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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Thursday, May 1, 2014

Date published:
May 01, 2014, 1:00 BST
  • Davison recovers from hip surgery

    US Cross Country National Champion Lea Davison had to watch from the sidelines as she recovers from an injury
    Article published:
    April 18, 2014, 18:45 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Comeback planned for second half of mountain bike season

    Lea Davison (Specialized Racing) has been conspicuously absent from both the US Cups and the World Cups so far in 2014. The American mountain biker is currently sidelined due to injury, but hopes to come back to racing in time for major races later this summer.

    "I had hip surgery on January 24 that I'm still recovering from," said Davison to Cyclingnews. "I'm aiming to be back for the North American World Cups and the Catamount Classic Pro XCT."

    Davison has surgery to fix a torn labrum in her hip joint. "This is exactly the same injury and surgery I had in 2010 except it's on my right side instead of my left."

    She came back from her first hip injury and surgery to make the 2012 Olympic team and to win the 2013 US cross country national championships, and she believes she can do it again.

    "My right hip started hurting with a familiar stabbing pain right around Christmas. I rushed home back to the Vermont Orthopedic Clinic to try and diagnosis what was going on. My doctor thought I had irritated the hip and had an inflamed bursae. I took a course of heavy anti-inflammatories to hopefully solve the problem, and all I could do was wait and see. Being in limbo and not knowing is the hardest. I do way better with a plan to follow. I've never wished so much for bursitis in my entire life."

    An MRI later revealed torn cartilage in her hip, and she was scheduled for surgery the next week. She currently spends most of her days in rehab working on a better range of motion, reducing swelling, getting stronger, and firing up the muscles.

    "Moving through this process happily takes a huge expectation and goal shift," she said. "I had to transition from doing big strength moves envisioning World Cup podiums to swinging my leg back and forth six inches in 4D bands to promote range of...

  • Australian contingent ready for home mountain bike World Cup

    Rebecca Henderson (Trek Factory Racing)
    Article published:
    April 18, 2014, 22:15 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    All eyes on Cairns next weekend for cross country, eliminator and downhill action

    Cycling Australia (CA) and Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA) announced the Australian contingent for the second round of the 2014 UCI World Cup Series to be held in Cairns on April 25-27.

    In the cross country event, 2012 London Olympians Dan McConnell and Rebecca Henderson both had landmark years on the international scene in 2013 and will lead the way in Cairns.

    Looking to the downhill, the brother and sister combination of Mick Hannah and Tracey Hannah are Cairns locals and will be hoping to beat the world in their own backyard. Young gun Troy Brosnan is also one to watch after joining Hannah on the World Cup podium in the opening round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup season in South Africa.

    In the eliminator, reigning world champion Paul Van De Ploeg will return to racing after injury and be the hot favourite for the men, and Emily Parkes will hope to continue her national championship medal-winning form in the women's event.

    President of Mountain Bike Australia, Russ Baker AM, spoke of the significance of the event for the sport in Australia.

    "The first MTB World Cup on Australian soil in six years sees a welcome and exciting return of this level of competition," Baker said. "While riders strive to be world champions, the standard of competition at World Cups can actually be higher and the races harder because more top level riders can enter."

    "For our elite riders, Cairns is one race in a series to which they devote their entire year - some would say their lives. It is an incredible level of commitment from our riders, and from all the teams and sponsors who support them."

    Dubbed the "Rumble in the Rainforest", the three-day Cairns event begins on April 25 and over 300 riders are expected to converge on tropical North Queensland along with tens of thousands of fans.

    ...
  • Cadel Evans recalls fond memories of mountain bike days in Cairns

    Cadel Evans was second in the 1999 Sydney World Cup round behind Gregory Vollet which acted as a test run for the Olympic course in 2000.
    Article published:
    April 22, 2014, 0:40 BST
    By:
    Aaron S. Lee

    Former Tour de France winner says mountain bike roots still run deep

    Long before Cadel Evans (BMC) was winning the Tour de France (2011) and UCI World Road Race Championship (2009), the 37-year-old native of Australia's Northern Territory was carving up the Queensland countryside as a junior on a 26-inch cross country mountain bike with reckless abandon.

    With the return of the UCI MTB World Cup to Cairns on April 25-27, Evans told Cyclingnews that he has fond memories of his mountain biking days before pointing his career toward the pavement.

