A close-up look at the Australian's purpose-built ride
Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
New and old kicks and lids seen at WorldTour race
Consistency pays off for Swiss cross country star
By taking nearly a quarter of the votes cast, Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) rose to the top of the Cyclingnews Reader Poll to become the 2012 Male Mountain Biker of the Year. The Swiss rider had a consistently impressive season, riding well from start to finish. He earned 3,521 votes (24.45%) in the Reader Poll.
"It was my best season ever," Schurter told Cyclingnews in September.
Schurter opened his season with a World Cup win in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. A second place in Houffalize and another win in Nove Mesto on his birthday soon followed. He sat out La Bresse due to illness, but while others were scrambling at that World Cup for one last chance to make their Olympic teams, the pressure was off Schurter, who had known all spring that he had his spot secured on the super competitive Swiss Olympic team.
Schurter made the trip across the Atlantic to win the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup, but he didn't stick around for the next weekend's racing in Windham. Instead, it was time to head home to Europe and dial in the final Olympic preparations.
High altitude training camp clearly paid off for Schurter, who won the Swiss national championships and the final World Cup in Val d'Isere. More consistent than any other rider on the World Cup circuit, Schurter took the overall World Cup title.
Dutch star ponders options for the future
What do you do if you're an accomplished road, 'cross and track racer? If you are Marianne Vos, you think about racing your mountain bike, too.
The current women's road world champion said that she is considering racing her mountain bike next season although she does not plan to compete in the full World Cup circuit due to an already busy road season.
"I see 2013 more like a year in which I can see what my options are," sais Vos according to www.wielerland.nl.
"Afterwards, we will take stock and see if there are an opportunities at a top international level, so that I could possibly come on the [mountain] bike to the Olympic Games in Rio."
She mentioned how much she has enjoyed mountain biking. When racing as a junior, she won the Dutch mountain bike national championships three times (2002-2004).
She has also proven her off-road bike handling skills by winning the cyclo-cross Worlds five times. In 2013, she will race primarily on the road for the Rabobank Liv / Giant Team.
Vos to guest ride for MTB team formerly known as Rabobank-Giant
Following the withdrawal of Rabobank's sponsorship from the Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team, bike sponsor Giant has taken over full title sponsorship of the mountain bike team. In 2013, the squad will be known as Giant Pro Cross Country Team.
Former world champion Maja Wloszczowska is the newest big signing. She is making the move from the CCC Polkowice team after a disappointing 2012, when she was sidelined mid-season by a foot and ankle injury and had to miss the Olympic Games and Worlds.
Wloszczowska will have some good company next season as the Giant Pro Cross Country team has also signed U23 world champion Jolanda Neff, who is transferring from the Wheeler - IXS Team. Pro road, 'cross and track racer Marianne Vos (Rabobank Liv/Giant) will guest ride with the Giant Pro Cross Country Team for several major events, including in Cyprus, at the Sea Otter Classic in the USA, at the Val di Sole World Cup in Italy and some Dutch races.
The Giant Pro XC Team has retained the bulk of its World Cup cross country mountain bike riders, including rising star Fabian Giger of Switzerland, who this year finished fifth at world championships, the best result of his career.
The team will also continue to feature former junior world champion Michiel van der Heijden. Giant said that a full roster for its cross country team will officially be announced next week. In the interim, Cyclingnews has learned that the following riders will also remain with the team for 2013: Henk Jaap Moorlag, Emil Lindgren and Pauline...
Marathon mountain bike racer receives effective one-year ban
The Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) announced a ban for Italian marathon racer Elena Giacomuzzi on Thursday according to a statement on its website. She was banned for four years, but CONI suspended three years of it for cooperating with authorities.
Giacomuzzi's remaining one-year ban was considered effective from June 24, 2012 and will expire on June 23, 2013. She is also required to pay the costs of the proceedings against her, which was quantified at the standard rate of 1,000 Euros.
She tested positive at the Italian marathon nationals on June 24 after finishing third. Her other major results include sixth at the UCI Marathon Series: Dolomiti Superbike and 15th at the European marathon championships.
Next generation to compete with Beaumont and the Athertons
GT Factory Racing has added two young riders to its 2013 roster to expand its downhill and enduro race team. Taylor Vernon of South Wales will join the world's fastest downhill race team to train alongside Gee Atherton, Rachel Atherton, and Marc Beaumont, while Martin Maes from Belgium will join Dan Atherton on the enduro team.
"Taylor was first brought to our attention last year, and we've seen him post some solid results in the under 16 sections this past season," said Dan Brown, Team Director. "The team is on a roll right now with Rachel's World Cup win, fastest team overall title and Gee taking podiums in every race. It feels like the right time for us to start to bring on some new young riders and we think that Taylor has the potential to become a major force on the World Cup scene."
