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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Thursday, October 17, 2013

Date published:
October 17, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Augustyn continues comeback at Cape Pioneer Trek

    John-Lee Augustyn racing at the Crater Cruise. He will compete next at the Cape Pioneer Trek mountain bike stage race.
    Article published:
    October 14, 2013, 18:15 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Road pro gets back into racing at some mountain bike events

    South African John-Lee Augustyn, who took a break from professional racing to recover fully from hip surgery, has begun his comeback in his home country and will line up at the Cape Pioneer Trek international mountain bike stage race on Sunday.

    The former Barloworld and Sky rider has teamed up with multiple South African women's road champion and Athens Olympian, Anriette Schoeman, in the mixed category to tackle the tough seven-day 550-kilometre race. The pair will race as Team TREAD/32GI.

    During his racing career, Augustyn started all three of road cycling's Grand Tours - Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana. At the age of 21, racing for Team Barloworld, he finished 45th in the 2008 Tour de France, showing moments of brilliance on some of the race's biggest climbs, signaling the promise of a great career.

    Augustyn then raced for Team Sky in 2010 and 2011, but a crash in the 2007 Tour of Portugal, which saw Augustyn break the very top of his femur, where it joins the hip, began to hinder him, eventually reaching a point where he required hip resurfacing surgery in 2011. He tried to return to racing in 2012, but realised he needed a longer recovery period and took an indefinite break.

    Augustyn and his Italian wife, Greta Tonoli have been living in Adro, near Milan, where Greta is a fashion designer. Augustyn has been training in Italy since June in an effort to regain his best form and secure a professional road team contract for 2014.

    "I've been training consistently for the past four months and am happy to report that I have had no injury or health problems. The longer recovery period worked out well, but now I'm itching to get back into the racing scene," said Augustyn.

    Augustyn finished fourth at the MTN Crater Cruise on...

  • Nove Mesto recognized as best 2013 cross country World Cup venue

    The world's best riders at World Cup #3 in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic
    Article published:
    October 14, 2013, 21:57 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Fort William voted best downhill World Cup

    Each year after the dust settles on the final round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, the three best World Cup venues are awarded - one each for cross country, downhill and eliminator. The UCI announced the results after all votes were tallied.

    Cross country

    Making its third appearance in the World Cup, Nove Mesto na Morave in the Czech Republic was voted the best cross country event on the World Cup calendar. 2013 marked the third year in a row that the venue received this honor. Its technical course, atmosphere and large, enthusiastic crowds helped it win over supporters with twice as many votes as runner-up Albstadt, Germany.

    The Albstadt venue only joined the World Cup this year. It received praise for its short, technical and challenging course.

    Meanwhile Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada, which has hosted a World Cup or world championship event every year since 1991, was again a favorite, finishing third in the voting.

    Eliminator

    Two eliminator venues tied for first place: Nove Mesto Na Morave and Vallnord. The eliminator format is taken very seriously in the Czech Republic, and the voters highlighted the venue's interesting track that included both road and off-road sections. Vallnord was appreciated for its interesting course with good passing options that created exciting racing.

    Albstadt took third place in the best eliminator venue standings thanks to is urban course and warm city centre atmosphere.

    Downhill

  • Multivan Merida signs Schelb

    Julian Schelb on a climb
    Article published:
    October 15, 2013, 17:06 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Future looks bright for U23 mountain biker

    The Multivan Merida mountain bike team has signed Julian Schelb to its squad for 2014 and 2015. The German rider was the runner-up at the U23 cross country mountain bike world championships.

    "It was not a hard decision as the Multivan Merida Biking Team offers the best support and surroundings," Schelb said. "After all, my personal coach Ralph Näf rode for this team until the end of 2012, and I also know José Hermida and Rudi van Houts pretty well already. I have spent several weeks in training camps in South Africa with Rudi twice, and thanks to Ralph, I also got to know José."

    Schelb's addition continues the Multivan Merida team's effort to add young talent. The team had signed both Thomas Litscher and Ondrej Cink beginning with the 2013 season. The two riders jumped right into team and made their way onto the World Cup podium. Litscher finished in fourth in the Nove Mesto, Czech Republic World Cup while Cink rode to a second place in Vallnord, Andorra World Cup.

    Schelb will turn 21 years old in November. His best performances thus far were three second places: at the German under 23 championships, he was beaten by Christian Pfäffle; at the world championships Schelb got involved in a pile-up right after the start and still moved up to second behind Gerhard Kerschbaumer; and at the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup, Schelb also finished second on a technical course.

