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The BMC Teammachine of the American GC hopeful
Hyper-aggressive position for the sprint lead-out
How much air pressure pros use at the Tour de France
National theme bike for Tour's lone Japanese rider
Cross country and eliminator MTB titles to be decided there
The Swiss Cycling federation awarded the Swiss cross country mountain bike national championships to Lenzerheide in the canton of Graubünden for July 5-7, 2013.
The resort area of Lenzerheide will host the races that decide the Swiss titles for both cross country and eliminator races, and the championships will also be part of the BMC Racing Cup, the Swiss national series.
"In Lenzerheide, we have found a competent and professional organizer for the Swiss Championships in 2013," said Peter Thomas, head of sport competition at Swiss Cycling.
A 4.3km cross country course will be set up for the nationals. Each lap will include 240m of climbing and descending per lap on a mix of gravel roads and singletrack through forests and fields.
The eliminator will take place on a Friday evening on a shortened version of the cross country course.
For years, the Lenzerheide region has been investing systematically in infrastructure for mountain biking. It has hosted events such as the Trek Bike Attack and testRIDE.
"With the Swiss cross country championships, we complete our offerings and show once again that we are part of the most important destinations in the country for mountain biking," said Andreas Wirth, President of CO and PM Lenzerheide Bike und Marketing Support AG.
For more information on the 2013 Swiss championships, visit www.lenzerheide.com, which will be updated effective in January 2013.
New teammates for Smith and Simmonds
The Australian will join Matt Simmonds and Joe Smith on the CRC/Nukeproof team. The fates of current Nukeproof riders Matti Lehikoinen, Alex Bond and Lewis Buchanan are unknown, and there is no word yet on whether the Monster Energy-Specialized squad will continue, and if so, under what name, in 2013.
Hill said the decision to sign with CRC was not difficult. "I'm very excited about riding for team Chain Reaction Cycles/Nukeproof," he said, according to Chopmtb.com. "They're very positive towards downhill racing and I know they're going to put in 100% just like me. 2013 is going to be a great year."
CRC/Nukeproof Team Manager Nigel Page said, "We're all really looking forward to having Sam on board helping the development of new Nukeproof products, and hopefully helping Sam achieve his goals in racing in the next stage of his career. I can't wait for the 2013 season to begin!"
Hill has overcome several injuries during his career with Specialized, which began in 2009. This year, he returned from injury yet again to end up fifth overall in the UCI Downhill World Cup.
Hill was crowned junior downhill world champion in 2002 and 2003. He won the elite titles in 2006, 2007 and 2010.
Felt Ötztal X-Bionic Team ends
After two top-five finishes at cross country World Cup rounds this season and a 10th at the world championships, 32-year-old Blaza Klemencic will transfer to the Calcit Bike Team for 2013.
Klemencic wrapped up the 2012 season ranked by the UCI as the 11th best female cross country racer in the world. She also concluded her fourth season racing for teams sponsored by Felt Bicycles. Her current team, the Felt Ötztal X-Bionic Team, will not continue in 2013.
The Calcit Bike Team is based in Slovenia. The nation's largest endurance-oriented mountain bike club will register as UCI mountain bike team for the first time in 2013.
"This suits me. We made a good deal, and I'm happy to be on a Slovenian team," said Klemencic. "Slovenian fans made me feel great at this year's Worlds in Austria. I also live close to the team's headquarters in Kamnik, so I will be able to really become a part of what they do, including their junior programme."
Klemencic's coach and partner Robert Pintaric, who was the director of the Felt Ötztal X-Bionic Team, said, "We wanted to slow down after all these years. For the past three years, I've been very busy with the team and did not have so much time to concentrate on Blaza."
In 2012, Blaza also won the Slovenian cross country national championships and was named the Slovenian Female Cyclist of the Year by the Slovenian Federation.
On the Calcit Bike Team's UCI squad, Klemencic will be joined by U23 male rider Urban Ferencak and Rok Korosec. The team's title sponsor, Calcit, is a calcium carbonate fillers manufacturer, based near Kamnik. Calcit also supports volleyball, bowling, swimming and triathlon teams.
Italian squad will support cross country and MTB racers
Selle San Marco is partnering with Trek to back a Italian new mountain bike team for 2013 called the Selle San Marco-Trek MTB team.
Marco Trentin, former athlete and promoter of the Italian Infinity GT Stip team, and Sandro Saponaro are behind the new multi-year project. The pair has selected the team's roster and plan to announce it soon. The squad will focus on top Italian cross country and marathon teams and will do some major international competitions.
"I'm glad for the interest and support of Selle San Marco," said Trentin. "We will do our best to repay the trust of our supporters, if possible taking results, but above all we'll have a good image at races we do. We are defining [the team's] calendar and details for a great season in which we want to be leaders."
