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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Date published:
February 04, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Kulhavy and Hermida to open season in Cyprus

    Jaroslav Kulhavy racing at the Afxentia Cup
    Article published:
    January 22, 2014, 16:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Entire Multivan-Merida going to Sunshine Cup for first time

    Seasoned pros like Olympic cross country champion Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized) and 2010 world champion Jose Hermida (Multivan Merida) will kick off their 2014 mountain bike racing at the Cyprus Sunshine Cup in February and March.

    Hermida will be joined by serveral Multivan Merdida teammates as the squad plans its first visit to the early season races in Cyprus. Marathon world champion and 2004 Olympic champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa, Rudi van Houts and young guns Ondrej Cink, Thomas Litscher and Julian Schelb will all compete.

    In contrast, Kulhavy, a Sunshine Cup regular, will be starting his season in Cyprus for the eighth time. His focus is on preparing for the 2014 World Cup as he hopes to improve on his 2013 season, in which he won just one World Cup round.

    Kulhavy won't be the only Czech rider in action. Jan Skarnitzl (SRAM Rubena Trek) and Tereza Hurikova (Specialized Racing) are also headed to Cyprus. Both riders have previously done well at the Cyprus Sunshine Cup.

    "It's big news for all mountain bikers on the island and also an honor for organizers," said Mike Hadjioannou from Bikin' Cyprus Event Management about the riders who've already committed to this year's racing.

    Round 1 of the Sunshine Cup, the Afxentia Stage Race will happen from February 27 to March 2 while round 2 in Voroklini will occur on March 9.

  • Felt Bicycles announces 2014 enduro mountain bike team

    The Felt Enduro MTB Team
    Article published:
    January 23, 2014, 0:52 GMT
    Cycling News

    Seven riders comprise Felt's biggest enduro squad yet

    Felt Bicycles announced its 2014 enduro mountain bike team, the company's biggest and strongest to date. The team includes seven riders: Casey Coffman, Charlie Sponsel, Jon Wilson, Cody Phillips, Jake Dore, Jeremiah Newman and John Clark.

    "Felt made a concerted effort to more heavily invest in enduro in 2014 and we could not be happier with the team we have assembled," said Doug Martin, Sports Marketing Director for Felt Bicycles.

    "My colleague Eddie McDonald (of Felt MTB Marketing) drove the makings of this roster and it is already clear what a great team it is. This is an outstanding squad of young riders, each of whom is supremely talented. We are thrilled to have them all as Felt athletes."

    "I am super excited to start my fourth year with Felt," said Coffman, who will focus on the California Enduro Series as well as the North American Enduro Events and North American World Series Events.

    "The new team is unreal, we have a bunch of really great guys that can shred their bikes. It's gonna be super fun traveling with these guys this year. And with the new bike and experiences I have, this season is a step forward for me at the races."

    Sponsel, winner of last year's Cascadia Dirt Cup, is new to the team.

    Wilson, a returning team member, is busy teaching when he's not racing. He teaches fifth grade in the Reno, Nevada school district. He loves his job and home, but he was also glad to get out of the snow and visit the Felt headquarters in Southern California on a recent photo shoot trip.

    "It was great to meet everyone at Felt and on the team, as well as check out the new bikes that are coming out," said Wilson.

    Phillips is a student at Lees McRae College, attending on a cycling scholarship. In preparation for the upcoming season he's been practicing his descending skills and racing cyclo-cross, which he describes as, "basically a fast, flat enduro".

    Dore is a South Tahoe resident who has...

  • Rissveds sets sights on World Cup podiums and the 2016 Olympics

    Jenny Rissveds
    Article published:
    January 23, 2014, 18:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    Swedish mountain biker hopes to build on successful 2013

    Swedish mountain biker Jenny Rissveds became the European eliminator champion at just 19 years of age last year, and she impressed many with her performances at the mountain bike World Cup.

    Rissveds recently signed with the Scott-Odlo MTB Team, where she's now teammates with Nino Schurter and Florian Vogel.  Below is an interview with the up and coming rider on how she got into cycling, last year's accomplishments and her goals for this season.

    Q: What made you jump on your first bike?

    A: First when my mum and dad tried to teach me how to ride my bike, I wasn't that interested. When I was four years old, I decided to learn how to ride by myself. I went out onto the gravel path in our garden and started to practice. I didn't give up until I made it and at the end of that autumn day, I knew how to ride a bike.

    Q: When did you first compete in a mountain bike race? What was that like?

