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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Date published:
March 15, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Cooper the favorite for Motatapu

    Anton Cooper, a junior, often beats the seniors in mountain bike races
    Article published:
    March 11, 2011, 4:11 GMT
    Cycling News

    Previous winners Roy and Leuchs absent this year

    The young Anton Cooper will arrive at the Motatapu mountain bike race this weekend as the favorite despite his youth.

    The 16-year-old Cooper narrowly lost to Marcus Roy in last year's Motatapu and has recently secured himself a spot on the New Zealand team to go to the world championships later this year. Last weekend, he won the Karapotic Classic in a sprint finish.

    "Without Marcus Roy or Kashi Leuchs it is difficult for me to see anyone emerging from the pack to challenge rising star, Anton Cooper," said Mountain Bike Iconic Adventures Director Geoff Matthews.

    Roy, who has won the event five of the six years running and holds the course record at 1:57:47 was 20 when he first won in 2005. He is not competing this year.

    "The race record is there for the taking, and my money would be on Cooper," said Matthews, who also commented on the course conditions. "It is like a world rally championship track. It has a layer of fine crumbling dust and dirt over a hard pack."

    "I predict that the leaders will scatter the loose surface and leave a hard pack for competitors following their wheel tracks. Later once the dry crumbling layer has gone, the hard pack will become slippery for the back of the field as water from the creeks gets added to the mix."

    For this year's race, there is a completely new section of track on the Soho descent. "This new section of track is extremely fast; but a word of caution, it is not as hard packed as the rest of the course."

    Weather is expected to be typical of the past six years and get hot in the high alpine valleys in the middle of the day.

    Following the main event, Christchurch earthquake appeal concert will be held at the finish line, starting at 4:00 pm and wrapping up at 8:00 pm. Donations can be made on the day or at All donations...

  • United States team named for Pan-Am Continental Mountain Bike Championships

    Todd Wells (Specialized) on a technical descent at the Wisconsin US Pro XCT race
    Article published:
    March 12, 2011, 14:36 GMT
    Cycling News

    Twenty-six athletes named to cross country and gravity squads

    Twenty-six cyclists will represent the United States at the 2011 Pan American Mountain Bike Championships in Bogota, Colombia on April 1-3. USA Cycling announced the team on Thursday.

    "The Continental Championships are a good chance for all of our riders to pick up valuable UCI points," said USA Cycling Mountain Bike and Cyclo-cross Program Director Marc Gullickson. "Especially the elite men's cross country squad, who will use this as an opportunity to boost our nation's ranking as we try to qualify the maximum three riders for the Olympic men's cross country race in London."

    Four men earned automatic nomination to the elite men's cross country squad as the top Americans in the UCI's individual standings as of March 1: Todd Wells (Specialized), Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski Subaru-Trek), Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek), and Adam Craig (Rabobank Giant). Wells is the top-ranked American in 10th while Horgan-Kobelski, Schultz, and Craig are 39th, 42nd, and 68th respectively. Michael Broderick (Kenda-Seven-NoTubes), Jeremiah Bishop (Cannondale Factory Racing), and Troy Wells will also be part of the team as discretionary selections.

    After Willow Koerber (Trek World Racing) and Georgia Gould (Luna Pro Team) declined their automatic nominations due to conflicts with team training camps, the elite women's squad for Bogota was whittled down to a strong trio. Two-time Olympian Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven-NoTubes), who was an automatic selection as the second American (after Koerber) in the UCI's individual standings, will lead the team. Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Trek), who is ranked 18th by the UCI, and discretionary nominee Katie Compton (Planet Bike-Stevens Bikes), who is ranked 41st by the UCI, will join McConneloug on the women's squad.

    "It's unfortunate that Willow and Georgia won't be able to make it, but we'll have strong teams regardless for both the...

  • Town of Granby supports downhill stage race

    The SolVista Bike Park in Granby, Colorado
    Article published:
    March 12, 2011, 19:51 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Three-stages and US$50,000 coming up in May for Colorado venue

    The Town of Granby, Colorado, agreed to fund the second annual Triple DHip three-stage downhill race at SolVista Bike Park at Granby Ranch, Colorado, on May 27-30.

    Granby is no stranger to national-caliber mountain bike racing. The town played host to all disciplines of mountain bike riders during the 2009 and 2010 USA Cycling Mountain Biking National Championships.

    This year the town put up a US$25,000 cash prize purse to draw professionals to the event.

    "The Town of Granby has agreed to sponsor the pro purse for the race," said Matt Thompson from SolVista Bike Park at Granby Ranch. "This prize list is competitive with other top-tier events in the US and around the world."

    The SolVista Bike Park's sponsors will support the amateur classes with a merchandise purse also valued at $25,000. The combined purses make the Triple DHip a lucrative event for racers of all abilities.

    "The Town of Granby is supporting this event because they have witnessed the positive economic impacts that the SolVista Bike Park has had on the town in the past few years," he added. "They are interested in cultivating the culture of cycling and want to help us promote fantastic events that will attract families, racers, and spectators to the area. This area has so much to offer people looking to spend time in the great outdoors with the ones they care about."

