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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Sunday, April 1, 2012

Date published:
April 01, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Mountaineer compares climbing Everest and Cape Epic

    Renato Sabbioni and Alex Harris during the Prologue of the 2012 Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike stage race
    Article published:
    March 27, 2012, 22:32 BST
    Cycling News

    Alex Harris takes on Cape Epic challenge

    World-renowned mountaineer and polar adventurer, Alex Harris, took up the challenge of riding the Absa Cape Epic mountain bike stage race this year. At 25 years of age in 1996, Harris was the youngest person ever to lead an expedition to Mount Everest.

    Harris compared riding the Cape Epic and climbing Mount Everest. "This is good training for anyone who wants to climb Mount Everest. The difference is obviously that you're here for a couple of days compared to two months, the weather conditions are vastly different, but you feel pretty lousy with both challenges."

    The lessons he learned climbing Mount Everest that he can apply to the Cape Epic are to take it one day at a time, focusing only on each stage and realizing that the following day will be something completely different.

    After joining the Mountain Club of South Africa in 1992, Harris started to fulfill his desire to climb some of the world's highest mountains. In 1996, Alex became the youngest person ever to lead an expedition to Mount Everest. Harris further became the first South African to climb on all seven continents and has climbed the seven summits, the highest mountain on each of the continents. He is an established speaker on the school and corporate circuit, a keen caver and always seeks adventure in faraway places. When he is not at the top of a peak, deep underground or sharing his story on stage, you are sure to find him tearing along a stretch of tar on his beloved road bike, preparing for his next journey.

    Harris won five gold and one silver medal in his age category (35 to 39) at the 2010 South African Track Cycling Championships. He also won the Freedom Challenge "Race Across South Africa" (RASA) in 2010 in 14 days and eight hours. In 2011, Harris successfully defended his Freedom Challenge title and is the current record holder.

    Harris is racing the Cape Epic with Renato...

  • Schurter among world-class field for BMC Racing Cup opener

    Nino Schurter (Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team)
    Article published:
    March 28, 2012, 20:17 BST
    Cycling News

    Swiss mountain bike national series kicks off in Buchs

    The BMC Racing Cup, formerly known as the Swiss Racer Bikes Cup, will kick off this weekend in Buchs, Switzerland. The national series, popular among central Europeans, is in its 19th season and has a new title sponsor.

    "We look forward to seven great events to experience here in Switzerland," said Andi Seeli, the series director. "The BMC Racing Cup will be a key pillar of youth development in cross country. We will not deviate from our approach as an innovative and high quality race series." New venues for 2012 include Davos and Balgach while Tesserete, Solothurn, Gränichen, Buchs and Basel return as hosts of various rounds.

    The man to watch on Sunday will be Pietermaritzburg World Cup winner Nino Schurter.

    "For me it is not the best route, as it has a long climb. Nevertheless, I will use the race as good preparation for the next World Cup race," said Schurter. "It's motivating to have a race so close to home."

    Schurter's top fellow Swiss challengers are likely to be Lukas Flückiger, Swiss champion Florian Vogel, Ralph Naef and Thomas Litscher, who are contenders for the coveted Swiss Olympic team spots. German Moritz Milatz is the likely top contender among the non-Swiss riders, but German Wolfram Kurschat and Italian Tony Longo are others to watch while Martin Gujan will enjoy his local advantage.

    German Sabine Spitz and Russian Irina Kalentieva are likely to battle it out for top honors in the women's race. Local hero Sarah Koba has finished well in the past...

  • George and Evans claw their way back into Cape Epic contention

    David George and Kevin Evans set the pace on Stage 3 as race leader, Burry Stander, sits in.
    Article published:
    March 28, 2012, 22:09 BST
    Cycling News

    Top South African duo makes up time after disastrous stage 1

    A dream start turned into the worst nightmare for Nedbank 360Life's David George and Kevin Evans as the 2012 ABSA Cape Epic got underway this week. But in Wednesday's monster stage 3, the pair clawed their way back into podium contention after losing 24 minutes due to a damaged tyre on stage 1.

    Shortened slightly from 147km to 143km, the stage from Robertson to Caledon took the riders competing in the world's highest profile mountain bike stage race over some harsh terrain and up a total of 2900 metres of vertical ascent in dry, hot conditions.

    As expected on such a long stage, early breaks ensued with first Renay Goustra and Rene Hasselbacher of Team Asrin RSA Web dashing off the front, only to be caught and passed by FedGroup-ITEC Connect's Brandon Stewart and Jacques Rossouw and the Milka Superior team of Chris Jongewaard and Jeroen Boloen, who attacked at the first water point.

