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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Thursday, June 16, 2011

Date published:
June 16, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • 3 Minute Gaps movie to premiere at Northstar-at-Tahoe

    Andrew Neethling (Giant Factory Racing) blazes downhill
    Article published:
    June 12, 2011, 20:32 BST
    Cycling News

    Viewing will benefit Ride Giant/Ride Northstar MTB program

    The Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort and Giant Bicycles have come together with the Ride Giant / Ride Northstar mountain bike sponsorship program to host the movie premiere of 3 Minute Gaps on Saturday, June 18. The event will kick off the summer season with the opening of the Northstar Resort bike park, the largest lift-served bike park in Northern California.

    3 Minute Gaps follows the world's best competitive downhill mountain bike athletes around the world as they trained, traveled, raced, celebrated and made sacrifices simply for the ambition of being the fastest rider on the World Cup tour.

    3 Minute Gaps includes racers such as Gee Atherton, Sam Hill, Aaron Gwin, Sam Blenkinsop, Brendan Fairclough, Greg Minnaar, Andrew Neethling, Danny Hart, Matti Lehikoinen, Ben Reid, and Josh Bryceland.

    Renowned director Clay Porter and filmmaker John Lawson traveled around the globe to capture the athletes' stories of triumph and struggle in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, New Zealand, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, USA, and every round of the 2009 and 2010 World Cup Series and the world championships.

    Northstar-at-Tahoe Resort’s kick off to summer celebration with the 3 Minute Gaps movie premiere will include extending the mountain bike park hours of operation until 6:00 p.m. on June 18th. The summer celebration will begin at 5:30 p.m. on the Lodge at Big Springs deck at mid-mountain featuring a BBQ, music by local talent and an opportunity to purchase raffle tickets for prizes.

    The movie premiere will offer free admission and include a free gondola ride up to the mid-mountain Lodge at Big Springs for those who are not riding the park that day. For US$10 per person, the BBQ will feature a burger with a side, and a choice of a beer or other beverage. Proceeds from the BBQ and raffle prizes will benefit the Ride Giant / Ride Northstar...

  • Blitz to the Barrel draws mountain bike pros to Bend

    2010 Blitz to the Barrel line up for the Men's Pro Race
    Article published:
    June 12, 2011, 22:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Men's version of unusual event set for Wednesday, June 15

    A rather unorthodox mountain biking event in the United States, the "Blitz to the Barrel" in June will combine the challenges of downhill, cross country and cyclo-cross in a one-of-a-kind celebration of bikes, beer and big air.

    Featuring a course that starts high in the Cascade Mountains above Bend, Oregon, the "Blitz to the Barrel" will start as a bonfide downhill course, then transition to a technical cross country trail, and finally drop into a cyclo-cross style route that ends with the riders downing a pint of craft beer to complete the event.

    "Bend is a unique place where bikes, world class cyclists and delicious craft beer are big parts of our culture," said Erik Eastland, the event director. "The Blitz to the Barrel celebrates that culture and elevates mountain biking to a new and much more exciting level."

    Held on June 15, the Men's Pro Event is the first in a three-event series and will feature several of the biggest names in professional mountain biking and cyclo-cross . Following the men's event, the Women's Pro event will take place on July 13, and finally the Industry Invitational will end the series on August 17.

    Riders signed up for the action include Adam Craig, last year's winner Carl Decker, Ryan Trebon, Chris Sheppard, Nathan Riddle, Damian Schmidt, Cody Peterson and Lev Stryker.

    "Adam and Carl are bringing a couple more world class guys they say," said Eastlandt.

    Racers for the invitational-only event will meet at 10 Barrel Brewery at 5:00 p.m., and the event will start at Wanoga Snow Park at 7:00 p.m. Expected duration is one hour and 10 minutes.

    First place will take home $2000. Second and third get $1500 and $500 respectively. Bonuses of $250 each will also go for longest wheelie, biggest air on the Funner Trail concrete drop, longest air into Tetherow patio and fastest rider on Tetherow Road.

    The course will start at Wanoga Snow Park and drop into the Funner Downhill...

