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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Date published:
January 31, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Barberton event kicks off marathon season

    The start of the MTN Barberton marathon - round two in the South African national series.
    Article published:
    January 25, 2012, 16:52 GMT
    Cycling News

    South African series round one set for this weekend

    The MTN Barberton Marathon will kick off the South African Marathon Series on Saturday, January 28. Since the inception of the national marathon series in 2001, the MTN Barberton mountain bike event is the only race in which more than 70 percent of South African mountain bikers have competed at least once.

    The race is organized by Fritz Pienaar and Wessel van der Walt, who aim to provide riders with unique challenges in each event. When it comes to singletrack sections, their motto has always been "more is better".

    All the entrants, whether they compete in the 120km, 70km and 40km races, will get the opportunity to race through the Mountainlands Nature Reserve, which provides 14 river crossings in one race. It is not only one of the most beautiful wilderness areas in South Africa, but it also has some of the most exciting single and jeep-track sections.

    The reserve, established in 2000, derives its name from the geological reference to Barberton Mountain Land. It is at the core of a new World Heritage Site and central to the Archaean Greenstone Belt in which some of the oldest preserved rocks and earliest forms of life on earth can be found.

    "The 2012 MTN MTB series promises to be yet another riveting experience for the riders who will be participating on January 28th and throughout the year. MTN is optimistic that the Barberton race will give riders an exciting start to the season," said Desiree Pooe, Senior Manager, Sponsorship and Events at MTN SA.

    In 2011, Max Knox and Eszter Erdelyi won the Barberton marathon.

  • Counting down to the Andalucía Bike Race

    Teammates Ralph Näf and José Antonio Hermida cross a stream on stage 1 of the Andalucia Bike Race
    Article published:
    January 25, 2012, 18:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Multivan Merida riders among favorites on start list

    In one month, racers will take to the start of the Andalucía Bike Race in its second edition, and some stars have already announced their plans to compete in the Spanish mountain bike stage race.

    Former world champion José Antonio Hermida and his Multivan Merida teammates Rudi van Houts, Hannes Genze and Andreas Kluger are on the start list - they will form two teams.

    Czechs Martin Horak and Tomas Vokrohulik (BMC-Savo) and last year's runner-up Alejandro Díaz de la Peña will partner up with the former professional road cyclist Pedro Romero (GR100 Sports-Specialized). Fran Pérez is also taking a break from the road peloton and will team with the Cordovan Juan Pedro Trujillo, representing the Wildwolf-Trek team.

    Other notable Andalucians will include Macías brothers (Scott) and Manuel Beltrán and José Luis Carrasco (Sportbike-Emotion), who last year won the two stages in their hometown, Jaén. The promising Andalucian José María Sánchez, together with experienced Marc Trayter (Scott), will form one of the most competitive teams.

    Coming from further afield are British TBC (Ben Tomas and Josh Ibbett) and Wiggle (Matthew Page and Milton Ramos), Norwegians Hardrocx-Proteinfabrikken (Greg Saw and Lars Ove Thorensen) and Fokus-Danica (Henrik Kippernes and Sturla Aune) as well as Czech Sweep Cycling (Milan Spolc and Robert Novotny).

    Sally Bigham, the women's winner of the first Andalucía Bike Race, will try to renew her title with the help of Milena Landtwing (Topeak-Ergon-Centurion-Vaude). The Swedish Åsa Erlandsson and Kajsa Snihs (Snabeltutarna), the Danish...

  • iXS Downhill Cup readies for tenth year

    Markus Pekoll and Miriam Ruchti win the 2011 iXS European Downhill Cup overall
    Article published:
    January 25, 2012, 20:58 GMT
    Cycling News

    A few rule changes implemented for popular series

    Going into its 10th year, the iXS Downhill Cup has a new logo and website. The changes come along with some developments in the rules of the popular European gravity racing series.

    The events will now be open only to licensed riders. This change is due to the growth in popularity of the series plus some national rules that in some countries add to the cost of the race if non-licensed riders are included and in others prohibit the participation of non-licensed riders.

    To help riders bridge the gap between iXS-level racing and World Cup level racing, extra training time is also being added to each weekend of racing for the top 80 elite men and top 10 elite women. Based on the world ranking list, the best 80 men and best 10 women will enjoy three more hours of scheduled training.

    Finally, organizers have changed the registration system to cut costs and make funds available sooner for organizers. Late registrations and late payments are no longer possible.

