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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Thursday, March 28, 2013

Date published:
March 28, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Burry Stander Memorial Trophy to be awarded at Cape Epic

    The Burry Stander Memorial Trophy will go to the top South African finishers at the Cape Epic
    Article published:
    March 22, 2013, 16:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    Trophy to honor the top South African finishers

    The Burry Stander Memorial Trophy was shown for the first time to riders at the prologue of this year's Cape Epic on Sunday. Burry Stander, who died tragically in a collision with a taxi whilst training on January 3, would have ridden the 2013 event as the reigning champion.

    Created by Angus Taylor, the trophy will honour the first and to date only South African winner. It will be awarded to the overall winner of the African Jersey. The African Jersey was introduced in 2007 and awarded to the leading African riders in the race.

    Burry's wife, Cherise Stander said, "This race was incredibly important to our family. Last year when I was racing abroad, Burry phoned me immediately after crossing the finish line each day. Mandie, Burry's mom, was the first person to congratulate him in 2011 when he won for the first time as the first South African winner. Charles, his dad, has ridden the race twice."

    "The Cape Epic gave Burry a chance to perform on the international stage in his home country. Four of us are riding this year in honour of Burry and we're doing great. I'm so honoured that Angus was inspired by Burry's legacy to create such a meaningful trophy."

    Taylor said, "It's an honour to be part of this tribute to Burry. The trophy was inspired by a chiwara, which is a styled wood carved antelope used in African ceremonies, similar to a white dove in Western tradition. Shown running on a simplistic base, predominately South African materials were used including haematite found in Thabazimbi and Matumi wood, which is only found in rivers. Thabazimbi means mountain of steal. To me it represents the mountains that the Absa Cape Epic riders must cross during their journey."

    Cherise Stander will personally hand the Burry Stander Memorial Trophy to the winners after the final stage on...

  • Mission accomplished for Sauser and Kulhavy at Cape Epic

    Jaroslav Kulhavy and Christoph Sauser (Burry Stander-Songo)
    Article published:
    March 25, 2013, 17:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    Burry Stander's memory honored

    Christoph Sauser and Jaroslav Kulhavy set out to race the 2013 Cape Epic with two goals in mind: honor the memory of their late teammate Burry Stander and win the race. They accomplished both yesterday.

    Sauser won the Cape Epic twice before with Stander, who was killed when he was hit by a taxi while training on January 3, 2013. Prior to Stander's death, they had planned to race together again this year. Then, Olympic cross country champion Kulhavy stepped in to race with Sauser.

    "Riding for Burry those eight days, it was so important to give back," said Sauser according to "When I was out there suffering, I'd tell myself, 'Be happy you're here' compared to Burry who lost his one and only life. It put things in perspective."

    "It's one of my biggest victories," said first-time Cape Epic racer Kulhavy to "It's one of the biggest stage races in the world. It's amazing! I'm glad for us and for Burry's family."

    The pair kicked off the eight-day race with a prologue win and seemed on the fast track to glory, but in true Cape Epic style, despite being the strongest racers out on course, they had to overcome some obstacles along the way. There were three consecutive days of bad luck, including a broken wheel one day, missing a turn and getting slightly lost another day and finally breaking a chain and their chain tool. All three incidents cost them time and they dropped as low as third on the GC while rivals Team Bulls looked like they might be on their way to an overall win.

    Sauser and Kulhavy's luck turned around on stage 4, which they won, and victories in stages 5 and 6 followed. They rode a conservative stage 7 to the finish in Lourensford, where they celebrated the overall victory with their support crew and members...

  • Cape Epic favorites reflect on this year's race

    World champions at the 2013 Cape Epic. Back row: Roel Paulissen (2008
    Article published:
    March 25, 2013, 21:14 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    10 world champions attend 10th anniversary edition

    Each year, the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race draws many of mountain biking's top current and former racers. The 2013 edition of the race attracted 10 world champions to the start line. They took a time out during the busy week to pose for a group shot.

    World champions or not, several of the pre-race favorites shared their thoughts upon finishing the eighth and final day of competition on Sunday in Lourensford, South Africa.

    Multivan Merida Team

    Multivan Merida's Jose Hermida and Rudi van Houts ended the race on a high note by winning the final stage on Sunday.

    "We have finished in the best possible way. A victory in the last stage is a great reward for the work we have done these days," said Hermida. "Our legs have worked great and the teamwork has been perfect."

    Multivan Merida made the selection into the front group on the last day, and finally it was just down to them and the South African Scott team of Philip Buys and Matthys Beukes.

