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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Date published:
April 24, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • UCI World Cup tradition continues at Mont-Sainte-Anne

    Marie-Helene Premont (Team Maxxis - Rocky Mountain)
    Article published:
    April 18, 2012, 22:35 BST
    Cycling News

    Velirium mountain bike festival returns to Quebec

    The 10th edition of the Velirium presented by Vidéotron will be held every weekend this summer from June 21 to July 8 in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada. The annual international mountain bike festival is well known for hosting the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup every year except for 2010, when it hosted the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships.

    Crowned many times one of the best events on the UCI circuit, by organisations such as International Mountain Bike Teams, Tech Support and Organisers (IMTTO), Velirium continues to present a challenging program year after year.

    The 2012 edition includes a UCI World Cup downhill and cross country, several competitions for amateurs of all ages and demos.

    2012 Velirium
    June 21-24: UCI Mountain Bike Cross Country & Downhill World Cup, Red Bull Monte Descend, Kids' race
    June 29-July 1: Monte-le-Mont and Raid Velo Mag
    July 6-8: Quebec Cup cross country, Quebec Cup Downhill, Canadian Downhill National Championships, Kids' race

    For more information, visit

  • Wloszczowska pleased with start to her season

    Maja Wloszczowska claimed the elite women's cross country race
    Article published:
    April 19, 2012, 18:46 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Polish rider tied on points atop World Cup standings

    After two rounds of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, former cross country world champion Maja Wloszczowska (CCC Polkowice) is tied on points in the standings with Catharine Pendrel (Luna), although Pendrel is officially ranked first due to her more recent win.

    Wloszczowska was content with her third place finish in the cross country at the Houffalize round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup on Sunday. It came one month after she won the World Cup in Pietermaritzburg.

    "I am definitely satisfied. Before the start I had assumed that it would be perfect if I managed to end up among the best five riders. The course in Houffalize did not suit me, and my legs felt poorly during recent training. That is why the third place is an excellent result. I have never had such a beginning of the season."

    Wloszczowska got off to a rough start in Houffalize after a minor collision with Eva Lechner. The Polish rider had to dismount and walk the first uphill. "Around 20 riders passed me. I must admit that it clipped my wings, the more so because I had started not too badly. Well, it happens... Unfortunately, in the first kilometre of the race, such a situation is normal in cross country."

    As the race progressed, Wloszczowska rode steadily and looked strong. She briefly got away from rival Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Rabobank), but after the French woman caught her, Wloszczowska decided to save her strength for the final lap.

    "During the race, I saw that I had some advantage in long uphill stretches and on such a one, I attacked, in the last lap. So in the final part of the race, I just tried to make a use of the advantage that I had noticed before. In South...

  • Gallery: Sea Otter day 1 in images

    Bikes of all sizes are on display
    Article published:
    April 19, 2012, 22:15 BST
    Cycling News

    A wide angle kind of look at the first day's festivities

    Dave McElwaine has been strolling the grounds of the Laguna Seca Raceway today, capturing images of what it's like to be there with his camera and wide angle lens. 

    While the road race events got underway this morning with a criterium, the mountain bike races won't begin until tomorrow.

    Check out his gallery of images or read the preview for all of this weekend's mountain bike racing action, which the pros will kick off on Friday with the short track.

  • 2012 Real Insurance XCM Series to start in Australia

    Racers in the Real Insurance XCM
    Article published:
    April 19, 2012, 23:00 BST
    Cycling News

    First three events packed together on schedule

    The Real Insurance XCM Series will kick off in a few days with round 1 of the six-race series at the Wombat 100 in Woodend, Victoria on April 22.

    The Wombat 100 will be the first ever event in the XCM series to take place outside of NSW/ACT, and entries have been flowing in at a rapid rate for the first round of the Australian mountain bike race series.

    The Wombat will serve as the entree in what will be an intense first month of the 2012 Real Insurance XCM Series. Riders looking for maximum points, or maximum challenge, will back up the following Saturday for the Capital Punishment in Canberra (April 28), then again on the following weekend for the Convict 100 in Sydney (May 5). Three very different races in three weeks, in three states.

