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

Date published:
July 31, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Rusch auctions Leadville-winning bike

    Rebecca Rusch's team-issue Specialized Fate is the women's analogue to the Stumpjumper HT, built with specific geometry but also smaller-diameter tubes.
    Article published:
    July 24, 2012, 20:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Idaho non-profit bike coalition to benefit

    Rebecca Rusch (Specialized) is auctioning off the bike she rode to victory in Leadville to benefit an Idaho nonprofit. The former 24-hour solo world champion will award her 2011 Specialized carbon fiber Fate mountain bike to the highest bidder. She raced the bike to her third consecutive Leadville win in August 2011.

    The beneficiary of the auction, which started Saturday, July 20 and goes until Monday, July 30, will be the Wood River Bicycle Coalition, a group devoted to bikes and bike culture in Rusch's hometown of Ketchum, Idaho and the Sun Valley area. Sun Valley recently hosted the US Cross Country Mountain Bike National Championships.

    "It's one heck of a fast bike, and I'm hoping someone takes it home and enjoys it," said Rusch. "I'm proud to offer this bike up to help make the Wood River Valley even more of a bike-friendly community."

    The Wood River Bicycle Coalition advocates for a bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly community throughout Idaho's Wood River Valley. In the summer of 2008, the group helped the area achieve a "silver medal" Bicycle Friendly Community status from the League of American Bicyclists.

    The Ebay auction headline is "Buy the Specialized Fate 29er that Won Leadville." The bike will began its listing on eBay priced at $2,500. The carbon fiber 29er is built up with the lightest high-end parts including the Specialized team issue carbon crankset. The bike retails for nearly $10,000. Buyers will have 10 days from the auction's beginning to bid on the bike. Rusch has agreed to ship the bike to a buyer for free, and...

  • Wloszczowska confirmed out of Olympics

    Maja Wloszczowska claimed the elite women's cross country race
    Article published:
    July 25, 2012, 18:38 BST
    Cycling News

    Injured Polish mountain biker will also miss Worlds

    Maja Wloszczowska (CCC Polkowice) has confirmed she will be unable to compete in the London Olympic Games mountain bike race due to injuries sustained in a recent training crash. Her injuries are severe enough that she will not only miss the Olympics on August 11, but also the mountain bike world championships in early September.

    The Polish rider, a former cross country world champion, crashed while training in Livigno, Italy, this past weekend. She said she knew right after she fell that her Olympic plans would have to be cancelled.

    After travelling home for further consultation with doctors, Wloszczowska was diagnosed with a fracture of two bones in her foot: a metatarsal and her talus. There is extensive ligament damage, and recovery time is estimated at six weeks. Wloszczowska called it "a crushing verdict" according to

    The disappointed Olympic hopeful said, "I know that I have no influence over anything and collapsing will not help. But I'm damned sorry for all those who were involved in my preparation. They helped, devoted their time, work and money, supported, cheered, and like me, were counting on big fun in London. I believed that a medal in London would have been lovely.

    "The last three days have been a struggle for me, with a mix of pain, depression, resignation, hope and finally coming to terms with fate.

    "I know that closer to the Games it will be harder for me. It's mainly physical pain now, but the psychological pain will be worse to bear. If...

  • Liggett slams inclusion of mountain biking, BMX in Olympics

    Phil Liggett is at the race this week for the Versus TV coverage.
    Article published:
    July 26, 2012, 18:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Commentator laments changes to track cycling programme

    Phil Liggett, best known for his commentary on major road cycling events such as the Tour de France, complained yesterday about changes to the Olympic Games that have resulted in a diminished track cycling program and said mountain biking and BMX should not be part of the Olympics.

    "It is absolutely disgraceful what they have done. They have devastated the track with the new events and taking out the iconic events of the Olympics," Liggett said, according to the Herald Sun.

    Liggett lamented the removal of individual track events like the pursuit, the kilo, the 500m time trial and the Madison as well as the addition of the omnium. Speaking of the omnium he said, "There is only one rider from each country in the omnium and they are a jack of all trades and master of none."

