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MTB News & Racing Round-up, September 4, 2009

Date published:
September 04, 2009, 1:00 BST
  • Mountain bikers to race around the clock in Pennsylvania

    A racer in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania
    Article published:
    September 03, 2009, 15:19 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Seven Springs hosts 10th annual 24-hour challenge

    This year's 24-Hour Champion Challenge will celebrate its 10th edition in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania. The 24-hour event will run the standard noon Saturday to noon Sunday format on September 5-6.

    This year's course has been redesigned to include some additional rolling terrain and rocky technical sections and now measures just short of 13 miles. In previous years, the course was 12 miles in length.

    Racers can compete in the following classes: five-person co-ed, four-person, corporate, co-ed and solo. The teams will work together in a relay fashion.

    "Endurance, teamwork and the ability to have fun are required," said Melissa Cullin, the resort's special event's manager and the race's technical director. "It is always thrilling at the beginning of the race, but you can't help but be amazed watching the teams head out to navigate the course after the sun goes down. Sunrise really is a big morale booster after a long night of competition."

    "The 24-Hour Champion Challenge is more for fun than a typical National Championship Race, but some competitors will be competing for bonus points in the Mid-Atlantic Super Series," adds Cullin.

    Athletes who race in the regional mountain bike series are eligible to earn bonus points by competing in the Labor Day weekend event. For information on the bonus points and the Mid-Atlantic Super Series, visit

    For information on the Champion Challenge, visit

  • Tanguy and Schalk take 100-miler battle to Virginia

    Locals volunteer to bench a section of Dowell's Draft trail.
    Article published:
    September 03, 2009, 21:34 BST
    Harlan Price

    Sornson hopes to defend at Shenandoah Mountain 100

    Stop number seven of the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series brings a sold-out field of racers to the Shenandoah Valley off the I-81 corridor of Virginia. A favorite of the series' racers, the Shenandoah Mountain 100 celebrates its 11th consecutive running this weekend as it winds its way on a single-lap course through the George Washington National Forest. Competitors will face over 12,000ft of climbing on a course that boasts multiple 30- to 90- minute climbs that are rewarded with singletrack descents through canopied forests.

    Cheryl Sornson (Trek Racing Co-Op) will be on the women's starting line to defend her win from 2008, but she'll have her work cut out for her thanks to local ex-pro Sue Haywood (Shenandoah Bicycle Co), succesful 100-miler Betsy Shogren (Cannondale Factory Racing), Cohutta 100 winner Carey Lowery (OutDoor Store), Karen Potter (, Johanna Kraus (Velo Bella) and Danielle Musto (Kenda/Tomac/Hayes). That's only a partial list of the strength of a talented women's field. The Shenandoah Mountain 100 traditionally draws the largest women's field of any 100-miler in the series.

    In the men's race, all eyes will be on Christian Tanguy (Team Fraser) after his recent accomplishments at the Wilderness 101 and the Fool's Gold 100, where he finished second and first respectively. If he should win the Shenandoah Mountain 100 and decide to go to the Tahoe Sierra 100, he would force Jeff Schalk to follow and try and prevent Tanguy from taking a win there, which would also give him the series overall.

    The rider most likely to stand in the way of a Tanguy win this weekend will be Jeremiah Bishop (MonaVie/ Cannondale), who has the distinct advantage of being on home trails. Other top contenders include Chris Beck (Subaru Gary Fisher), Sam Koerber (Fisher 29er Crew) and Brandon Draugelis (Cannondale Factory Racing). The virtual winner of the NUE Series Singlespeed Class Gerry Pflug (SpeedGoat, SPK) will be running gears...

  • Felt Ötztal X-Bionic World Cup Team for 2010

     Jörg Scheiderbauer (Geschäftsführer Scheiderbauer Sports GmbH), Michael Müllmann (Geschäftsführer FELT GmbH), Jim Felt, Professor W. Bodo Lambertz (Geschäftsführer X-Technology Swiss research
    Article published:
    September 04, 2009, 9:22 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    New team announced at Eurobike

    The Felt Ötztal X-Bionic World Cup Team is the newest mountain bike team to joint the circuit after it was introduced this week at the Eurobike. No riders were named, but he team will be ready to ride in 2010.

    The new team is to be managed my Jörg Scheiderbauer of Scheiderbauer Sports GmbH of Offenburg, Germany. The team's goal is to be "one of the best mountain bike teams in the world in the coming years," he said. The team will look for top places not only in World Cup races but also in the major international events such as the European and World Championships, as well as the 2010 Olympics in London.

    The team will ride on bikes provided by sponsor Felt. Ötztal Tourismus is a tourist bureau for the Ötztal area in the Austrian Alps, and X-Bionic, "the most innovative brand 2009", produces functional sports clothing.

  • Aussies aiming for downhill dominance

    Michael Hannah (GT Bicycles)
    Article published:
    September 04, 2009, 9:31 BST
    Greg Johnson

    Men top timesheets on home turf in downhill prelude

    Australia’s Mick Hannah made the most of his home-turf advantage to top the timesheets in today’s timed downhill run ahead of Sunday’s title race at the International Cycling Union (UCI) Mountain Bike World Championships in Canberra. Compatriot Shaun O’Connor was also quickest in the junior men’s event, on a course that had added grip in the turns due to overnight rain.

