When Michael Weiss (Team SRM Profiles) won the Breckenridge 100, round five in the Kenda National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series in Breckenridge, Colorado, this past weekend, it caused a bit of an uproar. Weiss is currently banned from competition for doping.
Weiss beat local favorite and past multi-time winner Josh Tostado (Santa Cruz) and Ben Swanepoel (Squirt Lube) in the 100-mile mountain bike race. Weiss, who is the 2011 Xterra off-road triathlon champion, was banned for two years for a 2005 doping offence from when he was previously racing as a pro mountain biker. The ban was handed down in late November 2011 and runs until November 2013.
The Austrian rider, who is now living in Colorado Springs was suspended by his National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) for two years after being named by Bernhard Kohl, a former professional road cyclist, who said Weiss visited the Vienna blood plasma lab in 2005. He admitted to visiting the same lab and received a two-year ban from cycling.
The case against Weiss was thrown out in 2010, but was recently overruled, which means Weiss is now forbidden from competing in triathlons as well as other sanctioned events until late in 2013. However, NUE Series races are sanctioned by neither USA Cycling nor the UCI.
Prior to the race, he was up front about his suspension with the Breckenridge 100 race director, who approved his entry into the race, but he did not notify the NUE Series of his intended participation. The NUE Series was forced to address the issue after Weiss won and several mountain bike pros like Evan Plews and Todd Wells publicly questioned Weiss's participation.
After the race, the NUE Series reported, "Weiss, who is currently under suspension from NADA for two years, readily agreed to forfeit his NUE Series points to Josh Tostado, who placed second. NUE...
Mountain biker logs several personal bests in recent weeks
Chloe Woodruff (Crank Brothers Racing) has been logging a lot of best performances lately. At the US Mountain Bike National Championships earlier this month in Idaho, she had two good back-to-back results in the elite women's cross country and short track races. She followed that up this weekend with another solid race at the fourth round of the US Pro XCT in Missoula.
"That was by far my best nationals cross country finish. It was a good ride for me. I had a few years of bad luck at nationals, and I knew I could do well on this course," said Woodruff. "I spent the last month training for this race and trying to get acclimated and ready for the heat. I'm happy I pulled off a decent ride.
"It's a little bittersweet - I was sixth place, one place off the podium, and I really wanted to be top five."
The next day, Woodruff got her podium in the short track. She finished fourth. "This was my best short track at nationals. I had one short track win before this - in Fontana last year."
The petite rider noted the lack of short track racing on the domestic calendar in recent years. "This was our second short track of the year - we don't get as many any more." The discipline was once a regular part of national series events and many regional events.
Woodruff primarily races cyclo-cross and mountain bike events in the US, but she did venture further afield earlier in 2012. "I tried my hand at World Cups this spring, and they're hard," she said. "They are a whole different type of racing, and it's so exciting to see...
Team Manager Michel Hutsebaut said, "This is the best record of the team, with the year 2008, since the beginning of our collaboration with BH in 2006."
The team opened the championships with a team relay win.
"We did not think at all of victory! On paper, we were not the strongest, but our team is very homogeneous," said Laura Metzler. "I gave everything in the end of my turn to get ahead." Metzler clocked the fastest lap of any of the women in the relay.
Julie Bresset and Lucie Chainel added to the medal count when they went one-two in the elite women's cross country while Laura Metzler was fifth.
"For two years, I have had this jersey on his shoulders, and I did not want to give it up," said Bresset. "I am preparing for London, but I wanted this race. It's not always easy, especially since Lucie was very strong. On a course like this, you could very easily make mistakes."
"I did not want to take risks, I have never been so slow to descend in all of my life. I will stay in red, white and blue, and it makes me very happy." Bresset won the French U23 and elite titles in 2010 and 2011.
Chainel said, "I expected to fight with Sabrina (Enaux) and Laura (Metzler) for the podium, and I realized that I was cut above. The circuit suited me. Finishing 1:43 after Julie, I think that's pretty good." Chainel signed with the team after taking the French...
One World Cup and a training camp in Germany to go
The United States hasn't won an Olympic medal in mountain biking since Susan DeMattei won bronze at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, the first time mountain biking was including in the Olympics. There haven't been any more medals since then, but this year, the US has qualified to send four mountain bikers to London for the 2012 Olympics and winning a medal seems possible.
"I think all of them, especially Georgia [Gould], are within a shot of the medal," said Marc Gullickson, Mountain Bike & Cyclo-cross Programs Director of USA Cycling. "They are all capable. It's nice to say that because after the first two World Cups, I would not have said that."
Georgia Gould, Lea Davison, Todd Wells and Sam Schultz will represent the US after they were named to the team on June 15. Earlier this season, the four racers weren't exactly tearing it up on the World Cup circuit, and Wells had to sit out a round due to injury.
