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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Date published:
April 05, 2011, 1:00 BST
  • Top notch tech services for Cape Epic racers

    One of the tech zones
    Article published:
    March 30, 2011, 5:25 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Bike wash, parking and mechanical services for stage racers

    Racers at the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race in South Africa have their hands full with eight days of competition. So any help when it comes to taking care of their bikes is appreciated. Physical asset management company Pragma has joined forces with the race organisers to provide a host of services like bike washing, bike parking and tech zones at water points.

    "After a rider crosses the finish line of any stage at the event, a Pragma crew member takes the rider's bike so that the participant can go directly to the food zone. The bike is then registered on our On Key EAMS system as it enters the bike wash area where it is carefully and thoroughly washed," said head of logistics of Pragma's Cape Epic project.

    "When the bike leaves the wash area, an SMS is sent to the rider informing him or her that the bike is clean and in the Bike Park. The bikes are parked in numerical order for easy location by their riders. Our aim is to complete the entire process for each bike within two minutes. This is an incredible accomplishment considering that we handle about one thousand bikes a day!"

    As in the past, the bike wash consists of seven dedicated wash bays. After being sprayed with Motorex bio-degradable non-degreaser detergent, the bikes are mounted on specially designed bike stands and then hosed down with high-pressure Bosch washers. The stands and washers are all on a water retainer sheet to ensure that none of the polluted water runs onto the surrounding area. This enables the Pragma team to contain the water and pump it away to the nearest drain. To ensure that these services are provided in an environmentally friendly fashion, environmentalists are supervising all activities.

    "At the water points, Pragma creates mini service points, the pro tech and supply zones, where the riders can do some quick maintenance on their bikes," said Broden.

    "The top 30...

  • New Zealand names mountain bike worlds long team

    Cameron Cole descends fastest for the New Zealand downhill national title
    Article published:
    March 30, 2011, 6:59 BST
    Cycling News

    50 candidates named for championships

    New Zealand announced its long team for the 2011 UCI Mountain Bike World Champions in Champery, Switzerland, from August 31 to September 4. The list includes 19 cross country, 29 downhill and two four cross racers.

    The list includes athletes who have already qualified their selection through performances at key events this summer, as well as athletes who may be on the cusp of selection but who need to further demonstate that they can meet the performance benchmark required.

    Final team selection will occur on July 12.

    New Zealand long team for UCI Mountain Bike World Championships -

    Elite men cross country:
    Carl Jones
    Mike Northcott

    Elite women cross country:
    Rosara Joseph
    Karen Hanlen
    Eloise Fry
    Fiona MacDermid

    Under 23 men cross country:
    Dirk Peters
    Brad Hudson
    Sam Shaw
    Richard Anderson

    Under 23 women cross country:
    Katie O'Neill
    Samara Sheppard

    Under 19 men cross country:
    Anton Cooper
    Mathew Waghorn
    Nigel McDowell
    Tom Bradshaw
    Tom Filmer
    Harley Going

    Under 19 women cross country:
    Mary Gray

    Elite men downhill:
    Cameron Cole
    Sam Blenkinsop
    Justin Leov
    Brook MacDonald
    George Brannigan
    Nathan Rankin
    Matthew Scoles
    Wyn Masters
    Kieran Bennett
    Sam Baker
    Eddie Masters
    Matt Walker
    Richard Leacock

    Elite women downhill:
    Harriet Harper
    Amy Laird

    Under 19 men downhill:
    Reuben Olorenshaw
    Daniel Franks
    Reece Potter
    Zach Baker
    Dan McCombie
    Jake Robinson
    Jay Barrett
    Nick Bygate
    Louis Hamilton

    Under 19 women downhill:
    Sarah Atkin
    Sophie Tyas
    Madeline Taylor
    Veronique Sandler
    Sophie-Marie Bethell

    Elite men four cross:
    Matt Walker
    Daniel Franks


  • George wears the Outcast Jersey at Cape Epic

    David George wears the zebra striped Outcast Jersey of a lone pro rider after his partner Kevin Evans broke his collarbone and dropped out.
    Article published:
    March 31, 2011, 17:41 BST
    Cycling News

    Zebra stripes for pro riders who have lost their partner

    You won't see South African David George on the elite men's results of the Cape Epic mountain bike race, but he stands out in the race, wearing the event's zebra striped  'Outcast Jersey'. The honour was introduced in 2010 to allow riders whose partners have had to drop out of the race to keep going, with special rules applying to their continued participation.

    Unlike a provision for amateur Cape Epic racers who have lost their partner during the two-person team event - often due to fatigue or equipment failure - which allow them to partner up with another orphaned rider, the pros are only allowed to continue racing on their own.