Vernon, 16, will be racing on a GT Fury as he works to dominate the junior World Cups and world championships.
"Words can't describe how stoked I am to be joining Dan, Gee, Rachel, and Marc on GT Factory Racing," said Vernon. "I'm so excited about racing at the international and World Cup level and know that I could not ask for a better or more experienced team of people to teach me all there is to know."
On the enduro side, 15-year-old Martin Maes turned heads when he took fifth place overall at the Superenduro of Nations at Sauze d'Oulz. He will be riding a GT Force and focusing on the Enduro World Series.
"Nobody could quite believe it," said Dan Atherton. "There isn't a junior category in superenduro so this 15-year-old boy is just wasting some of the toughest and most experienced adult riders on the circuit. We are really excited about the Enduro World Series in 2013 and I'm stoked...
Cape Epic champions part of the four-rider line-up announced for 2013
Team RE:CM, one of South Africa's leading professional mountain bike racing outfits, has announced its line-up for 2013, which includes 2012 Cape Epic champions Erik and Ariane Kleinhans. The married couple won the highly competitive mixed category title at this year's edition of the Cape Epic after having finished second in 2011.
Another new rider on the team is Lourens Luus, a 21-year-old racer from South Africa's Mpumalanga province who has shown immense potential during 2012. Elite men's racer Waylon Woolcock remains on the squad and completed the four-rider roster.
"We've decided to focus on marathons and stage races only this year and believe we have a very talented line-up," said Malcolm Lange of Lange Sports, the company that owns and manages Team RE:CM. "Besides being the most formidable team in mixed category stage racing, Erik and Ariane bring individual strength too.
"Erik will race in elite men in marathons where he will provide experienced, reliable backing to Waylon and Lourens, while Ariane has shown she's one of the best female marathon racers in the country and among the best in the world."
Ariane, a Swiss national, but resident in South Africa, claimed the 2012 MTN South African National Marathon Series women's title. Of the five events she contested in the prestigious series, she won three and finished second in the other two.
"We are extremely excited about joining Team RE:CM. Our previous teams have been fantastic, but have been more regionally focussed. Team RE:CM is a national team with an excellent support structure, a step up for us for certain," said Erik Kleinhans.
"Our primary goal for 2013 is to win the mixed title again at the Cape Epic, but we plan to also compete in other high profile stage races such as joBerg2c, Sani2c, Cape Pioneer Trek and possibly TransAlp. Marathon races will obviously also be a high priority...
Leading Spanish mountain bike rider struck by car
Top Spanish mountain biker Iñaki Lejarreta, 29, was killed on Sunday when he was struck by a car while training in the Basque town of Iuretta.
At around 9:30 am on Sunday morning, Lejarreta - whose father Ismael and uncle Marino were both professional riders in the 1970s and 1980s, with Marino winning the Vuelta in 1982 - was struck by a car whilst training on a highway, police sources say. The rider fell onto the hard shoulder of what appears to be a broad, busy road close to some blocks of flats, his bike spinning over onto the other side of some low cement crash barriers. Although two ambulance units tried their best to save his life, it proved impossible.
A former junior World Champion in 2001 and silver medallist in 2000, Lejarreta was one of Spanish mountain biking’s leading lights. In 2011, he took silver in the Spanish national cross country championships as well as bronze in 2012 and 2007, and he also participated in the 2008 Olympics. As an under 23 rider, Lejarreta finished fourth in the Worlds, took silver three times in the cross country nationals, and was runner-up in the European Championships in 2004. He raced with the Orbea squad through 2012, but with the team disbanding in 2013, he had not yet found a new squad.
Lejaretta was married and he and his wife Naiara Telletxea - herself a former bike racer who then became Lejarreta’s trainer - were expecting their first child in January. Earlier this season, Spanish cycling already mourned the loss of another promising young rider, Euskaltel professional Victor Cabedo, when he was struck by a vehicle when training.
Cyclingnews offers its condolences to the family and friends of Lejarreta.
Third edition coming up for Spanish mountain bike stage race
The 2013 edition of the Andalucía Bike Race sold out with just two months to go before the start of the race.
The Spanish mountain bike stage race has grown quickly since its inaugural edition in 2011. In 2012, UCI-categoriezed race drew 436 racers, and in 2013, 600 racers will take to the start in Córdoba on February 24.
More countries will be represented than ever before: 28, up from 22 in 2012. Naturally, Spain is the most represented nation. Then followed Belgium, United Kingdom, Italy, Norway, Switzerland, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, United States, Canada, Puerto Rico and Bolivia.
For more information on the race, visit www.andaluciabikerace.com.