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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Sunday, May 26, 2013

Date published:
May 26, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Riders from several mountain bike disciplines share first Enduro World Series podium

    The first ever race of the Enduro World Series was staged in italy. Sun, seaside and beautiful trails are the special flavours of this historic event
    Article published:
    May 21, 2013, 15:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Former downhill world champs Barel and Moseley come out on top

    Just seven months after the creation of an Enduro World Series was announced, the first round took place over the May 18-19 weekend in Punta Ala, Italy. Over 500 riders from every mountain bike discipline and many nations arrived to take part in the highly anticipated race.

    Locals from the seaside resort came out in force to experience the opening night time trial, the prologue, and witnessed the world's fastest riders tear through the rain-slicked medieval cobblestone streets of Castiglione della Pescaia. France's Alex Cure (Urge Team) and Anne Caroline Chausson (Ibis) finished the prologue in the top position.

    The podium results indicate what a true test of the all-round rider enduro racing is, with French downhill champion Fabien Barel (Canyon Factory Team), French enduro specialist Jerome Clementz (Cannondale Overmountain) and Australian BMX Olympian and 4X World Champion Jared Graves (Yeti-Fox Factory Team) taking the top three places. Narrowly missing the podium was 16 year old Belgian rider, Martin Maes (GT Factory Racing).

    While Clementz took an early lead, winning Sunday’s first stage, Barel put in the performance of the race on the longest, most technical trail, the race's second stage and special time rush, where he took a 13-second lead.

    Former downhill world champion and enduro racer, Tracy Moseley from the UK (Trek Factory Racing) beat out another former world champion Emmeline Ragot from France (Lapierre International) and cross country Olympian Cecile Ravanel from France (GT Skoda) in the women's field.

    For Managing Director of the EWS, Chris Ball, the event had the perfect mix of epic clashes of top athletes, drama and challenge with riders posting World Cup downhill speeds, Instagramming during the liaison stages, and big names like Chausson and Nico Lau crashing out, Vouilloz racing to maintain a decent overall...

  • Lechner returns to top step of World Cup podium

    Eva Lechner (Colnago Sudtirol) races downhill
    Article published:
    May 22, 2013, 17:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Italian delighted after Albstadt win

    Eva Lechner (Colnago Sudtirol) won her first career World Cup cross country race in Houffalize, Belgium, in 2010, the same season in which she finished third overall in the World Cup ranking. She followed it up with her second-ever World Cup cross country win in Albstadt, Germany on Sunday.

    "I am very content with myself," said Lechner after her victory. "My aim was a top 10 finish, but as I had good legs and believed in myself, I was able to win the race. It is very special to win the first World Cup of the season."

    Albstadt was hosting a UCI MTB World Cup event for the first time, which meant the course was new to most World Cup participants. Lechner felt good about the course from her first course inspection. It was a technical course, with short, steep uphills and plenty of long, technical downhill sections.

    In the six-lap race, Lechner had a good start and quickly joint the under 23 world champion Jolanda Neff (Giant XC), who took the early lead, and eliminator World Cup winner Alexandra Engen (Ghost Factory) and Katrin Leumann (Ghost Factory).

    After three laps, former World Champion Maja Wloszczowska (Giant XC) was moving up and joined Lechner and Leumann at the front, while Neff had dropped back. Engen was joined by Tanja Zakelj (Unior Tools), but the duo was already 13 seconds behind at this point.

    With one lap to go, Leumann, Lechner and Wloszczowska were six seconds ahead of Zakelj, and the gap to Engen was 18 seconds. The women were by no means assured of their podium positions as it suddenly started to rain, and the course became very slippery and even more difficult to handle.

    Lechner was able to open a gap on one of the short steep uphill sections in the final half lap, and she crossed the...

  • NICA High School Cycling News Round-up - May 22, 2013

    Hannah Rae Finchamp on her way to winning the California state title
    Article published:
    May 22, 2013, 22:10 BST
    Paul Skilbeck

    Record-breaking California championships; Meet Hannah Rae Finchamp

    NICA experienced a new high with the California High School MTB State Championships, May 19th, when 700 student athletes assembled at Stafford Lake Recreation Area, Novato, just 45 minutes' drive north from downtown San Francisco. It was the biggest event dedicated to high school mountain biking to date in the USA.