    "Unfortunately, due to the fact that pro riders often have conflicting sponsors, they can't just form new teams in the way that the amateur riders are able to do," said Kevin Vermaak, founder and director of the Cape Epic. "Furthermore, it's also dangerous for pro riders to ride with amateur riders as their skill levels are so vastly different. Historically UCI professional riders would just stop riding at that point."

    During the 2009 Cape Epic, when New Zealand Olympic rider Kashi Leuchs lost his partner during the early stages of the race, he suggested the idea of an Outcast Jersey.

    "We thought it was a great idea and offered a wonderful solution," said Vermaak. "It was first introduced in 2010, whereby pro riders would still be able to participate alone and be potential Cape Epic finishers.

    "The Outcast Jersey had to be clearly recognisable - and that's how we came up with the idea of a white jersey with zebra stripes to be worn by solo-riding pro riders. To date, David George is the most high-profiled rider ever to wear an Outcast Jersey. George lost his partner, Kevin Evans, after he fell during stage 1 and broke his collarbone."


  • 2011 Giant Factory Off-road Team presented in Santa Barbara

    The 2011 Giant Factory Off-Road Team
    Article published:
    April 01, 2011, 11:18 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Neethling and Killeen add depth to Giant's lineup

    The 2011 Giant Factory Off-Road Team was presented poolside in Santa Barbara, California, on Thursday night. With the addition of two new riders, including top World Cup contenders in downhill and cross country, the team will field its strongest line-up to date. South African downhill Andrew Neethling and British cross country racer Liam Killeen join British downhiller Danny Hart and three Americans: downhiller Duncan Riffle and veteran cross country stars Carl Decker and Kelli Emmett. All the riders, except for Killeen, who is training for the first World Cup in South Africa, attended the launch.

    Riders were introduced one at a time by Giant's Global Product Marketing Manager Andrew Juskaitis, who noted the squad is the largest and most diverse thus far. "We have such a large team because our product line continues to grow. The reason we're here today is because we sell bicycles. In order to market those bicycles, we need the right target market," said Juskaitis to Cyclingnews.

    "We value the professional riders' feedback to do product development. We can't just do that with cross country riders, we can't just do that with a downhill team. So we bring those athletes together on one team. This the first time we have an all encompassing team - cross country racers, downhillers, four crossers. It will drive product development, and we didn't want to sell any category short."

    Cross country

    In a move unusual among pro mountain bike teams, Giant gave Carl Decker and Kelli Emmett a blank piece of paper on which to make their own racing schedules for 2011.

    "For the first time, we allowed them to generate their dream schedule. In other years, we threw the schedule at them and said 'go get 'em tiger'. We didn't do that this year. We said to them: 'you've been on the team a long time, you've done all the traditional...

  • Stromlo to host 2011 Australian Solo 24 Hour MTB Championships

    The winding single track climb to the top of Mt Stromlo
    Article published:
    April 02, 2011, 6:46 BST
    Cycling News

    English and Douglas headline gruelling race

    Stromlo Forest Park in Canberra, Australia will be the site for the 2011 Australian Solo 24 Hour Mountain Bike Championships over the Easter long weekend (23/24 April 2011).

    Riding on many of the same tracks used in the 2009 UCI MTB World Championships and the 2010 24 Hours of Adrenalin World Solo 24Hr Championships, the leading riders can expect to cover more than 400 kilometres and climb over 12,000 metres during the race. With 2010 24 Hours of Adrenalin World Solo 24 Hour Champions Jason English and Jess Douglas leading the charge plus several world age-group champions taking part, this will not be a race for the faint hearted, although many riders enter to achieve their own personal goals.

    This event is a Solo-Only race - teams are not allowed, so all the riders on course plus all of their support crews are suffering equally. This creates a unique atmosphere on course and in the event village. Canberra Off-Road Cyclists (CORC) are once again staging the event, first held as a Solo Australian Championships by them in 2005, although this will be the first time it is being held at Stromlo Forest Park.

    Stromlo Forest Park was purpose built as a recreational area following the 2003 bushfires which completely destroyed the vegetation on the mountain. It caters to road cycling, mountain biking, BMX, cross country running and equestrian activities.

    While it is unlikely that the huge field of solo entries (411) from the 2010 24 Hours of Adrenalin World Solo 24Hr Championships in Canberra will be repeated for the 2011 national championships, CORC are expecting between 150 and 200 riders as 24 hour racing has really taken off in Australia in recent years.


  • Mellow Johnny's Spring Classic kick-off party to benefit young racers

    Georgia Gould (Luna) high-fives a young fan after winning her race at the Mellow Johnny's Classic.
    Article published:
    April 04, 2011, 21:37 BST
    Cycling News

    Texas High School Mountain Bike League gets boost from US Pro XCT event

    The third annual Mellow Johnny's Spring Classic Kick-Off Party, held on the eve of the Mellow Johnny's US Pro XCT race, will benefit the Texas High School Mountain Bike League for the first time ever. The party will be held on Friday, April 29 at 7:00 pm. The league is part of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) and will host its inaugural season in 2012.

