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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Thursday, December 19, 2013

Date published:
December 19, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Remy Absalon signs with Scott

    Remy Absalon (Scott SR Suntour Enduro Team)
    Article published:
    December 11, 2013, 17:56 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Julien's younger brother keeps focus on enduro mountain bike racing

    French enduro star and three-time Megavalanche winner Remy Absalon has signed a contract with Scott Sports and will race for the Scott SR Suntour Enduro Team. The younger brother of former Olympic and world cross country champion Julien Absalon is making the move to his new team from Commencal. The three-year deal will begin in 2014.

    "After nine years with Commencal, I needed a new challenge and a new experience," said Absalon. "I wanted to build another project with a cool brand with a good spirit."

    Absalon is known for his downhill marathon abilities. In 2014, he'll be focusing on the Enduro World Series (EWS) and other major enduro races. He was fourth in the 2013 EWS and has previously won races like Crankworx, the Superenduro and the Enduro des Nations.

    Scott has been involved in the enduro scene for years, mainly with a solid French rider line-up. Adding Absalon is taking this involvement to a new level.

    "Enduro has progressed immensely through the years and now even belongs to the established UCI racing disciplines. Having been in the enduro discipline from the early days with the release of the original Scott Ransom, sponsoring a top international like Remy strengthens our brand presence in this segment," said Lionel Girardin, Senior Marketing Manager of Scott.

    Absalon will race the Scott Genius LT 700 bike.

  • Gallery: Schurter and Süss named Swiss cyclists of the year

    2013 Swiss Cyclist of the Year, Nino Schurter
    Article published:
    December 12, 2013, 17:55 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Switzerland boasts two elite mountain bike world champions in 2013

    Cross country world champion Nino Schurter and marathon world champion Esther Süss were recognized as the Swiss Cyclists of the Year for the second consecutive year by Swiss Cycling. A ceremony was held on Tuesday in their honor at the new Swiss velodrome in Granges.

    2013 was a successful season for cross country star Schurter, who defended his world champion's title, finished second at the European championships and won the overall World Cup title for the third time in his career.

    Süss, a marathon and cross country racer, was receiving the honor of best Swiss cyclist for the third time. At age 39, she shows no signs of slowing down, having won the marathon world championships and finished third in both the European marathon championships and the cross country world championships.

    Stefan Küng, a 20-year-old track cyclist, was voted most promising rider while the Track World Cup overall winning team pursuit squad won best team honors. Team pursuit team riders included Oliver Beer, Tristan Marguet, Frank Pasche, Théry Schir, Kilian Moser, Loïc Perizzolo, Cyrille Thèry, Silvan Dillier, Tom Bohli and Küng.

    Selections were made per results from online public voting (two-thirds) and from cycling media voting (one-third)conducted from November 5 to December 8, 2013.

  • Cooper puts tough year behind him

    Anton Cooper (Cannondale)
    Article published:
    December 12, 2013, 22:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    New Zealander focuses on Worlds and Commonwealth Games in 2014

    Former junior world champion and World Cup champion Anton Cooper is putting a tough 2013 season behind him. The New Zealand mountain biker entered 2013, his first year in the under 23 cross country ranks fresh off a stellar 2012 season and as a new rider for the Cannondale Factory Racing team. Despite high hopes, the year's racing did not go according to plan.

    A stomach virus derailled his intentions for the World Cup opener in Albstadt, Germany. What came next were a stomach virus and chest cold, causing Cooper to pull the plug on living and racing in Europe. Instead, he headed home to Christchurch, New Zealand to recover.

    "Sometimes when you go overseas and you're training so hard, you're right on your body's limit and it's easy to actually pick something up then when you're that fit," said Cooper to 3news.co.nz.

    A bright spot came for Cooper when he won the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup in Canada, but missing three months of competition meant that his next major goal would be the world championships in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa in August. While he'd hoped to get a medal or even win, he finished one place out of the medals, in fourth, by just seven seconds.

    "I was actually quite disappointed to not be on that podium. But I learned a lot from it I think, and we'll go forward from there."

    Cooper wrapped up the year with a second place at the U23 World Cup in Hafjell, showing he is back on track ahead of the 2014 season.

    Again back at home again in New Zealand, Cooper is racing the domestic summer season, including some enduros. Last weekend, he raced the 3 Peaks Enduro in Dunedin.

