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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Thursday, May 3, 2012

Date published:
May 03, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Smith and Kintner take early US Pro GRT leads

    Jill Kintner (USA) Team Norco International
    Article published:
    May 01, 2012, 22:08 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    NW Cup kicks off national series racing

    The USA Cycling Pro Gravity Tour (US Pro GRT) kicked off over the weekend with the NW Cup in Port Angeles, Washington. Canadian Steve Smith (Devinci Global Racing) and American Jill Kinter (Team Norco International) earned wins to take slight leads following the first of six 2012 Pro GRT races. The race also doubled as round one in the US Grand Prix of Mountain Biking downhill series.

    Smith outdid 2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup downhill champion Aaron Gwin (Trek World Racing) by just over two seconds to take the victory in the elite men's event hosted at Dry Hill. Mick Hannah (Hutchinson United Ride) took third, just three seconds off Smith's pace at 2:33:57.

    Mountain biking veteran and 2011 US Pro GRT champ Kintner took yet another victory, descending Dry Hill faster than any other female. Miranda Miller (Santa Cruz-SRAM) finished two seconds slower than Kinter for second while Holly Feniak earned bronze.

    See full results from the NW Cup.

    The US Pro GRT will head east for the Eastern States Cup - Mountain Creek on May 20 in New Jersey, before moving to nearby Roxbury, New York for Eastern States Cup - Plattekill on May 27.

    Top Five Standings

  • Video: The Athertons, chapter 1

    Elite men's downhill podium in Pietermaritzburg: Gee Atherton, Aaron Gwin, Greg Minnaar, Michael Hannah, Steve Smith
    Article published:
    May 02, 2012, 15:54 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Gee Atherton reflects on start to season

    Here's the first video in our exclusive four-part series at home with the most famous siblings in mountain biking, the Athertons.

    In Chapter 1, Gee reflects on the World Cup season opener in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa and assesses his chances for the rest of the season. He reveals how he's getting on with his new race bike, the GT Fury, before hitting the dirt jumps his brother Dan built in their back garden.

    Chapter 2, coming soon, will turn the spotlight onto Rachel, who just won this past weekend's iXS Downhill Cup in Monte Tamaro.

    The following video is filmed and edited by Liam Murphy.

  • Amateurs invited to race during Windham World Cup weekend

    Julie Bresset (BH-Suntour) wins the Windham World Cup with a surge on the last lap.
    Article published:
    May 02, 2012, 18:18 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Cross country and gravity events announced

    Professional and amateur cyclists are invited to race with the best athletes from all over the world during the Gravity East Series downhill and Kenda Race the World cross country events taking place at the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup on June 30 and July 1 in Windham, New York.

    On Saturday, June 30, Gravity East invites professional and category 1-3 cyclists to participate in the downhill event (3:15 pm start time.) For categories, points and entry fees, visit gravityeastseries.com/index.html.

    On Sunday, July 1, Kenda's Race the World XC, invites professionals, category 1-3 cyclists and first timers to compete on the same course as World Cup athletes. Races start at 8 am and entry fees range from $25 to $50. The Race the World XC is part of the New York State Mountain Bike Series and the Root 66 Series.

    Kids will also have a chance to race on a 1/8 to 1/4 mile loop at the base of Windham Mountain near the lodge. The GNH Lumber Kids' Fun Race is appropriate for children up to age 12. Participants are asked to bring their own bikes. Heats will be broken down by age. The race starts at 12:45 pm on Sunday; there is no entry fee.

    Riders are encouraged to register for the cross country, downhill and kids' races by visiting www.racewindham.com (click on non-UCI, and follow instructions at www.bikereg.com). Online registration closes on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 9:00 pm eastern standard time.

    Registration entitles racers to participate in all World Cup festivities at Windham Mountain including a Thursday night "Ride the Pond Challenge," a Friday night Block Party on Main Street and live music on Saturday night with bike trials demonstrations and motocross aerial stunt shows.

    Unlike most international World Cup venues, there will be no...

  • New Zealand Singlespeed Championships return to Rotorua

    Eventuall winner Garth Weinberg runs across a stream.
    Article published:
    May 02, 2012, 21:45 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    2013 date set for April 27

    In a little less than one year, the 2013 New Zealand Singlespeed Championships will return to where it all started, in Rotorua. Race day will be Saturday April 27, 2013.

