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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Date published:
January 10, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Roff and Croeser renew contracts with Orange Monkey-Cannondale

    Rourke Croeser (Orange Monkey-Cannondale)
    Article published:
    January 03, 2012, 18:26 GMT
    Cycling News

    Two riders sign two-year deals with mountain bike team

    The Orange Monkey-Cannondale team renewed contracts with two riders for 2012: Rourke Croeser and Ben Roff. Both signed two year deals that run through the end of 2013.

    Croeser's new contract will carry him through the end of his career as an under 23 racer. He had spent some time with the team in 2010 before signing a one-year deal last season. In his first year with the team, he earned the team's first national title. He also won a UCI category 2 race, placed 13th at a World Cup and gave the team its first elite podium at a national event in Britain.

    "We are delighted to keep Rourke on board and wish him every success in 2012 and beyond. Both Rourke and the team are clear on the vision for the future and by Rourke gaining valuable experience in Europe, we hope to watch him develop into the very best in South Africa," said the Orange Monkey-Cannondale Team.

    Croeser has been a cross country national champion in South Africa in 2003 through 2011. The young rider has a chance of qualifying for both the South African Olympic and world championships teams in 2012.

    Roff rode consistently in 2011, his first year as an under 23. In 2012, he is hoping to build on his first UCI points picked up in Poland in October so he can work his way up the World Cup grid.

    "We are delighted with this long term signing and are positive that with this continued focus Ben will become one of the best riders in the UK."

    Roff is just kicking off a three-month training camp in South Africa. It will culminate with the first World Cup in Pietermaritzburg.

  • Mata invites high school girls to do 12-hour race with her

    Pua Mata at dusk just before "lights on"
    Article published:
    January 03, 2012, 21:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Contest will decide winners

    US marathon national champion Pua Mata is teaming up with ShoAir and SoCal Endurance to assemble a team including her and four lucky high school girls for the 12 hours of Temecula at Vail lake Resort in Temecula, California, on January 21, 2012.

    The pro endurance racer is holding a contest in which four girls (one from each high school grade level, 9-12) will be picked to race with Mata on a five-person team at the 12-hour mountain bike race.

    Each of the four winners will receive a ShoAir team kit and swag and the experience of a pro pit area.

    Interested high school girls who race mountain bikes should send an email with answers to the following questions to

    1. First and last name
    2. Date of Birth
    3. Grade level
    4. Name of High School
    5. What bike do you ride?
    6. Why you should be chosen to be on the 12 Hours of Temecula Team ShoAir five-person girl team?
    7. What got you into mountain biking?
    8. What does mountain biking mean to you?
    9. What is your racing goal for 2012?
    10. What is one word that best describes you?

    Entrants must have parental permission, transportation to and from the event, and their own functioning bike.

    On January 14, 2012 the winner will be announced.

    For more information, contact or

  • NICA aims at 1000 coaches by end of 2012

    Coaches participate in MTB 101 at the recent Texas League Leaders' Summit.
    Article published:
    January 04, 2012, 13:13 GMT
    Cycling News

    Rapid growth in coach numbers expected to continue

    Following a popular fall series of coaching courses, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) expects to have licensed 1,000 high school mountain bike coaches in regions around the United States by the end of 2012.

    "The level of excitement and interest in the NICA coaching program is incredible and hearing high school coaches tell me that the tools and lessons learned at the NICA Leaders' Summits is extremely satisfying," said Austin McInerny, the NICA educational programs director. "NICA looks forward to expanding our teaching curriculum to help empower dedicated coaches as they continue to grow the sport of high school cycling across the United States."

    The 2011 coach training programs educated more than 250 new and existing coaches in cycling skills, coach training and wilderness first aid courses, in five regions across the US. Of this number, 127 were new coaches coming into the system. More than 500 licensed NICA coaches now exist in the USA.

    People are coming to the NICA Coaches License Program from a wide range of backgrounds, including rocket scientists, police officers, nurses, school teachers, NICA alumni, FedEx couriers, bike shop owners and parents of student-athletes.

    As a result of the added responsibilities of working with high school age students, the NICA coaches program has the most stringent requirements of any cycling coaches' program in the USA, with requirements including cycling specific wilderness first aid training;leaning how to teach "on-the-bike" skills to absolute beginners; continuing education requirements; training on how to minimize and manage risk; and background checks.