Selle San Marco Marketing Manager Federico Gardin said, "The aim is to enforce our presence in the off-road world and after having launched a specific range of saddles. We were considering the possibility of having our own mountain bike team, because we think it's one of the best ways to test our products at the most extreme conditions and to communicate to the consumer the quality and excellence of these saddles. Over the past few months, we have worked to lay the foundation [for this team], and we are happy now to be able to make this project reality. So many thanks to Trentin and Saponaro for their collaboration and for their efforts in building this new team."
Annual awards announced in the Netherlands
Van Houts took top honors as the best elite male mountain biker after finishing 12th at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships and sixth at the European Championships. He also represented the Netherlands at the Olympic Games in London, where he finished in 17th place.
Turpijn won both the elite women's Dutch cross country and marathon national titles in 2012.
Both Van Houts and Turpijn were the Dutch elite mountain bikers of the year in 2011.
Among the younger riders, Michiel van der Heijden was named Best Male Mountain Bike Talent after his second place at the U23 cross country Worlds and after winning the 2012 U23 World Cup. He also earned a silver medal at the U23 European championships.
Anne Terpstra earned the Best Female Mountain Bike Talent award. She was third at the U23 European championships and seventh at mountain bike Worlds.
Anneke Beerten won the Gravity Award due to her overall classification in the Four Cross ProTour and winning the four cross world championships in Saalfelden. She was also a regular participant in eliminator races throughout the year.
The Dutch Mountainbike Awards of the Year are handed out by Club van 5, a group that promotes the sport of mountain biking in the Netherlands in cooperation with the Dutch Wieler Magazine.
Dutch, British, South African and Czech racers strengthen roster
Polish cross country champion Marek Konwa, Dutch cross country champion Hans Becking and 2011 Crocodile Trophy winner Jeroen Boelen will be joined by five new riders on the Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team this year.
Anne Terpstra, who was named Dutch under 23 female mountain biker of the year, has been added to the team, along with two young talents from the United Kingdom: Kenta Gallagher and Grant Ferguson. Another young rider from South Africa, Paul Rodenbach, will join the Superior Brentjens MTB Team together with Czech rider Jiri Novak, who finished fifth at the 2012 marathon world championships.
The team is still in negotiation with an un-named ninth rider.
"I am proud to announce the riders for 2013. It is great that we can keep on working with Marek, Hans and Jeroen. They are great athletes and good team players," said Bart Brentjens, founder and teammanager Superior Brentjens MTB Racing Team.
"They will be joined by some young, upcoming and promising talents like Anne, Kenta, Grant and Paul. They will be taken care of so they can get good results and progress. Jiri had a great result last year, finishing fifth at marathon Worlds, and I am convinced that he will show some good results for 2013 as well."
Several racers are leaving the team, including Belgian Tim Wynants and Australian Chris Jongewaard, who were with the team since 2009. Dutch woman Anneke Beerten and Brit Annie Last are also departing.
"I would like to thank Tim, Chris, Anneke and Annie for the great results they achieved in the last years and the fun we had working...
British Olympian switches teams for 2013
Subaru-Trek's Team Manager Jon Rourke confirmed Last's signing to Cyclingnews.
Early in the 2012 season, Last won the first-ever eliminator World Cup round in Houffalize. Later, she represented Great Britain in the 2012 London Olympic Games, in which she finished eighth in the cross country event. With that result, she became the first British woman to finish an Olympic mountain bike race since Caroline Alexander in Sydney 2000.
Near the end of the season, she finished fourth at the U23 women's cross country world championship.
Last turns 23 this season, officially becoming an elite racer, but she has already been competing among the elite women at World Cups for the past two seasons as she logged the results needed to qualify for the Olympics.
With several strong performances at the World Cup, last finished seventh overall in the 2012 UCI cross country World Cup standings.
Former world champion dies after in collision with vehicle
Burry Stander was killed in a training accident in South Africa on Thursday, January 3. The cross country mountain bike racer was hit by a taxi while riding.
"It is with great sadness and utter shock that Cycling South Africa confirms the tragic death today of our champion mountain bike rider, Burry Stander," read a statement from the cycling federation late Thursday. "Burry was out on a training ride when he was hit by a motor vehicle in Shelly Beach on the KwaZulu-Natal South Coast. Details of the accident are still being investigated."
One of the top racers on the World Cup circuit, Stander had climbed his way up the ranks, riding in recent years with Specialized Racing. He won the U23 cross country world championship in 2009.
More recently, in 2012, he finished fifth at the London Olympic Games and won the Windham World Cup. He capped off the season with a win at the Singlespeed World Championships in South Africa.
In 2012, he was also married to pro cyclist Cherise Stander, who recently switched from the road to mountain bike racing.
"Burry, who was the most successful mountain bike cyclist the country has ever seen, and whose promising career has been abruptly cut short, was a true icon and sporting role model," read the Cycling South Africa statement. "Not only is this a loss to South African sport, but we have lost a true gentleman who through his professionalism, modesty and humility, constantly showing sheer guts, represented our country with great pride."
In 2011 Stander made history by becoming the first ever South African winner of the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race. Since his Cape Epic debut in 2008, Stander entered the event six times,...