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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Thursday, January 17, 2013

Date published:
January 17, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Fletcher, Croeser and Roff lead Orange Monkey Pro Team

    Rourke Croeser (Orange Monkey-Cannondale)
    Article published:
    January 13, 2013, 15:15 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Mountain bike squad announces roster

    The Orange Monkey Pro Team announced its roster for 2013 and noted that it has switched bike sponsors. The team will start the season with five riders - including two new signings, and it will continue to compete internationally.

    Top riders David Fletcher of Great Britain, African Continental & South African U23 cross country champion Rourke Croeser and Ben Roff of Great Britain are returning to the team, which is beginning a four-year plan looking toward the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil.

    Two new additions to the team are the Serbian National Champion and under 23 athlete Jovana Crnogorac and British first-year junior athlete Billy Harding. Crnogorac is just 20 years old, with a promising future while Harding has proven throughout his time in the youth category that he is a born winner, taking the British National title in 2012 and most recently being selected, as a junior, for the UCI Cyclo-Cross World Championships.

    Orange Monkey Pro Team managers Paul Beales and Will Cooper both have high expectations going forward, "After re-evaluating our position in the winter, we believe that our goals are very much achievable and we expect to have our athletes compete in both the Commonwealth Games and Olympic Games in 2014 and 2016."

    For 2013, the team has replaced bike sponsor Cannondale with Polygon Bikes, an Indonesian brand looking to push into the European market. Riders will race the Cozmic RX29 3.0 29er mountain bike.

    The team, which will soon announced a co-title sponsor, is registered with the UCI for its third year, and it will concentrate on the UCI World Cup as well as selected European events and the British and South African national series. The...

  • Cape Epic favorites comment on new route

    Christoph Sauser and Burry Stander ride to defend their titles at Cape Epic
    Article published:
    January 15, 2013, 17:25 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Sauser to team up with Kulhavy in memory of Stander

    The new route for the 10th edition of the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, which will happen from March 17 to 24, will be as challenging as previous years. Racers will compete during eight demanding days covering 698km with 15,650m of climbing from Meerendal Wine Estate to Lourensford.

    Last year's champion Christoph Sauser will return to the race, but he will be there without his partner Burry Stander, who died in a training accident on January 3. Instead, Sauser will race with another Specialized teammate and 2012 Olympic champion Jaroslav Kulhavy, in memory of Stander.

    The 2013 Cape Epic route will visit Citrusdal, Tulbagh, Wellington and Stellenbosch.

    Three-time winner Sauser said the stages are well balanced with lots of trails. "There's no specific king's stage when I look at the profiles, but the heat, or difficult sand and rocky surfaces can change everything," said Sauser.

    When asked which stage will be most difficult, he said, "That question can only be answered after the race. It's all about the level of the competition, mechanicals and surface. No stage profile of the Cape Epic will say anything of those facts. I look forward to Stellenbosch, because it looks like a tougher one on paper and also because it will finish in my second hometown. Extra motivation!"

    Sauser reckons that the longest stage will be the best to break way. "They also say it's more like a road stage. There's no such thing as an easy stage in the Cape Epic. The top teams will make any stage hard from the beginning. For the overall GC riders, even if the pace is moderate, there is constant pressure such as mechanicals, crashing or riding in front of the pack out of the dust. The Cape Epic is the Tour de France for us mountain...

  • GT Factory Racing auctions off world championship bikes

    Rachel Atherton's frame used at 2012 downhill Worlds
    Article published:
    January 15, 2013, 19:42 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Auction benefits Wheels 4 Life charity

    GT Factory Racing is celebrating its 2012 season by auctioning off three special edition frames with signed race-wear. The auction benefits those in developing countries via the Wheels 4 Life charity started by mountain bike legend Hans Rey.

    "We've had a fantastic 2012 season here at GT Factory Racing and we don't take for granted the opportunities and support that we enjoy every day," said the gravity racing team's statement. "We were inspired to talk to Hans Rey who is not only an extreme biking legend and former mountain bike world champion but is the founder of Wheels 4 Life, a non-profit organization that provides bikes for people in developing countries in need of transportation to get to work or to school."

    "So, with a little help from our friends at theproscloset.com we've launched an Ebay auction with three very special lots. All proceeds go to Wheels 4 Life."

