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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Thursday, December 13, 2012

Date published:
December 13, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • USA Cycling unveils 2013 US Pro XCT calendar

    The elite men at the start of the US Pro XCT #4 at the Mellow Johnny's Classic
    Article published:
    December 10, 2012, 17:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    National cross country mountain bike series grows to nine rounds

    Elite cross country mountain bikers will have more opportunities to race in the US national mountain bike series in 2013. USA Cycling unveiled a schedule featuring nine rounds in seven states for its 2013 US Pro XCT. Six of the rounds will be UCI categorized races while the remaining three will not be.

    The bigger series covers more ground geographically than in recent years by adding stops in the northeast and the southeast, and it expands beyond UCI categorized races to include some non-UCI categorized rounds.  The Catamount Classic XC in Vermont is the only completely new race venue for the national series; all the other events have previously been part of the national series at some point.

    The details

    The national series will kick off in Dripping Springs, Texas with the first stop of the US Pro XCT at the Mellow Johnny's Classic, a UCI category 1 event, on March 2.

    Next up will be a pair of US Cup Triple Crown races in California. After a successful first appearance on the US Pro XCT in 2011, Bonelli Park will be a UCI category 2 event on March 16-17. Fontana will follow two weeks later with its fifth time in the US Pro XCT, on March 30-31.

    The series will continue with a third California round at the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey on April 18-21.

    One month later, the calendar will shift to the southeastern United States to contest the Bump 'N Grind in Birmingham, Alabama on June 2.

    The calendar will conclude with four UCI-inscripted events. On June 22, Missoula will host the Missoula XC in Montana. The following week, the action will happen in the northeast when former World Cup venue Windham, New York, hosts the Windham XC on June 29.

    The penultimate event on the US Pro XCT will be the ever-popular Subaru Cup, part of the well-established Wisconsin Off-Road Series (WORS), on July 13 in Mt. Morris, Wisconsin. The race will again operate at the UCI C1 level.


  • Bell and Combrinck named winners of 2012 Cape Pioneer Trek

    Nico Bell (left) and Gawie Combrinck of Team Westvaal Columbia celebrate after a stage win at the 2012 Cape Pioneer Trek. They have been instated as the official winners of the event.
    Article published:
    December 11, 2012, 17:26 GMT
    Cycling News

    Results adjusted following David George's doping positive

    Following the disqualification of the Nedbank 360Life team of Kevin Evans and David George as a result of George's positive doping test, Nico Bell and Gawie Combrinck (Westvaal Columbia) have been officially instated as the winners of the 2012 Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek mountain bike stage race.

    During the fourth edition of the seven-day race in South Africa's Western Cape province between October 14 and 20, George and Evans successfully defended their overall title and claimed four stage wins in the process. One of their stage wins was the much talked about stage 2 which offered R100,000 to the winning team, the biggest single stage purse in world mountain bike racing.

    It was announced on November 6 by Cycling South Africa that George had returned a positive test for EPO, the banned blood booster, and that all his results dating back to August 29, 2012 would be erased and all prize money would need to be returned. George and Evans won a total of R125,000 (US$15,625) at the 2012 Cape Pioneer Trek.

    With Evans and George removed from the race results, Bell and Combrinck move up to become the 2012 winners. This leads to the promotion of Melt Swanepoel and Matthys Beukes ( to second overall and Chris Wolhuter and Oliver Munnik (Asrin Cycling) to third overall.

    Stage results have all been adjusted accordingly and initial runners-up, Beukes and Swanepoel, will have a pre-Christmas bonus with the payment of the R100,000 prize for the first team to the summit of the Swartberg Pass on the iconic stage 2.

    "It's a great shame that we have to undertake this retrospective adjustment process. But a rider cheated and that's against the rules of the sport and our event. In the long run, this kind of action will hopefully help minimise the temptation to cheat," said Henco Rademeyer of Dryland Events, the organisers of the Bridge Cape Pioneer Trek.

    "It's sad that we can't recreate the fanfare and energy and environment...

  • Ravanels change direction for 2013 season

    Anne Terpstra and Cécile Ravanel (GT Skoda Chamonix)
    Article published:
    December 11, 2012, 20:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    French mountain bike duo shifts focus to enduros

    Cécile and Cédric Ravanel are changing directions for the coming 2013 season. After focusing primarily on Olympic cross country racing for years, the mountain bike couple is expanding their schedule of races beyond the discipline of cross country to include more enduros, eliminators and stage races.