    "I follow [the World Cup] with interest because it brings back a lot of memories for me as the 1994 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup was my first international race as a cyclist," said Evans. "Also the '96 world championships, which of course I remember. It was a while ago, but it's great to see history come around again and for me, it's a little bit nostalgic."

    Evans, who would go on to win the UCI MTB World Cup in both 1998 and 1999, raced the '94 event as a junior finishing fifth in the process and thus started a rather unique tradition.

    "That year was the first time we had a senior elite race in Australia," said Evans. "I placed fifth, and while I was still a junior at the time I was allowed to enter the race as it was also a part of our Australia national series.

    "On that occasion because I was Australian, even though I was a junior and got fifth, they decided to put five on the podium and that started the tradition, which in the end became something very useful for the sponsors of the sport of mountain biking as it gave more publicity to more teams and made it - from exposure point of view - very important."

    Two years later, the...

  • Trans-Sylvania Epic continues unique neutral support program

    Under 25 men’s winner Madison Matthews (Toasted Head Racing) racing during the 2013 Stan’s NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage race.
    Article published:
    April 22, 2014, 19:15 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Best young rider categories expanded

    Racers will sleep a little easier knowing that the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage race is continuing its unique neutral support program at this year's race starting on May 25 in central Pennsylvania. The race also announced that it would be expanding its best young rider categories.

    Neutral bikes for riders of all ages

    Racers of all ages can benefit from a neutral bike support program at the Trans-Sylvania Epic. BMC neutral support bikes will await riders at each checkpoint throughout race. Should a rider's original bike fail, a loan of the BMC neutral support bike will give the affected rider the chance to officially still finish the stage and race.

    "We're pleased to have the support of BMC again at this year's race. There's nothing worse than having to drop out of a multi-day stage race due to a mechanical. BMC's neutral support bikes saved four riders from DNFs in 2013," said Trans-Sylvania Epic Race Director Mike Kuhn. "After catastrophic mechanicals occurred to their personal bikes, each rider was able to swap to a neutral support bike and finish the stage."

    No other bike exchanges are allowed at the NoTubes TSEpic and swaps to the BMC neutral support bikes are only for when a rider's bike is deemed too broken to continue. In this way, racers can avoid the loss of months of training, preparation, financial and personal commitment to do the week-long race.

    A race within the race for young riders

    Just like the Tour de France, the Trans-Sylvania Epic seven-day mountain bike stage race tracks and rewards up and coming talent with its under 25 rider classification. After each stage and for the overall, the best young male and female riders will be recognized for their outstanding performances; they will each don the white best young rider leader’s jersey.

    "The under 25 category...

  • Gwin and Carpenter to defend World Cup leads in Australia

    Aaron Gwin (Specialized Racing DH)
    Article published:
    April 23, 2014, 3:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Downhill's finest heading to Cairns for UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

    No less than seven downhill world and six World Cup champions will descend on the Smithfield Rainforest in Cairns later this month for the second round of the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.

    The World Cup features events in nine countries, across four continents with riders contesting six rounds in the Olympic cross country, downhill and eliminator events across the elite, under 23 and junior categories. The opening round was recently held in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa on April 10-13.

    Dubbed the "Rumble in the Rainforest", the three-day Cairns event begins on April 25 and over 300 riders are expected to converge on tropical North Queensland along with tens of thousands of fans.

    A star studded men's downhill field includes two-time reigning world champion Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate), with the three-time overall series champion boasting sixteen career World Cup wins including 60 podiums from 97 starts.

    Reigning World Cup Series winner Steve Smith (Devinci Global Racing), 2008 world and 2010 series champion Gee Atherton (GT Factory Racing) and exciting young-gun Loic Bruni (Lapierre Gravity Republic) are all heading Down Under.

    Round 1 winner Aaron Gwin (

  • Absalon and Neff head into Cairns World Cup this weekend

    BMC MTB Racing's Julien Absalon overcame his fear of the rock garden en route to victory in the elite men's cross country win in Pietermaritzburg
    Article published:
    April 24, 2014, 3:15 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Both riders aim to defend series lead at round 2 of UCI MTB World Cup

    Cairns' Smithfield Rainforest is set to erupt with the cream of the crop of international cross country mountain biking set to battle in the second round of the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup this weekend. Round 2 comes two weeks after round 1 was run in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

    Dubbed the "Rumble in the Rainforest," the three-day Cairns event begins on April 25 and over 300 riders are expected to converge on tropical North Queensland along with tens of thousands of fans.

