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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Thursday, November 24, 2011

Date published:
November 24, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Shorter Croc Trophy on tap for 2012

    Jessica Douglas won the 2011 Crocodile Trophy women's contest
    Article published:
    November 22, 2011, 3:23 GMT
    Cycling News

    More variety and technical terrain mean it won't be easier

    Just about a month ago, the 17th Crocodile Trophy finished with victories by Dutchman Jeroen Boelen and Australian Jessica Douglas. But the 2012 edition of the race won't look like the one that just finished.  It will be shorter and will include more technical terrain.

    The 2012 Crocodile Trophy will start in Far North Queensland on October 20 with a bang: for the first time, the World Cup tracks at Smithfield in Cairns will be included for stage 1. The 30km race course on the technically challenging terrain will also allow local Australian and New Zealand riders to race with the international Crocodile Trophy crowd, and there are plans to open up stage 2 from Cairns to Lake Tinaroo to the public as well.

    From Cairns, the following eight days will challenge the technical skills of participants more than ever previously. "The stages will be shorter, however, they will include considerably more mountain bike tracks," said event organizer Gerhard Schönbacher. The race is famous for including large sections of gravel roads, many of which are extremely rough.

    Furthermore, a time trial in the historic mining town of Irvinebank will add some variety.

    Overall, the participants will ride 866km, with the longest stage covering 136km.

    The Outback will continue to be centre-stage with the cattle station at Mt. Mulligan, Mitchell River and the Bicentennial National Trail all being included in the stage plan of the race through the Australian bush. In addition, the legendary stage through the "Quinken Aboriginal Reserver" from Maytown to Laura will be revived and included after a 10-year hiatus.

    Croc Adventure

    In addition to the individual and team of three classifications, another category will be offered in 2012. The "Croc Adventure" team category will be for teams of two (male, female or mixed). The participants in this...

  • Euro and British Four Cross Series sign 2012-2013 title sponsor

    Two four cross riders duke it out in Afan
    Article published:
    November 22, 2011, 17:52 GMT
    Cycling News

    Schwalbe will back both series

    The 2012 and 2013 Euro and British Four Cross Series signed a deal renewing their relationships with title sponsor Schwalbe. The series, which will continue to be known as the Schwalbe British 4X Series and the Schwalbe Euro 4X Series, have attracted top riders. The continuation of both series comes as good news to four cross riders after the UCI dropped the discipline from its 2012 Mountain Bike World Cup.

    Schwalbe Euro 4X Series

    The Schwalbe Euro 4X Series came down to the very last race in 2011 to decide the top three overall. Joost Wichman had led the series from round 1 in Houffalize, Belgium, but at the final round in Pec, Czech Republic, Tomas Slavik did just enough to overturn Joost's lead and be crowned Euro 4X Series Champion. The series was a showcase for four cross and organizers promise that the events will be even better in 2012.

    Michael Kull, Schwalbe Europe's marketing manager said, "We are proud to be the title sponsor of the 'Schwalbe Euro and British 4X Series' again for 2012-2013 and hope we can support the development of the sport in the next few years. I'm sure the series and sport in general can only benefit from recent developments in the World Cup."

    "Schwalbe has always seen a big potential in four cross to prove our tires in the hardest conditions. Hardtails racing over different terrain every week is a fantastic test for any of our tyres. We've just introduced our Racing Ralph and Nobby Nic treads in the four cross-specific GateStar compound and are glad to be able to give something back with our continued sponsorship."

    Schwalbe British 4X Series

    The Schwalbe British 4X Series will be run over seven rounds in 2012. With increased rider numbers in 2011, Chris Roberts, the series organiser, is ecstatic with the progress four cross has made in the UK over the...

  • Andalucía Bike Race unveils 2012 route

    Two racers in the Andalucia Bike Race in Spain
    Article published:
    November 22, 2011, 19:51 GMT
    Cycling News

    Six days of racing in Córdoba and Jaén

    Organizers released the 2012 route of the Andalucía Bike Race, including than 400 kilometres of mountain bike stage racing with over 12,000 metres of climbing split into six days of racing.  They had previously announced the race's second edition dates of February 26 - March 2.

    The competition will start with a semi-urban prologue in Córdoba (a team time trial) and will be followed by five marathon stages.

