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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Thursday, May 12, 2011

Date published:
May 12, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Gravity East Series announces 2011 schedule

    A racer catches some air at the Gravity East Series.
    Article published:
    May 06, 2011, 19:53 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Series will double up with Windham World Cup

    Organizers of the Gravity East Series (GES) released the official schedule of races for 2011. The GES will include nine races over five months in six different states in the northeast US.

    The season kicks off the weekend of June 4-5 at a new venue for the GES this year: Snowshoe Bike Park in Snowshoe West Virginia.

    The GES will also be participating in a race within the Windham 2011 Mountain Bike World Cup Festival being held at Windham Mountain in Windham, New York the weekend of July 7-9.

    Other stops for the series include Maryland, Vermont, New Hampshire and Pennsylvania. The season finale will once again be at Blue Mountain in Palmerton, Pennsylvania on the weekend of October 1-2.

    There will be a $5,000 finals pro purse at Blue Mountain and a minimum $1,000 pro purse at each venue.

    A portion of the racer entry fees will be donated to the Arthritis Foundation.

    2011 Gravity East Series (GES)
    June 4-5: Snowshoe, West Virginia
    June 18-19: WISP Resort, Maryland
    July 7-9: Windham World Cup Weekend, New York
    July 23-24: Seven Springs, Pennsylvania
    August 6-7: Sugarbush Resort, Warren, Vermont
    August 13-14: Killington Resort, Killington, Vermont
    August 27-28: Highland Mountain Bike Park, Northfield, New Hampshire
    October 2-3: Blue Mountain Ski Area, Palmerton, Pennsylvania

    For more information about the 2011 Gravity East Series season, visit www.gravityeastseries.com.

  • British Cycling announces its roster for Dalby World Cup

    Annie Last racing through Dalby Forest during a national series race.
    Article published:
    May 10, 2011, 20:20 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Downhill world champion Moseley among those racing

    Twelve racers will represent Great Britain on home soil at the UCI cross country World Cup in Dalby Forest, Yorkshire on May 21-22 according to British Cycling.

    Commonwealth Games Gold medalist and current National Champion Liam Killeen will race the elite men's category while under 23 national champion Annie Last, who won the silver medal in the 2010 under 23 world championships, will ride up a category and compete with the elite women, despite being just 20 years of age.

    "For this year's Dalby World Cup, we've been able to select riders in each of the categories, and everyone is looking forward to competing on the course in front of a home crowd," said Great Britain's Mountain Bike Coach Phil Dixon. "We made a solid start to the World Cup season and we're looking to build on that in the run-up to London 2012."

    Downhill World Champion Tracy Moseley will join Last on the elite women's team as a special guest racer. The downhill pro is no stranger to cross country and endurance events. Earlier this spring, she participated in the Cape Epic mountain bike race.

    "I'm also pleased to have a world champion in the squad - Tracy was keen to support the home World Cup whilst also gaining experience in an elite cross country race, which will serve as good preparation for the rest of her season," said Dixon.

    Team Great Britain for UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Dalby Forest

    Elite men

    Liam Killeen

    Elite women
    Annie Last
    Tracy Moseley

    U23 men
    David Fletcher
    Kenta Gallagher
    Steven James

    U23 women
    Lily Mathews

    Junior men
    Grant Ferguson
    Matthew Sumpton
    Ben Summer

    Junior women
    Katy Winton
    Bethany...

  • Nys to contest Belgacom MTB Grand Prix

    Race favourite Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet) awaits the start of the Jaarmarktcross.
    Article published:
    May 11, 2011, 8:30 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Round one opens in Stoumont this weekend

    The 2011 Belgacom Mountain Bike Grand Prix, Belgium's cross country national series, will begin in Stoumont this weekend on May 14. Five total races will comprise the series with the best four rounds counting toward the overall.

    A technically and physically demanding course has been designed on the slopes of the Lienne Valley. World Champion Jose Antonio Hermida (Multivan Merida), Olympic Champion Julien Absalon (Orbea), cyclo-cross star Sven Nys, Kevin Van Hoovels and Nicolas Vermeulen are among the favorites signed up to compete.

    Nys, who is the ambassador for the Belgian cross country series, will compete in all five rounds as he prepares for the 2012 London Olympic Games. In addition to the Belgacom races, Nys will also race the UCI World Cups in Britain, Germany and the Czech Republic, the European Championships and the world championships. He may make appearances in a limited number of road races.

    "If I finish in the top 12 of the European Championships this year, I would have normally qualified for London," said Nys. "This is my big priority for this summer, so I have to race in many mountain bike events and build my good form on the road. I know that I will not be as strong at the beginning of cyclo-cross season, but I'll be back on 'cross form by next November."