  • Absalon to race his first-ever marathon Worlds

    Julien Absalon (Orbea)
    Article published:
    June 14, 2011, 18:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Frenchman may add to four elite and two U23 cross country world titles

    Four-time elite cross country world champion Julien Absalon (Orbea) will race the marathon world championships on Sunday, June 26 in Montebelluna, Treviso, Italy. Absalon, who also has two Olympic titles to his name, will be competing in his first-ever marathon Worlds.

    Absalon is coming off a recent cross country World Cup win in Offenburg, Germany, a venue where he has won every (five of five - ed.) World Cup held thus far. With a few weeks in between, he is aiming to convert his cross country speed into marathon endurance.

    With the marathon Worlds in late June, the 30-year-old Absalon will be skipping the two North American World Cups happening during the first two weeks of July.

    It is not unusual for cross country racers to participate in more marathon racing as their careers mature and their natural endurance improves. Absalon will be racing another former cross country world champion in Italy:  Switzerland's Christoph Sauser (Specialized).

    The Montello area of Italy has previously hosted the Italian National Championships (2009) and the European Championships (2010). This will be its first marathon Worlds.

    On the occasion of Worlds, the race course, designed by Pedali di Marca, will consist of two routes. The men will compete over 116.8km with 2,910m of elevation gain starting at 10:00 a.m. whil ethe women will cover 98.5km with 2,290m of climbing starting at 10:30 a.m.

    In addition to the pro racers, 2,000 amateurs will also take part in the Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa marathon, the race dedicated to the Norwegian Olympic Champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå, and the Mundialito, an amateur teams classification, will award the team with the most starters coming from the...

  • Peat fractures ulna in Leogang

    Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate)
    Article published:
    June 14, 2011, 19:45 BST
    Cycling News

    Former world champion racing anyway

    Former downhill world champion Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) found out after finishing round three of the downhill World Cup in Leogang, Austria, this weekend that he had fractured his ulna. Peat had crashed on a training run before qualifying and injured his hand according to Santa Cruz Syndicate team manager Kathy Sessler.

    The Leogang track was well liked by all and was challenging with wooded sections and fast pedalling sections. In places, it was a slippery mess thanks to frequent rain leading up to and during the World Cup weekend.

    "Steve had a practice crash where he punched a tree with his left hand, but he hurt his right hand, as well," said Sessler." He ended up 17th in the qualis and also felt the need to roll faster."

    On the day of finals, Peat awoke to a swollen hand and wasn't sure if he'd be able to hold on to his bars.

    "He gave it one practice run, and with the painkillers and adrenaline he was certain he could hang on for the race," said Sessler. "Being the first of the Syndicate riders down with the conditions changing rapidly due to the sun making an appearance, Steve decided to be the guinea pig for the Syndicate and switched tires after scoping out the top corners before his start."

    Peat had a quick start and was in the lead as of the first and second splits compared to hot seat occupant at the time Brook MacDonald. But the last part of the course didn't go as well for the veteran British gravity racer and he finished 12th.

    "I was going steady but in the last third of the course I kept stalling out," said Peat. "I was...

  • Van Houts rejoins Multivan Merida team

    Rudi Van Houts (Multivan Merida) on the North shore ladder section.
    Article published:
    June 15, 2011, 2:13 BST
    Cycling News

    UCI, WADA clear Dutch rider

    Mountain biker Rudi van Houts is back under contract racing with his former team, Multivan Merida, after being cleared of doping allegations.

    Van Houts had been removed from the mountain bike team after a positive doping test in October 2010.

    "As soon as the allegations became public, we had no option but to nullify the current contract with Rudi right away," said Multivan Merida Team Manager Andreas Rottler according to van Hout's website. "After all, we believe in doping-free sport. As his innocence has been proven, we are just as strict about reintegrating him into the team."

    Van Houts' positive doping test was for Clenbuterol. The decision by the UCI and WADA not to take further action following the test supported the rider's claim that the minimal traces of Clenbuterol in his samples were unknowingly ingested by eating meat while in Mexico.

    Earlier on, van Houts had been acquitted by the Dutch national anti-doping agency.

    Throughout his case, van Houts maintained his innocence, and recently a number of national anti-doping agencies have advised their athletes to abstain from eating meat in Mexico and China.

    He has been racing this spring and most recently, at the Offenburg World Cup, he finished 11th.