    "It's just a bit of fun. Enduro's a different style of...

  • MTB Bundesliga International series set for 2014

    Adelheid Morath winning at the Bike the Rock race
    Article published:
    December 14, 2013, 19:47 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    New title sponsor and an additional HC-categorized race for German national series

    Organizers of the MTB Bundesliga International announced the series' schedule for 2014. New for the German national mountain bike series are title sponsor KMC and an upgrade of the Bad Salzdetfurth round to HC status.

    For 2014, the MTB Bundesliga will consist of five cross country rounds and four eliminator rounds. It also includes both the German cross country and German eliminator national championships in Bad Säckingen and Saalhausen, respectively, but neither race will count toward the series standings.

    Neustadt/Weinstraße and Schopp will be part of the series for the first time, and both are ranked as UCI category C2 events.

    The Spring Classic in Münsingen has withdrawn from the series for 2014. After 27 editions, the club behind it is taking a break, but has not ruled out a return in 2015.

    The final round in Bad Salzdetfurth will count for double points, both for the cross country and the eliminator. It has also been upgraded to a UCI categorized HC event. The BiketheRock festival in Heubach is also an HC level race, which makes the Bundesliga the only series worldwide to have two HC events in its calendar. There are only five HC events worldwide.

    KMC, a Taiwanese bicycle chain company, was previously involved in the series as a sponsor for Bundesliga events in Bad Säckingen and in Heubach during the past few years.

    "We were very happy with the Sabine Spitz Gold Trophy and the BiketheRock," said Michael Stichling, a sales manager at the world's biggest bicycle chain company, who is responsible for the distribution of the brand in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

    KMC already has ties to the teams of Olympic cross country champions Julie Bresset and Sabine Spitz. Stepping up support of the Bundesliga was a natural next step.

    "The MTB Bundesliga is one of the series with the highest quality world wide and we are looking forward to be their partner," said...

  • Bishop to host NICA awards banquet and benefit ride

    Jeremiah Bishop (Sho-Air Cannondale) riding in second position on lap two
    Article published:
    December 15, 2013, 18:15 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Date and venue set for 2014 awards

    Jeremiah Bishop (Team Sho-Air/Cannondale) will host the fourth annual National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) Awards banquet and benefit ride in January of 2014.

    "I am excited to share my story," said Bishop. "As a boy surrounded with bad influences, mountain biking gave me wings. I learned to work hard and realize the dream of becoming a pro mountain bike racer, but more importantly, it made me a better person. Because of all the support I received as a kid, it is an honor and a privilege to share NICA's mission to empower our next generation to do great things on and off the course!"

    This year, NICA will be honoring 14 individuals in 10 different award categories.

    Festivities will kick off with a benefit ride on on January 25, 2014 at 9:00 am. Meet at the China Camp State Park Miwok trailhead located East of the Kiosk and Camp Ground Entrance where a light breakfast will be served. The no drop ride includes guided beginner-advanced route options led by local NICA coaches featuring flowing singletrack with some climbing and epic Bay Area views. Trailside lunch will follow the ride at 12:00 pm. Demo bikes are available for out-of-town guests and can be reserved in advance.

    The NICA Awards Banquet will get underway at 5:00 pm at Chabot Space and Science Center in the Oakland Hills overlooking the San Francisco Bay. Enjoy food and beverages while touring the museum, observatory, outside decks, and the massive telescope. The evening will culiminate with both a multi-media awards presentation in Chabot's state-of-the-art theatre and an inspiring presentation by Bishop chronicling his career. Bishop is known for his accomplishments in cross country, marathon and stage race mountain bike racing

    For more information and to sign up, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nica-awards-dinner-2013-tickets-9777582011.

  • UCI Mountain Bike World Cup organizers gather to discuss 2014

    The world's best riders at World Cup #3 in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic
    Article published:
    December 17, 2013, 17:40 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Seminar shares best practices

    Major players in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup gathered in Lausanne, Switzerland at an annual seminar to discuss the 2014 series. They met on December 9-11.

    Twenty-five people attended, representing organizers, key sponsors Shimano and GoPro, media partner Red Bull Media House, timekeeper Swiss Timing and the UCI.