    Over the years, some track events were dropped to make way for other cycling disciplines. Mountain biking was added to the Olympic Games in 1996 while BMX was added in 2008.

    "We have never had a good mountain biking event. Thousands will watch them but they are not Olympic gold medal events. They weren't meant to be in the Olympic Games," said Liggett.

    "They introduced BMX. Great, but I am sure [Olympics founder] Pierre de Coubertin would have laughed his head off if he found out it was an Olympic discipline. It might be exciting but we are talking the Olympic Games."

    Liggett's remarks stirred up a flurry of reactions on Twitter with many expressing disappointment at the commentator's lack of support for mountain biking and BMX in the Olympics.

    In response, Liggett, later tweeted on Thursday, "I have nothing at...

  • Gorycka replaces Wloszczowska on Polish Olympic team

    A bloodied Paula Gorycka (Poland) holds on to third place despite her injury.
    Article published:
    July 26, 2012, 20:38 BST
    Cycling News

    National champion will contest Olympic mountain bike race

    Paula Gorycka will replace Maja Wloszczowska on the Polish Olympic mountain bike team according to the Polish Cycling Federation.

    Wloszczowska, who won a silver medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, crashed in training last weekend and injured her foot. She will be out of competition for approximately six weeks, missing the London Olympic Games and Worlds.

    Mountain bike team coach Marek Galinski selected Gorycka to race instead in the elite women's cross country race on August 11. Gorycka won the Polish cross country title earlier this month.

    Aleksandra Dawidowicz will also race for Poland in what will be her second Olympics; she finished 10th in Beijing.

  • Niyonshuti to carry Rwandan flag in Olympic Games opening ceremony

    Adrien Niyonshuti (MTN/Qhubeka)
    Article published:
    July 27, 2012, 18:50 BST
    Cycling News

    Mountain biker is first cyclist from Rwanda to compete in Games

    Rwanda has chosen a cyclist as its flag-bearer for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games: Adrien Niyonshuti, a survivor of the 1994 genocide, and a mountain biker with a bright future. At 25 years of age, he is one of the most famous people in Rwanda, and is often regarded as a hero, as he embodies the past and destiny, the drama and the renewal of his country.

    "I'm very happy to be bearing the flag but I don't feel any more special than the other athletes selected for the Games," he said. Niyonshuti is the only cyclist on the Rwandan Olympic team and is joined by six other athletes who will take part in athletics, swimming and judo.

    "Above all, I would like – as a result of these Olympic Games – that people think of my country in terms of sport and cycling in particular, even as simply a great nation," continued Niyonshuti. "The first thing people think of at the moment is the genocide, but that was 18 years ago. I want people to concentrate on the positive aspects of my country."

    Rwandan cycling symbolizes this renewal particularly well. The national Tour, rated at 2.2 on the UCI calendar for the last four years, is the most popular sporting event in the country – even eclipsing football – and has a unifying effect on the nation. As for the national team, made up mostly of young survivors like Niyonshuti, it has in parallel moved from the regional level to become one of the best in Africa.

    Aimable Bayingana, President of the Rwandan Cycling Federation, spoke of the honour bestowed on Niyonshuti as the opening ceremony approaches. "Adrien is like a son, for all of us: he honours those who love cycling and develop the sport here, and he embodies the values of the whole country.

    "Children identify with him, and many would like to take up cycling, but unfortunately we...

  • McConnell completing final Olympic preparation at Val d'Isere World Cup

    Dan McConnell leads the elite men's race
    Article published:
    July 28, 2012, 8:20 BST
    Alex Malone

    Australian national champion ready for his second time at Games

    With the opening ceremony signifying the start of the London Olympic Games, most athletes will feel their own campaigns have now "really" begun. However, Australian cross country mountain biker Daniel McConnell was not able to attend the historic event as he is competing at the Val d'Isere World Cup in France this weekend.

    “I was unable to attend the opening ceremony in Beijing [2008] and I am sure that it would be an amazing experience but we have the World Cup final here and it is perfect race preparation leading into the Olympics. I feel that it will give me the best chance to have an outstanding race in London,” McConnell told Cyclingnews two days prior to his race in Val d'Isere.

