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

Date published:
January 24, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Students, volunteers and industry figures honored at 2011 NICA Awards

    Gary Fisher presents the All Star Athlete award to Dominique Fenichell
    Article published:
    January 19, 2012, 19:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Achievers describe how high school cycling is changing lives

    Outstanding participants in Southern California, Northern California, Colorado and Washington high school cycling leagues were honored at the 2011 National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) Awards, at the Clif Bar and Co. headquarters in Emeryville, California, on Saturday, January 14.

    NICA presented awards in 13 categories to 21 of the individuals considered to be the most outstanding athletes, most dedicated coaches, and most passionate volunteers, and supporters to have participated in the high school mountain biking revolution.

    "I am held up by the greatness of those I'm surrounded by, and it's a privilege to serve and be in the company of such great people," said Matt Fritzinger, executive director of NICA. "It's amazing to listen to the stories of those honored, and I know there are many other fantastic accomplishments among the 1,150 student-athletes who raced in 2011, it's incredible what is going on here."

    Kate Rau, who won the League Founders Award for the Colorado High School Cycling League, said, "One of the parents in the Colorado league told me how his child had been depressed and lost, but then on joining the high school mountain bike team and connecting with his teammates, that turned around. We're making change one pedal stroke at a time!"

    2011 NICA Awards

    Specialized League Founders Award
    Kate Rau, Colorado High School Cycling League

    Primal Wear Digital Media Award
    David Curtis, NorCal High School Cycling League/NICA

    QBP Race Production Partner Award
    Jason Ranoa, SoCal High School Cycling League

    Trek All-Star Athlete Award
    Dominique Fenichell, Boulder High School, Colorado High School Cycling League
    Joel Titius, Corona Composite Team, SoCal High School Cycling League

    SRAM Coach of the Year Award
    Fred Maxwell, Salida High School,...

  • Radical Lights Factory Racing Team announced

    A Radical Lights Factory Racing rider
    Article published:
    January 19, 2012, 21:38 GMT
    Cycling News

    Three Australians on the roster

    Three Australian endurance mountain bikers - Jason McAvoy, Andrew Hall and Garry James - have come together under the Radical Lights banner to form Australia's newest mountain bike endurance team. Radical Lights, an Australian company which produces bike lights, announced the team in Canberra on Tuesday.

    Jason McAvoy has represented Australia at the 24-hour Solo World Championships on three occasions, twice in Canada, and he is currently a category world champion. In 2011, he was also in the GC winning pair for Terra Australis, and won his age category at both the national and Australian 24-hour solo championships.

    Andrew Hall is an experienced elite level marathon and enduro racer. In 2011, he made the podium in a range of endurance and ultra-endurance events. These included wins or podiums in 24-hour solo and duo races, the Terra Australis stage race, six- and eight-hour races and marathons. Hall was the overall winner of the 2011 SRAM Singletrack Mind eight-hour series.

    Garry James is also a highly experienced endurance racer. Competing in the master and super masters categories, James has won his category in the 24-hour solo national championships for four years running and came second in his category in the 2010 24-hour Solo World Championships. Even when competing in open categories, James is a contender. He finished second overall in the 2011 Mountains to Beach stage race. Through 2011, he won his category in races from 75km up to 24hr solo.

    The team will race Cannondale bikes including the Flash 29r and the Scalpel.

  • Orange Monkey-Cannondale signs Fletcher

    David Fletcher is the newest signing for Orange Monkey - Cannondale for 2012.
    Article published:
    January 20, 2012, 17:24 GMT
    Cycling News

    British rider looks forward to first year in elite ranks

    British Olympic hopeful David Fletcher signed a two-year contract with the Orange Monkey-Cannondale Team, effective with the beginning of the 2012 mountain bike season.

    "I believe this is the right move to take my career forward," said Fletcher. "I now feel that I have the right team and structure to push on with gaining an Olympic place and my goal of becoming a world class podium athlete."

    Coached through the British Cycling academy, Fletcher found success from a young age, taking the bronze medal at the junior world championships in 2007. More recently, he has had top 10 results in the under 23 category at world level and now moves up to the elite ranks for the first time in arguably the best form of his life.