    The second-year series heads next to Averbode on June 2, Boom on June 18, Sankt-Vith on July 2 and Geraardsbergen on July 9.

    For more information on the Belgacom MTB Grand Prix, visit www.belgacomgp.be.

    2011 Belgacom MTB Grand Prix
    May 14: MTB Cup Stoumont (UCI Cat. 2)
    June 2: Averbode MTB Cup (UCI Cat. 1)
    June 18: MTB Cup Boom (UCI Cat. 2)
    July 2: MTB Cup Sankt-Vith (UCI Cat. 2)
    July 9: Geraardsbergen MTB Cup (UCI Cat. 1)

  • Favorites line up for MTN Tulbagh marathon

    David George 360life) and Max Knox (DCM) set the tempo up the first climb.
    Article published:
    May 11, 2011, 17:54 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Round 5 of South African marathon series happening Saturday

    The rider who wins the 105km MTN Tulbagh marathon on Saturday, May 14 will have the right to claim that he is one of South Africa's top endurance mountain bikers. A star studded line-up, with nearly all the top names present, is expected for round five of the marathon national series.

    Organizers worked to strike a balance between a track that was enjoyable for a wide range of participants and one that would be challenging. "There is a fine line between just having hard routes and having memorable experiences on the bike over a challenging route," said Wessel van der Walt, COO of Advendurance.

    En route, racers will catch glimpses of magnificent scenes in the Saronsberg mountains. The course winds its way around farm dams, between luscious green vineyards and along rocky mountain tracks edged with indigenous fynbos, including proteas. The route completes an anti-clockwise loop around the town of Tulbagh.

    Kevin Evans (360Life) said last week that the racing in and around Tulbagh is made difficult by the loose sandy sections and loose rocks.

    Max Knox (Ghost DIN) is the one rider who is not at all upset by the rumours of a tough and technical race. "It is a first for me. I have never even driven through Tulbagh, so I really don't know what to expect. In a way it is just as well because, seeing that everything will be new to me, I cannot get worked up about anything."

    "If I take the race as it comes, doing what I do best which is riding my mountain bike as hard as I can. It will be merely a matter of seeing how things turn out," said Knox.

    "It might even suit me if there should be lots of loose sand and rocks on route because I quite enjoy fighting my way through nature's obstacles. One way or another, it will be an interesting race for spectators to watch."

    Knox refused, however, to be tipped as one of the pre-race favourites. "In my opinion, David George (360Life) will be the one to beat because, having...

  • Dias recounts first Brasil Ride

    Marcos Dias racing in the inaugural Brasil Ride mountain bike stage race.
    Article published:
    May 11, 2011, 23:31 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Brasilian conquered personal obstacles to finish MTB stage race

    Marco Dias never thought of doing the inaugural Brasil Ride mountain bike stage race last November until just a few months before it started.

    "When my partner Antonio Carlos Rodrigues and I decided to ride the Brasil Ride, it was only about 90 days before the competition. We got a coach who designed a training plan for us and we rode almost every day. We increased the amount of kilometers and then the intensity. Our goal was to achieve the famous finisher's jersey."

    Finishing the six-day, 585km race was an impressive achievement for anyone, but Dias had to overcome some extra challenges to do so - he was juggling life as a CEO, father, husband and motorcycle accident survivor.

    "I lost a leg in a motorcycle accident in 1984. At the time I was 17," said Dias. "I put the first prosthesis on five months after the accident and had a super quick physical recovery."

    I was very happy when I discovered I could ride, and I use the bike at various stages of my life as a means of transport."

    Reflecting on his experiences, he said, "The mental adjustments are forever and I always carry with me the saying, 'What does not kill us makes us stronger'."

    Dias got into mountain biking about four years ago with the encouragement of friends in his hometown of Vitoria da Conquista. They banded together to create an early morning group ride called the "Couro de Cocó".

    Dias and his partner found the 143km stage of the Brasil Ride to be the hardest and in retrospect, they were glad to have prepared as much as possible in advance.

    "Our biggest fear was that stage. We knew that if we made that stage, we'd complete the rest. We trained on the stage. When we scouted the stage, we could not believe the route would be so difficult and we called the organizer to confirm." He ended up being given tips on tire choice and what to bring along for the big...

  • Weir and Moeschler team up for BC Bike Race

    Mark Weir
    Article published:
    May 12, 2011, 3:18 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Duo looks forward to some Canadian singletrack

    Mark Weir and Jason Moeschler (Team WTB-Cannondale) have teamed up to take on the BC Bike Race mountain bike stage race on July 2-9 in Canada.