    The first championship for one-geared mountain bikes in New Zealand was raced in the Whakarewarewa Forest mountain bike network on the city's southern border in 2008. The event was also in Rotorua in 2009, with around 500 entries over the two years.

    Then in 2010, the city hosted the Singlespeed World Championships with 1000 entries from 30 countries competing for bragging rights, with the men's and women's champions receiving the winner's tattoos.

    "That was a fantastic week," said Rotorua Singlespeed Society President Gaz Sullivan. "Town was packed with bikers, the race was on a perfect spring day, the costumes were wild and colourful and to cap off a truly memorable event Rotorua singlespeed hero, Garth Weinberg won the tatt."

    The New Zealand singlespeed championships were held in Queenstown in 2010, Hawkes Bay in 2011 and in Nelson in 2012.

    "It seemed right to bring it back to the North Island and 'home' for 2013," said Sullivan, "We're pretty good at this sort of thing and just about everyone involved was part of the team who ran the 2006 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials Worlds."

    Singlespeed events are a lot more informal than the one the UCI runs, with costumes and beer short cuts.

    "Riding a one-geared mountain bikes is bloody hard and the riders also enjoy a good bit of socialising at the after-match function," said Gregg Brown from the Pig & Whistle, who will be sponsoring the championships. "We've been involved in the previous two New Zealand championships and the Singlespeed Worlds in Rotorua and it's a perfect fit for us. We're mountain bikers, too and proud to back a fun event like this one."

    Since the 2010 Singlespeed Worlds, there's been a dramatic rise in Australian mountain bikers taking advantage of Air New Zealand's...

  • Ingkerreke Commercial MTB Enduro heats up in Red Centre

    Two racers in the Ingkerreke Commercial MTB Enduro
    Article published:
    May 03, 2012, 1:35 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Blair returns to defend title but Douglas will be absent

    The Ingkerreke Commercial Mountain Bike Enduro is only weeks away from hitting the reinvigorated mountain bike trails around Alice Springs and the MacDonnell Ranges, with an eclectic bunch of riders set to compete in the multi-day, multi-stage race.

    The seven stage event has as always attracted riders ranging from top tier to those simply out for an adventure experience in the Top End landscapes.

    Elites

    In the men's category, podium placegetter at this year's national championships, Andy Blair returns to defend his title won at last year's event and will be anointed as favourite after winning the season-long, multi-event All Mountain Cup in March.

    The Australian Capital Territory rider will face strong competition from South Australian, Ben Hogath, who won the Mawson MTB Marathon winner in 2010 (solo), was eighth Oceania cross country championships in 2012 and has an Ingkerreke Commercial top 10 under his belt.

    The latest member of the marathonMTB.com team, Nick Both, will likely feature at the pointy end, too, having registered three top 10s in Alice Springs previously. EnduroPulse.com.au team rider Ben Randall is also looking to take a stoush or two up front over the five days of riding and undoubtedly young gun Billy Sewell, who came fourth overall last year. Two other young riders on the rise in contention include Team Torq duo Robbie Hucker and Jack Haig, who were first and second respectively in the U23 at the national championships recently.

    And can young Alice Spring indigenous athlete Hayden Jude blaze a new trail as a role model by pushing into the lead pack? Twenty-year-old Hayden Jude will be the first indigenous youth to participate in the Enduro. He will have some cultural company for at least one day with Dudley Clarke, and indigenous rider from Sadadeen, Northern Territory, testing the waters as the only other indigenous rider...

  • 4X ProTour heads to Poland

    Two racers in a four cross heat
    Article published:
    May 03, 2012, 15:26 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Round 2 in Szczawno Zdroj this weekend

    After the success of round 1 of the 4X ProTour in Houffalize, Belgium, just two weeks ago, round 2 will take place in Szczawno Zdroj, Poland on Saturday night, May 5.

    The town of Szczawno takes its four cross seriously. The "sunny meadow" four cross course is in the centre of the town and four cross is the sport of choice for the area. Local mayor and race organiser Andzrej Skrzypczak has dedicated himself to this annual event.

    It's not just the mayor, but also the residents of Szczawno who take their four cross seriously. When the 4X ProTour rolls in to town at the weekend, there will be billboards promoting the event, shops with posters in the windows and the town's shops will close early on Saturday afternoon to make sure that everyone can get over to the four cross track to watch the race.

    The track is a work of art. A start cabin covers the riders before they snap out of the gate and race on the fastest four cross track of the series. High speed and huge jumps are the traits for this track and only the most focused riders will make it to the final.

