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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Thursday, November 29, 2012

Date published:
November 29, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Cole signs with Yeti

    Cameron Cole (Lapierre International)
    Article published:
    November 27, 2012, 3:28 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    New Zealand downhiller changes teams for 2013

    Cameron Cole will race for Yeti Cycles in 2013. The 24-year-old New Zealand downhiller is coming off a season in which he finished 11th overall in the 2012 UCI World Cup.

    "Traditionally Yeti has been a brand that grows talent from within," said Yeti President and co-owner Chris Conroy in a recent team press release. "But we've had our eye on Cam for a few years and feel like he can not only add to the results the team will pick-up, but he can mentor some of the younger riders like Richie Rude."

    Cole, who finished in 16th place at the 2012 UCI Downhill World Championships in Leogang, Austria, will join the young American downhiller Rude on the Yeti team. Rude was the runner-up at the 2012 junior downhill Worlds. Both Cole and Rude will race downhill, and Cole will also do some enduro racing.

    "I am very excited to be joining such a high-level team and prestigious company," said Cole, who is making the move from the Lapierre International team.

    "I'm at the point in my career where I can really elevate my performance on and off the bike and I'm looking forward to building a lasting relationship with Yeti Cycles."

    Cole will make his debut with Yeti on the World Cup circuit in 2013 with the Fort William round in Scotland in June. Despite missing the opening round of the World Cup in 2012 due to an injury sustained at the previous year's world championships, Cole rallied for one of his best seasons to date.

    Veteran Yeti downhill World Cup racer Jared Graves will remain with the squad, but the Australian will switch his focus to enduro racing.

  • Beskidy MTB Trophy dates set for 2013

    A racer in the Beskidy MTB Trophy
    Article published:
    November 27, 2012, 17:55 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Mountain bike stage race gains UCI classification

    The seventh edition of the Beskidy MTB Trophy will happen from May 30 to June 2, 2013. The mountain bike stage race on the Polish-Czech border will be run over four days through the uplands of Beskidy.

    New for 2013, the race has been granted UCI "S2" status, putting it among the ranks of the second tier of such multi-day mountain bike contests. The awarding of UCI points is expected to draw a more elite field than in previous years.

    "At the end of the day, that's great for everybody since the race will enjoy a higher level and thus put itself on par with renowned stage races worldwide," said organizers.

    "Having said that, we do believe that the most inspiring point which attracts everybody will be, besides collecting UCI points, the unmatched landscape of the Beskidy region at the Czech/Polish/Slovak border."

    Unlike many European stage races, the Beskidy MTB Trophy does not pass through an Alpine setting, and its terrain and ever-changing weather conditions reward the most versatile riders.

    For more information, visit www.mtbtrophy.com.

  • BC Bike Race sells out in record time

    The start of a stage of the BC Bike Race
    Article published:
    November 28, 2012, 15:50 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Racers from 23 countries will head to seventh edition of popular stage race

    The BC Bike Race sold out entries for its 2013 edition in record time: five months earlier than in 2012. Organizers are now accepting names for the wait list. The seventh edition of the popular mountain bike stage race will include 550 racers who will start on June 30 in Cumberland, British Columbia, Canada. The race will wrap up seven days later in Whistler on July 6.

    The BC Bike Race course features 75 percent singletrack. Each course is carefully designed to allow passing and spots for refueling of the body. "We could literally go 100% trail and have done so on a few occasions in the past, but that much trail is simply mind boggling," said organizers. "Our courses are handcrafted to cater to the pure enjoyment of the trail rider; not the longest or the hardest but simply the 'most fun'."

    For the first time in 2012, the BC Bike Race included an enduro, featuring 13 chip-timed sections, placed within the existing event categories of Epic and Challenge. Course manager Jeff Stromgren said, "The riders are in control of their own destiny. He or she can truly choose how to race throughout the whole week, day by day, XC or enduro or mix and match."

    Last year, day 7's new course in Whistler eclipsed the usual riders' favourite of day 6 Squamish, but the vote was close. Each day's course director vies for the prestigious prize and honor of being the favourite. In pursuit of this award, directors put plenty of elbow grease into each and every course; whether a new trail or a spruce up, a tweak or a simple rake and buff each course is undergoing some form of change for the better.

