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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Sunday, July 24, 2011

Date published:
July 24, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • New Zealand names mountain bike Worlds team

    Eventual winner Rosara Joseph from New Zealand in action during the women's elite cross country.
    Article published:
    July 19, 2011, 5:31 BST
    Cycling News

    30 riders headed to Switzerland

    Mountainbike NZ and BikeNZ announced the New Zealand national team for the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Champery, Switzerland, from August 30 to September 4.

    The 30 strong team includes elite, under 23 and under 19 team members. Rosara Joseph will lead the cross country contingent while the downhill team is being lead by a quartet of elite athletes who have been regular World Cup podium and top 10 performers this year: Brook MacDonald, Sam Blenkinsop, Cam Cole and Justin Leov.

    The full team will assemble in Italy for the final World Cup and heading into the Worlds. Its riders will race the Val di Sole World Cup on August 20-21.

    New Zealand team for UCI Mountain Bike World Championships

    Cross Country
    Elite men: Carl Jones
    Elite women: Rosara Joseph, Karen Hanlen
    Under 23 men: Dirk Peters, Brad Hudson, Sam Shaw
    Under 23 women: Katie O'Neill, Samara Sheppard
    Under 19 men: Anton Cooper, Mathew Waghorn, Nigel McDowell, Tom Bradshaw, Tom Filmer

    Under 19 women: Sarah Atkin, Sophie Tyas, Madeline Taylor, Veronique Sandler, Sophie-Marie Bethell
    Under 19 men: Reuben Olorenshaw, Daniel Franks, Reece Potter, Jay Barrett
    Elite women: Amy Laird, Gabby Molloy
    Elite men: Cameron Cole, Sam Blenkinsop, Justin Leov, Brook MacDonald, George Brannigan, Matthew Scoles

    Four cross
    Elite men: Daniel Franks

  • Champion pair leads formidable Aussie team for MTB world champs

    Troy Brosnan (Monster-Specialized) pleasing the big crowd
    Article published:
    July 21, 2011, 5:49 BST
    Cycling News

    Jongewaard to return to world stage

    Reigning world downhill champions Sam Hill and Troy Brosnan headline a 36-strong Australian team which has been selected to compete at the 2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Switzerland next month.

    To be staged from August 31 to September 4, the world's best will vie for the coveted world title at the picturesque Swiss mountain resort of Champéry.

    Last year, Australia claimed more gold than any other nation at the world championships in Canada, with Hill (WA- elite downhill), Brosnan (SA - junior downhill) and Caroline Buchanan (ACT- elite four cross) all securing the rainbow jersey. In addition, Queensland's Jared Graves also took silver in the men's elite four cross.

    Preparations for the 2011 campaign are looking just as promising with both young gun Brosnan, and 2009 world champion Graves leading the current 2011 UCI World Cup standings in their respective events.

    With the London 2012 Olympic Games just one year away, much of the attention will also be focused on the cross country riders, with Chris Jongewaard leading the Australian charge.

    The 32-year-old Adelaide-based rider has endured a tumultuous couple of years but made an impressive return to the elite mountain biking scene over the Australian summer collecting both national championship and national series crowns.

    Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA) sport director Chris Clarke, said that although the selected squad was younger than in previous years with an average age of 21, he is confident the team is ready to perform on the big stage.

    "It is certainly a younger team and in some ways it signals a changing of the guard in Australian mountain biking," said Clarke.

    "The team we've selected this year is smaller than in previous years, but it is a high quality team which is capable of delivering significant results.

    "Our elite downhillers will provide strong medal hopes and we have great depth in our junior downhill...

  • Wilderman steps up into elite mountain bike ranks

    The Elite Women head up the long fire road climb
    Article published:
    July 21, 2011, 15:44 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    First-year elite racer excels at US nationals

    In her first year racing in the elite women's category, Sage Wilderman earned a top-10 finish at the US Mountain Bike National Championships last weekend. Wilderman, who turned 23 during the championships, is off to a good start as she gives pro cycling a shot.

    "This year has been amazing. I've had a significant season," said Wilderman after competing in the cross country national championship race. "It's exciting to be able to line up with these guns even though it is nervewracking to hang on their wheel. It pushes you so hard."

    Wilderman finished eighth in the cross country on Saturday and 11th in the short track on Sunday in Sun Valley, Idaho. In 2010, she won the under 23 women's national title in the cross country race.