    The first round of the European Downhill Cup will begin on April 28-29 in Monte Tamaro, Switzerland.  A full schedule is below.

    iXS European Downhill Cup
    April 28-29: Monte Tamaro (Swi)
    May 26-27: Leogang (Aut)
    June 16-17: Innerleithen (GBr)
    August 4-5: Pila (Ita)
    August 11-12: Spicak (Cze)
    September 8-9: Chatel (Fra)
    September 22-23: Todtnau (Ger)

    iXS Swiss Downhill Cup
    June 2-3: Morgins
    August 18-19: Wiriehorn
    August 25-26: Anzere
    October 6-7: Bellwald

    iXS German Downhill Cup
    May 19-20: Winterberg
    June 9-10: Stinach am Brenner
    July 7-8: Ilmenau
    July 21-22: Bad Wildbad
    September 29-3: Thale

    iXS Rookies Cup
    May 17: Winterberg (Ger)
    July 28-29: Ochsenkopf (Ger)
    September 15-16: Steinach (Ger)

    For more information, visit

  • Trans-Sylvania Epic tweaks details for 2012

    Kona’s Barry Wicks loved his trip to Pennsylvania and found trails as fun and technical as anywhere. Luck wasn’t with him in 2011, but he’s determined to change that in 2012 and challenge for the podium.
    Article published:
    January 26, 2012, 14:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    New trails added to slightly shorter stage race

    Race promoters Mike Kuhn and Ray Adams officially announced the third annual edition of the NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic (TSE) Mountain Bike Stage Race, scheduled for May 27 to June 2, 2012, in State College. Pennsylvania.

    Though there will be some minor changes next year, both Kuhn and Adams feel their general program has been highly successful, proven by a race field that doubled in size last year compared to the inaugural edition in 2010.

    "We're focused on trying to milk even more fun out of the week with small tweaks here and there," said Kuhn. "Overall we will probably have a little shorter total distance for the week by about 10 to 15 miles, but the fun meter will go up a ton."

    One example is shortening the day at Raystown Lake by about five miles. Though the trails are fun, fast and swoopy, at 40 miles last year virtually every rider, from elite pros to sport level, felt it was too much of a good thing. As a result, the day will return to 34 or 35 miles total, in line with the much-acclaimed first year version.

    Two other notable changes involve stage 5 at R.B. Winter State Park and stage 6 on Tussey Ridge. Previously, the "mini XC" or "super D" day contained four very short yet technical timed races with neutral riding transfers in between - some might call this an "enduro". Though Kuhn and Adams stand behind the format, it was becoming too long of a day so this year it will be converted to a short cross country at about 22 miles (look for a return of their unique enduro stage format in 2013 in a new location).

    For Queen Tussey the next day, the event now has access to the private Kearn's Campground which will allow the race to finish directly across the street from the Seven Mountains Boy Scout base camp. Another addition is a new route at the end of Tussey Ridge of newly cut, smooth and fast singletrack that could potentially cut off about four miles of paved road from the first two editions. Other small yet...

  • World champion Kulhavy confirms return to Cyprus Sunshine Cup

    Jaroslav Kulhavy celebrates a win in Cyprus at a Sunshine Cup round.
    Article published:
    January 26, 2012, 19:52 GMT
    Cycling News

    Organizer says financial issues will not affect quality of race series

    Cross country world champion Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized) confirmed that he will race the 2012 Cyprus Sunshine Cup next month. For the past five years, Kulhavy has commenced his international racing season in Cyprus, and he sees no reason to change a winning formula.

    "The races give us the chance to test my form and the bike," he said a year ago at the start to what became both a World Cup winning and world championship winning season. He also claimed the European championship title in 2011.

    Kulhavy will be joined by other top male talent including U23 world champion Thomas Litscher (Felt Oetztal X-Bionic), Wolfram Kurschat (Topeak-Ergon), former marathon world champion Alban Lakata (Topeak-Ergon), Trans Zollernalb winner Robert Mennen (Topeak-Ergon) and Karl Markt (Felt Oetztal X-Bionic).

    Marathon world champion Annika Langvad (Fuji-Bikes Rockets), Alexandra Engen (Ghost Factory Racing), Irina Kalentieva (Topeak-Ergon), Adelheid Morath (Felt Oetztal X-Bionic) and Blaza Klemencic (Felt Oetztal X-Bionic) are committed for the women's contest. Klemencic won the Cyprus Sunshine Cup overall in 2011.

    Some of the riders, like Engen and Langvad, will be at the series to scoop up valuable UCI points with the goal of qualifying their nations and themselves for the Olympic teams.

    Bresset cancels her registration

    Meanwhile World Cup overall winner Julie Bresset cancelled her expected first visit to Cyprus. After having been registered by her team manager Pierre Lebreton, she decided to stay at home instead. Lebreton said "sorry" to the organizer for Bresset's change of plans, but confirmed the participation of...