    One coach, Sean Ahmadi from Austin, Texas, said, "I enjoyed the coaching course, especially the skills part with Lee McCormack. With juniors it's all about giving them incentives so they will push themselves when they are ready for it. It's easy to mess it up and hard to get it just right. I think it would...

  • Kintner and Atkinson join Norco World Team

    Jill Kintner (Transitions) likes gold.
    Article published:
    January 05, 2012, 17:08 GMT
    Cycling News

    Atkinson ready to race after a season out due to injury

    Norco Bicycles has partnered with Jill Kintner and Bryn Atkinson, as title sponsor, to re-launch the Norco World Team. For 2012, the team will race the downhill race scene aboard the newly designed Aurum downhill bike.

    Kintner owns a collection of titles that spans from an Olympic medal in BMX, to world titles in four cross and multiple national championships in four cross, downhill, dual slalom and BMX. She finished in ninth place overall for 2011 in her first year of World Cup downhill, and for 2012 is looking to come back with vengeance and improve this result.

    "With a new trainer and new bikes, we are now running a program with our partners of our choice; it feels like everything is clicking into place," said Kintner. "The new Norco bikes have an incredible feel; I especially notice a difference in my balance point and turning ability thanks to the Aurum's Gravity Tune. I am honored to be a part of the Norco family."

    Atkinson has an inspiring presence on a downhill bike. With a highlight reel that includes numerous top 10 World Cup results, two US Open championships, a US Pro GRT series championship, and many feature video segments, he has the speed, style, and ability to get the job done.

    After a great start to 2011 with an 11th place finish at the first round of the World Cup, Atkinson broke his femur and elbow, and was forced to sit out the remainder of the season. This injury fueled his motivation to get better on the bike, and come back stronger in 2012.

    Healed up and "ready to rip", he is back in top form for 2012. "I'm super excited to start fresh with a company like Norco."

    The team will be hitting premier events such as all UCI World Cups, the Sea Otter Classic, Kokanee Crankworx and select USGP events. Both riders will also compete in their respective National Championships.

    "Norco Bicycles is excited to have both Jill and Bryn join the Norco family. Their experience and expertise will be a...

  • 2012 New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup launches

    Samuel Blenkinsop (New Zealand)
    Article published:
    January 07, 2012, 18:24 GMT
    Cycling News

    Queenstown hosts opening round

    The 2012 edition of the long running New Zealand national mountain bike series launches this weekend in Queenstown. This first round of the 2012 New Zealand MTB Cup brings the country's best downhill competitors and a host of international visitors together for the first time since the end of February last year. And the 200-plus competitors will be breaking in a new venue on the face of the Remarkables in the bustling holiday destination of Queenstown to celebrate on January 8 and 9.

    The 2012 NZ MTB Cup runs across both South and North Islands during January and February, delivering six downhill and four cross country events. The downhill events are exceptional in that they showcase a number of world class professional athletes who are proud to represent New Zealand at the highest level of the sport. From recent junior world championship medalists Cameron Cole, Brook MacDonald and Matt Scoles and the current elite world championship bronze medalist Sam Blenkinsop, to consistent World Cup top 10 finishers of the calibre of Justin Leov, the quality of competition is a treat for every venue the series visits.

    The cross country events bring another dimension to the series, all being UCI categorised, and attracting a number of big name international athletes to join the cream of New Zealand's fastest racers, all chasing valuable ranking points in Olympic qualification year.

    This weekend's competiton in Queenstown begins with a full practice day on Sunday, with race day taking place on Monday. Competitors will be faced with a new course on the Remarkables which pays homage to downhill courses of a prior era, but with a very modern twist. Fast, wide open and likely to change drastically during practice day due to the very dry conditions in the Southern Lakes area, this course will test the nerve of all, while providing a good spectator experience with long lines of sight.

    The series works around New Zealand's flagship event, the...

  • Video: Athertons move to GT Factory Racing team for 2012

    Dan Atherton, Gee Atherton, Marc Beaumont, Rachel Atherton
    Article published:
    January 10, 2012, 15:43 GMT

    Trio joins Marc Beaumont and GT after months of rumors

    The worst-kept secret in mountain biking has been confirmed - the Atherton siblings are on GT bikes for 2012. They'll be joined by fellow Briton and current GT rider Marc Beaumont on the new GT Factory Racing squad.