    The auction includes three GT Furty downhill frames that are part of a limited edition of five. They were used by the team's racers Gee Atherton, Rachel Atherton and Marc Beaumont in the 2012 world championships in Leogang, Austria. They are 100 percent carbon fibre and feature the red white and blue livery designed and produced especially for the three British riders.

    To find out more about the auction visit bit.ly/AthertonGT. To donate directly to Wheels4life visit, www.wheels4life.org.

  • Hannah back in action after broken leg

    Tracey Hannah on the road
    Article published:
    January 16, 2013, 4:49 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Australian ready to resume downhilling

    After breaking her leg in a crash during the Val d'Isere World Cup, Australian Tracey Hannah had a long road to recovery. However, seven months after her femur surgery, she is back in action on a bike and is training and getting ready for the upcoming racing season.

    Below is a question and answer session with Hannah.

    First of all, what everyone wants to know, how is your leg, and will you be racing next season?

    What an experience! When I broke my leg I had never broken a bone riding downhill. I had never even stayed in hospital before. So when I realised that I was taking a trip to the hospital, in a helicopter, through the French alps, I was in shock. Three weeks later, I left the hospital and flew home to Australia. All through hospital and my recovery, I knew that no matter what, I was going to race in 2013. So, Yes, for sure I will be racing. My leg is going really great. I have been riding cross country, and it feels good, I am waiting for my new downhill bike and when it arrives, it will be just perfect timing to ride again.

    How has your recovery been? Can you ride normally again yet?

    I haven't really sat still to think that I am recovering. It's more just a setback in my training. I feel like I am getting stronger and fitter everyday. I haven't tried downhill to see how normal I feel, but the longer I wait the more keen I am. I have been pushing it on my cross country bike, and I can't wait to go fast on my downhill bike again. When my bike arrives, I'm pretty sure I will ride it out of the cardboard box I'm so keen to ride a DH bike.

    You were in the same team as your brother (Mick Hannah). How did you like it?

    It was ok. He snores pretty loudly and he has to have his bluberries and...

  • Gallery: Scott-3Rox holds winter training camp

    Geoff Kabush hasn't seen winter in years, but it doesn't show
    Article published:
    January 16, 2013, 16:18 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Mountain bikers enjoy three days of playing in the snow

    The 2013 New Year for Scott-3Rox Racing Team began with a winter training camp during the first week in January. The mountain bikers travelled to Scott Sports' US headquarters in the Wood River Valley of Idaho to do some Alpine touring and Nordic skiing. To complete the experience, they staged from Galena Lodge and hiked to backcountry yurts for a taste of winter camping.

    It's in a competitive cyclist's nature to train, but the off-season can present opportunities to introduce alternatives to pedaling. Switching it up allows for some cross-training, a valuable mental break from spinning and a chance to recharge the batteries and have some fun. For riders like Olympian Geoff Kabush, who compete on the cross country World Cup and at the highest level in cyclo-cross, the "off-season" is very short.

    "I haven't seen winter in two years," said Kabush. "I tend to travel to California to avoid the cold weather and get some base training in. It was great to meet up with the team discussing goals and doing some team building in a secluded environment. It's awesome to be sponsored by a multi-sport brand like Scott that has a winter product line and is located in a place where you can really enjoy the outdoors this time of year. I definitely put some good training in."

    "Running off-season camps is really good for team morale and gives us the opportunity to meet one-on-one before the season starts to lay out our goals and expectations," said Scott's Adrian Montgomery. "I also find that taking the athletes out of their comfort zone for a short period of time, and presenting them with challenges that are less familiar than what they confront on the bike sharpens the mind and builds confidence. We also want to give the team another take on our brand, because we are not simply a bike brand. We also offer wintersport, motosport,...

  • Overend calls for cycling's dopers to be treated as criminals

    Former World Champion Ned Overend (Specialized) took on many man less than half his age
    Article published:
    January 16, 2013, 19:38 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dopers are thieves deserving jail punishment

    Mountain Bike Hall of Famer Ned Overend called for stricter treatment of cyclists who are busted for doping, saying that they should be treated as criminals.

    "My opinion is, it needs to be a crime to cheat in sports, to take drugs in sports. Unless they make it a crime, they're going to have a hard time controlling (doping)," Overend told the Durango Herald on Tuesday, two days before the broadcast of the Oprah Winfrey show which will feature Lance Armstrong's doping confession.