    "The transition to the elites has been good but hard," she said. "It's a lot more training, but I've dedicated the next two years to cycling. I'm excited, and races like this push me to the next level. I know I just need to get out there and train harder. I'm super close and I want to get up there."

    Wilderman is racing full time after graduating from Fort Lewis College with a major in world history and a minor in literature.

    "I'm racing and having fun," said Wilderman, who competes for the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory team out of Durango, Colorado, where she lives.

    She works part-time during the week to make ends meet. "I sling coffee at a shop called Durago Joes and my brother is part-owner of a burrito place so I sling for him a few nights a week too when he needs it. It keeps me busy."

    Wilderman recent placed third at the Teva Games and will race...

  • Video: Ettinger fulfills goal with national title

    Stephen Ettinger (BMC)
    Article published:
    July 21, 2011, 18:40 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Perseverance pays off for BMC rider

    It's been quite a season for Stephen Ettinger (BMC Development Mountain Bike Team), who has been among the podium finishers at elite men's cross country races throughout the US this season. Most recently, the 22-year-old raced to victory in the under 23 men's cross country at the US Mountain Bike National Championships in Sun Valley, Idaho, last weekend.

    After his title-winning ride, Ettinger was speechless. "That was unreal. I don't even know what to say."

    Given a little time to recover, he had more to share. "It feels really good. This season has been absolutely incredible to this point. This win makes it even better. It was a big goal, for sure."

    Ettinger has been super motivated this season and the support from his new BMC Development Mountain Bike Team seems to have helped him make a big leap forward in 2011.

    "It was all or nothing this year," said Ettinger, who is in his final year as a U23 racer. He had bad luck last year at nationals, and in 2009, he was third after Colin Cares and Rob Squire.

    "The support that I've gotten from BMC this year is huge. Having the support and not having to worry about the little things puts me in a much lower stress place and it's making it easier to focus on the race and do what I need to do."

    "It's also a lot of cumulative work. This is like my sixth or seventh year trying to chase the national championships. It's perseverance and it works. Each year, my training has gotten harder and better. For me, it's just all coming together - all the hard work and the training over the years and the experience I've gained here in the US and racing internationally."

    Ettinger, who lives in Bozeman, Montana, heads next to the US Pro XCT...

  • Endurance pro Carey heads to High Cascades fresh off nationals

    Amanda Carey (Kenda-Felt) riding a very strong race
    Article published:
    July 21, 2011, 20:15 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Top 10 cross country finish is good "training"

    Endurance racer Amanda Carey doesn't do many cross country races, but she made an exception at the US Mountain Bike National Championships last weekend in Sun Valley, Idaho, where she raced with the elite women.

    National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series winner Carey, who lives 3.5 hours away from Sun Valley in Victor, Idaho, couldn't pass up the chance to come race and to see many of her friends on the cross country race circuit.

    "My strategy is to use this kind of race as a testing race. I go as hard as I can from the gun so I'm totally tapped out. I see how long I can last and then I take that and put that in the back of my head for the 100s."

    "Then I know when I'm going hard in the 100s, I know if I can recover," she said. Carey is competing in "six or seven" 100-milers this year.

    Carey finished an impressive seventh place in Sun Valley, and she was content with her results. "I'm not surprised, since I had zero expectations. It was short, but brutal. At this point in the season, that's what I need. I had the luxury of probably being the only pro out here who could use nationals for training. So I had no pressure. Maybe that's a lesson for all of us? Chill more."

    After the finish, she joked that she would head out and ride for another five or six hours.

    Carey was skipping last weekend's Breckenridge 100 round of the NUE series to race US Mountain Bike Nationals, but she'll be back on the circuit this weekend at the High Cascades 100.

    "The race I'm most excited about for the whole year is the Pierre's 100. It's in Grand Targhee resort down the street from my house. It's an NUE series race," she said.

    "Schedule-wise, it's tough because it's the weekend before Leadville, but I'm...

  • Line-up revealed for Olympic mountain biking test event

    Sabine Spitz (Central Haibike), dirty after a crash early in the race in Mont-Sainte-Anne
    Article published:
    July 22, 2011, 11:17 BST
    Cycling News

    Absalon and Spitz set to line up

    Olympic champions Julien Absalon and Sabine Spitz are among the 104 riders on the start list for the Hadleigh Farm Mountain Bike International, a test event being held on the London 2012 cross country course in 10 days' time on July 31.

    Other top names who are due to head to Essex include World Cup series leaders Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized Racing) of Czechand Julie Bresset (BH-Suntour-Peisey Vallandry) of France, plus a host of homegrown pros. Check out the elite women's start list and elite men's start list.