    The race will require only a single transfer halfway into it. The fourth day (stage 3), will start and finish at La Carolina, a venue that borders with Castilla La Mancha and is 130 kilometres North East from Córdoba. This stage will be the shortest. After the stage, the riders will immediately move to Jaén, 70 kilometres away, where the race will settle until it finishes.

    Those who drive to the initial Andalucía Bike Race venue can get to the other two venues with their vehicle. Foreigners that have flown to Spain can book a full transfer service that will carry them from the airport (Málaga or Sevilla) to the different venues without having to find their way around, and back to the airport once the competition is over.

    For 2012, organizers are also adding daily prize money for the masters and mixed categories.

    2012 Andalucía Bike Race
    February 26: Prologue - Semi-urban course in Córdoba
    February 27: Stage 1 - Córdoba, 73.5km (1953m climbing)
    February 28: Stage 2 - Córdoba, 83.9km (2028m climbing)
    February 29: Stage 3 - La Carolina, 58.8km (1717m climbing)
    March 1: Stage 4 - Jaén, 89,8km (2920m climbing)
    March 2: Stage 5 - Jaén, 64,4km (2618m climbing)

    For more information on the race, visit

  • Craig to serve as guest of honor at NICA Awards banquet

    Adam Craig (Rabobank - Giant Off-Road Team)
    Article published:
    November 22, 2011, 22:23 GMT
    Cycling News

    High school mountain biking's key achievers to be awarded

    Current US super D national champion and Olympian Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant) will be the guest of honor at the 2011 National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) awards banquet on January 14, 2012, at the Clif Bar and Co. headquarters in Emeryville, California. The NICA awards acknowledge outstanding work in the growing high school cycling community.

    Craig, who grew up in Maine, is a 2008 mountain bike Olympian, and holder of 16 US national titles in cross country, cyclo-cross, short track and super D. He is on a quest to compete in the 2012 London Olympic Games event and earn a coveted Olympic medal. He will talk about the highs and lows of his journey from high school athlete to his effort to make the US Olympic team for London in 2012.

    "I first heard whisperings about the NorCal League when I landed in Oregon in 2003, and shortly thereafter saw the student mountain bikers at the Sea Otter Classic," said Craig. "But it wasn't until the world championships in 2008 that I truly realized the depth of talent coming through the ranks with (NorCal alum.) John Bennett's inclusion on our relay team, and then our subsequent rides together. I'm pumped for this opportunity to learn more about the NICA mission and those that support it across the spectrum, from the kids to the donors and everyone who works hard in between."

    NICA will present awards to the individuals that the association considers to be the most outstanding athletes, the most dedicated coaches, and the most passionate volunteers to have supported high school mountain biking in the past 12 months as it progresses on its quest to reach from coast to coast by 2020.

    For more information on the 2011 NICA Awards and...

  • Knox and Green to race for Decca Ghost team

    Max Knox (left) and Jock Green form the foundation for Team Decca Ghost.
    Article published:
    November 23, 2011, 17:26 GMT
    Cycling News

    South African-based squad launched in Johannesburg

    South African racers Max Knox and Jock Green will form the foundation of the Decca Ghost mountain bike racing team that was launched in Johannesburg, South Africa during the weekend.

    Decca Ghost is a South African registered team but will follow an international strategy in 2012, in order to boost the awareness of the international brands associated with the team - including Belgium-based Decca performance cycle clothing, German-based Ghost-Bikes and Taiwan-based Bryton Sport GPS.

    Despite only being 24 years old, Knox is one of the world's leading marathon racers. His achievements include four stage wins with teammate and current marathon world champion Christoph Sauser at the recent Cape Pioneer Trek stage race in South Africa. Knox has also won stages at the BC Bike Race in Canada as well as other South African stage events and is a multiple-time winner of the Barberton Classic, one of South Africa's premier marathon events.

    "My main focus for 2012 is the South African National Marathon Series, which starts off with the first round of the UCI's new Marathon World Cup in Sabie, South Africa in February. This is one of my favourite races as I live in Sabie and do most of my training there," said Knox.

    Green is a former South African national road race champion who raced professionally for the Barloworld team. He made the transition to mountain bike racing two years ago and although still improving, has been a regular podium challenger in marathon and stage racing events, which are popular in South Africa. Green will also shift his focus this year and compete in duathlon and trail running events and has his eyes set on winning the 2012 Otter Africa Trail Run amongst...