    "This is an excellent move for Dave at the right time," said British Cycling Head MTB Coach, Phil Dixon. "Dave has moved into the podium program at British Cycling now he has turned senior and we will have all the very best equipment and support at Orange Monkey-Cannondale MTB team. The philosophy of the team is a perfect base from which Dave can progress in 2012 and challenge for a spot in London."

    Orange Monkey-Cannondale manager Will Cooper said: "David Fletcher is a proven talent, and the team is extremely excited at his addition to the roster for the next two seasons. David will bring a fresh highly motivated approach to racing within Orange Monkey-Cannondale, plus a wealth of experience gained from riding within the Great Britain squad for a number of seasons. We look forward to a long and fruitful relationship working with David."

    In 2012, Fletcher will compete in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup starting in South Africa in March. He'll also do British Cross Country National Series races and a selection of European events, with an eye firmly focused on gaining a spot in the

  • Cohutta 100 changes course for 2012

    Amanda Carey (Kenda/Felt) races to victory in the Cohutta 100
    Article published:
    January 23, 2012, 19:26 GMT
    Ryan O'Dell

    NUE Series opener set for April 28

    Now in its seventh season, the Cohutta 100 is offering National Ultra Endurance (NUE) racers a newly revamped course. Cohutta 100 Race Director Charles Nelson said that he added flowing singletrack, reduced gravel road mileage and improved racer flow and support. The new course will retain the traditional basic format as previous years, which has long delighted early season racers with a mix of twisting singletrack along the Tanasi trail system and fireroads that border the Cohutta Wilderness.

    The course will get more singletrack near the start and less towards the finish. Most notably, however, will be the addition of singletrack at the course's most southern point, incorporating a section of the Pinhotti trail system before backtracking to Tanasi on the same south-bound course.

    "The new course," said Nelson, "is going to be more exciting, interesting, and challenging. It's going to be safer too - offering racers more accessibility to aid stations, allowing for less isolation, and establishing a more visible bicycle race environment for the rare passing car. I think all of these features and changes will make for a smooth, demanding, and highly appealing race course. There are some massive climbs and some killer singletrack. It's going to be a great course and a great race!"

    Over 200 racers have already registered along with several previous Cohutta 100 winners including 2009 NUE Series women's champion Cheryl Sornsen (Team CF). Brenda Simril (Motor Mile Racing) will return after her third place finish in the NUE women's open last season. Recognized as the NUE women's singlespeed champion following her fifth place finish in the women's open, Andrea Wilson (Outdoors Inc) is also on the guest list.

    Reigning NUE Series men's open champion and last year's winner, Christian Tanguy (Team CF) will return to defend his title. In 2011, he smashed the Cohutta course in just 6:27:49 trading wins throughout the season with the...

  • Video: Beckingsale's road to recovery part 3

    Oli Beckingsale, the leading British finisher in the elite men's race
    Article published:
    January 24, 2012, 15:05 GMT
    Cycling News

    Back to riding off-road

    Here's part three of the series following British cross-country mountain bike racer Oli Beckingsale's rehabilitation from the broken leg he suffered on the circuit last season.

    The 35-year-old fractured the neck of his left femur in what he described as a fairly innocuous fall during the Nove Mesto World Cup round last August. He has spent much of his close season building back up from what was a serious injury, with hours of Wattbike training and gym sessions now behind him.

    In the latest installment, Beckingsale is back riding off-road again and, as he puts it, feeling normal again. With the new season on the horizon and the worst of his injury behind him, he's got his eye on a stage race in Cyprus at the end of February as his comeback event.

    See part 1 and part 2 and stay tuned for more from his recovery in the coming weeks.

    The video below is provided courtesy of Jon Riley/

  • World champion Ragot signs with MS Mondraker Team

    World Champion, Emmeline Ragot (France)
    Article published:
    January 24, 2012, 18:18 GMT
    Cycling News

    MS Racing teams up with Mondraker for 2012

    Mondraker and the Austrian Race Team MS Racing owned by RedBull athlete Markus Stöckl have joined forces for 2012 to form the MS Mondraker Team, a UCI elite mountain bike team. The newly structured downhill team takes over from the previous Mondraker Factory Team after previous star and team leader Fabien Barel retired at the end of 2011.