    "When I saw that we could not open a gap, I told Rudi that we would go for the sprint. I knew the last meters of the stage ,and I managed to be first in the last corner; Rudi just had to be second or third. It was great. The Cape Epic is a very special race and we feel proud of today's victory and of wearing the leader's jersey in the second stage."

    The Multivan-Merida team finished fourth overall and claimed two stage wins.

    Scott Swisspower Team

    Cross country world champion Nino Schurter and Florian Vogel had an unfortunate start to the Cape Epic, but they came on strong toward the end, finishing on the podium in stages 5 and 7.

    Their ambitions going into the race were high, but a high speed crash by Vogel during the prologue resulted in a knee injury that would...

  • British mountain bike championships coming to Selkirk

    The start of one of the Selkirk Merida MTB events.
    Article published:
    March 26, 2013, 16:52 GMT
    Cycling News

    Marathon nationals scheduled for early June

    The 2013 British Marathon Mountain Bike Championships will be staged in the Scottish Borders, as part of the Selkirk MTB Marathon, on Saturday, June 8. The race will feature a single lap, 80km course.

    Formerly known as "The Merida" and the "CRC", the Selkirk MTB Marathon is under new management and is being staged by Selkirk-based Durty Events, who are responsible for triathlon and duathlon events throughout Scotland including the Durty Triathlon, Craggy Island Triathlon and the famous Celtman! Extreme Triathlon.

    "We are delighted to be returning to Selkirk for the 2013 marathon championships. The Scottish Borders have some excellent trails, and it's one of the few areas in Britain that can provide a course over a single loop," read a statement from British Cycling. "We had other applications which were considered but the Selkirk bid was considered to offer the best combination of date, proven course and established event infrastructure."

    "We're really chuffed to have been asked to organise the British Championships alongside the popular Selkirk Mountain Bike Marathon," said Paul McGreal of Durty Events. "We're expecting the very best riders in the UK to come and test themselves on the very best single-lap course in the country. We believe we have the best trails the Scottish Borders has to offer and the most popular and challenging course in the UK which is why Selkirk has been voted 'Best MTB Marathon' several times. We aim to provide an achievable challenge for riders of every ability in fantastic surroundings with a lot of fun thrown in as well."

    The British marathon Championships are open to male and female riders (19 or older) who are British citizens and hold a full BC or UCI recognised racing licence; with coveted red, white and blue jerseys up for grabs. There are also integrated championship categories for veteran men and women.

    For those non-license holders who are taking part in The Selkirk MTB Marathon,...

  • Trans-Sylvania Epic draws strong women's field

    You never know who or what you might run into in the woods of Trans-Sylvania 4.
    Article published:
    March 27, 2013, 13:54 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Stage race adds new U25 classification and neutral support

    The 2013 edition of the Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage race is drawing a strong women's field, including two former winners, Amanda Carey (Stan's No Tubes) and Cheryl Sornson (Team CF).

    "It looks like the women's field will be as good as it's ever been, if not even better," said Trans-Sylvania Epic co-promoter Mike Kuhn to Cyclingnews.

    Several other fast women will join Carey and Sornson in Pennsylvania from May 26 to June 1. Sonya Looney (Topeak Ergon) and Sarah Kaufmann, State College local Vicki Barclay and Sue Haywood (all Stan's No Tubes) are also among the podium favorites.

    Based on sheer numbers, the Stan's No Tubes team will be a force to be reckoned with.

    "The NoTubes women could race as a team although that's not always the easiest thing to do in a mountain bike stage race," said Kuhn.

    The attendance of Pua Mata (Sho-Air/Cannondale) is still in question since she broke her leg while racing at the Mellow Johnny's Classic in early March. She had been considering coming, but may not be recovered in time to compete in a week-long stage race.

    The Trans-Sylvania Epic is also doing a few unique things for the 2013 edition of the race. First is an under 25 classification, in which the best U25 riders across all categories (solo, duo, etc.) are recognized and awarded. The top male and female U25 riders will go home with a free solo entry to the next year's event.

    "I think it's a good way to offer a development category. It's a way to get some up and coming racers some significant exposure for themselves and their sponsors," said Kuhn.

    In addition, the Trans-Sylvania Epic will have neutral support bikes at check points throughout the race.

    "We definitely have people each year who can't...

  • Junior world champ Cooper prepares for European campaign

    Anton Cooper (Cannondale Factory Racing)
    Article published:
    March 28, 2013, 3:22 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    New Zealander moves into U23 ranks

    Anton Cooper is used to winning. As a junior, he had a perfect record of entering every World Cup he entered. After capping off a stellar young career with a 2012 cross country junior world title, the New Zealander joined Cannondale Factory Racing and just moved up to the U23 ranks, where he will face tougher competition.