    A peak of form over the next three weeks could propel a well prepared rider into the three remaining races of the series with a big advantage, but it won't be as simple as that. Only a complete mountain biker will be able to take full advantage of this concentrated three-race block. The Wombat 100 has a deceiving amount if climbing, but the eventual winner will be the most fluid rider over the smooth and twisting singletrack of Womabt State Forest.

    Riders with maximum power are best suited to the terrain of the Capital Punishment, which features the least climbing of the first three races and plenty of open trails and paddocks for high speed riding in the big ring.

    The Convict 100 also suits a powerful rider as there is little pure singletrack, but the brutally rough and technical nature of the Old Convict Road section of the course can split the field apart in only a handful of kilometres and technically confident riders will have a clear advantage.

    The elite men's field for the Wombat features the typically strong Rockstar Racing team of defending Real Insurance XCM...

  • Video: Last enjoys new World Cup eliminator format

    Annie Last (Milka Brentjens MTB Racing Team) was obviously 'paying for' the Eliminator
    Article published:
    April 20, 2012, 16:06 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    British racer wins first-ever race of new discipline

    Annie Last (Milka-Brentjens) became the first-ever winner of a UCI World Cup race in the brand new eliminator discipline last weekend in Houffalize, Belgium.

    The talented, young British mountain biker is excited about the new discipline. "It went great for me. I think it's a good event," Last told Cyclingnews. "It's a good addition to the World Cup. I enjoy that kind of race and how it's run. It's a good atmosphere with tight corners, shorter races, elbow-to-elbow racing is fun."

    Last season, some of the World Cup rounds featured eliminators as the UCI honed the format, but none were officially World Cups. Three rounds comprise this year's eliminator World Cup.

    "Doing those non-World Cup eliminators last year gave me confidence because I did well," said Last. "I have quite a good sprint. You never really know though for any kind of race until you do the World Cup."

    The eliminator format is similar to four cross, but it is not all downhill. Riders perform a time trial to get seated and then move through heats of four. In each heat, the top two riders advance to the next round.

    The shortness of the format, relative to regular cross country racing, makes it a very different event and offers the chance for other types of riders to excel on their mountain bikes at a World Cup level. Brian Lopes, a former downhill and four cross elite racer, proved this by winning the men's eliminator in Houffalize.

    "Because the eliminator is so much shorter, it means that the racing very tight. It's all about which line you take into the corners. You could go into a corner first and not come out first," said Last. "It's a minute and a half of full on, flat out racing. It's very tactical. it's a flat out sprint. You...

  • Para-cycling added to US Cross Country MTB Nationals

    Todd Wells (Specialized Racing)
    Article published:
    April 21, 2012, 16:52 BST
    Cycling News

    New events happening this year in Sun Valley, Idaho

    USA Cycling and Sun Valley Adaptive Sports (SVAS) announced two off-road para-cycling events which will be held at this summer's USA Cycling Cross Country Mountain Bike National Championships for the first time. The off-road hand cycle and off-road two-wheeled competitions will be held on Thursday, July 5, 2012 at Sun Valley Resort.

    "This year is a perfect opportunity to introduce two off-road para-cycling events at the Mountain Bike National Championships," said USA Cycling National Events Director Kelli Lusk. "It's been a collaborative effort with USA Cycling, Sun Valley Adaptive Sports, US Handcycling, and US Paralympics. We hope this establishes an event model to implement at future mountain bike national championships."

    The non-national championship events will take place on the short track cross country (STXC) course and are scheduled to begin at 3:45 pm local time. Both races will be 15 minutes, plus one-lap with all riders will finishing on the leaders final lap.

    "We are thrilled that USA Cycling has included a mountain bike event for athletes with disabilities," said Ian Lawless, executive director of US Handcycling. "Event organizers in Sun Valley are helping us set the bar high as Para-cycling continues to grow in the United States."