    But with a Plan B in place to take back as much time as possible through aggressive racing from the front, Evans and George were soon in control of the chase, passing the breakaway riders, attacking each climb and more shedding rivals steadily in the process. But they weren't able to shake off defending champions and race leaders, Burry Stander and Christoph Sauser of 36One-Songo-Specialized.

    And at the end, Stander and Sauser, who as race leaders weren't obliged to do any work in the break, had the fresher legs and grabbed the victory in five hours, 31 minutes and four seconds. George and Evans rolled across the finish line three seconds later, satisfied at having pulled back time on most of their rivals.

    While Stander and Sauser started the race as favourites, Evans and George became the sentimental favourites...

  • Behind the scenes at the Cape Epic: Bike cleaning

    One clean bike leaves the bike wash area every 15 seconds, 4 cleans bikes leave per minute and 240 bikes per hour. Each bike takes on average 1 minute and 45 seconds to wash. They use 10 000 liters of water per day and 300 liters of soap.
    Article published:
    March 29, 2012, 20:31 BST
    Cycling News

    Physical asset management company cleans, tracks 1000+ bikes

    Getting more than 1000 bikes clean after each stage and storing them between stages is no simple task at the Absa Cape Epic mountain bike stage race in South Africa. Physical asset management company Pragma once again joined forces with the organisers of this year's event provide finish line services, bike washing and bike parking. Pragma is not a bike washing company, but it does have plenty of logistics experience, managing over 3.5 million physical assets globally.

    "After a rider crosses the finish line of any stage at the event, a Pragma crew member takes the bike from the rider so that the participant can go directly to the food zone to collect some necessary nutrition before retiring for the rest of the day," said Chief Executive Officer of Pragma, Adriaan Scheeres.

    "The bike is registered on our On Key EAMS system as it enters the bike wash area. It is carefully, yet thoroughly, washed with Motorex, an approved bio-degradable, non-decreasing soap. Upon its exit from the wash area, a SMS is sent to the rider informing him or her that the bike is clean and in the bike park."

    "Pragma ensures that the numbers are sequential and that the bikes are parked in the correct locations, and aims to complete the entire process for each bike within two minutes. This is an incredible accomplishment if one keeps in mind that we do this with about one thousand bikes a day. One clean bike leaves the bike wash area every 15 seconds, four cleans bikes per minute and 240 bikes per hour. Each bike takes on average one minute and 45 seconds to wash. We use 10,000 liters of water per day and 300 liters of soap!"

    As in the past, the bike wash consists of six dedicated wash bays. After being sprayed with bio-degradable non-degreaser detergent, the bikes are mounted on specially designed bike stands and then hosed down with high-pressure Kränzle washers. The stands and washers...

  • US 24-hour mountain bike nationals awarded to Gallup

    Josh Tosado en route to his third straight US national 24-hour title.
    Article published:
    March 31, 2012, 17:27 BST
    Cycling News

    New Mexico race wins bid to host in 2013 and 2014

    USA Cycling have awarded the 2013 and 2014 24-Hour Mountain Bike National Championships to Gallup, New Mexico. The event will be held on the third Sunday in June in each year in the Zuni Mountains in conjunction with the established 24 Hours in the Enchanted Forest race.

    The 16-mile course is nearly entirely singletrack. It starts at 7,850 feet of elevation and reaches as high as 8,350 feet of elevation, featuring 1,344 feet of climbing.

    "There are a lot of great endurance races and experienced race directors out there," Director of Zia Rides Lindsay Mapes said. "I've been thinking about nationals for a few years. We thought we had a shot - New Mexico has never hosted this event, Gallup is poised as a mountain bike destination, our team of organizers is seasoned, and we have a solid course. We're honored to have been selected and stoked about hosting in 2013-14!"

    The two-year agreement between USA Cycling, the sport's national governing body, and Zia Rides is expected to bring approximately 300 of the country's best endurance mountain bike riders to New Mexico.

    "We're looking forward to bringing the 2013 and 2014 USA Cycling Mountain Bike 24-Hour National Championships to Gallup," National Events Director Kelli Lusk said. "The course in the Zuni Mountains featuring so much singletrack and climbing will certainly challenge the best endurance riders in the country."

    USA Cycling has already identified other locations for its 2013 and 2014 national championships. Cross country nationals will be held in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. Marathon nationals will be in Sun Valley, Idaho, and gravity nationals will be at Angel Fire Resort in New Mexico.

