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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Thursday, April 11, 2013

Date published:
April 11, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Woodruff races to early season success

    Chloe Woodruff (Crankbrothers)
    Article published:
    April 04, 2013, 22:10 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    An in-depth chat with the Crankbrothers Pro XCT leader

    Chloe Woodruff didn't expect to find herself in the lead of the US mountain bike national series, the Pro XCT, this season. Yet she is there, topping the standings after three of nine rounds.

    The Crankbrothers racer has had excellent national-level results in the past, but in 2013, she's been racing better than ever.

    "It's been about consistency. In these first three Pro XCT races, everything came together," Woodruff told Cyclingnews. "I've had good solid races in each one. Consistency has been something I've struggled with over the years. This year, my equipment has been flawless, and my support has been flawless."

    Woodruff opened the Pro XCT with a fourth place finish in the Mellow Johnny's Classic. She backed that up with another fourth at Bonelli Park and a second at Fontana. In addition, she won the Bonelli super D and short track events and finished third in the Fontana Super D and second in the Fontana short track.

    She is a bit surprised to find herself in the Pro XCT lead.

    "It's pretty exciting. That wasn't a goal coming in," she said. "This year, we've got so many Pro XCT races on the calendar. I think most of us will have to pick and chose certain races. It's neat how I've been able to make it work."

    Compared to recent years with four, five or six rounds, this year's Pro XCT has nine rounds. Some elite mountain bikers have said in advance that they won't compete in the entire series, but will instead focus on the World Cups.

    Woodruff, on the other hand, is going to make as many rounds as she can. "We're looking at all the UCI races on the calendar and they hold more significance," she said. "If I could get to every Pro XCT event, I will. ...

  • BMC Racing Cup to get underway in Schaan

    Nino Schurter abd FlorianVogel celebrate at the finish
    Article published:
    April 05, 2013, 20:00 BST
    Cycling News

    2013 Swiss national series draws international stars

    The Swiss national mountain bike series is drawing elite mountain bikers from far beyond Switzerland for its opening round in Schaan this weekend. Olympians, world champions, European champions and national champions galore are on the start list for round 1 of the BMC Racing Cup.

    The cross country race will be held in Liechtenstein's Church for the fourth time. Many will be using it as an early season test in the lead up to the first World Cup in Albstadt, Germany in mid-May.

    The men's silver and bronze medallists from the Olympics, Nino Schurter and Marco Fontana, are among the favorites.

    "I am coming from the eight-day stage race Cape Epic in South Africa," said Schurter. "It was a great workout, but maybe I'm a little tired from that multi-day load. Still, I will try to deliver a perfect race. I'm hoping for a podium finish."

    Schurter won the last Swiss Cup event in Schaan in 2011 and was complimentary in his comments about the course.

    Other favorites include Christoph Sauser, who is fresh off winning the Cape Epic, Schurter's teammate Florian Vogel, Fabian Giger, Lukas Flückiger and Mathias Flückiger, Manuel Fumic and Moritz Milatz. The later just won the German Bundesliga series opener this past weekend.

    Among the women, past world champion Irina Kalentieva will battle former European champion Katrin Leumann, Olympian Esther Süss and reigning Swiss champion Sarah Koba. Adelheid Morath is also riding strong as she proved by winning the Bundesliga opener.

    "We look forward to a great sporting event with world-class riders and a unique setting," said race director Thomas Hollenstein, looking forward to the start of the BMC Racing Cup.

    Over 8,000 fans are expected over the course of the weekend of racing. The elite riders will compete on Sunday.

  • Racers upset after UCI's clarification on non-sanctioned races

    The elite men's start was on a circular gravel track
    Article published:
    April 07, 2013, 15:12 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Mountain bike pros protest rule enforcement

    American mountain bikers reacted with anger and frustration to the UCI's clarification of its rules after USA Cycling circulated a March 26th letter from the UCI President Pat McQuaid about its Rule 1.2.019, which banned all license holders, not just riders on registered UCI teams, from competing in non-sanctioned races. The UCI also clarified that national federations cannot make exceptions for most existing, unsanctioned events.

    "Dang. A girl leaves for an early, long MTB ride and returns to find the World of MTB racing will never be the same...this is not cool," said Heather Irmiger (Trek) on Facebook. Irmiger is a former multi-time US national champion who recently stepped off the UCI World Cup circuit and switched to world of (mostly unsanctioned) enduro racing.