    The California championship came amid the culmination of NICA spring leagues. Texas had their championship on May 11th, and the New York League's final event will be on June 2.

    The New York League got off to a great start on April 27 at Sprain Ridge Park, Yonkers, New York. Hopes are high that this league will tap into the immense cycling energy of New York and grow to rival NorCal for participation figures.

    Even amidst the flurry of activities helping newer leagues manage their fledgling events, the greater aim remains clearly in view: providing opportunities coast to coast for high school mountain bike racing by 2020.

    NICA has been in conversation with groups in five states that have expressed an interest, and will soon start considering new league applications. The deadline for submissions is June 15. As in past years, the new leagues announcement is planned for Interbike.

    May 20th in Healdsburg, California, was launch date for the NICA Booster Club Gran Corsa or "Big Ride" events, the day after the Tour of California. Riders chose 35- or 45-mile options, both of which ended with a gourmet cyclist's lunch prepared by Chef Biju and Dr. Allen Lim,...

  • Grand Junction Off-Road race course revealed

    A racer at the Whiskey Off-Road
    Article published:
    May 23, 2013, 12:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Video highlights world class trails in inaugural event

    Promoters of the all new Grand Junction Off-Road race taking place on Labor Day Weekend, August 31-September 1 in Grand Junction, Colorado, released a course flyover video.

    Named for its location at the confluence of the Colorado and Gunnison Rivers, the high desert town of Grand Junction has flourished over the past decade into a world-class mountain biking destination. Those familiar with Grand Junction will recognize trail names like Lunch Loops, Twist 'n Shout, Butterknife, Tabeguache and Andy's Trail; all of which will be featured in the 40-mile Grand event.

    With cooperation from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), two shorter course lengths will be offered (15-mile Grand and 30-mile Grand) to challenge the skill and experience of all types.

    Riders will start and finish in the heart of downtown Grand Junction with cool, early morning temperatures only steps from the mighty Colorado River.

    All riders will leave town crossing over the Colorado and hit dirt within three miles, entering the famous Lunch Loops trail system. After climbing Widowmaker Hill, riders will experience Gunny, a fun section of singletrack that gives a taste of the riding that's to come. Then it's time to Twist 'n Shout, a trail that lives up to its name. Butterknife trail is next, a 6.5-mile section of singletrack that weaves its way through juniper trees and over technical rock features. For a firsthand look of the fun in store, watch this 10-minute trail preview of the Butterknife descent.

    After Butterknife, the breathtaking scenery takes over as riders drop down to the Gunnison River with expansive views of towering red rock cliffs before a long climb up Magellan Loop that peaks riders out at 6,600 feet elevation. After a brief descent, riders will then get to experience more than a mile of Tabeguache Trail, riding exclusively on a slickrock climb that offers astonishing...

  • No holding back for McConnell after World Cup victory in Albstadt

    Dan McConnell wins the men's race in Albstadt
    Article published:
    May 23, 2013, 23:50 BST
    Alex Malone

    Australian hits the front line for first time in Novo Mesto na Morave

    In what was a drought-ending win for Australia in last weekend's World Cup opener in Albstadt, Dan McConnell is ready to be in the mix when he takes to the front row at this weekend's second round in Novo Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic. The victory was in a sense a historic one with the result giving Australia its first World Cup XC win since Cadel Evans in 2000 while also proving McConnell his biggest result to date - having rounded-out the top-20 just once prior to his win on the muddy and slick course in Germany.

    With the World Cup now in full swing and a team that allows McConnell to concentrate fully on the fine details of training and racing, the three-time Oceania champion arrives in Czech as the number-one ranked rider on the circuit.

    "It still feels pretty crazy that I won the first World Cup of the season and am leading the World Cup series," McConnell told Cyclingnews. "It has been a long time since Australia has won a World Cup in cross country so it's very special, hopefully this is going to help motivate the next generation of mountain bikers and help Australia to become one of the dominant countries like it was in the late 90's.

    "I don't think I can put the Albstadt result down to just one thing. A big factor is the Trek Factory Team and their support which this allows me to concentrate purely on my riding and making sure I get to the start line ready to go. Besides a few slight changes with training it has been pretty similar to previous years. I think it's just all those ‘one per-cent' extras that are really starting to add up."

