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MTB News & Racing Round-up, September 29, 2010

Date published:
September 29, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • High school mountain biking expands in US

    Gary Sjoquist (Minnesota), Vance McMurry (Texas), Matt Fritzinger (NICA), Lisa Miller (Washington).
    Article published:
    September 27, 2010, 17:30 BST
    Cycling News

    NICA announces three new leagues

    The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) added three new Leagues to its high school cycling program: Minnesota, Washington and Texas.

    Minnesota enters as an "Emerging League", while Texas and Washington come in at the more developed level of "Project League".

    In a press conference at Interbike last Wednesday, Matt Fritzinger, executive director of NICA, said, "We are surrounded by greatness, and in Vance McMurry, Lisa Miller, and Gary Sjoquist, we have three individuals with past records of great success. As organizers and cycling activists they have all the experience and leadership qualities needed to build successful leagues right out of the box."

    "Our goal is to provide coast-to-coast mountain biking for student athletes by 2020. We are now ahead of the curve with this goal," said Ben Capron of Specialized Bicycle Components and also acting president of NICA.

    Vance McMurry, founding chair of the Texas High School Cycling League, who has worked in two presidential campaigns, said, "I'm super excited. This is the best thing I've ever done. It's certainly the most exciting thing I've ever been involved with. Everybody just wants to help: teachers, parents, engineers, you name it."

    The Texas League is aiming to register 200 riders in its first year. With a population of 1.1 million high school students within a 4.5-hour drive encompassing Dallas, Houston, San Antonio and Austin, he thinks this is a feasible target. Texas schools will begin competition in Fall of 2011.

    Lisa Miller, founding chair of the Washington High School Cycling League, paid tribute to the motivational work done by Matt Fritzinger. "Over a two-year period, Matt helped us put together a team of people (to create the Washington League). Matt was so enthusiastic and had all this great material, it was impossible not to get totally excited about it." Racing for Washington schools will begin in Spring 2011, beginning in the six...

  • Dietsch injured in crash

    French Marathon Champion Thomas Dietsch before the start.
    Article published:
    September 28, 2010, 17:22 BST
    Cycling News

    Frenchman unable to defend marathon national title

    Thomas Dietsch was missing from the start line of the French marathon national championship this past weekend in Ornans after injuring himself in a crash while training the previous day.

    The former French national champion flew over the handlebars and crashed on a descent studded with large rocks. He landed hard and fractured his upper right arm.

    "What happened, I cannot say exactly," said Dietsch afterwards. "I only know that suddenly I was going over the handlebars and 10 feet later, my head and shoulders took the impact."

    "I felt super on my bike in the days before. The course in Ornans is technically very demanding, so I knew it was important to view and practice the downhills." He was pre-riding when the accident occurred.

    "This is very, very hard for me," said the Team Bulls rider. "My head is completely empty. In the past few weeks, I've have prepared especially for the French Championship and was prepared to defend my jersey."

  • Cyprus Sunshine Cup dates set for 2011

    Jaroslav Kulhavy and Emil Lindgren lead at the Afxentia Stage Race, a part of the Cyprus Sunshine Cup
    Article published:
    September 28, 2010, 19:26 BST
    Cycling News

    Afxentia stage race upgraded to HC category status

    The Cyprus Sunshine Cup will return for 2011 with three events from February 20 to March 6. The early season races traditionally attract international-level mountain bikers to Cyprus for training and competition.

    Last year, the series drew racers from 25 nations, including Czech's Jaroslav Kulhavy who kicked off his very successful 2010 season in Cyprus. Kulhavy finished off his season with a win at the Windham World Cup and a silver medal at the world championships.

    A race in Voroklini will open the season and the series. Then, five days later, the Afxentia stage race - including a time trial, marathon, and cross country - will happen in the Macheras Mountains. The picturesque area of Amathous will host the final round.

    For the first time, the Afxentia stage race will be run as a UCI HC-category event, which means the winner will earn 160 points toward his world ranking. Only world championships, World Cup and continental championships offer more points. The Afxentia race joins the Cape Epic stage race in South Africa as the only HC-category stage races; however, it is the only HC-category stage race for solo riders because Cape Epic contenders compete on two-person teams.

    "To get the HC category for the Afxentia stage race is a great honor for us, and it rewards the work we have done the years before," said organizer Mike Hadjioannou. "I hope we are able to make one more step in 2011 showing that we deserve it."

    The Afxentia stage race got its name from Gregoriou Afxentiou, a Cypriot freedom fighter who died in Macheras Mountains not far from the race.

    The first and last races in the series will be run as UCI category 1 events.

    For more information on the Cyprus Sunshine Cup, visit

    Cyprus Sunshine Cup 2011
    February 20: Round 1 - Voroklini (UCI Cat. 1)

  • US Pro XCT series announced for 2011

    Todd Wells (Specialized) is a good bet to win the US Pro XCT series title
    Article published:
    September 28, 2010, 21:53 BST
    Cycling News

    Seven race venues and dates selected

    The US Pro Cross Country Tour (US Pro XCT), run by USA Cycling, will return in 2011 with seven mountain bike races. The 2011 national series includes seven rounds, two more than in 2010 and the same number as in 2009. It will include three rounds in California and one each in Texas, Wisconsin, Colorado and Montana; however, for the second consecutive year, the series will do without an eastern round.