    A: I was seven years old and competed on a kid's bike with three gears. The course was about three kilometeres - combining asphalt, gravel and trails. I felt comfortable on the part with asphalt and gravel. As soon as I had to ride in the forest, I jumped off my bike and ran through that section. I remember the last forest part so clearly, with about 300m to the finish line, I jumped off the bike and a girl on a real mountain bike passed me. I didn't know I was in the lead before she passed me. I realized that when I crossed the finish line as number two. This girl ended up becoming my worst competitor for a couple of years.

    Q: When people think about Sweden, mountain biking doesn't necessarily come to mind. How would you describe mountain biking where you come from?

    A: We have a long tradition of cross country skiing here in Sweden and...

  • Former winner Booyens teams up with Strauss for Cape Epic

    Hanlie Booyens alongside Mariske Strauss
    Article published:
    January 26, 2014, 2:14 GMT
    Cycling News

    Experienced veteran partners with enthusiastic young star

    Former winner Hanlie Booyens will team up with rising star Mariske Strauss for the 2014 Cape Epic mountain bike stage race from March 23 to 30 in South Africa. The pair will race as Team Pragma Orange Monkeys.

    Booyens, now 40, won the Cape Epic in 2004 with Sharon Laws. That same year, Brian Strauss, Mariske's father, finished second in the masters category. At the time, Mariske was 13 and rode around the race's campsites on her little bike.

    Now 23-years-old, Mariske will be undertaking her first Cape Epic. She's looking forward to learning the ropes with her veteran teammate.

    The Cape Epic has gone on to grow each year since and it's now one of the best known stages races in the world. Booyens has completed six total Cape Epics, finishing on the podium on five occasions. Her worst finish ever was a fourth place.

    Booyens said, "I don't know what makes me come back for more. This is a question I've asked myself many, many times. Maybe the hype, maybe the personal challenge or maybe it's the friends I've made for life. However, 2014 will be my year to try and give back a little as I'm riding with a young novice in Mariske. Perhaps after six years I have gained a bit of wisdom."

    Strauss said, "I think it's just one of those races that you have to do. My dad has done five and my older brother has three under his belt, so it's sort of a challenge now. I've known Hanlie since I started racing my bike. The woman's mountain bike field was quite small and she was up there and someone a little girl could look up to and dream of being like. I believe that any situation is as good as you make it and I think we'll get along well."

    "Hanlie is definitely a role model and I'm always open and excited to learn. Hopefully, between all the suffering which I'm sure the Epic is going to bring, some of her wisdom will rub off on me."

    To Booyens, the most crucial component in completing the Cape Epic is mutual respect and...

  • Gallery: Bishop guest hosts annual NICA awards ceremony

    NICA Awards group ride photo, China Camp, near San Rafael, California
    Article published:
    January 30, 2014, 15:32 GMT
    Cycling News

    2013 high school cycling award winners honored

    Outstanding participants in high school cycling leagues across the US were honored at the 2013 National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) Awards, held at Berkeley Marina, California on Saturday, January 25.

    NICA presented awards in 10 categories to 14 individuals and organizations considered to be the most outstanding student-athletes, dedicated coaches, and the most supportive volunteers and sponsors to have helped advance the high school mountain biking movement over the past year.

    Austin McInerny, Executive Director of NICA, said, "Our award recipients are the tip of the iceberg. The greatness of the those around the USA working to make high school cycling a mainstream activity is matched only by the passion and enthusiasm I see every time I visit our member leagues. Every day, each one of us works to create and develop the high school cycling movement, and I know that for others - as for me - the greatest reward comes from the positive effects of our work on the people and the communities in which we all live."

    The following awards were presented:

    Volunteer Service Award

    - Sherry Thurgood, Utah High School Cycling League
    - Michael Angelovich, Texas High School Mountain Bike League

    The Volunteer Service Award honors an exceptional volunteer whose dedication of time, expertise and enthusiasm goes above and beyond to make a difference in the organization.

    Distinguished Alumni Award

    - Sam Trop, Jordan High School, Utah High School Cycling League

    The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes a student-athlete who carries on the spirit of high school cycling beyond their high school years.

    Production Partner Award

    - Robert "Coco" Ramirez, NorCal High School Cycling League

    The Race Production Partner Award acknowledges an individual whose outstanding partnership role in race productions is key to the success of...

  • New Pro's Closet - Stan's NoTubes elite team formed

    Ryan Woodall going over the ramp.
    Article published:
    January 31, 2014, 20:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Hoke, Edsall and Woodall join new mountain bike squad

    The Pro's Closet and Stan's NoTubes have teamed up to form the new Pro's Closet - Stan's NoTubes Pro Mountain Bike Team for 2014. The mountain bike squad will focus on a combination of US national-level races and international cross country, ultra endurance and enduro races.