    Prior to the letter dated March 26th, American mountain bikers were under the impression that the rule against competing in non-sanctioned races only applied to riders on registered UCI teams. USAC's Bill Kellick told Cyclingnews as much in an article on Cyclingnews dated March 12. "It is important to note that the only riders that are affected are riders that have registered with the UCI on a UCI team. This does not affect mountain bike pro riders who are NOT on UCI-registered teams," Kellick had said.

    One team, the Sho-Air/Cannondale Team, went as far as to un-register itself as a UCI team in order to comply with this interpretation while other riders, not on UCI registered teams, started making their plans to compete in some of North America's most popular races like the Trans-Sylvania Epic, the Breck Epic and the Whiskey 50, all established non-sanctioned mountain bike races.

    However, the UCI's March 26th letter...

  • Initial support surpasses Enduro World Series organiser's expectations

    Jerome Clementz (Cannondale Factory Racing)
    Article published:
    April 08, 2013, 6:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Community takes ownership of new organization and mountain bike format

    The Enduro World Series (EWS) launched with a ground-swell of support from the mountain bike community this spring. Within 48 hours of opening, the newly formed Enduro Mountain Biking Association (EMBA) had signed on its first 125 individual members - a wave of support that continued to grow over the first 30 days of registration to 19 teams, 10 official supporters and over 220 members.

    In addition, all Phase 1 race spots for the inaugural seven-event global series sold out within a week of opening registration.

    The rider list is a collection of slopestyle, four cross, downhill and cross country's global athletes, as well as the founding legends of enduro racing. The complete team list (see below) was released on Friday at the newly launched website

    "We're overwhelmed by the level of commitment to the whole series. It has exceeded our expectations," said EWS Managing Director Chris Ball. "All events have record fields even months before they normally open for entry."

    When the Enduro World Series was first announced November 22, 2012, the organising body EMBA was committed to featuring the biggest enduro races in the best locations on the best trails in the world, not through exclusive partnership agreements or sponsorship opportunities to finance the series, but instead, through individual, team and company membership packages.

    While Ball is pleased by the strong uptake of event registration, he's even more satisfied with the response to EMBA's invitation to become a member. "We put ourselves in the hands of the industry by choosing this model. We knew that industry-wide support would be critical for EMBA and would give everyone a chance to be involved in the development of the discipline and to show their support for the sport. We believe that this is how to build the sport - from the ground up, through our members."

    "So the...

  • Sho-Air/Cannondale Team sets up UCI rules showdown

    Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale) takes a turn at the front of the lead group at the Fontana short track
    Article published:
    April 09, 2013, 15:05 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Team to race at un-sanctioned Whiskey 50 despite threat of punishment

    Team Sho-Air/Cannondale became the first team to make an official public statement and stand against the current mandate regarding UCI rule 1.2.019 handed down per a March 26th letter from UCI president Pat McQuaid. The rule forbids UCI license holders from participation in non-sanctioned events.

    The team will send several of its racers to compete in the Whiskey 50 in Prescott, Arizona at the end of April. Current Pro XCT series leader Jeremiah Bishop, 2012 Pro XCT/Pro UET Champion and two-time defending Whiskey 50 champion Monique "Pua" Mata, along with NUE 100 opener winner Alex Grant and former master world champion Tinker Juarez will be on the start line. The team's Max Knox, who is currently recovering from knee surgery, is not on the roster.

    According to recently clarified UCI rules, all riders with UCI licenses are subject to punishment by fine or suspension if they compete in unsanctioned races. The ruling has hit the American mountain bike community especially hard, given the number of unsanctioned events traditionally attended by pros.

    The team's actions come with the full backing of title sponsor Sho-Air, and the company's President and CEO, R. Scott Tedro, issued a statement about the decision to send his riders to the Whiskey 50 in spite of potential action by USA Cycling:

    "We have had hundreds of phone calls, e-mails and Facebook posts regarding this issue by fans, friends and fellow riders stating their discontent and asking for help. We have always done our best to support USAC by permitting, and inscripting our events in the past and may continue in the future, as well as given countless hours of our time in assisting them in the promotion of the sport. Our proven and continued support of...