    Three of the organizers shared their experiences with case studies. Representatives from Nove Mesto na Morave in the Czech Republic talked about their cooperation with TV production companies as applied to course design to improve the quality of the TV broadcast. Fort William, Great Britain organizers explained how they have overcome geographical isolation to draw large crowds each year with loyalty initiatives. And lastly, Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada delegates explained how combining a sporting festival, music and exhibitions increased their success hosting the World Cup.

    UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Coordinator Mélanie Leveau complimented the presenters. "Every seminar of this type facilitates the acquisition of knowledge by the participants. This year we went a step further with the presentations of the Czech, British and Canadian organisers. These were very useful case studies that, without doubt, will allow all World Cup organisers to further improve their events to the ultimate benefit of the series itself."

    In addition to the group presentations and meetings, each World Cup round organizer got some one-on-one time with UCI representatives to work on issues specific to their races.

    Nine World Cup rounds in nine countries will comprise the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, which begins on April 5 in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Downhill, cross country and eliminator events are on the schedule, as in 2013.

    To see a full listing of the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, click...

  • Topeak-Ergon drops cross country to focus on marathon racing

    Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon)
    Article published:
    December 18, 2013, 19:30 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Last MTB World Cup round winner Kalentieva searches for new team

    In recent years, the Topeak-Ergon team has supported a mountain bike team that competed in both cross country and marathon racing. However, for 2014, the international squad is dropping its cross country program to focus on marathon-type racing, the discipline where it has lately been the most successful.

    That means that two-time cross country world champion and final 2013 World Cup round winner Irina Kalentieva of Russia, who was a member of the team for seven years, will not be able to stay with Topeak-Ergon and neither will eliminator specialist Nadine Rieder according to AcrossTheCountry.net.

    Topeak-Ergon is going with marathon racing because it believes the discipline supports its brand better than the cross country racing program.

    There are unconfirmed reports that Kalentieva will still race under Ergon sponsorship, but as part of a Russian team while Rieder will race for a German team. Cross country rider Wolfram Kurschat is still under contract for 2014.

    In shifting its focus to marathon racing, Topeak-Ergon has has signed marathon specialist Kristian Hynek of the Czech Republic for two years, starting in 2014 according to SoloBike.it. While riding for Elettroveneta Corratec this year, Hynek earned the bronze medal at the European marathon championships, won the AlpenTour Trophy and won the Dolomiti Superbike.

    In addition to signing Hynek, former marathon world champion Alban Lakata, Robert Mennen and Sally Bigham are expected to remain with the Topeak-Ergon while...

  • Bend to host 2015-2016 US Cross Country National Championships

    It was quite hot at the starting line at Bear Creek Resort
    Article published:
    December 19, 2013, 17:08 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Venues for marathon, gravity and collegiate nationals also announced

    USA Cycling revealed the locations for its cross country, marathon, gravity and collegiate mountain bike nationals in 2015-2016 on Thursday. Exact dates for each are still to be announced.  Oregon, Georgia, California and West Virginia will host the various USAC championships races.

    Cross country

    After two years on the east coast in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, The US Cross Country and Enduro National Championships will be held in the western part of the country - on Mount Bachelor in Bend, Oregon.

    New for 2015, the super D competition will be replaced by an enduro national championship. USA Cycling cited feedback from its competitors and mountain bike advisory committee as the reason for the change.

    Bend has previously hosted both the marathon mountain bike and cyclo-cross nationals in recent years.

    "Bend's long-term partnership with USA Cycling has been extremely positive for our community," said Chief Executive Officer of Visit Bend Doug LaPlaca. "Every USA Cycling event hosted in Bend introduces our city to new visitors who fall in love with the Bend lifestyle. We are honored to continue our work with the USA Cycling family."

    Marathon

    The 2015 and 2016 marathon national championships are slated for Columbia County, Georgia., just outside Augusta. The 2015 competition will mark the first time this stand-alone event will be held east of the Mississippi River. The trails in Wildwood Park in Appling, Georgia., will serve as the setting of one of the more grueling mountain bike national championships.

    "The Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau is honored to have been selected to host the 2015 and 2016 USA Cycling Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships," said Randy DuTeau, the executive director of the Columbia County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

    "Having hosted the IMBA World Summit in 2010, and being designated a bronze level...