  • MacDonald signs with 23 Degrees Sports

    20-year-old Brook Macdonald is a promising downhill rider
    Article published:
    November 23, 2011, 19:57 GMT
    Cycling News

    Number six-ranked downhiller looks toward promising future

    Downhiller Brook MacDonald signed with 23 Degrees Sports late last week. The 2009 junior world champion was ranked number six in the world at the end of the 2011 season. The New Zealander, who is turning 20 this week, celebrated making three World Cup podiums in 2011.

    "Next year is an important year for me. I want to build on the experience I gained this year and chase down my goals of being one of the top downhillers on the circuit and hopefully gain a medal at the world championships," said MacDonald.

    "To be honest, I struggle a bit with the admin and paperwork side of the sport and just want to focus on my training and racing. I've seen what Martin (Whiteley) and 23 Degrees has done for Sam (Blenkinsop) and other riders, and so I asked him to help me out with my career. I’m looking forward to it."

    Founder and Owner of 23 Degrees Sports Management Whiteley had this to say about his newest client. "There's no question that Brook is on the verge of something big in our sport, and we're very happy that he's asked us to assist him."

    "We'll help him evaluate his sponsorship deals and take some of the burden away so he can put more of his focus into preparing for the season and racing at podium level in 2012."  Macdonald raced for MS Evil in 2011.

    "This brings our athlete management roster to seven; we don't expect to add any more athletes going into next year as we have a great stable to work with for now."

    23 Degrees other recent signing was New Zealander Anton Cooper.

  • Decision on 24 hours of Moab's future postponed

    Always good scenery at the 24 hours of Moab
    Article published:
    November 24, 2011, 16:31 GMT
    Cycling News

    Granny Gear hopes to keep iconic race alive

    Granny Gear Productions, the organizer of the 24 Hours of Moab in Utah, has postponed a final decision on the future of the race. Granny Gear had previously said a decision would be made around the time of the American Thanksgiving holiday today, but shifted the deadline to the first of the year.

    Granny Gear's Laird Knight said the race was still financially in the hole but that the amount owed wasn't as much as he had expected after running all the numbers in recent weeks. In the meantime, a tentative date for a 2012 edition has been set.

    "The financial dust has settled and, sure enough, I am in the proverbial hole on this year's race. The good news is that, due to the perfect weather that saved roughly $10,000 worth of dust suppression expenses, I'm not in as deep a hole as I had feared. Still, I owe vendors upwards of $20,000," said Knight in an email to race supporters.

    Knight went on to explain the math behind the decision-making process concerning the race's future. "I've done extensive budget forecasting but it really comes down to some pretty simple math," he said. "Given that each team represents, on average, about $500 of revenue, first we need to break-even (add 40 teams) then we need to "rob" from 2012 Peter to pay 2011 Paul (add another 40 teams). Then, because we can't rely on such perfect, dust-free conditions, we need to have a cushion for dust suppression (add 20 teams).

    "Lastly, I need to pay myself a modicum of a wage next year (20 teams), (note: I've taken no salary for the last year and a half). Also, it would be prudent to have a little cushion of profit going into 2013 (20 teams). Add it up and we need to bump-up next year's field by 140 teams, a total 2012 field of 380 teams. Now it's not quite that simple. There are incremental costs associated with hosting more teams but, based on the budgets I've run, 375-400+ teams is the...

  • Giove avoids jail time

    Article published:
    November 24, 2011, 20:18 GMT
    Cycling News

    Mountain biker sentenced on drug counts

    American Missy Giove can celebrate her Thanksgiving holiday by being grateful that she will not have to spend time in prison. The former mountain bike downhill world champion was sentenced to six months of house detention and five years of probation on Wednesday after a drug-related conviction according to the Associated Press.

    The 38-year-old was arrested in June of 2009 and charged with transporting 350 pounds of marijuana from California to the Albany area in New York State.

    Giove's lawyer reported that she had done the trafficking after head injuries prematurely ended her career and caused financial hardship.

    Prosecutors had been pressing for a prison sentence of 24 to 30 months following her December 2009 guilty plea.

    During her career, Giove won 11 World Cups and the 1994 downhill world championships.