  • USA Cycling suggests dissatisfied riders contact UCI about rules

    The Pro Men waiting for their call-up
    Article published:
    April 09, 2013, 19:10 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Cycling federation answers questions regarding non-sanctioned races

    When news broke earlier in 2013 that USA Cycling would be enforcing UCI rule 1.2.019 and the related sanctions in rules 1.2.020 and 1.2.021, which forbid riders in all cycling disciplines from competing in non-sanctioned races, many riders, teams and promoters were unhappy that their opportunities to race would be limited. Even as the UCI clarified the meaning of its rules in a March 26th letter, comments, questions and information - some correct and some incorrect - bounced around the Internet.

    Looking to find out more about the rules, how they came to be enforced and their consequences and to answer some reader questions, Cyclingnews approached USA Cycling and the UCI with a different list of questions for each governing body. Below is the resulting Q&A with USA Cycling. Cyclingnews is awaiting a reply from the UCI.

    Cyclingnews: Earlier in 2013, USA Cycling told Cyclingnews: "It is important to note that the only riders that are affected are riders that have registered with the UCI on a UCI team. This does not affect mountain bike pro riders who are NOT on UCI-registered teams."

    However, the UCI letter USAC shared on Friday, April 5 from the UCI said, "Article 1.2.019 applies to all licence holders, without exception. It does not solely concern professional riders or just the members of UCI teams, contrary to certain statements in the press and on some blogs."

    Why the change in interpretation? In light of the March 26th letter, will...

  • Bishop going fast and having fun in early mountain bike season

    Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air/Cannondale) takes a turn at the front of the lead group at the Fontana short track
    Article published:
    April 10, 2013, 17:14 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Pro XCT series leader juggles demands of short and long races

    Jeremiah Bishop has focused the more recent years of his career more on endurance racing, but this spring he's been proving that he is still fast in the cross country and short track distances. The Sho-Air/Cannondale Team rider has gotten the 2013 season off to a strong start and is currently leading the US cross country national mountain bike series, the Pro XCT.

    "It's been a fantastic early season. It couldn't have gone much better than it has," said Bishop to Cyclingnews. "I'm going fast and having fun. I'm ecstatic to have a renaissance on my short game."

    Bishop didn't think he'd be riding quite as well as he has been. "Every race of the season, I've been at the front or in the sprint for the win." He was second at the Mellow Johnny's Classic, first at the Bonelli Park cross country and second at the Fontana cross country.

    Although he said he is only doing the short tracks "for training", Bishop, a former short track national champion, finished second at both Bonelli Park and Fontana. "I'm riding conservatively and trying to save face. The cross country races are more important."

    When asked how he managed to get so fast this spring despite a tough winter in his home state of Virginia, Bishop said, "There were a lot of cold hands and feet. Being in Virginia, we had one of the toughest late winters in recent memory. There was a lot of snow."

    Change of plans

    While Bishop had hoped to start off his season on a strong note, the pressure increased on him to do so after his...

  • Team managers and non-sanctioned race promoters frustrated by UCI rules

    Pua Mata (ShoAir) riding her dual suspension Epic which helped her pull back Gould
    Article published:
    April 11, 2013, 2:15 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Insurance coverage not an issue for non-USAC events

    The enforcement of UCI rule 1.2.019 and the related 1.2.020 and 1.2.021, which forbid UCI-licensed riders in all cycling disciplines from competing in non-sanctioned races and specify punishment for doing so, has drawn criticism from many mountain bikers. But it's not just mountain bikers who are affected; promoters of non-sanctioned races and managers of teams which include racers who normally participate in unsanctioned races face consequences.

    One affected race series is the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series of mostly 100-mile mountain bike races across the US. The series typically draws some top riders who also compete in international events. Some past and current top NUE racers, involved in either individual events or the overall series, have included Amanda Carey, Jeff Schalk, Cheryl Sornson, Chris Eatough, Jeremiah Bishop and Sue Haywood to name a few. Some well-known events in the series include the Cohutta 100, the Mohican 100, the Park City Point 2 Point and the Shenandoah Mountain 100.  None of the NUE Series races are USAC-sanctioned.

    Should the rules end up being enforced this year as the UCI has stipulated, mountain bike pros will have to chose between racing unsanctioned events like those of the NUE Series and facing consequences or sticking with "safe" sanctioned races.

    "This is America where racers are free to choose where to pedal their bikes and clearly, American racers have seen through USA Cycling's attempt to use this UCI rule to coerce racers and race organizations to join or else," NUE Series Director Ryan O'Dell told Cyclingnews

    USA Cycling had told Cyclingnews earlier this week that it was enforcing the UCI rules for UCI license holders at the...