    "We'll do 50% cross country type races, 30% enduros and extreme events, and the remaining 20% will be press presentations and VIP days," said the Ravanels in an interview with

    They listed some of the races on their calendar: a cross country round of the Coupe de France, several rounds of the Enduro World Series, a freeride festival in Colorado, the Mega Alpe d'Huez, a few eliminator World Cups and the All Mountain World Championships.

    "It'll be a nice program with almost a month on the North American continent."

    The two pros are coming off a tough 2012, a season they called difficult mentally, but not physically. Neither rider made the French team for the Olympic Games.

    Although the GT Skoda Chamonix team is likely ending for 2013, the Ravanels plan to keep racing with the support of some of their long-time individual sponsors such as Skoda and Chamonix. "We cannot talk about the explosion of the GT team," they told "All partners have honored their contract and on our side, we have represented [the team] until the end of the season. The fact is that the Olympic cross country has lost a bit of speed in 2013. This has reinforced our choice to do enduros after the Olympic year."

    At 31 and 34 years old respectively, both riders are neither thinking of...

  • Plaxton recovers from injury and looks to 2013

    Max Plaxton (Team Sho-Air / Cannondale)
    Article published:
    December 12, 2012, 14:46 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Canadian national champ reflects on past season and new team

    Max Plaxton is coming off a breakthrough 2012 season and gearing up for the coming 2013 campaign. For him, it's been an unusually long off-season since the Canadian had to terminate his season early due to an injury. During his extended break he has been busy rehabilitating his body and switching teams.

    "It was an amazing season. I finally cracked into the top 10 of the World Cup," Plaxton told Cyclingnews. "If it had been any year other than an Olympic year, this season would have really stood out for me. It was a definite breakthrough year for me."

    New year, new team

    Plaxton will make the move from his current team Specialized to the Sho-Air/Cannondale team for 2013. For the Canadian, the transfer is a sort of a return to a former team.

    "I've been with Sho-Air in the past, and I'm familiar with [Manager] Ty Kady and [Owner] Scott Tedro and others in the company. It wasn't a really big change - that was a factor for me. I can't think of anyone who has done more for mountain biking in North America than Scott. The new team with Cannondale is something I wanted to be part of."

    He said he is excited to race for a North American factory team. "As a Canadian, that's a nice fit. I feel very welcome on the team and there are all sorts of great opportunities to work with the team and Cannondale."

    Plaxton connected with Sho-Air for the first time about four years ago when he joined the Sho-Air/Specialized team. "I didn't have a ride after the 2008 season. Those were tough economic times, and there weren't spots on teams," he said. "I met Sid [Taberlay] while I was in Tasmania, and he hooked me up and we called up Scott. I joined the team in 2009 for Fontana...

  • Rose Vaujany Gravity MTB Team celebrates successful first season

    Nico Vink (Rose Vaujany) at the Redbull Rampage
    Article published:
    December 12, 2012, 19:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    Manager and rider Wichman has high expectations for 2013

    The Rose Vaujany Gravity MTB Team is celebrating the end of its first season. Its riders stepped onto more than 30 podiums and earned 10 victories throughout 2012.

    "As a team manager, I hoped for a season like this, but had not counted on it," said Joost Wichman, who also competes for Rose Vaujany. "The success of the team has exceeded expectations... Highlights? The European four cross title for Katy Curd, participation in the Trans-Provence and the invitation Nico Vink received for the Red Bull Rampage."

    Vink's style drew significant media attention. "Results are important to us, but that's not the only way to get publicity," said Wichman.

    Wichman and Petrik Brückner competed in the Trans-Provence, an unusual experience for two riders more typically found at a four cross track.

    It was in the discipline of four cross where the team earned the most success. Curd prevailed in her own country of Great Britain and occasionally in Europe. She won the European Championship in Poland. In the new 4X Pro Series, various podiums were achieved. Wichman and Kurd ended up third overall.

    "It was a great year, even though the world championships ended in a huge disappointment, caused by mechanical failures and crashes," said Wichman, who is convinced that the second year will be as good as last.

    "The collaboration with Rose Bikes and the French Vaujany Region is excellent. We think the same about mountain biking and how we can help each other. Our riders are talented and ambitious. I have full confidence in 2013."

  • Sho-Air increases NICA sponsorship

    Team Sho-Air / Cannondale riders train together
    Article published:
    December 12, 2012, 23:28 GMT
    Cycling News

    Longtime mountain bike supporter backs future of the sport

    The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) announced a two-year sponsorship agreement with Sho-Air International, whose contribution adds support to the continuing growth of high school mountain biking in the United States.