    The Mellow Johnny's Bike Shop is hosting the party which will include the league's athletes and coaches and top male and female pro riders from around the country. The event, free and open to the public, will offer attendees a chance to enter raffles for prizes and learn more about the league.

    Additionally, athletes from the league will have the opportunity to shadow the pro teams and receive even more valuable advice during the pro cross country race the following day.

    "The chance to be up close and personal to see how a professional mountain bike racer prepares for a world class level race like the Mellow Johnny's Classic is a once in a lifetime opportunity for athletes and coaches," said Vance McMurry, Founding Chair of Texas High School Mountain Bike League.

    "We wanted a chance to pair the young athletes up with pro riders, so they could see firsthand how the pros approach race day, hopefully learn a lot, and get some inspiration along the way," said Mellow Johnny's Team Coordinator Ted Arnold.

    "With Subaru-Trek riders stepping up, along with Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant) and Team Jamis Riders, the response from the pro community has been great - we're still looking for more and expect additional team commitments."

    The fourth stop on the US Pro XCT series will be held on Lance Armstrong's Juan Pelota Ranch in Dripping Springs, Texas on April 30.

    Participants can chose from two registration options. The Livestrong registration...

  • Stander finally gets his Cape Epic win

    Christoph Sauser and Burry Stander of team 36One Songo-Specialized celebrate the overall win during the final stage
    Article published:
    April 05, 2011, 16:10 BST
    Cycling News

    First victory for a South African

    On his fourth attempt, Burry Stander became the first South African to win the ABSA Cape Epic when the eight-day, 707km mountain bike race finished at Lourensford Wine Estate near Cape Town on Sunday.

    The 23-year-old Stander and his Swiss teammate Christoph Sauser, both racing for the 36One-Songo-Specialized team, finished fifth on the eighth and final stage, but had built up a lead of more than 10 minutes over their nearest rivals during the gruelling race and simply had to finish without encountering any problems to secure one of the most coveted titles in international bicycle racing.

    "I don't think it will sink in straight away," said Stander. "You spend so much energy in this race just avoiding trouble and when you're leading there's always pressure on you. I'm sure it will sink in over the next week that I'm first South African winner. I suppose it's on a par with winning the world championships. It's a really important race victory!"

    Stander, the 2009 Under 23 cross country world champion, combined well with Sauser, a similarly versatile racer and former elite cross and marathon country world champion, to capture the title on their fourth attempt. For the 34-year-old Sauser, the victory was one of his career highlights.

    "I won before in 2006, but since then the Cape Epic has become so competitive, attracting all the top riders in the world. It's a different race now and I'm pleased I could be a part of helping Burry become the first South African winner," said Sauser.

    The final stage was a relatively short, but testing 59km leg from Oak Valley to Lourensford with 1700m of ascent. It was won by the Swiss Fluckiger brothers, Mathias and Lukas (Trek World Racing), who broke clear early on and finished in a time of two hours, 33 minutes and 18 seconds.

    The all-German...

  • Syndicate preps for World Cup action

    Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) nails a turn
    Article published:
    April 05, 2011, 17:17 BST
    Cycling News

    Peat and Bryceland to join Minnaar in South Africa

    Santa Cruz Syndicate racers Steve Peat and Josh Bryceland have been busy getting ready for the 2011 downhill mountain bike World Cup season. The two recently picked up their new Santa Cruz Carbon V-10s and are soon headed to Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, where they will be caught up in a whirlwind of training and promotional activities leading up to the World Cup season opener on April 23-24.

    "I get excited at this time every year!" said former downhill world champion Peat after getting his new bike for the season. "The feeling of surprise as to what the guys in the art department have come up with for our new graphics is great, and 2011 is no exception. The guys have done a killer job yet again."

    "Good old Dougie 'Hatrick' Hatfield stuck most of the bike together and myself and Josh had a bit of fun putting the last bits on to see the whole bike. It then needed to be sent of to Ricky Bobby for a final race prep tune and to tighten all the bolts I had missed....ha,ha. She will be back with me soon for her maiden voyage....can't wait as the whole thing looks awesome."

    Once Bryceland and Peat get to South Africa, they'll meet up with Syndicate teammate Greg Minnaar, who is from South Africa.

    "I'm looking forward to being a part of the Syndicate again, and the family reunion is here at my home," said Minnaar.

    The athletes will host a meet and greet social bike ride open to the public at Holla Skills Track on Saturday, April 16 at 7:30 am. On Friday, April 22, there will also be a Greg Minnaar & True Athlete Fan Club event where 150 people can purchase fan packs filled with vuvuzelas, flags, caps and shirts for race day, and have an opportunity to meet the...