    Anyone with a physical disability may register and participate. A one-day USA Cycling license will be required, and all riders must sign the USA Cycling athlete release form. Online registration will open via the event webpage on May 4 at 11 am EST at a cost of $30 per para-cycling race. On-site registration will be available on Wednesday, July 4.

    "US Paralympics is both honored and excited with the inclusion of a para mountain bike category at the 2012 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships," said Craig Griffin, US Paralympics director of high performance cycling....

  • PerformX Young Guns Downhill team is born

    Brendan Howey in action
    Article published:
    April 21, 2012, 20:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Two gravity teams merge

    Two of Canada's top gravity teams, PerformX Downhill and Team Young Guns, are joining forces to take on Canada and the World Cup. The PerformX Young Guns Downhill Team, based out of Whistler, British Columbia, will field four top Canadian downhill athletes poised to challenge national titles and see success on the world stage.

    Both PerformX and Young Guns have a history of fostering junior Canadian downhill talent with the goal of elevating them to the World Cup level. This year, the team will be comprised of Remi Gauvin, Micayla Gatto, Casey Brown and Brendan Howey. Joining the team for select events will be pro motocross/crossover athlete Shawn Maffenbeier.

    Backing the team will be manager and trainer Todd Schumlick, former Young Guns manager and now team consultant Lesley Tomlinson, co-manager and coach Ryan Kuhn and team mechanic and gear manager Mike Rothdram. Schumlick has built a reputation in the mountain bike industry as a trainer. In addition to Steve Smith, he is currently working with Justin Leov, Sam Blenkinsop, Jill Kintner, Bryn Atkinson, Brook MacDonald, Miranda Miller, Mitch Ropelato, Kyle Sangers and Tyler Allison, while continuing to assist other top motocross athletes.

    "I couldn't be happier with the lineup of the new PerformX Young Guns Downhill Team," said Schumlick. "This is the third season training with Remi and hes fit and on a tear. I'm also excited to be training two of Canada's top female gravity racers, Micayla and Casey. I've been working with Shawn for five years on the moto side and am looking forward to watching his crossover talent on a mountain bike. Bringing PerformX and Young Guns together will set the stage for some strong results and excellent exposure for our sponsors."

    Gauvin, Gatto, Brown and Howey will be racing in gravity disciplines at select World Cup events, premiere Canadian events including the National Series and Canadian Championships, as well as in selected stand-alone events...

  • Gallery: Multivan Merida Team scores double victory in Münsingen

    Article published:
    April 24, 2012, 18:08 BST
    Cycling News

    Dahle Flesjå and Van Houts win elite races

    The Multivan Merida Team rode away with victories in the elite men's and women's races at the first round of the German Mountain Bike Bundesliga series on Sunday. Under awful conditions, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå proved to be the strongest in the women's race, whereas Rudi van Houts won the men's race.

    For quite some years, Münsingen has hosted the German season's opener. And due to its altitude, racing in April in Münsingen often happens in poor conditions. This year's race was no exception: heavy rain, hail storms, a bit of sunshine, low temperatures and a bitter win shaped the race.

    Dahle Flesjå had already won four times in Münsingen and the Norwegian picked this event as the place where she would race Merida's 29er hardtail for the first time. From the first lap, Dahle Flesjå took the lead and extended it all the way to the finish, where it amounted to almost two minutes.

    "After having surveyed the Olympic course in London, I already knew that I would ride the Big.Nine at the Olympics. So I was excited to see how things went aboard the 29er in Münsingen. Seeing the severe conditions we were facing today, I am completely convinced that the Big.Nine is going to be my choice of bike for the rest of the season!

    "My form is spot-on and everything went really well today, especially as I had spent a somewhat busy week with quite some travelling before."

    A hailstorm set in just as the men's race was about to start. During the first part of the race, Rudi van Houts was among the leaders. A massive crash involving the first five riders on a descent on the first lap caused riders like Nino Schurter to...