  • Hughes becomes Canadian National Development Coach

    Derek Zandstra (Scott-3Roxracing) was the top North American
    Article published:
    March 31, 2012, 21:11 BST
    Cycling News

    Quebec Team Head MTB Coach steps up to national role

    The Canadian Cycling Association (CCA) hired Ian Hughes as its Mountain Bike National Development Coach. From now on, the former Quebec Team Head Mountain Bike Coach will work within the National Team programs.

    Hughes will be tasked to develop a national strategy aiming at facilitating the athletes' arrival on the international scene. This facilitating process will notably be through training camps and competition projects. In addition, Hughes will also have to elaborate talent detection tools, as well as contribute to the expansion of the mountain bike athletes' pool.

    In his new functions, Hughes will work with provincial cycling associations, and in particular with regards to the implantation of the Long Term Athlete Development model (LTAD). In addition, he will pursue his implication in the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) and closely collaborate with all provincial and personal coaches. Finally, he will assist the National Team Head Mountain Bike Coach in order to establish fluid transitions between Development and High Performance programs.

    "We are very happy to have Ian among us. We are also grateful to the Quebec Cycling Federation (FQSC) for having allowed us to use Ian's services as Mountain Bike National Development Coach. Because of his experience in mountain bike, his teaching approach and his training methodology, Ian is a great addition to our National Coaches team," said Jacques Landry, High Performance Director and Head Coach at the Canadian Cycling Association.

    "I am extremely happy about the challenges this new job will provide. It was an opportunity I had to seize," said Hughes.

    Starting April 1, Hughes will officially become a CCA employee, even though he will continue to work with the FQSC during a short transition period.

  • Evans and George fight back for Cape Epic stage win

    Stage winners David George and Kevin Evans break early up Groenland Berg
    Article published:
    March 31, 2012, 21:52 BST
    Cycling News

    South African pair celebrates a victory during an up and down week

    South Africans Kevin Evans and David George of Team Nedbank 360Life shrugged off the bad luck they’ve endured over the past week to claim a dominant victory on stage 6 of the 2012 Absa Cape Epic at Oak Valley on Saturday.

    The sentimental favourites also continued their yo-yo-like status on the overall classification by moving from fifth back up to second with one day remaining. Race leaders and defending champions, Burry Stander and Chistoph Sauser (36One-Songo-Specialized) finished the stage in second place six minutes and 44 seconds down, while Alban Lakata and Robert Mennin (Topeak Ergon) rounded out the podium places 8:55 behind the winners.

    With over 2000 metres of vertical ascent to conquer, George and Evans went on the attack at the base of the first major climb. Stander and Sauser initially left it up to the other teams to defend the minor podium places being threatened by Nedbank 360Life, but later Stander and Sauser decided to break clear themselves and pursue Evans and George.

    “In order to win the stage and get back up to second on general classification, we knew we had to put on the pressure as early as possible. We have a lot of frustration built up from the last few days, but today we used it as our motivation. We had everything to gain,” said George. “The support of the crowds was incredible. We feel honoured to have such support.”

    George and Evans experienced delays due to cut tyres on stages 1 and 5, losing significant time and the possibility of challenging Sauser...

  • BC Bike Race sold out again

    A rider in the BC Bike Race
    Article published:
    April 01, 2012, 18:50 BST
    Cycling News

    New enduro sections and altered route for 2012 edition

    The 2012 edition of the BC Bike Race has again sold out for what will be its sixth year. Five hundred participants will start the race on July 1 in Cumberland, British Columbia. New for 2012 are 12 time gravity enduro sections and an entirely new day 7 featuring Whistler.

    "To provide the best quality experience both on and off the bike and to ensure an intimate full service event is executed at a premium level we must limit the numbers," said race director Dean Payne.

    "Each of the other events in this (mountain bike stage race) category has its own flavour and its own capacity, but we don't foresee being able to or interested in hosting more than 500 each year. It's simply the most sustainable number for the quality of event we wish to host, getting to know each and every person is our goal." The BC Bike Race is known for having a large amount of singletrack relative to other weeklong off-road epics.

    BC Bike Race draws a range of athletes from pros to everyday Joes; this year is no exception.

    The race will run through July 7. Registration for 2013 will open July 8th one day after the completion of this year’s event.

    Chris Sheppard and Jennifer Schulz won the 2011 BC Bike Race.

    For more information on the BC Bike Race, visit