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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Date published:
December 10, 2013, 0:00 GMT
  • Interview: Enduro World Series Founder Chris Ball on the growth of enduros, Part 2

    Racers at the Enduro World Series in Val d'Allos, France
    Article published:
    November 28, 2013, 17:46 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    A glimpse into the future of enduro racing

    Chris Ball is the promoter of the Enduro World Series (EWS). Marking the continued rapid growth of enduro racing, the EWS held its first season in 2013 and wrapped up last month in Italy. Cyclingnews spoke with the man behind the series about how the EWS came to be, its first year, the growth of the discipline and what to expect with enduro racing in years to come.

    Part 1 focused on this year's EWS. Part 2, below, takes a look at UCI involvement in enduros and plans for next year's EWS.

    Cyclingnews: What changes are you planning for next year's EWS based on what you learned this season?

    Chris Ball: We're going to try to increase the amount of pedalling in the liaisons. The feedback from the riders was that they actually enjoyed the climbs between the stages. Chairlifts work well in certain locations. Where there is a chairlift, we will enhance the course with some more climbing, for both pros and amateurs.

    The intervals between top riders will be increased. We were having 15-minute stages come down to within a couple of seconds. The margins are quite tight. We'll have to give the guys more time. Those margins will only get tighter as the sport gets more professionalized. The interval was a minimum 20 seconds, and we'll increase it to a minimum of 30 seconds. At some events, it may be as much as one minute.

    We were surprised how close the times of the riders were. I think the riders were surprised as well. We had hoped it would be close racing. I figured it would be closer than a lot of people had thought.

    We've learned a lot about how to structure the races so as to create a closer race - how much climbing vs. descending vs. technicality. You need a good balance to keep the race fair and close. Even with that balance, it's been...

  • NICA High School Cycling News Round-up - November 28, 2013

    Sean Bird at the end of the SoCal High School Varsity Mountain Bike race at Lake Perris.
    Article published:
    November 28, 2013, 21:00 GMT
    Paul Skilbeck

    Off-season recruiting, NICA Awards and meet Sean Bird

    It is never quiet in the NICA community. With spring and fall season leagues, activities take place 12 months a year. With the fall leagues just having concluded, spring season leagues in NorCal, SoCal, New York and Texas are busy with recruitment, which often has the effect of converting non-cycling families into cycling families. As of December 1, student athletes will start getting into the rhythm of skill acquisition and fitness training, so if not already prepared they will be ready to start racing come spring.

    Activity has also been focused on NICA's own version of the Academy Awards. Called simply "The NICA Awards", this is a way to acknowledge and applaud the massive volunteer effort that makes high school cycling a reality each year for more than 3,000 high school students and their families.

    The NICA Awards ceremony is a public event, with the gala held on January 25, 2014 at the Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, California.

    "We have been impressed by the number of nominations, almost 250 this year," said Austin McInerny, NICA's executive director. "People volunteer a lot of time to make our high school racing leagues happen, so it's encouraging to see how many among the leagues appreciate this enough to actually write us and make a case for somebody in their league to receive an award."

    The awards committee comprises representatives from NICA sponsors, and each award is named after a sponsor.

    "It was a privilege to learn more about the nominees," said Tim Baker, marketing director of Primal Wear (Race Production Partner award). "There are remarkable individuals making a difference in our communities through cycling and with the help of NICA's mountain biking network you can see this becoming a lasting legacy."

    With 11 categories, the NICA awards...

  • Zakelj honored as Slovenian rider of the year

    Tanja Žakelj and Matej Mohorič
    Article published:
    December 02, 2013, 22:55 GMT
    Cycling News

    Cross Country World Cup star has best season yet

    Mountain biker Tanja Zakelj was one of two riders recognized as Slovenian Cyclists of the Year for 2013. Although she had previously earned the same award, Zakelj had her best season yet in 2013. She won the Cross Country World Cup overall title, won two rounds of the World Cup and won the European cross country title.

    "I'm very honored to receive this recognition from the federation, but I'm even more excited about the results from the season that are the reason for this award," said Zakelj.

    "I know that this was teamwork, and my thanks go to my Unior team and the larger group of people around me. I hope that all of these awards will connect us even stronger, and we will start the new season without pressure, full of power and new ideas."

    U23 road race world champion Matej Mohoric was recognized as the other Slovenian Cyclist of the Year. He is the first rider in history to win the junior and U23 men's road race world titles back to back with a solo victory in Florence this September.