    Schelb is making the move from Team Lexware-Rothaus, as his contact is expiring. He was on the wish list of many team managers for 2014.

    When asked about his goals, the young rider replied with self-confidence and purpose. "I want to add some top results in my last year with the under 23s, and after that I will aim to step over to the elite...

  • Luna Pro Team signs Maghalie Rochette

    Maghalie Rochette will race for Luna in 2014.
    Article published:
    October 15, 2013, 22:05 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    20-year-old Canadian mountain biker excited about new opportunity

    Maghalie Rochette will don the blue and white kit of the Luna Pro Team in 2014. The 20-year-old racer from Quebec, Canada, signed with the team.

    "I am pleased to announce that I will be racing with the Luna Pro Team for the 2014 mountain bike and cyclo-cross season!" she said.

    "I remember as a tiny nine-year-old girl dreaming of being a Luna pro. Eleven years later, I still look up with admiration to the current riders of the team, so it is really an honor for me to be part of this great organization. It is a dream come true to ride in the same kit as some of my idols."

    Rochette has been riding bikes since age four. She tried mountain biking when she was young, then competed in triathlon until age 18.

    "Last year, I tried a couple of road races and I started racing cyclo-cross. I decided to start mountain biking in April 2013 thinking it could help me for cyclo-cross, but I had no idea I would fall in love with the discipline as much as I did."

    Rochette is studying Athletic Therapy at Concordia University in Montreal.

    "I really look forward to the next season with Luna, and I am more than excited to learn, race, and enjoy every second of this incredible ride. I am very grateful that I have been given such a great opportunity, and thanks to Clif Bar and the Luna Pro Team family!"

    Her recent top results include fourth place at the 2013 Sea Otter cyclo-cross event in Monterey, California, sixth at the US Pro XCT round in Vermont, 10th place at CrossVegas in Nevada, and ninth at the U23 UCI Cross Country MTB World Championships in South Africa.

  • Schurter and Peat among racers at Enduro World Series last round

    Steve Peat will be among those in attendance
    Article published:
    October 16, 2013, 15:58 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    EWS to wrap up in Finale Ligure this weekend

    Twenty-six nations will be represented at the Superenduro powered by SRAM in Finale Ligure, Italy this weekend, when the inaugural Enduro World Series (EWS) and the popular Superenduro series will wrap up.  Cross country world champion Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) and downhill star Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) will join the EWS regulars for a weekend of competition.

    "In Punta Ala, we started a new era of mountain bike racing, proving that enduro is a discipline on its own," said Franco Monchiero, Race Director and Founder of Superenduro series.  He was referring to round one of the inaugural Enduro World Series held earlier this spring in Punta Ala, Italy. "Five months later, we will be crowing the first champions of the sport at the final event of the Superenduro."

    "Finale [Ligure] has always been the most participated event for us, but this year the starting list is just incredible with the best bikers in the world gathering to race our trails. I want to welcome everybody and wish riders a great and fair race."

    The list of riders competing includes enduro pro racers like Jared Graves, Fabien Barel, Cedric Gracia, Anne Caroline Chausson, Martin Maes, Tracy Moseley and Jerome Clementz.

    "I couldn't imagine being the first winner of Enduro World Series," said series champion Clementz, who has the title locked up ahead of this weekend's final round. Now that it has happened, I'm super-pumped!"

    "In Finale Ligure, I have nothing to loose or to protect, so I will ride wide open and try to be on the podium again. I'm a racer so when the race starts, it's hard to slow down. After that, I should say that with less pressure, it was hard to keep the same focus in my preparation. I'm really happy to come back to Italy and compete in the Superenduro again. Finale is famous for providing a nice race, and I'm sure they want to raise the level of organisation. I'm looking forward to seeing the trails we will have to...

  • Gallery: Whole Athlete-Specialized team wraps up stellar 2013 season

    Haley Batten, Kate Courtney, Lucas Newcomb and Sean Bennett
    Article published:
    October 16, 2013, 21:40 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Courtney, Newcomb and Batten among team's winners

    This year proved to be the Whole Athlete-Specialized Team's most successful season to date thanks to the team's riders such as Kate Courtney, Lucas Newcomb and Haley Batten.

    Courtney opened the season with the junior women's Pan American title, then earned her second World Cup win at Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, making her the number-one UCI rider going into the world championships. Her sixth-place finish there foreshadows amazing things likely to come.

    Teammate Newcomb ascended the World Cup podium in Mont-Sainte-Anne as well, with an impressive second place. And 15-year-old Batten won the Sankt Vith Grand Prix in Belgium, her first-ever European race.