    Both racers are widely known for their success at the Downieville Classic, also known as the All Mountain World Championships. In addition to being strong racers, they are renowned for their technical wizardry. In 2010, the pair competed in the French Enduro series and the Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage race.

    "My quest to be more like a Canadian has been ongoing," said Weir. "This seemed to be a real fast way to imbed some Canadian skills and long enough to maybe get a hold of that real cool accent. I feel the Canuck way of life is for me."

    "If this does not work, I may have to start tunneling my way under the border-setting the standard for underground singletrack and being the first to make a video of this cool sub-terrain style. Being original is being Canadian. If all fails, I'll just drink lots of beer. I am looking forward to this adventure."

    "I remember asking Weir to go to this race when it started," said Moeschler, "saying that we needed to go because he was complaining about Downieville and how stressful it was to defend his title year after year..."

    "So I said let's go do something different, let's go do BC Bike Race. He said, 'Oh no, I'm an endurance downhill racer. I don't do that kind of stuff.' Well something changed because now we're doing it and that's great news for me because all the riding I've ever done in Canada has always been amazing."

    Moeschler said he was particularly looking forward to an epic week of riding while off work. "Please tell me there's no Wi-Fi at the campsite...," he said.

    For more information on BC Bike Race, visit www.bcbikerace.com.

  • Evans back to racing after broken collarbone

    Max Knox and Kevin Evans go head to head over the King of the Mountains
    Article published:
    May 12, 2011, 16:18 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Second comeback of the year for South African mountain biker

    Kevin Evans (360Life) will make his second comeback to racing in 2011 this Saturday, May 14 when he competes in the MTN Tulbagh marathon.

    This will be his first race since he crashed out of the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race, breaking his collarbone. His first setback came in December 2010 when his appendix had to be removed in an emergency operation.

    In spite of all his bad luck, Evans is far from being despondent. "Having crashed out of the Epic may still prove to be a blessing in disguise, because I will go to the marathon world championship with fresh legs. I have not really pushed myself to the limit so far this year."

    Evans is under no illusion about what awaits him at the MTN Tulbagh marathon. "What makes racing in Tulbagh so tough is that the loose sand and rocks make it almost impossible to get into a comfortable racing rhythm. You suffer from the beginning of the race up to the moment you finish."

    But it will not be all doom and gloom. According to Evans, the area where the race will take place is really beautiful.

    "A bonus to racing in Tulbagh is that there will be ample opportunities to taste some of the finest Pinotage and Shiraz wines."

    Evans is excited about racing again. "I have not missed out that much on my training. I only took off the week after the accident. A week later, I was doing long hours on my indoor trainer and during the past three weeks, I did hard miles on my road bike.

    "I will be doing some proper mountain bike training for the first time this weekend, so don't expect too much of me next weekend. I will just be checking things out. If I can help my teammate, David George, somewhat it will mission accomplished.

    "I have to thank my sponsors for their support. I have had two unfortunate injuries and both times the sponsors have been 110 percent behind me. Because of their support I am able to just get back to racing and carry on where I left off."

  • Last looks forward to racing Dalby Forest World Cup

    Under 23 racer Annie Last crosses the line after a stirring effort in the women's elite race.
    Article published:
    May 12, 2011, 19:12 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Home course suits British national champion

    British cross country national champion Annie Last is excited about returning to Dalby Forest in the United Kingdom to race the second UCI World Cup of the season on May 22. Just over one year ago in Dalby Forest, Last logged her best-ever career World Cup performance, a 19th place.

    "I'm looking forward to it, and I want to make sure I'm in the best shape possible when I get there," Last told Cyclingnews. "I don't have to travel, I know the course and it suits me quite well."

    The Dalby Forest World Cup is the only "home" World Cup for British racers. Many of them, including Last, had a chance to get reacquainted with racing the course earlier this spring at a round of the British Cross Country Series. Last finished second to Frenchwoman Julie Bresset in that round. She also finished an impressive second to Lene Byberg at the Sherwood Pines round of the national series.

    "I've been happy with my results this year," said Last, who races in the colours of the British National Team. "I've done well. It was good to have Lene and Julie at those rounds - that made for good races."

    Last enjoys the Dalby Forest course and gets to ride it often. "The course is going to be similar to how it was last year. It's a good mixture, with a bit of technical riding and some good climbs. It's a good all-around course, and a good one to race. You can move forward through groups, so it's good for passing. It's also good for spectators."

    Last is just 20 years old; she will turn 21 in September. 2011 marks the first year during which the under 23 cross country World Cup racers have been permitted to chose between racing in their own category or stepping up and racing together with the elite women. Last has committed to racing with the elites. She enjoys the tougher competition and how it pushes her to be a better rider.

    "I had the option...