    Former Kenda/Felt teammates Mitch Hoke and Drew Edsall, both from Boulder, Colorado, will be joined by Ryan Woodall of Ocala, Florida to make up the newly formed team.

    Woodall and Hoke will focus on the US Pro XCT and the US Cup Pro Series races. Both riders had excellent 2013 seasons with multiple top five Pro XCT finishes and a fourth place overall in the series.

    "I am honored to join forces with Drew and Mitch," said Woodall. "I have some lofty goals for 2014, and I am confident the new team and excellent equipment are exactly what I need to accomplish them."

    Edsall will lead the ultra endurance side of the team, continuing his focus on the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series and select ultra endurance stage races, such as the Trans-Sylvania Epic and the Breck Epic.

    In addition to racing, the team will have a focus on youth development. Hoke will continue to work with the Clif Bar Development 'Cross Team and other Boulder Junior Cycling aimed at developing youth riders while Edsall will continue his presence with his newly formed junior team, Drew Edsall's Dirt DEVO.

    "I am ecstatic to be more involved with junior development in 2014," said Edsall. "The new team is a small stepping stone to helping build the next generation of riders. I am looking forward to seeing what this leads to in the near future."

    Their season will kick off with a team camp in Boulder at the end of February, followed by the US Pro XCT opener, the Mellow Johnny's Classic, at the beginning of March.

    The team is backed by co-title sponsor, The Pro's Closet, which is known for selling used bike products and apparel on eBay. "We are excited to get...

  • Switzerland awarded 2018 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships

    World champion Nino Schurter will no doubt be looking forward to having Worlds back in his home country of Switzerland in 2018.
    Article published:
    February 01, 2014, 16:08 GMT
    Cycling News

    UCI choses Lenzerheide as host venue

    The UCI awarded its 2018 Mountain Bike World Championships to Lenzerheide, Switzerland on Friday. Lenzerheide will also host a round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

    "It is very important to have events of this magnitude in Switzerland," said Thomas Peter, Swiss Cycling's Head of Competition, "on one hand for the development and visibility of the sport and on the other hand to motivate Swiss cyclists to maintain their place among the world's elite."

    "I am delighted with the excellent current and future collaboration with the organizers in Lenzerheide."

    Switzerland last hosted the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Champery in 2011. It hosted the European Cross Country Championships in Bern in 2013.

    Officials from the holiday region of Lenzerheide also welcomed the news. "The work during the past years and the consistent implementation of our strategy to be a bike destination have born fruit," said Bruno Fläcklin, Director of Holiday Tourism in Lenzerheide.

    Lenzerheide will host the iXS Swiss Downhill Cup and a round of the cross country BMC Cup in July 2014 ahead of the World Cups starting in 2015.

  • McElveen launches his own privateer team for 2014

    Payson McElveen in action. He will race for Richard's Rainwater in 2014.
    Article published:
    February 03, 2014, 22:30 GMT
    Cycling News

    U23 mountain biker flies Richard's Rainwater banner

    Durango, Colorado based under 23 mountain bike pro Payson McElveen announced today that he will be racing the 2014 season under his own privateer program with title sponsor Richard's Rainwater. After a tumultuous off-season in the US mountain bike industry, during which several teams folded and some riders were left looking for new homes, the young American pro made the decision to go it alone and build a program from the ground up.

    With support from 15 different sponsors, McElveen will target the seven-round US Pro XCT series, as well as select World Cups and other international events. Normally a student at Fort Lewis College, he is taking the 2014 spring semester off to focus on training and racing.

    McElveen logged 16 race wins in 2013, multiple top 15 finishes in the Pro XCT and a 14th in the elite short track mountain bike nationals. He previously raced for the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory development team, but the squad has discontinued its pro sponsorship and refocused on its Durango Devo 19 and under junior riders.  

    "A lot of us U23 riders have had pretty good setups, but have had to reshuffle this year," McElveen told Cyclingnews. "The Rocky Mountain Chocolate program was a good program, supporting six pros."

    "I don't get frustrated by companies who step back and allocate their funding otherwise," he said. "We should be thankful for the years they do support the sport. As sponsors step back their funding or get out of cycling, other companies always step back in. In talking to people, it seems like mountain biking has its ups and downs, and it's something of a cyclical thing."

    The 20-year-old has been steadily climbing the ranks since joining the pro field in 2012.

    In 2014, McElveen is aiming for a high overall series ranking and working closer to the goal of being a Pro XCT podium...