's champion James Williamson and current champion Jason English. Ben Mather from Tasmania is expected to be a top contender after taking the King of the Mountain title recently at the Grafton to Inverell race.

    "We have definitely attracted the top riders," said Harvey. "The national jersey is a big draw card. There are still some entries coming in, too."

    Elite riders will vye for the green and gold national champion's jersey and possible selection to compete at the 2010 UCI World MTB Marathon Championships in Germany.

    The day will not just about the elite riders though according to Harvey."We look forward to welcoming a large field of riders ranging from the novices and juniors doing the 25km or the 50km event along with the elite riders battling it out over the longer 105km. Some of the half and quarter distance riders will go hard, and some will just be out to enjoy the ride and the scenery."

    Racing will get underway at 7:55 am for the full distance.

    For more information, visit