    After his sensational win at round 1, Tomas Slavik is entering round 2 with the points lead and the most important thing: confidence. Two weeks ago, he won every race to take the win ahead of Czech compatriot Lucas Mechura. Of course at round 1, Jacub Riha was the fastest qualifier as well. It was clear to see that Czech domination in Belgium was in full force. At round 2, look for Holland's Joost Wichman, Germany's Aiko Goehler, Sweden's Felix Beckeman and the USA's Blake Carney to be looking at denting the Czech dominance.

    Round 1 winner Anneke Beerten will not be racing at round 2 due to some prior sponsor commitments. The battle will likely come down to Celine Gros, Katy Curd or Lucia Oejtens to take the spoils.

    Round 2 will be

  • Solothurn round of BMC Racing Cup draws top-notch field

    Colnago's Nathalie Schneitter (L) and Eva lechner (R) made the trip over from Europe
    Article published:
    May 03, 2012, 18:02 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    World Cup racers test legs one last time before next two MTB rounds

    Many of the mountain bike world's best cross country riders will get one final test of their legs at round 3 of the Swiss BMC Racing Cup on Sunday, just one week before the next World Cup in Nove Mesto, Czech and two weeks before the World Cup in La Bresse, France.

    Solothurn will host this weekend's round of the BMC Racing Cup in conjunction with its National Bike Days Festival. With the next two World Cups serving as the final two qualifiers for the Swiss and many other national Olympic teams, the race has drawn an outstanding list of starters, including more than a dozen top 15 ranked male and female riders in the world.

    Swizterland's Nino Schurter, ranked second in the World Cup standings, is the favorite, but he'll be challenged by Spaniard Jose Antonio Hermida (ranked fourth), Frenchman Maxime Marotte (ranked fifth), Swizterland's Florian Vogel (ranked seventh) and Lukas Flückiger (ranked ninth), German Moritz Milatz (ranked 12th) and Swiss riders Thomas Litscher (ranked 13th) and Christoph Sauser (ranked 14).

    In the women's racing, last year's World Cup winner Julie Bresset of France will compete against Italian Eva Lechner (ranked fourth), Russian Irina Kalentieva (ranked sixth), local rider Nathalie Schneitter (ranked eighth), two-time Solothurn winner Esther Süss (ranked 13th) and 2008 Olympic champion Sabine Spitz (ranked 14th).

    Many of these riders are medallists at last year's world...

  • Knox favored for MTN Clarens marathon win

    Max Knox grimaces as he claims the King of the Mountains
    Article published:
    May 03, 2012, 20:32 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Evans, George and Niyonshuti sit this one out

    With Kevin Evans and David George opting to compete in the Joburg2C mountain bike stage race rather than the MTN Clarens, Max Knox might just be the new overall leader in the MTN marathon series after the MTN Clarens National MTB Ultra taking place on Saturday, May 5.

    Evans (Nedbank360Life) is currently leading with 11639 points, Knox is second with 10628 points and George (Nedbank360Life) third with 10355 points. Nico Bell is fourth (9947) and Gawie Combrinck fifth (8800).

    According to Knox, it will be a mistake to think that it will be any easier to win at Clarens because of the absence of Evans and George. "I raced in the MTN Clarens race for the first time last year, and I realize that it will always be one of the toughest races of the series.

    "The altitude and the terrain make for real hard racing. One's body and equipment are really tested.

    "I can only hope that it does not rain, because then the terrain will become twice as difficult." Fortunately for the riders the race is being held later this year and the weather should be kind.

    Knox welcomes the fact that Evans and George won't be racing. "I think it is high time that somebody else wins at Clarens."

    Evans won in 2009 and 2010 and, if it had not been for an appendectomy as well as a broken collarbone last year, he would probably have completed his hat trick of victories.

    Knox added jokingly that he thinks it is time for the old men of South African mountain biking, namely Evans and George, to start taking things easier. "They made quite an impressive silver screen debut with their Epic Tale Movie. Perhaps they should consider taking up Hollywood contracts and leave the serious racing to us youngsters."

    Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN-Qhubeka), last year's champion, will not be defending his title this year. Niyonshuti showed perseverance at the Epic when his teammate Jacques Janse van Rensburg became ill at an early stage of the tour. He impressed...

  • Elite men's US Pro GRT Standings after one round
    # Rider Name (Country) Team Result
    1 Steve Smith (Can) Devinci Global Racing 60  pts