    The Slovenian federation also honored Zarja Cernilogar and Miran Vauh for overall victories in iXS European Downhill Cup, Miha Halzer for podiums in eliminator World Cup races, Simon Spilak for amazing performance on Spring Classics and Luka Mezgec for a stage victory in the Tour of Beijing and fantastic sprinting in the Grand Tours.

    Cycling club Rajd won top honors as best mountain bike team of the year. It manages the Unior Tools Team. Adria Mobil was recognized as best Slovenian road team of the year.

    Editorial assistance provided by Grega Stopar.

  • Andalucia Bike Race announces 2014 route

    Early action in stage 3 at the Andalucia Bike Race.
    Article published:
    December 04, 2013, 22:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    Jaén, Córdoba and Andújar will host the mountain bike stage race

    Organizers of the Andalucía Bike Race announced the race's route for 2014. Unlike in past years, the race's route will start in Jaén and move on to Córdoba, where it will end. During this transition, the competition will visit a new venue, Andújar. The race will be held from February 23 to 28.

    The 400km route will be slightly shorter than previous editions, but it is not expected to be easier as the addition of Andújar will mean 10,800m of total climbing. The route will offer a mix of singletrack and roads through a unique landscape.

    All stages will be loops, starting and finishing at the same place each day.

    2014 Andalucia Bike Race

    Stage 1 - Jaén, 60.1km (1980m climbing)

    The opening stage will start with a long stretch of road and track along olive groves in order to stretch the large peloton as it moves towards Sierra Mágina. Once Mancha Real has been left behind, the riders will hit singletrack. They will reach Pegalajar and ride a loop there before heading to the decisive and endless climb of the day to the top of San Cristóbal, from where they will descend into town.

    Stage 2 - Jaén, 59km (2110m climbing)

    The short stage will be both technically and physically demanding. The first climb will end with singletrack section with several switchbacks and views to the top of the Aire mountain pass. The downhill will combine fast trails and flowy singletrack. The second major climb will start along a fire road which turns into a network of singletrack inside a forest, until it reaches the top of La Mella and having crossed El Neveral. The riders will then descend back to town and rapidly back to the finish line.

    Stage 3 - Andújar, 70.6km (1940m climbing)

    Starting from the new venue, riders will follow trails through initial rolling hills to spread out...

  • Bruni settles into elite ranks

    Loic Bruni (Fra) Lapierre Gravity Republic
    Article published:
    December 06, 2013, 21:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    Rising downhill star adapts training

    Former junior downhill world champion Loic Bruni, 19, had a good first year in the elite ranks in 2013. In 2013, he was an impressive fourth overall in the elite men's downhill World Cup, finishing off the season with a second place in Leogang. He was 11th at the world championships in Pietermaritzburg. While still a junior in 2012, Bruni won the downhill junior world championships and the overall junior World Cup.

    Upon moving into the elite ranks, Bruni stepped up his training accordingly. His coach Laurent Solliet talked about the training and sacrifices made by a top elite level downhill mountain biker. "For Loic, during his junior years in competition, the priority was school," said Solliet. "He made a good progression, he has been able to reach the highest levels and he is a professional racer now. Previously his training was adjusted to his studies, now his studies are adjusted for his training sessions. We always try to match up his training and personal life."

    Bruni trains on average about 15 hours per week, with the amount varying by season and depending on whether he is emphasizing quantity or quality.

    In 2013, he increased his specific training to address weaknesses, but did not limit himself to mountain biking.

    "All sports can be complementary for a MTB rider," said Solliet. "Your personal coach will help you to know how to structure your training sessions, how frequently exercise and especially which the complementary sport is best for you. Personal coaching takes care of your needs and balance your sessions to develop your strengths and avoid any bad choices and injuries."

    Solliet cited the example of an non-cycling exercise in which Bruni does isometric efforts followed by plyometric exercises.

  • Koretzky signs with BH-SR Suntour-KMC team

    2011 Junior World Champion Victor Koretzky (France) put in a strong race
    Article published:
    December 09, 2013, 18:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    Former junior world champion joins French mountain bike team

    Victor Koretzky has signed with the BH-SR Suntour-KMC team for 2014. The 19-year-old mountain biker recently wrapped up his first season as an under 23 rider with an overall victory in the Coupe de France and an eighth place at the mountain bike world championships.