    2013 is set to roll out with a host of participants hailing from 23 countries in the Challenge and Epic categories.

    The 2012 edition was won by Neal Kindree (Specialized/EMD Serono) and Wendy Simms (Kona).

    Registration for 2014 will open July 7, one day after the...

  • Team Fedgroup-Itec throws Evans a lifeline

    Kevin Evans, seen here in action during the 2012 Sani2c stage race, has signed a two-year contract with FedGroup-Itec.
    Article published:
    November 28, 2012, 19:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    South African mountain biker signs contract with team

    After finding himself without a pro contract for 2013, following the recent, sudden closure of his team due a doping infringement, South African mountain biker Kevin Evans has been thrown a lifeline by former rival team, FedGroup-Itec.

    Evans has been signed to the growing professional mountain bike racing team for a period of two years (2013-2014). He joins fellow elite male riders Brandon Stewart and Neil MacDonald, Under 23 male Brad Stroberg and elite female Bridgette Stewart.

    "It's amazing how the people involved in the FedGroup-Itec team have been so supportive and have given me this opportunity. Also to Scott bicycles for their continued support. I am truly grateful and look forward to a being brand ambassador to the best of my ability," said Evans, whose previous team 360Life-Nedbank team folded after his teammate David George tested positive for EPO and subsequently admitted using the drug.

    "We were quick to offer Kevin a ride on our team, largely because he's such a great ambassador, not just for his sponsors but also for the sport of mountain biking. His addition to our team allows us to grow the team to a new level and really tackle the serious racing side of the sport at the highest level with more consistency and confidence," said Stewart, who also owns the team. "With myself, Kevin and Neil, we'll have a wide range options in our quest for all the major race podiums in South Africa and even abroad."

    "We have yet to finalise our Cape Epic plans, but Brandon and I have started every single edition of the race and obviously, being the 10th anniversary, it's a big year for the race and for us each personally in 2013. I'll be on the start line for sure and riding my heart out as usual. It's a race I'd love to win still,...

  • Schurter and Süss honored as best Swiss cyclists of the year

    Nino Schurter (Switzerland) won Olympic silver
    Article published:
    November 28, 2012, 22:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Bohli recognized as most promising young rider

    Nino Schurter and Esther Süss were named the best elite male and female cyclists at the 2012 Swiss Cycling Awards on Wednesday. The federation's annual awards were given out as part of the opening night festivities at the Six Day track race in Zürich.

    For Schurter, 2012 was his best season yet. He was the most consistent rider on the international cross country circuit, winning the overall World Cup title. He also won the world championships and a silver medal at the Olympic Games in London.

    Süss showed her versatility by excelling in both cross country and marathon races. This was the second time she was nominated for Swiss cyclist of the year; the first was in 2010. After winning a silver medal at the European cross country championships, she also claimed a bronze medal at the marathon world championships.

    Another award went to Tom Bohli, 18, as most promising Swiss cyclist of the year. While mountain bikers usually win this category, this year Bohli claimed the honor as a road and track cyclist. He won a world and European title on the track and had several major international road results.

    The Swiss track team of Tristan Marguet, Silvan Dillier, Loïc Perizzolo, Cyrille Thièry and Claudio Imhof were honored for their achievements this season. They were named the Best Swiss Team of the year.

    The election process for best Swiss cyclists of the year began on November 1, 2012 and ended yesterday. Two-thirds of the voting came from 10 sports journalists while the public, via the Swiss Cycling website, accounted for the remaining third of the input used to decided the winners.

  • Näf closes Multivan Merida chapter of his career

    Ralph Naef (Switzerland) gets a poor start in the Big Final
    Article published:
    November 29, 2012, 13:14 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Swiss racer moves to BMC after long tenure with his old team

    After 10 years and many successes, Ralph Näf is closing one chapter of his career and opening another. The Swiss mountain biker is moving from Multivan Merida Biking Team to BMC.

    Näf joined Multivan Merida heading into the 2003 season as the runner up at the U23 cross country world championships. It was the beginning of a long and successful partnership.

    He is ending his time with Multivan Merida on a high note, too. In September, he became the first eliminator world champion.