    “I am happy with that, I wasn’t sure whether I’d do a good hard run today or save my legs and I had a decent smooth run but definitely I can go a lot harder in most of the technical stuff,” Hannah said. “Instead of blowing my legs up I took it a bit steady at the end there.”

    Hannah, who claimed the Australian title on this course, believes overnight rain played a factor in narrowing the margin between rider’s times.

    “The course is completely different, it’s easy, it’s like going from dirt to bitumen,” Hannah said. “The times would have been a lot closer [today] because of that, a lot of the guys would be more nervous and make more mistakes when it’s a bit skatey. Sunday will be a much harder race.”

    Behind Hannah was another Australian, former World Champion Sam Hill, who claimed his title on British shores in 2007. British defending champion Gee Atherton was fourth fastest during today’s run, but will surely be looking to take an upset on Hill’s home soil come Sunday.

    Great Britain’s Tracy Moseley recorded the swiftest run in the elite women’s category, crossing the line a mere 0.03 ahead of Canada’s Claire Buchar. Moseley’s team-mate Fionn Griffiths was third. In the junior women’s event Australia’s Holly Baarspul was the third best of the day behind French duo Anais Pajot and Julie Berteaux.

    Follow Cyclingnews on Twitter for the very latest coverage of events taking place in the...

  • Spitz relaxed and confident going into Worlds

    Sabine Spitz hits the first rock drop.
    Article published:
    September 04, 2009, 20:48 BST
    Susan Westemeyer

    Olympic champion motivated by Marathon title

    Olympic champion Sabine Spitz is going into the Mountain Biking World Championships aiming for gold, after having finished second the last two years. The German recently won the UCI Marathon World Championship, showing she has form that should help her in Australia.

    Winning the marathon title in Graz-Stattegg, Austria, a few weeks ago "gave me a lot of motivation and confidence," she said. "It is a good feeling to have already won a world title this year."

    Doing two worlds races in such close proximity has its disadvantages.  "The race wasn't all that easy, and I can still feel it in my body," Spitz said.

    The 37-year-old won in a convincing manner in Beijing at the Olympic Games last summer, taking the gold medal in the cross country ahead of Poland's Maja Wloszczowska and Irina Kalentyeva of Russia. But things didn't start out too well for the 2010 season. Health problems, an over-full PR schedule and putting too much pressure on herself combined to bring in less-than-satisfactory results.

    However, she skipped the World Cup race in Canada to concentrate on training for the Worlds and said that she went into the Marathon Worlds relaxed. She found the fact that the race was exactly one year to the day after her Olympic victory to be a good omen, and it did indeed work out for her.

    Now she is in Canberra, where her stated goal "is a medal". She sees it as "a very close race, although a lot of riders will be dropped." A good performance will depend on "whether you get a good start and quickly find the right rhythm on the technically extremely challenging course".

    Spitz's husband, manager and trainer, Ralf Schäuble, noted that Spitz has already put in time on the course, as part of the team relay, in which Germany finished seventh. "It was very good to put in a lap under race conditions, since it just makes the difficulties of the course more obvious.

    "You have to ride with your head in order...

  • Aussies run away with four cross World titles

    Caroline Buchanan wins the women's world championship for Australia.
    Article published:
    September 04, 2009, 22:58 BST
    Cycling News

    Graves and Buchanan win world championships

    Riding at home at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Canberra, Australia, two of the host nation's gravity racers won World Championship titles in the four cross on Friday.

    The 18-year-old Caroline Buchanan kicked off a stellar night for the Australian in the women's race where she defeated two former World Champions and veteran racers, Jill Kintner and Melissa Buhl.

    Buchanan was racing in her hometown. "There was a lot of pressure, a lot of media," said Buchanan. "I managed to escape most of the day and channel it. On the gate I thought, 'This is my race'. I wanted to win and Jared [Graves] said before, 'As you come down the straight all the lights behind you, so you can see the shadows, you can see if someone is there.'. And I couldn't see anyone.

    "So I was crying from probably the Bear Traps down. This is just so emotional for me to do it in my hometown and to have all my family here. On the podium I could see all my friends, everyone I have gone to school with, my butcher, my hairdresser, everyone - absolutely everyone is here, so it's just an awesome feeling."

    In the men's race, Graves took a title he's been chasing for years. As the World Cup series leader, he was the favorite going into the event, and en route to victory, he often won his heats by a comfortable margin.

    "I was saying to people earlier in the week that I have lost this race enough now, even as favourite, to know that life goes on if you don't win it. So I was trying to remember that."

    "Obviously, I wanted to win it. It has been the biggest goal I have had in mountain biking, to pull it off after the bad run of luck I have had for three years in a row. I had a really good last practice session, so I knew if I kept it upright and just did my thing all night that I was going to get it. I did that, so I can't explain how I feel. It is just unbelievable."

    In the final, Graves defeated Romain Saladini (France) and Jakub Riha...