    Overend drew an analogy between doping cyclists and criminals who steal. "You'd want that person to be charged with a crime," Overend said. "And it's not just Lance. I'd put all the guys who cheat together with Lance. To me, all the guys who cheated are thieves, and they made millions."

    The six-time NORBA national mountain bike champion and 1990 mountain bike world champion isn't interested in hearing the excuse that everyone was doping at the time. Instead he points out that some of the dopers effectively stole several hundred thousands of dollars from racers who didn't cheat by doping.

    "That's a crime and needs to be made a crime, so these guys would be going to jail," said Overend.

  • Schneitter heads Down Under

    Nathalie Schneitter (Colnago Sudtirol) on her way to a stage win
    Article published:
    January 16, 2013, 23:50 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Kona Odyssey MTB Marathon welcomes European pro

    Switzerland's Nathalie Schneitter will be spending some pre-season training time in Australia in the coming weeks. The Colnago Südtirol rider is coming off a frustrating 2012 season and hoping to find form while doing races such as the Australian Mountain Bike Series this weekend in Mt. Buller and the Kona Odyssey MTB Marathon on February 16.

    Schneitter burst onto the scene in 2004, when she won the junior world championships in Les Gets, France, and she was second at the U23 world championships in 2008. She represented Switzerland in the Beijing Olympics and is aiming to climb back into the top 10 of the cross country World Cup after an injury-marred 2012.

    Rapid Ascent, the organizers of the Odyssey MTB Marathon spoke with Schneitter in advance of her trip Down Under.

    Nathalie, you're consistently a top 10 rider on the world stage - including wins as a junior cross country world champion and in the elite World Cup. Talk us through some of your biggest MTB achievements.

    My biggest achievement was for sure winning my home World Cup in Champéry (Switzerland) in 2010. In 2011, I finished fifth at the world champs on the same course. Winning the European Champs and coming in second as a U23 at Worlds in 2008 was very exciting. Winning the junior world champs in 2004 is a long time ago, but the rainbow jersey is something very special to me!

    And aims for the future?

    After having a very difficult season in 2012. (I broke my arm in May and struggled to get back on track afterwards), it is my goal to get back to top 10 in the World Cup series and a medal at the world championships is still a real dream for me. However, my next big goal is to win the Cape Epic stage race in...

  • Sauser among the favorites at the Attakwas marathon

    Former Marathon World Champion, Christoph Sauser (36ONE Songo Specialized), tops a stellar line-up for the Attakwas Extreme Challenge mountain bike race in Oudtshoorn, South Africa on Saturday.
    Article published:
    January 17, 2013, 15:50 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    South African race tests legs in lead-up to Cape Epic

    There will be no easing into 2013 for mountain bike marathon racers. The Attakwas Extreme Challenge in Oudtshoorn, South Africa is regarded by most as the toughest single-day marathon race in the country and on Saturday, the seventh edition will guarantee another brutal season-opening test

    Three-time Cape Epic winner and former marathon world champion Christoph Sauser (36ONE Songo Specialized) from Switzerland and four-time Cape Epic winner Karl Platt (Team Bulls) from Germany are among the favorites on the start line.

    Heading up the "local" men's line-up is reigning South African Marathon Champion Max Knox (Specialized) and defending champion Matthys Beukes (CangoMTB.com). For Beukes, who lives nearby, there's a definite homeground advantage, but Knox's run of victories in the final quarter of 2012 make him a significant threat to Beukes' quest for back-to-back wins.

    Other South Africans with an eye on the podium, if not the title, include Philip Buys (Scott Sports), former South African road race champion Darren Lill and former professional road racer with Team Sky, John Lee Augustyn, making a comeback to bike racing following a lengthy injury-related layoff. Former joBerg2c winner Waylon Woolcock and his Team RE:CM stablemates, Erik Kleinhans and Lourens Luus, will also have podium aspirations following a summer of solid training, as will 2012 Attakwas runner-up Charles Keey.

    Sauser and Platt are unlikely to have the same form as their South African rivals following a bitterly cold European winter, but they've both been in South Africa over recent weeks wouldn't have entered if they didn't believe their form was good enough for a shot at the title.

    Conspicuous by his absence will be former three-time winner Kevin Evans. The 33-year-old multiple South African marathon champion, now riding for the...