  • Stöckl sets new speed record

    Article published:
    June 15, 2011, 11:20 BST
    Cycling News

    MS Evil Racing Team owner goes 164.95kph on a bike

    Mountain biker Markus Stöckl set new world speed record of 164.95kph late last month on the gravel slopes of a volcano in Nicaragua.

    The 36-year-old Austrian downhiller is the director and owner of the MS Evil Racing Team. His new record is for stock mountain bikes on a gravel surface, and it improved by 1kph the previous record set by Frenchman Eric Barone nine years ago.

    Stöckl completed his run wearing an aero helmet and full body, bright red aero suit as he blazed down the Cerro Negro volcano.

    He'd previous set a speed record on snow of 210kph in 2007.

  • Dietsch and Daho to race BC Bike Race

    Thomas Dietsch (Team Bulls)
    Article published:
    June 15, 2011, 21:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Europeans will challenge defending champion Sheppard

    Two top European endurance racers, Thomas Dietsch (Team Bulls) and Marzio Daho (Team Olympia), are coming to Canada to race the BC Bike Race on July 2-9. The two will take on defending champion Canadian Chris Sheppard (Team Rocky Mountain Bikes).

    Sheppard has won both the team (with Seamus McGrath) and solo titles in the past and is currently the reigning Canadian Cyclo-Cross National Champion. Sheppard has raced World Cups to great success and is looking forward this year's shake out at BC Bike Race.

    Daho, the winner of Trans Rockies in 2008 and the Mongolian Bike Challenge in 2010, has accumulated more than 280 wins in a career spanning 20 years. The Italian shows no signs of slowing down.

    Dietsch, a World Cup winner in 2007 and silver medalist at the marathon world championships in 2008, has multiple French national titles and is excited to pit his skills against the challenge of British Columbia's legendary trails.

    Other favorites for this year's race include Jason Sager (Team Jamis), who won the Trans Andes; Cory Wallace from Team Kona. Wallace finished fifth at the 2010 Crocodile Trophy.

    The race's reputation continues to grow as more foreign riders come from abroad to compete.

    "We are very much looking forward to having all these accomplished athletes attend this year's event, the fifth running. All of these athletes are top tier competitors, but more importantly they are friendly guys and cycling ambassadors who will enjoy the experience and share their passions with the other participants," said Andreas Hestler, BCBR Course Director.

    Since the World Cups on Grouse Mountain, circa 2001-2003, there has been a dearth of European horse power in British Columbia; that will all change in early July at this year's BC Bike Race.

    Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for full...

  • Australian junior mountain bikers impress

    Brandon Yrttiaho
    Article published:
    June 16, 2011, 0:39 BST
    Cycling News

    Downhiller Yrttiaho beats the elites

    Australia's junior world championship "long" team riders are in good form after four of its riders placed in the top 10 in the elite class at the third round of the RedAss State Downhill Series at Stromlo Forest Park in Canberra this weekend.

    One team member, Brandon Yrttiaho from Queensland, took the win in a time of 2:17.53. The 18-year-old beat local elite rider Tim Eaton. Eaton, the current series leader, finished second just 1.62 seconds off the pace. Another junior world team member, Adelaide's Connor Fearon, made it onto the podium with third place just 2.22 seconds off the winning time.

    Despite qualifying with the fastest time in the seeding run, Eaton lost speed in the rock garden, costing him valuable time in the final.

    Eaton retained his lead in the state series with an impressive 620 points. With a fifth place in this round Newcastle's Brad Kelly now moves into second place in the series with 370 points.

    After a training camp in Canberra this week, the eight-member junior world group gained valuable experience by racing up in the tougher elite men's category.

    Team coach Jared Rando from Canberra, said he was impressed with the form of the riders.

    "They all rode up in elite and we got four up in the top 10 so that's a great result for the team," he said. " They all improved and overcame challenges. The group as whole was impressive."

    Other team members ranking in the top ten were Queensland's Ben Power (sixth) and Goulburn's Phillip Piazza (eighth ) who is now based in Canberra. The training camp will finish today with the world junior team final announcement expected in mid-July.

    Newcastle's Sarah Booth took the win in the elite women's race with a remarkable 2:56.66. Sydney pair Danielle Beecroft and Joanne Fox picked up second and third respectively.

    Booth said the wind caused many of the women to change their lines and miss several of the jumps.

    "I just stayed stay...