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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Thursday, October 4, 2012

Date published:
October 4, 2012, 17:00

Edited by Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking. Feel free to send feedback, news, & releases to mtb@cyclingnews.com and results, reports & photos to cyclingnews@cyclingnews.com.

  • Ruzafa moves on to triathlon

    Rubén Ruzafa at the 2008 Xterra in Maui
    Article published:
    September 29, 2012, 20:38
    By:
    Cycling News

    2008 Xterra World Champion quits mountain biking for good

    After a successful mountain bike career, Andalusian athlete Rubén Ruzafa (Orbea) decided to resign from mountain biking and commit fully to triathlon. Ruzafa has already had success in the three-sport discipline; he became Xterra world champion in 2008 in Hawaii and was the runner-up at the European triathlon in Sardinia, Italy in 2009.

    "For several years, I have been struggling between mountain bike and triathlon. My Xterra victory in Maui made me seriously think about switching sports, but I had been chasing the dream of becoming part of the Olympic mountain bike team since my start and having been so close in 2008, I wanted to try for 2012," said Ruzafa.

    "After two difficult years, specially this last one, in which I lost any chance of being an Olympian due to an infection after the World Cup in South Africa and overtraining, the opportunity to show what I'm capable of in triathlon has come."

    Ruzafa has four national titles in cross country and marathon mountain bike disciplines and one team relay world title from Livigno, Italy in 2005. He's got several World Cup top 10s and podiums, including fourth in Madrid, Spain in 2008 and second in Schladming, Austria in 2009.

    "In the short term, I want to tackle the Xterra European series and win again the world championship," he said. "I will also debute in middle distance triathlons, such as Ironman 70.3. In the mid term, my aim is to fight for the victory in the Ironman 70.3 world championship in Las Vegas. My long term goal is to compete for the Ironman world championship in Hawaii, triathlon's mecca".

    At the moment, Ruzafa is recovering from a simple surgery that forced him to end his mountain bike season a bit early. He will soon resume training for triathlon

  • Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge celebrates third year

    Karl Platt (Team Bulls) wins in Langkawi
    Article published:
    October 1, 2012, 00:20
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Platt and Schneitter aim to defend titles

    The Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge will run its third edition on October 15-20, 2012 in Malyasia. The action will happen all over the island of Langkawi as racers compete for US$125,000 in cash.

    Defending champion Karl Platt of Germany will return to defend his title. Steffen Thum, who is ranked number one in the UCI marathon world series, Simon Gegenheimer, Burry Stander, Florian Vogel, Todd Wells, Fabien Giger and Nick Craig are among the other top contenders expected in the men's category.

    Among the ladies, Burry Stander's wife Cherise Stander, who races both road and mountain bike events, will be challenging defending champion Nathalie Schneitter, Blaza Klemencic, Eva Lechner and Lea Davison.

    Origins of a young mountain bike stage race

    Race promoter Datuk Malik Mydin explained how the event came to be. "It was an idea that had been germinating in the mind of Malaysia's longest-serving Prime Minister, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who also generated the idea of Le Tour de Langkawi in 1996. He wanted a cycling event of an international stature to help promote Langkawi to the world."

    "With Tun Dr Mahathir as the driving force, I was given the task of executing the idea, given my background as a former national cyclist and my role as the CEO of Human Voyage Sdn Bhd, an event management company. So within a short period of time, we managed to pull all our resources and with the help of our sponsorship partners, we attracted as many as 800 riders for the inaugural event."

    LIMBC is open to all levels so that the more casual enthusiast can also experience a world class course and participate alongside the world's best - a format adopted by many such mountain bike stage races.

    "Participants will get to enjoy the best Langkawi can offer - treasured landmarks and beauty spots including Eagle Square, Telaga Harbour, Oriental Village, Langkawi GeoPark and a stunning beach finale at Pantai Kok," said Mydin. "Best of all, you sweat it out and after all the adrenaline-pumping action, you can conveniently park your bike somewhere and take a vacation. Langkawi is a true ecological gem, the perfect combination of sea, sun, fascinating rainforests, mysterious mangroves, birds and wildlife."

    Racers should expect to see Malay kampongs (villages), jungles and rice fields; crocodile and snake farms; and monkeys everywhere.

    A boost to Malaysian cycling

    A race like LIMBC is important for Malaysian cycling. "The 2012 event has taken a huge leap in terms of its status and has been selected as one of only 10 mountain bike stage races worldwide to be included in the UCI international calendar," said Mydin.

    "Furthermore, LIMBC 2012 is now the highest ranked mountain bike event in the whole of Asia, bu