    "Throughout the years, I witnessed how the team became more and more professional, morphing to one of the world's most powerful teams," said Näf. "For an athlete, it's almost important to fully rely on his surroundings at the races, from the physiotherapist to the race mechanic. And it's also important that the members of the team get along well. We had both in an exemplary manner at the Multivan Merida Biking Team. Despite its evolution, the team's structures remained decidedly informal, and I am sure that this was a key factor for all the successes that I got to celebrate in the team's jersey."

    In professional sports, long-term commitments are exceptional, although the Multivan Merida Biking Team is different in this regard. José Hermida is going into his 10th season in the team's colours in 2013. Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå has been riding for the squad since 2002, excepting a brief break to have a baby.

    During the past 10 years, Näf...

  • Scott-Swisspower mechanic Wildhaber killed in hiking accident

    Scott-Swisspower team director Thomas Frischknecht has a 650b test bike of his own and while he also has the same DT Swiss carbon fiber race tubulars as Nino Schurter and Florian Vogel, he also has a tubeless alloy clincher set built with Stan's NoTubes rims and Schwalbe tires.
    Article published:
    November 29, 2012, 16:05 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Frischknecht and Seeli also injured

    Erwin Wildhaber, the mechanic for the Scott-Swisspower Mountain Bike Team, died in an accident while on a mountain hike on Monday.

    Wildhaber was out with Thomas Frischknecht and Andreas Seeli, who both suffered injuries in the incident. All three Scott-Swisspower team staff members were on the Chöpfenberg mountain in Switzerland when Wildhaber fell on a descent according to www.ride.ch.

    On the way down on a steep, grassy slope, Erwin slipped and fell, taking out the other two. All three were quickly rolling and falling downhill at high speed. Seeli and Frischknecht came to a stop after about 200m while Wildhaber, who had lost consciousness, fell over a ledge and died.

    Frischknecht broke his foot, and Seeli was seriously injured with multiple fractures.

    Wildhaber worked as a mechanic for the Scott-Swisspower team and its top racers Nino Schurter and Florian Vogel, and he was the driving force behind them adopting the 27.5-inch wheel platform. Wildhaber also served as a Swiss national team mechanic, including at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

    Cross country world champion Schurter paid tribute to Wildhaber two days after the accident on Wednesday night, at the Swiss Cycling Awards ceremony in Zurich, where he was named Swiss Cyclist of the year.

    "I dedicate all my prizes and results that I have achieved this year to my friend and former mechanic Erwin," said Schurter according to ride.ch. "It is huge, what I experienced with him."

    ...
  • Orange Monkey-Cannondale team hopes for continued progress in 2013

    Dave Fletcher (Orange Monkey) second on the podium at British XC Nats
    Article published:
    November 29, 2012, 19:47 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Mountain bike squad reflects on its 2012 season

    The Orange Monkey-Cannondale pro cycling team will head into its third season in 2013. Having narrowly missed out on sending two of its athletes to the 2012 London Olympic Games, the team is refocusing on the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Brazil. In the shorter term, it is looking to upgrade from a professional UCI mountain bike team to an elite UCI mountain bike team.

    "It's been a journey. 2012 has seen tears, jubilation, celebration, ecstasy and despair. We have and will work continuously to fulfill the high standards and targets we have set ourselves and with it hope to change the perception of cross country mountain biking in Britain," read a team press release.

    "The team will go through some transition in the close season and you can expect to see new faces, sponsors and a slight change in strategy as we look to keep the progression going." It did not provide any details.

    In 2012, the team kicked off its season in South Africa, collecting several podiums until bad luck struck and Ben Roff broke his wrist just prior to the opening World Cup.

    First year senior rider David Fletcher proved to be a valuable addition to the team, bringing with him a wealth of knowledge and some serious power.

    Perhaps the highlight of the early season was when Rourke Croeser won the Belgacom U23 race in Stoumont and was fourth overall against Julien Absalon and Maxime Marotte.

    Things didn't go so well at two British cross country national series events in a row, in which hopes for a victory were dashed when both Croeser and Fletcher punctured while in the lead. Then the team's worst results came at the World Cup in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.

    Fletcher's luck...