  • Taberlay and Plaxton to battle at Wildside MTB race

    Sid Taberlay in third in the elite men's race
    Article published:
    January 27, 2012, 3:40 GMT
    Cycling News

    King is the favourite among the women after Fry withdraws

    Mountain bikers from around Australia and overseas are flooding into Tasmania for Australia's Pure Tasmania Wildside MTB. The event, which happens every other year, starts on Saturday at Cradle Mt Chateau.

    Almost 500 riders will complete seven competition stages and six cruising stages before finishing at Strahan Village next Tuesday. Around 300 of the riders are from interstate, with all states and territories represented, and overseas from Switzerland, France, Columbia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Thailand, Singapore and the United Kingdom.

    These mountain biking visitors to Tasmania will bring with them an estimated $1.5 million dollars worth of bikes and, along with their support crews, will inject close to a million dollars into the Tasmanian economy.

    The elite field is one of the strongest in the event's 10-year history, but four-time winner of the event and Olympian Sid Taberlay remains the favourite. Canadian Max Plaxton is his biggest threat. Plaxton has just completed a fantastic year based in North America, winning the prestigious US Pro XCT series as he aims to represent Canada at the 2012 Olympic Games.

    The women's field suffered a blow this week with the withdrawal of 2008 Wildside winner, Launceston's Rowena Fry, due to national team commitments. This leaves the winner of the last national series event, Jenni King, of NSW, a clear favourite.

    Wildside is about much more than those at the front end of the race, though. The structure of the event promotes friendly rivalry at all levels within the field and there will be many battles in all age categories.

  • Organizers readying courses for MTB World Cup opener

    An international MTB spectacle lies ahead for KwaZulu-Natal's cycling fraternity as all is on track for this year's UCI MTB World Cup Pietermaritzburg at Cascades MTB Park. Seen here, Swiss Nino Schurter winning the 2011 cross country race.
    Article published:
    January 28, 2012, 17:56 GMT
    Cycling News

    Less than two months to go until Pietermartizburg round

    All systems are go for the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike Cup opener, to be held at the Cascades Mountain Bike Park in Pietermaritzburg, South African in less than two months. Officials are on track to complete renovations to the world-class facility well in time to be able to welcome the world's best downhill and cross country riders.

    The Pietermaritzburg round is expected to draw most of the sport's top riders. Being an Olympic year, the world's top cross country riders are eager to get in as much top-level competition as part of their preparations and qualifications for the 2012 London Games. This, together with the Cascades MTB Park having been confirmed as the venue for the 2013 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, the 2012 World Cup will also be a prized opportunity to compete at the highest level and become familiar with the layouts that will decide the world crowns next year.

    Event organiser Alec Lenferna is confident that preparations are ahead of schedule and has a top-class team on board to handle every aspect of the event's infrastructure.

    "The World Cup 2011 was a great event and we came away with ideas of how to improve the set-up, both for the riders and the spectators," said Lenferna. "Those plans for changes and improvement are in an advanced stage and we look forward to offering an even better event from March 16-18 this year. "We also view this as a dress rehearsal for the world champs next year, and we want to dot all the Is and cross all the Ts!" he said.

    The Cascades MTB Park is one of only three current World Cup venues that can host both the downhill and cross country disciplines at the same venue, and the experts in charge...

  • Mountain bike night planned for Fort William Mountain Festival

    Steve Peat (Great Britain)
    Article published:
    January 31, 2012, 19:25 GMT
    Cycling News

    Steve Peat and others will feature at Scottish event

    The Fort William Mountain Festival in the heart of the west Highlands, Scotland, will feature a full night of mountain bike action on Thursday, February 16. British gravity mountain bike legend Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) will be on hand at one of his favorite World Cup venues to talk about his latest film project, life as a mountain bike and other career plans in what is likely to be a lively Q&A session

    Stu Thomson will present his latest film collaboration "Industrial Revolutions" with street trials riding star Danny Mackaskill. This time out, Macaskill will show off his bike skills in an industrial train yard and some derelict buildings. "Industrial Revolutions" has recently won "Best Tube Length" video in the "Best Shorts" awards in California, and it has had 4,512,951 views on You Tube.

    Other films will include "3 Minute Gaps" in which acclaimed film-maker Clay Porter follows the global journey of the very best of World Cup riders as they train, race, live and make history.

    The Mountain Festival will also première the new film from local biking heroes "The Dudes of Hazzard". One of the Dudes, Jo Barnes, who rides for the MTBcut Race Team, will be on hand for a Q&A session.

    The 2012 Fort William Mountain Festival is a five-day celebration of mountain culture, based in the bustling Highland town of Fort William from February 15-19. This year's festival includes a line-up of lectures from top climbers and mountaineers, mountain bikers, and mountain filmmakers; and film screenings from outdoor athletes and adventurers.

    For more information, visit