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MTB News & Racing Round-up, September 8, 2010

Date published:
September 08, 2010, 1:00 BST
  • Final round of World Cup to decide five of six overall titles

    World Champion Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower Mtb-Racing).
    Article published:
    August 27, 2010, 18:32 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Mountain bike World Cup returns to US after five years

    This weekend, Windham, New York, welcomes mountain bikers to the conclusion of the 2010 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. Nestled in the Catskill Mountains, the small resort town of Windham will be the site of the first US World Cup event in five years, and the first ever final to be held on American soil. All three disciplines of the sport - Olympic cross country, downhill and four cross - will come together to determine who will be crowned the World Cup champions for 2010.

    Four cross

    Of the six titles up for grabs, only one has been mathematically won: Jared Graves (Yeti Fox Shox) has repeated as men's four cross champion after three victories this season. In the women's four cross, defending champion Anneke Beerten (Suspension Centre) holds a 45-point lead over Austrian rival Anita Molcik, so this title is still in contention. Another rider to watch for the women's event win will be world champion Caroline Buchanan, who has missed most of the season for BMX racing. Rain earlier in the week has softened the course up significantly, and cut down on training time, so the first real chance to see who is going well will be this evening in qualifying.

    Downhill

    Sabrina Jonnier (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) holds a significant 175-point lead over world champion Emmeline Ragot (Suspension Centre) in the women's downhill, but Ragot is coming off two consecutive victories, so Jonnier cannot celebrate yet. Also returning to action is Rachel Atherton (Commencal), who has missed most of the season with shoulder problems. It will be interesting to see if she is fully recovered.

    The men's race for the title is one of the tightest in memory, with a mere seven points separating the current leader Gee Atherton (Commencal) from rival Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate). Whichever rider finishes ahead of the other will take the title. However, Minnaar suffered an arm injury in training, a "subluxation of the...

  • Dutch four cross nationals cancelled

    Racers zoom down the four cross course.
    Article published:
    September 07, 2010, 10:48 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Lack of sponsorship and subsidies cited

    The Bikepark Groningen Foundation cancelled the Dutch Four Cross National Championships due to a budget deficit. Lack of sponsorships and government subsidy meant the organizers could not cover the budget for running the national championship.

    "Given these circumstances we see no opportunity to organize the planned race," read a statement by organizers.

    Bikepark Groningen is instead focussing on planning its 2011 season. On September 19, it will host a riders meeting at the Bikepark. Interested riders can RSVP to david [at] bikepark.nl.

  • Felt Ötztal X-Bionic signs U23 cross country star Litscher

    Thomas Litscher (Switzerland)
    Article published:
    September 08, 2010, 8:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Worlds silver medalist signs two-year contract

    Fresh off winning the silver medal at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championship cross country race, Switzerland's Thomas Litscher signed a two-year contract with the Felt Ötztal X-Bionic World Cup team.

    "We already had great interest in him last year, however his commitments with MIG Team continue until the end of 2010 season," said the Felt Ötztal X-Bionic team's director Jörg Scheiderbauer.

    Scheiderbauer sees great potential in the 21-year-old Swiss rider. In addition to his accomplishments solo in the cross country at Worlds, Litscher also was a member of Switzerland's winning relay team.

    He won the junior world and European titles in 2007, and he's been mixing it up among the elites with a 15th place at this year's World Cup in Champery, Switzerland and 20th at the World Cup in Offenburg, Germany.

    "The team and its support are perfect for me," said Litscher. "Considering my past achievements along with hard work, together we can achieve a lot."

  • USA Cycling splits gravity and cross country mountain bike nationals

    Mary McConneloug in the short track at US Nationals
    Article published:
    September 08, 2010, 15:50 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    2011-2012 location announced

    USA Cycling is splitting the cross country and gravity portions of its mountain bike national championships into two separate events beginning in 2011. USA Cycling announced on Wednesday that Sun Valley, Idaho, will host the USA Cycling Cross Country Mountain Bike National Championships for the next two years on July 14-17, 2011 and July 12-15, 2012. A location for the downhill, four cross and dual slalom contests has yet to be determined.

    USA Cycling said splitting the nationals for the disciplines would help it better meet the needs of endurance and gravity athletes alike.

    In its first two years at its very own venue, the 2011 and 2012 cross country nationals will be organized by Breakaway Promotions and will include the Olympic-style cross country, short track cross country, and Super D competitions.

    "We made the decision to split the disciplines based on member feedback from all types of mountain bikers," said USA Cycling National Events Director Kelli Lusk. "This will allow both gravity and cross country athletes to compete on an ideal course in a setting specifically designed for their needs."

    All categories of racers will duke it out on the trails of Sun Valley for Stars-and-Stripes jerseys during the UCI-mandated dates of July 14-17, 2011.

    "I have travelled the world and the US for races, and I live in the Sun Valley area of Idaho because it has some of the best trails I've ever ridden as well as a welcoming cycling community," said three-time 24-Hour Mountain Bike World Champion Rebecca Rusch. "I already know this place is world-class and I'm really looking forward to sharing what Idaho has to offer with the best cyclists in the US."

    The Sun Valley Ski Resort in Idaho will act as the host venue for both the 2011 and 2012 event.

    "The Sun Valley/Ketchum Chamber & Visitors Bureau and the communities of Sun Valley and Ketchum, Idaho provided a very detailed bid and a clear commitment to host the...

  • Bronze feels different second time around for Koerber

    Willow Koerber (USA) being chased by Kalentieva
    Article published:
    September 08, 2010, 21:23 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    American mountain biker podiums two years in a row at Worlds

    Riding for the United States, Willow Koerber was part of an exciting women's cross country race at the mountain bike world championships in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada, this past weekend. Koerber rode to a bronze medal, her second in as many years at the Worlds. In 2009, her medal marked a breakout, career-best performance; in 2010, there was more pressure to excel.

    "It was different," said Koerber of this year's experience at Worlds. "It wasn't like I was a complete underdog.

    "I felt more stressed about it, but it's fine. I realize I can handle that stress now. When you really want to win, the least you can do is get third."

    A slip and fall on the final half-lap of a 5.5-lap race nearly cost Koerber, who was then riding in second place, a podium place, but she rallied to make a gutsy, last-minute pass to move herself up from fourth to third.

    "In the last half lap, we were all getting tired," said Koerber who was racing for second place with Catharine Pendrel (Canada) and Irina Kalentieva (Russia) while Poland's Maja Wloszczowska rode off the front solo.

    "I felt like I was really exhausted," said Koerber. "I didn't mess up on the hard section of the downhill (with the rocky chute), I slipped and got stuck in the fencing at the top. 'I can't go into this flustered,' I had thought. You start to get dizzy out there when you're giving it your all. It's a good thing, but you have to be careful.

    "When I fell, I was like 'oh crap, what's going on?' I only have one downhill and one uphill to go. I had felt comfortable riding down that rock shoot every time, and when no one was there, I was riding down the "A" line no problem. On the final lap, I chose the "B" line."

    When Koerber fell, Pendrel passed her. It took Koerber a while to free up her pedal, which was caught on a wooden stake. Back on the bike, 2009 World Champion Kalentieva then managed to get around both of them as all three riders...