    "I think it's going to be a step up, and I'll have to be mentally prepared to lose a few races of course," Cooper told Cyclingnews. "It's not going to be my first races that I'll win. I have to be prepared to chase again. It'll be a different style of riding, and I look forward to it."

    Coming from New Zealand, Cooper didn't race a full World Cup circuit as a junior rider. He travelled to Europe and North America for select events, as his school schedule permitted. He spent quite a lot of time in those World Cups off the front alone, well above the level of the rest of his fellow junior competition.

    "I won every World Cup that I entered across my U19 years - both in 2011 and 2012," said Cooper. 2012 was a pretty big year. I'd grown a lot since 2011, with my performance and what I'd learned. It was a big step up from the world championships in 2011. This last year was a year of putting together all that I'd learned. Everything came together well, and I had a perfect season, I couldn't ask for more."

    It can be difficult to stay to focused during so much time off the front, but Cooper and his coaches came up with a way to keep him on track.

    "Last year, I compared my times to the U23s and elites. It was something to do and it kept me motivated," he said.

    When asked how his times stacked up against his elders, he said, "I tended to sit around third in the U23 ranks and 10th-15th in elite men, but then again the U23s do an extra lap. I'll prepare for that - I think I can do another lap at that pace, but the truth is,...

  • German MTB-Bundesliga opens season in Spitz's hometown

    The start of the elite men's race at the 2012 German national championships in Bad Säckingen
    Article published:
    March 28, 2013, 15:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    European favorites line up for cross country opener this weekend

    Bad Säckingen is hosting the Gold Trophy, the opening round of the 2013 International MTB-Bundesliga this coming Easter weekend on March 31 to April 1. In addition to drawing some of Europe's top elite cross country mountain bike stars, the southwest German town will also be hosting a round of the brand new new U23 and juniors European Cup.

    Two-time world champion Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Erogon) is among the women attending the German national series opener. She and former marathon world champion Esther Süss (Wheeler-iXS) will take on former world champ and local Sabine Spitz (Haibike), racing in the town where she was born.

    Matthias Flückiger (Stöckli) is among the men's favorites, and he'll be racing riders like Swiss rival Giger (Giant Pro XC).

    Bad Säckingen hosted the German national championships in 2012. For that event, a new course was constructed, and after receiving rave reviews from the 1,000 racers participating in its first test, it will be used again this weekend.

    The Gold Trophy's name was inspired by Bejing Olympic Gold medallist Spitz.

    The new European Cup for U23s and juniors also includes the Sunshine race in Nals, Italy, the Ötztal Mountainbike Festival in Haiming and the Graz Bike-Opening, both in Austria.

    Due to the Easter holidays, the organisation committee will not be running the eliminator race that is usually part of the International MTB-Bundesliga series, but it hopes to run one in future years.

    The U23 and junior racers will compete on Sunday while the elite racers will compete on Monday.

    For more information, visit

  • Hanlen and Cooper lead New Zealand at Oceanias

    Anton Cooper (New Zealand) in action.
    Article published:
    March 28, 2013, 21:56 GMT
    Cycling News

    Tasmania hosts continental championships

    New Zealand will be well represented at this weekend's Oceania Mountain Bike Championships in Australia where Karen Hanlen will take up a battle of the Olympians in Tasmania. The defending Oceania champion will clash with leading Australian rider Rebecca Henderson in the cross country race on Saturday. They last raced each other in London where both made their Olympic debuts.

    Hanlen, who won the title impressively in Rotorua last year, will be the clear favourite with Henderson and former national and Oceania champion Rowena Fry likely to be the major Australian opposition.

    Another New Zealander, Samara Sheppard, who will ride for the new Toko Print UCI trade team in Europe this year, is moving up to the elite division for the first time after winning a World Cup round in the under 23 class last year.

    Whakatane's Carl Jones is the sole Kiwi hope in the elite men's division, with the 2011 national champion building up in New Zealand this year before mounting his long term challenge for a place at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

    He was second in the Mountain Bike Cup series over the summer and will take on Olympian Daniel McConnell and the current champion, the experienced Chris Jongewaard who will lead the Australian charge.

    Junior world champion Anton Cooper is back from his camp with the new Cannondale Racing Team to compete in Tasmania, and while riding in the under 23 division, he will likely be the marker for the elite men's field.

    New Zealand's Dirk Peters, who pushed Cooper to the line at the national championships, will also look for a strong finish in the under 23 division.

    The cross country races will be on Saturday at a new course at Tolosa Park, with a big 5km lap. The downhill will be at Glenorchy Mountain Bike Park, which is close to Hobart.

    New Zealand team for 2013 Oceania Mountain Bike Championships

    Cross country
    Elite women: Karen Hanlen,...