    Fresh off winning round 1, French mountain-biking legend Julien Absalon (BMC) will headline the men's endurance field, with the super-star's overcrowded resume boasting five overall World Cup wins, four world titles and two Olympic gold medals. He claimed his 27th World Cup round win recently in South Africa.

    Australia's Daniel McConnell (Trek Factory Racing) will be aiming for more glory after a great performance in the 2013 World Cup, which saw him become the first Australian since Cadel Evans (1999) to finish on the podium at season's end. Reigning eliminator world champion Paul van der Ploeg (Giant) will excite the crowds when he hits the course in his pet event.

    Reigning Olympic champion Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialised XC) will do his first World since fracturing his patella while 2004 Olympic silver medallist and 2010 elite world champion Jose Hermida (Multivan Merida) and former U23 world champion Ondrej Cink (Multivan Merida) will also make the trip.

    In the women's field, reigning Olympic and two-time reigning cross country world champion Julie Bresset (BH-Suntour-KMC), 2013 World Cup champion Tanja Zakelj (Unior Tools), round 1 winner

  • Top notch women's field to line up for Trans-Sylvania Epic

    Past winner Selene Yeager (Team Rare Disease Cycling) will be back for another shot at victory at the 2014 NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage race
    Article published:
    April 30, 2014, 22:16 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Past winners Sornson and Yeager to battle for overall title

    The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic (TSEpic) is drawing a top notch field of women to race its seven-day mountain bike stage race from May 25 to May 31, 2014. Some of the fastest female endurance mountain bike racers will converge near State College, Pennsylvania for a race many affectionately call "Singletrack Summer Camp".

    Two past winners, Cheryl Sornson and Selene Yeager (both Team Rare Disease Cycling), are expected to face each other for another shot at the overall title. Sornson won the Trans-Sylvania Epic in 2012 while Yeager topped the general classification in 2010.

    "I'm looking forward to seeing everyone again," said Yeager, who will be racing for the third time at Trans-Sylvania Epic. "A big work assignment forced me to miss last year's race, and I was sad to not be able to catch up with all the friends I've made there over the years."

    When asked about her goals for the 2014 edition, Yeager said, "I'm still working on that honestly! The field is so formidable and the week so unpredictable that it's hard to know what to expect. Obviously, I would like to climb up on one of those boxes during the week; but mostly I want to race smart and consistently. I've worked to improve some of the trouble spots I've had with stage racing in the past, so I'm optimistic that I'll have a decent week. But I can't control the competition, so we'll just see!"

    Sornson is perhaps best known for her accomplishments in single-day, 100-mile mountain bike races although she has plenty of stage racing experience, including at races like the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race.

    "I'm excited to put my hat in the ring again. My goals for this year are to do my best to enjoy the vibe a bit more," said Sornson. "I'm not sure how my fitness is for stage racing, but am looking forward to a great couple of days on the trail, and enjoying all the camaraderie after each day's...

  • Australian Mountain Bike Championships return to Bright

    Rebecca Henderson (Trek Factory Racing)
    Article published:
    May 01, 2014, 3:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Venue gets to host nationals for two more years

    The Australian Mountain Bike National Championships will return to Bright, Victoria for 2015 and 2016. According to Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA), after a highly successful inaugural year for the championships in Bright in March, all parties were keen to ensure that the championships have an extended stay in the Alpine Shire.

    At the 2014 championships, the downhill field included riders Tracey Hannah and Mick Hannah, who were both on the podium at the 2013 world championships, and former dual junior world champion Troy Brosnan took the men's title. Cross country fields were led and won by Olympians Dan McConnell and Bec Henderson.

    The 2015 and 2016 Championships will again see the world's best racers across the major disciplines of Olympic cross country, downhill, observed trials and eliminator.

    The Championships require the input and support of many organisations, and at the highest level represent a partnership between MTBA, the Alpine Shire Council and the Alpine Cycling Club.

    Alpine Shire Mayor Peter Roper said the return showed the Alpine Shire was continuing to grow its reputation as a leading cycling destination. "We are really excited to see the Australian Mountain Bike Championships return to the Alpine Shire," he said.

    "Having the championships return to Bright and Surrounds will further cement the region as a cycling mecca and strengthen our product offer as a destination that promotes a life lived outside."

    MTBA President Russ Baker said, "Bright has seen a great progression for mountain biking in recent years, from the most popular national series round in 2013 to the successful national 2014 championships."

    This commitment from Bright and MTBA for the next two years, plus the dedication of the Alpine Cycling Club, will see developments in the sport in the region...