    "Team BH-SR Suntour-KMC is one of the biggest teams in the world. I'm happy to have signed for this structure," said Koretzky. "I have many things to learn from riders like Maxime Marotte, Stéphane Tempier and Julie Bresset."

    Koretzky was the cross country junior world champion in 2011. In 2014, he'll be teaming up with fellow Frenchman Jordan Sarrou in BH-SR Suntour-KMC colors.

    "Like Under 23 European champion Jordan, Victor has a lot of athletic potential, and we want to help him reach his best," said Pierre Lebreton, BH-SR Suntour-KMC Team Manager.

    "When we met him, his personal project was consistent with what what we wanted to suggest. The U23 category involves a lot of changes to be made during four years, so we have great things to build together."

  • NZXC backs new junior development team

    Scott Bar (Torpedo 7 NZXC Junior Development Team)
    Article published:
    December 10, 2013, 1:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    Eight athletes selected for 2014 roster

    NZXC Racing has partnered with Torpedo7 to back a new development team on the New Zealand mountain bike scene: the Torpedo7 NZXC Junior Development program.

    The squad is the brainchild of NZXC director Sam Thompson and it features eight up and coming athletes from around New Zealand. The team will not only provide provide professional race support, but also coaching, sports science services, athlete mentoring, and guidance from some of New Zealand's most experienced mountain bike athletes.

    Thompson hopes to see the program help support the continued development of cross country racing in New Zealand to become a powerhouse on the international scene. "Through the program we hope to provide a pathway and inspiration for all young athletes in New Zealand," he said. "It is about showing what is possible and encouraging a high performance culture. We are excited to see what we can achieve."

    Torpedo7 spokesperson Lester Perry said, "With our roots being in mountain biking, we're excited to get behind this professional setup, not only to help the team out over their race season, but to support the development of some of New Zealand's future MTB stars. Needless to say we're looking forward to an ongoing relationship with Sam, Cabin, and the team members, and are looking forward to seeing some podium finishes in the team’s new Torpedo7 NZXC juniors' kit!"

    The team put on a weekend training camp in late November, attended by 26 young athletes from all over New Zealand. From the camp, eight team members were selected. They will race alongside their elite teammates in a variety of events across New Zealand, including main objectives of the national championships in Rotorua on February 15-16 and the Oceania Championships in Methven on March 15-16.

    The team's "class of 2014" is listed below.

    Nathan Johnston (Rotorua) has been dominating his age group for that last 12 months and is the current U17...

  • Vos and Wichman honoured as Dutch mountain bikers of the year

    Dutch Mountain Biker of the Year awards. From left to right: Leo van Zeeland (Joost Wichman was unable to attend), Henk Vos (Marianne Vos was unable to attend), Michiel van der Heijden, Annemarie Worst, Kjell van den Boogert.
    Article published:
    December 10, 2013, 19:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    Five riders recognized for performances

    Marianne Vos (Giant Pro XC Team) and Joost Wichman (Rose Vaujany Gravity MTB Team) were among five riders honoured in Sittard as 2013 Dutch Mountain Bikers of the Year.

    Vos was recognized as the Best Female Elite cyclist. She raced her mountain bike in 2013 for the first time in years, finishing 11th at the Albstadt World Cup and winning a stage race that is part of the Cyprus Sunshine Cup as well as the Sea Otter cross country and the Sea Otter short track.

    Gravity Cyclist of the Year Wichman won the four cross world championships, was third in the Four Cross ProTour in Jablonec and Nisou and was fourth overall in the UCI Four Cross World Rankings.

    Cross country racer Michiel van der Heijden (Giant Pro XC Team) was honoured as Best Elite Male Cyclist. He was third at the U23 world championships, fourth at the U23 European championships, third in the U23 World Cup rankings and won the elite national championships.

    Annemarie Worst (Giant Dealer Team) was named Best Female Talent. She was seventh at the World Cup in Val di Sole, 11th at the World Cup in Albstadt and eighth at the European Cross Country Championship.

    Kjell van den Boogert (Cube-Nutswerk Team) was the Best Male Talent. He was ninth at the World Cup in Albstadt, 13th at the world championship and fourth at the cross country national championships.

    The Dutch Mountain Bike Awards have been presented since 2007, first by the Club van 5 and then by the Stichting Mountainbike Platform, an organization which looks after the interests of the Dutch mountain bike scene. It was founded by Bart Brentjens the first Olympic Mountain Bike Champion (Atlanta 1996) and Leo van Zeeland, former coach of the Dutch national mountain bike team and current manager...