    Sho-Air, which has signed as a top NICA sponsor, is also the sponsor of the Sho-Air/Cannondale pro mountain bike team, and has been a sponsor of mountain biking for almost 10 years.

    This agreement with Sho-Air comes with the creation of a new Platinum Plus category by NICA, as it progresses towards its objective of spreading high school mountain biking coast to coast by 2020.

    NICA's executive director Austin McInerny said, "Team Sho-Air has been a force at both the national and international pro mountain biking level for many years now, and it is very satisfying that they are joining the NICA movement as a top NICA sponsor. We are excited to collaborate with Team Sho-Air to improve and expand the high school mountain bike experience for our student-athletes, coaches volunteers and supporters. In doing so, we are enabling more young adults to strengthen body, mind and character while simultaneously building the future generation of responsible and clean cyclists. Sho-Air's support and commitment gives us a major boost in these efforts."

    R. Scott Tedro, president and CEO of Sho-Air International, said "NICA's youth development program supports Sho-Air's advocacy of healthy living through riding bicycles by providing an option to youth at an age that they can enjoy the benefits of cycling for a life time."

    "Sho-Air has unwavering support for amateur and professional racing through its US Cup premier racing series and its professional squad, Team Sho-Air/Cannondale. Sho-Air views supporting NICA as a natural progression to further support the initiative of better living through cycling and NICA is a great...

  • 2012 Reader Poll: Bresset wins female mountain biker category

    Julie Bresset (France) flies toward victory
    Article published:
    December 13, 2012, 16:02 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Frenchwoman achieved near perfect season

    Julie Bresset (BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry) rode to a stellar 2012 season and captured not only two important gold medals but also the most votes for Female Mountain Biker of the Year from Cyclingnews' readers. The first-year elite cross country racer received 3,031 votes or 20.56% of those cast.

    Bresset's biggest accomplishment of 2012 was her Olympic gold medal in London.

    "August 11, 2012. This was a magical day. I became Olympic champion in cross country mountain biking in London," said Bresset to Cyclingnews in September.

    "It was an incredible race, and I had a lot of fun on the course. I did not think I would be able to win my first Olympics ... and it's hard to get over it! Everything was beautiful that day: the venue, the public, the weather, my kit, my bike ... a dream!"

    Three weeks after the Olympics, she followed up one gold medal with another by winning her first elite cross country world championship title.

    Bresset had started off the year with a fifth place at the Pietermaritzburg World Cup, then continued her spring campaign with a second place in Houffalize, a win in Nove Mesto and a third in La Bresse.

    A break from the World Cup circuit followed as the young rider sat out the two North American rounds to focus on her Olympic preparations. She closed the World Cup season in late July with a pre-Olympic tune-up second place finish at Val d'Isere. Despite missing two World Cups, she still finished fourth overall in the series.

    Bresset, who renewed her contract with BH-SR Suntour Peisey Vallandry for the coming...

  • Cooper signs with Cannondale Factory Racing Team for 2013

    Anton Cooper (New Zealand) in his new rainbow stripes jersey
    Article published:
    December 13, 2012, 19:08 GMT
    Cycling News

    Cross country team roster announced

    Junior cross country world champion Anton Cooper has signed with the Cannondale Factory Racing team for 2013. He joins the team's current riders Marco Aurelio Fontana, Manuel Fumic and Keegan Swenson. The team will focus on the cross country World Cup circuit.

    "Over the past four years, Cannondale Factory Racing riders have seen great success, including Marco Aurelio Fontana's Olympic bronze medal, world championship titles, and numerous World Cup podiums," said Bob Burbank, Global General Manager, Cannondale.

    "With the signing of Anton, and Keegan's increased focus on the cross country World Cup circuit, we are setting the direction for the future of the team while maintaining the approachable personalities and inspiring passion for cross country that the team has been know for."

    Cooper is the sole addition to the Cannondale Factory Racing team. As the 2012 junior world champion, 2012 junior World Cup overall winner, and New Zealand junior national champion, Cooper is one of the biggest up-and-coming talents on a mountain bike.  The New Zealander used to ride for Trek World Racing, but it discontinued the cross country portion of its team for 2013.

    Veteran pro Fontana is the Italian Champion in both cyclo-cross and cross country and earned a bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics after a heated battle with Jaroslav Kulhavy and Nino Schurter.

    With this fleet of riders, the team will take on a new dynamic: two elite riders and two U23 riders. The 2013 program will capitalize on the unique...