    Rumours had been flying since November, when it emerged that Dan, Gee and Rachel had parted company with Commencal after five years. Prior to that they'd ridden for Giant and Muddy Fox.

    While Gee and Rachel will continue to race downhill - with a bike swap from the alloy Commencal DH V3 to the carbon fibre GT Fury - Dan will make the switch to the burgeoning discipline of gravity enduro following a tough 2011 after breaking his neck in 2010. He is expected to ride the 150mm travel Sanction and Force. Marc will race both disciplines.

    "The new relationship that's formed between Atherton Racing and GT has opened up so many opportunities for everyone involved," said Gee. "I'm stoked to be going into the next few years of racing being bolstered by a company with such a passion for the sport, and whose drive for the top step of the podium matches my own."

    "Atherton Racing is one of the most progressive teams in the history of mountain biking and is known for taking the sport to the next level," said Mark Peterman, GT's global general manager. "We're excited about the partnership because it both continues GT's legacy as the brand that helps progressive riders push their limits and because of the opportunities it presents to develop new products."

    GT says the team will "provide important product testing feedback" and will work hand in hand with them on "future product advancements and the next evolution of GT mountain bikes".

    As well as changing bikes, the Athertons...

  • GT Skoda Chamonix team signs Byberg

    Lene Byberg (Specialized) could only manage 22nd place today
    Article published:
    January 10, 2012, 17:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    Norwegian looks for better results in 2012

    Mountain biker Lene Byberg has made the move to the GT Skoda Chamonix team for 2012. The Norwegian cross country racer won a World Cup in Bromont, Canada in 2009 and a silver medal at that same year's mountain bike Worlds in Canberra, Australia, but has suffered from illness and bad luck throughout 2010 and 2011.

    "I'm excited. It's been two seasons that I accumulated bad luck, and I hope this is all behind me now. I hope to quickly find the top 10 this season," said Byberg to

    Byberg's transition comes at the end of her contract with the Specialized Racing team. In 2011, she netted two World Cup podiums early in the season at Pietermaritzburg and Offenburg, but she finished it off by having to sit out Worlds after breaking her fibula during training.

    The deal came about after a partnership between the US GT, GT Norway and GT Skoda Chamonix according to

    "GT US and Norway had no structure to accommodate Lene. They turned to me, but I also needed them to balance the budget. Lene is a world-class athlete. There is a salary that goes with that," said Team Manager Adrien Pastor to

    Byberg, 29, has her sights set on the 2012 London Olympic Games coming up in August. She's previously competed on the road in the Athens Olympics in 2004 and in mountain bike at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, with her best finish of 13th. She and Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa are the most likely selections for...

  • Lucky Whiskey 50 singlespeeders could win Worlds trip

    Alex Grant (Cannondale) races in the Whiskey Fat Tire Crit.
    Article published:
    January 10, 2012, 20:29 GMT
    Cycling News

    Winners will receive airfare to South Africa

    Two fast and lucky singlespeeders at the Whiskey Off-Road mountain bike race on Saturday, April 28 will win a free trip to the 2012 Singlespeed World Championship (SSWC) in Spioenkop/Winterton Kwa-Zulu Natal province, South Africa.

    Last year, Epic Rides, which promotes the Whiskey Off-Road, in partnership with the Singlespeed World Championships, sent the male and female winners of the singlespeed category to the Singlespeed World Championships in Ireland. 

    For 2012, "staying true to the singlespeed roots, we're going to mix it up a bit," said Todd Sadow, president of Epic Rides. Enriching the singlespeed category, and requesting deeper crowd participation, each top 10 male and female singlespeed finisher will be entered into a raffle that will take place following the pro cross country awards ceremony on Sunday, April 29. All they have to do is finish in the top 10 to be entered.

    The raffle will consist of balls marked 1-10 representing first through 10th place finishers in Saturday's singlespeed event. Two individual draws from the raffle ball roller will determine the male and female singlespeeder who win the free round trip plane tickets to 2012 SSWC. This award, along with the US$30,000 cash purse for pro riders - with male and female riders receiving equal payout - is one reason the Whiskey Off-Road appeals to top level endurance mountain bikers.

    "One of the best parts of mountain biking is experiencing the sheer beauty of the world's finest outdoor destinations," Sadow said. "For this reason, Epic Rides has enjoyed creating a tradition of sending two of America's best singlespeeders for a unique opportunity to experience mountain biking in other parts of the world."