"Everyone was training super hard over the winter to get on the teams," said Gullickson. "You'll see some of those riders who were flying earlier dropping off. In the end, it's probably good that Georgia and Lea came in to the season at the speed they did. It seems like they've reached their good form now instead of earlier."
"All four seem to be on good form," he said after the two men and two women went one-two in their respective cross country races at the US Championships. "It was nice to see them all convincingly confirm their selections at the last two World Cups and nationals."
Gullickson noted that all four had had positive races at the most recent World Cup in Windham, New York. ...
The Polish rider crashed during training and hurt her right foot while in Livigno, Italy. She headed home with her leg in a cast and was planning to undergo further tests today to judge the seriousness of the injury.
"First of all, I'm damn sorry that so many fans believed in me and so many people have been helping me prepare for London," said Wloszczowska according to www.thenews.pl.
She may have fractured a metatarsal bone in her foot or there could be soft tissue damage. Depending on the nature of the injury, she may be out for several weeks or longer.
"If I can take part then I will," said Wloszczowska, who as runner-up at last year's mountain bike world championships is one of the favorites for an Olympic medal.
Pua Mata (Sho-Air) and Tinker Juarez (Cannondale) won USA Cycling's Pro Ultra Endurance Tour (Pro UET) this weekend. The Tour consisted of five events, wrapping up in Snowmass, Colorado, this weekend with the 12 hours of Snowmass.
Juarez won the elite men's final race in Colorado, posting three wins in the three races he contested to bring his season total to 180 points and top the final Pro UET men's standings. Eric Bostrom (Team Sho-Air-Specialized) overtook Brendon Davids (Team Sho-Air-Specialized) in the standings after placing second on Saturday, adding 40 points to his total and finishing 27 points behind Juarez. Davids, tumbled from the top spot in the previous standings into third place, 40 points behind Juarez. Kip Biese finished the season in fourth place with 66 points, while Ryan Clark (Surf City Cycles-CAS) rounded out the top five with 55 points.
In the women's standings, Mata, who won the first four races of the season, had clinched the top spot with 240 points and did not compete in Colorado. Jessica Cerra (Cal Coast Bikes) finished in second place with 70 points. The winner of Saturday's race, Sari Anderson (Honey Stinger Trek), collected 60 points and sits in third place. Also with 60 points, but sitting in fourth place (due to better single-race finishes) is Tonya Bray (MTBchick.com). Four women each have 40 points, including Amanda Carey (Kenda-Felt), Sarah Jansen, Leanne Miller, who finished second in Colorado, and Andrea Wilson (Mid South Velo).
Montana 100-miler features enormous amount of climbing
The sixth edition of the Butte 100-miler will happen on Saturday, July 28, in Butte, Montana. Run by Triple Ring Productions (TRP), a 50-miler option is also offered.
David "Tinker" Juarez (Cannondale Factory Racing) will return to defend his 2011 100-mile victory. The former Olympian, mountain bike world champion and hall of fame member will be chased by the most competitive 100-mile field the Butte 100 has had. Other racers looking to de-thrown Juarez include last year's runner-up John Curry (GAS Intrinsik), 2010 race winner Ben Parsons (Hammer Nutrition), and previous two-time champion Bill Martin (Muleterro).
This year's course will take the 100-mile racers on a figure-eight course starting on a 50-mile loop north of I-90, then joining the 50-mile racers on the southern loop. Recent rerouting of the north loop due to safety concerns has resulted in what race organizers predict will be the fastest track in the history of the race.
The southern 50-mile course remains as one of the most demanding tests of mountain bike endurance racing in the country with an amount of climbing not seen anywhere else: approximately 11,459 feet for the 50-mile racers (approximately 17,920 feet for the 100-mile racers).
The northern loop highlights include singletrack and doubletrack trails through vastly different environs, from dense forest to the Pipestone area's high-altitude desert, while the southern loop features nearly 30 miles of Continental Divide National Scenic Trail.
Demand for the race has exceeded organizer's expectations as the 250-racer cap was reached within 10 days of open registration. A waiting list of racers has exceeded 130 additional racers.
Quick links to national championships around the globe
Mountain Bike National Championships happen year-round depending on country and discipline, but a majority of the cross country championships, among countries in the northern hemisphere, happened on the weekend of July 21-22.
Late September is when many nations will hold their marathon national championships, as suggested by the UCI, while a few nationals wrap up their marathon championships in October.
Below is an updated index of 2012 National Championship coverage on Cyclingnews. Click on the appropriate link to access coverage for cross country, downhill, four cross and marathon disciplines.