    McConnell is Australia’s top-ranked rider in the UCI standings but like many selection processes, he had to prove his form throughout the season in order to earn his spot.

    “With my results, particularly from the World Cups this year I was confident that I would be selected, but it was a relief and weight off the shoulders when I got the phone call and a week later when it was officially announced,” he said.

    Val d'Isere is the last race before the Games and will give McConnell a chance to test his condition against the other Olympic contenders. All of the main protagonists will be present for this weekend’s race and McConnell is motivated to test his form.

    “I have done some really hard training in the last three weeks so with another week of hard training I should come up good for the Games. This weekend will be a really good indication of how my form is, as everyone who is racing the Olympics will be here. It is going to be a very fast race,” he said.

    There are two...

  • Lukas Flückiger celebrates career-best World Cup finish

    Lukas Flueckiger (Trek World Racing) on his way to a career best World Cup finish
    Article published:
    July 31, 2012, 16:43 BST
    Cycling News

    Swiss rider finishes in second place in Val d'Isere

    Lukas Flückiger (Trek World Racing) overcame the bad luck that plagued him at the last three World Cup mountain bike races and earned his career-best finish - a second place - on Saturday in Val d'Isere, France.

    Flückiger showed that he had recovered from a crash in Mont-Sainte-Anne in late June in which he injured his neck.

    Sitting in the top five for close to the entire race, there were many opportunities for Flückiger to consider trying to bridge the gap to the leaders, but at the high altitude venue, the price for such a surge in effort could have resulted in disaster. Instead, Flückiger rode to his own pace and rhythm, never letting the leaders out of his site. When he'd moved up to third place on the fourth of six laps, he could see the leaders Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) and Marco Fontana (Cannondale) less than 20 seconds away on the switchback climbs.

    Schurter attacked Fontana, who tried to stay with him, but the effort to get the lead was taking its toll and Fontana fell into Flückiger's clutches. With one lap to go, Flückiger closed the gap down to just 12 seconds on the final climb, a gap that remained until the end.

    "This was my best ever World Cup race in my career. It's funny, I was watching the [Olympic] opening ceremony in London and that gave me a special motivation to race to my full potential," said Flückiger.

    "The altitude didn't affect me as I came in very late to the venue, and that always works best for me. It was so tantalizing to see Nino so close, but it was a matter of managing my energy levels and not blow myself to pieces chasing him down. Who knows, one lap more maybe? I'm super happy to have this great podium."

    The quality field featured...

  • Dahle Flesjå equals Furtado's World Cup win record

    Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida Biking Team) on her way to a World Cup win
    Article published:
    July 31, 2012, 18:02 BST
    Cycling News

    Norwegian makes it 28 victories in Val d'Isere

    With just two weeks to go until the Olympic Games mountain bike race, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå not only showed that she was in fine form, but also made history by equaling the World Cup win record of Juli Furtado. Dahle Flesjå won the Val d'Isere round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup on Saturday.

    The veteran Norwegian dictated the pace in the women's race from the very start, riding away from her competition in the first 10 minutes and continuing for victory - the 28th World Cup win of her career.

    Furtado dominated the sport of mountain biking in the 1990s before she had to end her career after getting the auto immune disease Lupus.

    "I may have won my first World Cup race 16 years ago, but it's still something special to win such a race. And of course I am proud to have just as many victories as Furtado now," said Dahle Flesjå.

    Winning this weekend was not easy for Multivan Merida's Dahle Flesjå, though, as a thunderstorm the night before the race had quite an effect on the race course. The grass sections were deep and energy-sapping, the descents were really slippery and therefore pretty tricky. Despite these conditions, Dahle Flesjå only got into trouble once, however. On the second-to-last lap, she lost a part of her lead when she almost crashed. But as the Norwegian kept her cool, she managed bring her lead back to what it had been and ride to a solo victory.

    "This was an almost perfect race. Of course, I had expected to be doing well, and this gives a lot of self-confidence for the Olympic race," Dahle Flesjå said. By winning at the finals, the Norwegian also moved up to second in the World Cup's...