    The 2011 series will kick off with a pair of US Cup Triple Crown races in California. One of two new additions to the calendar, the US Cup Triple Crown - Bonelli Park in San Dimas, California, will mark the unofficial start of the domestic mountain biking season on March 12. For its second stop, the US Pro XCT will move slightly south as the US Cup Triple Crown - Fontana City National will continue the calendar on March 26 in Fontana, California. Fontana has been a part of the Pro XCT since its inception.

    Next up will be the Sea Otter Classic, which is part of the series for its second consecutive year. Sea Otter's elite cross country races on April 16 will once again operate at the UCI category 1 level, offering maximum ranking points to top riders.

    The Pro XCT will next move south to Lance Armstrong's ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas, as the Mellow Johnny's Classic will host round four. This round is scheduled to take place on April 30 - a bit earlier in the year to avoid the extreme heat suffered at the 2010 event.

    The nation's top pros will head north to contest the Sand Creek International, a category-two event for 2011, in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Set in the picturesque foothills of Pikes Peak, the Sand Creek course will likely play a deciding role in the overall Pro XCT's outcome.

    The Subaru Cup in Mt. Morris, Wisconsin, on June 25 looks to be one of the calendar's most exciting race experiences. Part of the well-established Wisconsin Off-Road Series (WORS), the Subaru Cup traditionally attracts thousands of...

  • Trans Germany scheduled for 2011

    Christoph Sauser (Specialized) riders in yellow as race leader on the final stage of the Trans Germany.
    Article published:
    September 29, 2010, 16:04 BST
    Cycling News

    Registration opens next month

    Three months after Christoph Sauser (Specialized) claimed victory on the new, shortened course of the fourth annual Trans Germany, organisers announced the date for the 2011 event. The fifth edition will take place from June 1-4, 2011.

    Online registration will open on a first come, first serve basis on November 12. The maximum number of participants will remain capped at 1,200.

    "After the changes we made this year proved so popular, we are glad to announce the 2011 date for the Trans Germany so early," said project manager Anika Stephan of the Munich based organising event company Plan B.

    Organizers have not yet disclosed the 2011 race's route. "We are currently sounding out the situation, trying to find the best possible course for next year," said Stephan.

    For more information on the race or to register, visit

  • Mountain bike Worlds to Salzburg in 2012

    The elite women's start on pavement
    Article published:
    September 29, 2010, 17:56 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Races return to Austria after 10 years

    The UCI mountain bike world championships are returning to Austria in 2012, exactly 10 years after the country last hosted them. The races will be held in the Salzburg area from August 29 to September 9, 2012.

    "Austria has confirmed its cycling competence on the international scene," said organiser Wolfgang Weiss, who was also responsible for the mountain bike Worlds in Kaprun in 2002 as well as the road Worlds in Salzburg in 2006.

    "With the mountain bike marathon world championships in Kirchberg 2013 and the European mountain bike championships in 2011 in Kleinzell, this is the third major sporting event for Austria."

    The cross country and trials competitions for the Worlds will be held in Saalfelden, and the four cross and downhill events will happen in Leogang, which hosted its first World Cup race this year.

    World Cup racing had previously been held in Schladming, Austria, but that town will host the FIS Alpine Skiing world championships in 2013, and due to related construction, had to cancel the race. Leogang took over the World Cup race at pretty much the last minute.

    "Leogang presented itself very well as organiser for the Mountain Bike World Cup race, where it stepped in for Schladming on short notice, and within two months put together a great event," said Otto Flum, president of the Austrian Cycling Federation. "That impressed the UCI."

    "Of course there is not much time until 2012," said Flum. "But the people in Leogang have shown that they can cope with deadlines!"

  • Gravity East Series wraps up in Pennsylvania

    Geritt Beytagh is a contender for the series win.
    Article published:
    September 29, 2010, 20:29 BST
    Cycling News

    Battle still on for series titles in all categories

    The Vertical Earth Gravity Park at Blue Mountain will host the finals of the Gravity East Series in Danielsville, Pennsylvania, on October 2-3. The stage is set for the most competitive and hard fought battle for the series championship in many years. Every category is up for grabs, with the points from the final round counting double.

    In the elite men's category, there is a tie between Gerritt Beytagh (Morewood Bikes) and Gavin Vaughan (Giant/HBG/E13) with Jason Memmelaar (Hayes/Manitou) and Adam Morse (VonCooper/GT/Smith) clipping at their heels. Both the elite men and women are racing for US$5000 in series prizes.

    In the Cat. 1 18 & Under Men's division, only 30 points separate the three top riders: Logan Mulally (Troy Lee Designs), who is the brother of silver medallist at the junior world downhill championships Neko Mulally, Ray Syron (Sinister/United Freeride) and Damon Morin (Highland Mountain).

    Vertical Earth Gravity Park owner Dan Whitehead and his crew have created an exciting, non-pedaling course with anticipated times in the three-minute range. The course will use the following trails: Formula to Off Camber Syndrome to World Cup. It has technical off camber sections, a rock garden and some fast open trails. It will also have a rock drop and a large "Booter" at the finish.

    A dual cross style race will be run on Saturday afternoon, followed by a Foot Down Derby. The downhill finals are set for Sunday.

    For more information, visit