    Stateside, Batten, Courtney and Newcomb took home a total of four US Junior National titles. Fourteen-year-old Cole Avery earned six wins this season, including the Sea Otter Classic. And Casey Williams brought in two cross country victories in only his first year as a U23 rider. In the Pro XCT series, Whole Athlete/Specialized juniors earned a total of 10 cross country wins.

    In its short, five-year history, the team has averaged 65 wins per year and qualified a total of 12 American riders to the world championships. In 2012, the team achieved what no other US development program has as Courtney became the first-ever American junior woman to win a World Cup.

    Yet victories and podiums are only part of the team's success. The team's primary goal continues to be the mastery of a three-point philosophy of dedication, integrity, and fun in both sport and life. With a focus on the process rather than the outcome, the riders having been thriving within Whole Athlete's holistic approach.

  • Wallace and Krenn among favorites for Crocodile Trophy

    Canadian Cory Wallace in the Australian Outback at the Crocodile Trophy in 2012
    Article published:
    October 16, 2013, 23:35 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    ProTour roadie Cordeel makes last minute decision to race

    The 19th annual Crocodile Trophy will start this Saturday with a multi-lap race at Smithfield on the World Cup course in Cairns, Australia. As the world's oldest mountain bike stage race, the Crocodile Trophy has become known as the hardest and most adventurous event.

    This year more than 80 riders will race for 900km through the outback and the rain forests in Queensland's Tropical North including Canadian Marathon National Champion Cory Wallace, last year's third place finisher Wolfgang Krenn from Austria and Lotto Belisol WorldTour team rider Sander Cordeel from Belgium.

    Organisers of the Crocodile Trophy confirmed today that Cordeel will be at the start line in Cairns this week. En route from the Tour of Beijing, Cordeel will arrive in Cairns just in time to race the first stage's lap race at Smithfield MTB Park on Saturday, October 19.

    "I was chatting with my teammate Adam Hansen about the Crocodile Trophy the other day, and he talked me into signing up," the 25-year-old Cordeel said of his last-minute decision to travel to Australia for the nine-day stage race through the outback of Far North Queensland. "It has always been my dream to do this race."

    Wallace and Krenn strongest contenders this year

    Hot weather conditions, rough terrain and the images of racers pedalling towards the horizon on endless outback highways have characterised the race coverage since the event's inception two decades ago. This year, the event promises again to be a challenging stage race.

    "Part of the Crocodile Trophy fascination is the sheer adventure that our riders will experience. We will be showcasing some of the best mountain bike trails in the Cairns region and cross the Atherton-Mareeba Tablelands to take them deep into the Australian Outback," said organizers.

    The remote outback town Irvinebank and the Mt Mulligan cattle station will be two of the stage destinations next week before the riders and...

  • Mata hopes to defend title at La Ruta de los Conquistadores

    Pua Mata (Team Sho-Air/Cannondale)
    Article published:
    October 17, 2013, 16:36 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Second-place finisher Grant eyes top step of podium

    Monique "Pua" Mata will lead Team Sho-Air/Cannondale at the La Ruta de los Conquistadores mountain bike stage race in Costa Rica beginning on October 24. Mata won the race last year and is hoping to defend her title.

    Mata is coming off of dominant wins at the Pisgah Stage Race and the Hotter 'N Hell Hill Climb.

    "I'm really excited for this race," said Mata. "It's been a big goal sitting at the end of my season, so to go and defend the title at one of my favorite races is a great way to finish off the year."

    Mata will be joined by her teammate Alex Grant in Costa Rica. Grant is aiming to improve upon his second-place finish last year and in two previous years. He would love to finish on the top step of the podium.

    This season, Grant finished second overall with a stage win at the Breck Epic and then won the Park City Point 2 Point 100-miler. In preparation for La Ruta, he has been doing some cyclo-cross races and long training rides at home in Utah.

    "After completing La Ruta four times, with three second-place finishes, I know what it takes to win, but also how hard that is," said Grant, who blogs for Cyclingnews. "This year I am trying for the win, and with the support of Team Sho-Air/Cannondale I know its possible."

    Both riders will do some pre-race route recon with the help of former Team Sho-Air/Cannondale racer Manny Prado. Prado won La Ruta in 2009, but has since retired from the professional rank. He has continued to score impressive results in the masters class, taking the Costa Rican Marathon National Championships and the overall win in the Endurance Series.

    Prado's local knowledge has proven useful in the past, and he will lead...