    Taking part a year before the Olympic racing, the Hadleigh Farm International will allow organisers to test the course, admission arrangements, timing, scoring and transportation to ensure the main event goes off without a hitch. Around 5,000 spectators are expected, with tickets still available via Ticketmaster.

    The day starts with the women’s race at 11:00 am, when 44 of the world’s top riders will battle it out on the 5.1km course. At 2:00 pm, the men will cross the start line and fight it out for a share of the £4,000 prize fund. David Luckes, head of sport competition for the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG), said spectators can expect "a day of top-level competition".

    Gates open at 9:00 am and visitors are being encouraged to use public transport. The nearest railway station is Leigh-on-Sea, from where a free shuttle bus service will take spectators to the venue. There's also a park-and-ride service to Waterside Farm Leisure Centre and a bike park...

  • Canada Cup's final cross country round is cancelled

    Max Plaxton (Specialized Factory Team) at the front at the start
    Article published:
    July 23, 2011, 6:40 BST
    Cycling News

    No Panorama round means Edmonton round will be finals

    The 2011 Canada Cup cross country round scheduled for July 30 at Panorama Mountain Resort has been cancelled as announced by the Canadian Cycling Association on Friday.

    Organizers made the difficult decision to cancel the cross country portion of the Canada Cup series due to low registration numbers even as the rest of the series has been successful in terms of rider registration and quality.

    As a results, the Canada Cup Cross Country Series race in Edmonton, Alta, on July 23, will be the series final race of the season. There will be changes to the calculations of the overall standings, as the best three results of the four events will now count towards the final standings.

    The 2011 Canada Cup Downhill Series will end on July 31 at Panorama Mountain Resort with the presentation of the third and final downhill race of the series.

    Favorites for the finals

    In Edmonton this weekend, it's the cross country riders, fresh off successful Canadian championships in Canmore, Alberta, who will be racing to grab the top Canada Cup honours in this final cross country race of the season.

    Matthew Hadley and Catherine Vipond will both be looking to defend their current Canada Cup leads. However, there are no guarantees as the competition is stiff in both categories, with Jean-Ann Berkenpas chasing Vipond, just five points behind, in the women's standings and Cameron Jette and Adam Morka are still very present in the race in the men's race to the season title.

    In the U23 category, Léandre Bouchard, the 2011 Canadian U23 Champion, will be looking to end his 2011 domestic season on a high note with a win, while Andréanne Pichette will be looking to secure her lead with a strong performance, with good leads over their closest competitors.

    Frédérique Trudel, the 2011 Canadian Champion in the women's junior category, and Alexandre Vialle are leading the standings in the junior...

  • Video: Racers lavish praise on Missoula XC course

    Adam Craig (Rabobank Giant) rides the big jump with ease
    Article published:
    July 24, 2011, 22:08 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Gap jump welcomed, even by those who took the B-line

    The course at the new Missoula XC, the final stop on the US Pro XCT, received rave reviews from riders after the cross country race was run on Saturday in Missoula, Montana.

    "This is my favorite course this year," said Jeremy-Horgan Kobelski, who raced to a second place finish just behind Subaru-Trek teammate and hometown favorite Sam Schultz. He and Schultz flew over the jump each lap, with Schultz comfortable enough to go for style points as he pulled moves in the air.

    A brand new course had been cut into Marshall Mountain, a former ski area, for the event, but it was done far enough in advance that locals had worn it in during a series of mid-week, evening races.

    The course featured mostly wooded singletrack and doubletrack on property formally used as a local ski hill. While the first half of the lap was generally uphill and the second half was generally downhill, the race had a feeling of going up and down throughout. With tight turns and plenty of sidehill singletrack, good knowledge of the course was an advantage when it came to how to carry speed and what gears to use.

    The feature that drew the most talk was a gap jump on the descent. It was a jump that made even the most experienced racers stop and think twice, and in fact at least half the elite men took the "B-line" and all of the elite women opted to skip the jump and take the longer B-line.

    The jump helped those who did it gain about 6-10 seconds, depending how fast a rider could do the B-line.

    "I was happy to get that jump dialed. That's close to the limit of what I would ride on a cross country bike," said Horgan-Kobelski. "I rediscovered my youthful getting air and having fun on a mountain bike course."

    "I liked that feature. As long as people have an option to go around, I'm all for it. I like stuff like that."

    US Pro XCT series winner...