    The team signed downhill world champion Emmeline Ragot of France. She makes the move from Team GR and will race with teammates Brook MacDonald, who earned three podium spots at the UCI World Cup in 2011. Damien Spagnolo, who won silver at the downhill Worlds in 2011 and a former Mondraker Factory Team rider, will also be on the team along with European iXS Cup champion Markus Pekoll.

    "We are very proud to represent the new Mondraker Factory Team. Already at my first visit at the Mondraker office we found a good base for our program," said Stöckl.

    "The team is very sad that we had to let some of our riders go but also happy about the new riders Damien and Emmeline and about Brook and Markus to still be with us. Each of them is a great rider and has a cool personality, so we are looking forward to some successful and fun race weekends. It is quite a busy time for us because of the change of our main partner there will be some more changes down the road, but we are stoked about the new opportunities which are coming."

    The team aims to be one of the best downhill squads in 2012 and to continue the legacy of the Mondraker Factory Team of previous seasons.

    The riders will be on the...

  • Stander sets sights on Olympic medal

    Burry Stander, pictured here in action at the 2011 UCI World Cup in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, is focussing firmly on an Olympic medal this year.
    Article published:
    January 24, 2012, 20:06 GMT
    Cycling News

    South African anticipates the start of the cross country racing season

    Virtually everything Burry Stander does between now and August will be part of his preparation to try and win a medal at the 2012 London Olympic Games. The 24-year-old multiple South African and African mountain bike champion is one of a handful of South African athletes tipped to be in with a very good shot at a podium place in August in London.

    The former under 23 world champion has narrowed his focus compared to previous years to ensure he is as well prepared as possible for the global showpiece, which takes place in Essex on August 12.

    While most of South Africa's top mountain bike racers are preparing for a season-opening showdown at the first round of the national marathon series in Barberton, in the Mpumalanga province on Saturday, Stander is focusing on the more explosive discipline of Olympic cross country, committing to compete in as many cross country races as possible, starting with a regional race in Pretoria, in the Gauteng province.

    The cross country discipline of mountain bike racing - the sport's only Olympic discipline - follows a lap-racing format, in which events last one hour, 45 minutes, demanding a high level of intensity and skill. Marathon and stage racing on the other hand, is more a test of endurance and recovery, with races/stages taking an average of four to five hours to complete.

    "My main goal for 2012 is the London Olympics. Everything else is secondary," said Stander. "I will once again team up with Christoph (Sauser) for the Cape Epic to defend our title, but that's the only pre-Olympics deviation I'll make. I will do one marathon and one short stage race to prepare for the Cape Epic, but the rest of the time I'll be focused only on cross country.

    The ABSA Cape Epic is the world's premier mountain bike stage race. The 2012 edition will take place in the Western Cape...

  • New downhill team develops American talent

    The ODI/Trek Satellite Racing team
    Article published:
    January 24, 2012, 22:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    ODI/Trek Satellite Racing shepherds tomorrow's pro pinner

    The new ODI/Trek Satellite Racing team has been formed by Trek Bicycle for 2012 with the goal of developing the next great American downhill racer. Armed with the coaching and mentorship of Trek World Racing's World Cup champion Aaron Gwin, the ODI/Trek Satellite Racing squad will support five junior riders. The team hopes to keep up the flow of elite World Cup level talent to build on 2011 World Cup winner Gwin's success.

    With Trek's support, and the guidance of world-class riders, the team's initial goals are to become the premier US downhill development program and to develop the next generation of American World Cup champions.

    Headlined by American 16-and-under National Champion Logan Mulally, younger brother of Trek World Racing's Neko Mulally, the team includes Jason Schroeder, Charlie Harrison, Matt Branney, and John Buckell. The small-on-age, huge-on-swagger squad has its sights set on long-term development that Team Manager and mentor Rich Houseman sees as an investment in the future of the sport.

    "Teaming up with ODI, Trek, and all of our sponsors, has allowed us to create a solid development program for these young shredders," said Team Manager Rich Houseman. "Our Coach/Mentor Aaron Gwin has come up with a blueprint for dominating at the professional level, and we're looking forward to giving all the necessary tools to our young riders. Our goal is to produce, and develop the next great American champion.

    "Trek has realized a new level of success in the downhill world through the new Session and working with Aaron this past year. We're excited to work with him and Rich Houseman to keep the US at the top of gravity racing," said Trek Mountain Bike Brand Manager Travis Ott. "My hope is that this is nothing short of a...