    Contesting for the win this weekend is certainly an objective for the Trek Factory Racing rider but he admits his ultimate goal remains, as it was before the start of his 2013 campaign to get "results in the top-20" before...

  • Sauser aims to defend title at Bike Four Peaks

    Former world champion Christoph Sauser races in Schaan
    Article published:
    May 24, 2013, 8:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Lakata to challenge Swiss marathon specialist

    Christoph Sauser (Specialized) is aiming to make it four wins in a row at the Bike Four Peaks mountain bike stage race, which was formerly known as the Tran Germany. In light of his past success, he is the clear favorite for this year's race, something that gives him motivation.

    "Being the one everyone is looking for helps. It makes you a favourite so you have to ride fast," said Sauser. "And when I compete, I want to win!"

    Just two weeks remain until the race from June 5 to June 8, and Sauser's chances of winning are good. The Cape Epic winner says he is in better shape this year and will come into the race more rested. "This year, I won't compete in any cross country race before the event and thus can prepare better."

    Sauser was leading the final meters of the European marathon championships a few weeks ago in Singen, Germany, when he had a technical problem and was overtaken by winner Alban Lakata (Topeak Ergon).

    Lakata is Sauser's top rival at the Bike Four Peaks.

    "It's my goal to keep the momentum for the Bike Four Peaks and to get the fine tuning for the world championships which are subsequent to the race," said Lakata, winner of the 2012 Trans Alp stage race race.

    "Of course I would like to win. But I guess I'm not the only one. There are a few who will go for it."

    Besides Sauser, Markus Kaufmann and Urs Huber are top candidates for the podium.

    "It will be a tight battle until the very last metre!" predicted Lakata.

    The four-day stage race happens in the Alps over 300km and 9,000m of climbing.

  • Gallagher delighted with first World Cup win

    Kenta Gallagher will race for the Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team in 2013
    Article published:
    May 25, 2013, 16:01 BST
    Cycling News

    British rider celebrates eliminator win in Nove Mesto

    British rider Kenta Gallagher (Superior Brentjens) raced to his first career World Cup win in the men's eliminator race in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.

    "It's cool to win my first World Cup," said Gallagher. "I'm amazed. I didn't think I could do it so early on and with such a hard track. This course is so hard, there's a lot of tactics involved and you have to make your moves on the final straight."

    After qualifying fourth, Gallagher worked his way into the finals where he was joined by Miha Halzer, Christian Pfaffle and Simon Gegenheimer after several other favorites were eliminated due to mechanical issues.

    "Knowing you are on the podium is already fun racing, but it was now or never for the win," he said.

    In the final, Halzer smashed his derailleur in the rock garden, and Gegenheimer had a flat tire. That left Gallagher to sprint against Pfaffle. On the asphalt to the finish line, Pfaffle initiated the sprint while Gallagher waited, but timed his effort perfectly to come around for the win.

    Team owner Bart Brentjens said, " I am really happy for Kenta that he won his first World Cup. When I saw him racing the eliminator last year in Houffalize, I was impressed by the enormous power and sprint capacities he has. It is a great start, and I think Kenta will show us some more good results this year."

    Gallagher's performance was also watched by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which came to Nove Mesto na Morave to see whether the relatively new eliminator discipline might be added to the Olympic Games in 2016. A final decision will be made in September later this year.

  • Cooper sidelined by illness at Nove Mesto World Cup

    Anton Cooper (New Zealand) in action.
    Article published:
    May 26, 2013, 2:40 BST
    Cycling News

    Junior world champ battles virus

    Fans and followers of Anton Cooper will have to wait another three weeks to see how the junior world champion stacks up against his U23 rivals. The New Zealander, who was suffering from a stomach bug at last weekend's World Cup in Albstadt, Germany, had to sit out the Nove Mesto, Czech Republic round on Saturday.

    The Cannondale Factory Racing rider continues to fight a virus and reported that his health was not good enough to ride at Nove Mesto Na Morave.

    "After a visit to the doctor, it was clear that my health is not good enough to race," Cooper said. "I am gutted, but it's obvious that rest is needed if I hope to be 100 percent again by Val di Sole in three weeks time."

    The next round of the World Cup is in Val di Sole, Italy, in mid-June.