    Triple DHip is expected to attract top downhill mountain bike racers. Last year, Tyler Morland topped the professional men's category and Kyra Alexander won professional women's race. "We've got a fairly impressive international rider list shaping up, but are not ready to release yet," said Thompson.

    On Friday, May 27, the participants will be treated to a dinner and live music located in downtown Granby. Racers will have the opportunity to practice to downhill runs on Saturday, May 28....

  • Di Gregorio not just a "gregario" with Paris-Nice stage win

    Rémy Di Grégorio celebrates as he crosses the line
    Article published:
    March 12, 2011, 22:34 GMT
    Jean-François Quénet

    Frenchman's move to Astana proves successful

    Rémy Di Gregorio was hired by Astana as a potential domestique for Alexandre Vinokourov, but he got to take advantage of a chance for his own victory in Paris-Nice's stage 7. There he took the most important win of his seven-year professional career. The 26-year-old Frenchman survived the apocalyptic, bad weather conditions to claim an emotional solo victory in Biot, near the French Riviera.

    "I've been awaiting this win," said Di Gregorio. Since turning pro, his only other win was during stage 8 of the 2006 Tour de l'Avenir, one year after he signed with Française des Jeux in 2005.

    "Mentally, I have changed. This is my seventh pro season. I have more experience in these races, too. I knew I was able to do something like today, but I didn't always have the luck to succeed," he said. "In 2007, I rode 120 kilometres with a broken elbow. In 2008, I was away in the stage to Hautacam and other riders rode behind me. This time, luck was on my side."

    Di Gregorio's early fame earned him a noteworthy salary increase from the French lottery for the past two years. "I deserved it," he said in Biot. "I didn't steal it. Maybe the figure was a bit high, but I'm not the only one responsible. I don't know if it was a mistake. What's done is done. I look ahead, not behind."

    "I only want to build a record for myself. I'm an offensive rider. I'm not the one who said I was the future Richard Virenque, the media did," he said. "It would have been easier for me to stay on a French team, even to stay with the same team, but I needed a new environment."

    The Frenchman from Marseille is rumoured to...

  • North American Pro Continental teams gain early season success

    GP Regio Insubrica top three: Jure Kocjan (Team Type 1 - Sanofi Aventis), Giovanni Visconti (Farnese Vini - Neri Sottoli) and Rinaldo Nocentini (AG2R La Mondiale)
    Article published:
    March 15, 2011, 15:09 GMT
    Kirsten Frattini

    Team Type 1, UnitedHealthcare and SpiderTech p/b C10 secure top tens overseas

    North America's three newly upgraded UCI Professional Continental teams Team Type 1-Sanofi-Aventis, UnitedHealthcare Pro Cycling and SpiderTech p/b C10 finished a successful block of early season racing with top 10 finishes in some of Europe's notable UCI-sanctioned events. They will return stateside in May well-prepared to put forth strong performances at the targeted Amgen Tour of California.

    Team Type 1-Sanofi-Aventis scored roughly 13 top 10 results so far this season, most recently with Jure Kocjan placing fourth at the Montepaschi Strade Bianche held in Italy last week. Other top 10 performances came from the UCI 1.1 Grand Prix Cycliste la Marseillaise, UCI 2.1 Etoile de Bessèges, UCI 2.1 Tour Cycliste International du Haut Var, UCI 1.1 Tour of Mumbai and the UCI 1.1 GP di Lugano, among others.

    "It is absolutely crucial to get good results," said the team's Co-Founder Phil Southerland. "It was our only chance to make a first impression, and for the guys to set their own bar of what success is for Team Type 1-Sanofi-Aventis. We're a new team in the European peloton, but we have a deep base of experience. With veterans like Rubens Bertogliati, Javier Megias, and Lazlo Bodrogi and fresh, young talent like Jure Kocjan, Martijn Verschoor and Kiel Reijen, we're extremely satisfied with our performance so far in Europe."

  • Pietermaritzburg World Cup course construction progressing well

    The start of the men's World Cup cross country race in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa in 2009.
    Article published:
    March 15, 2011, 18:20 GMT
    Cycling News

    UCI Mountain Bike World Cup to open in just over one month

    The UCI Mountain Bike World Cup will kick off in just over one month when it returns to Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, after a one-year hiatus. Organizers have been busily making progress on the construction of the course for the April 21-24 event.

    Work is complete on the re-designed four cross course with changes made to keep the racing tight and action-packed. The four cross course will run 656m and drop 71m.

    The bulk of the work is finished for the cross country and downhill tracks, with the finishing touches expected to be complete within the next three weeks. Both courses will be used for the first round of the Cycling South Africa National Series, the weekend prior to the World Cup. Racers who want to experience the courses prior to the World Cup will be welcome to compete in the national-level event.

    The cross country course will cover 6.15km and feature 311m of climbing and descending per lap while the downhill course will run 3.12km with 416m of elevation loss.

    Thus far, 25 UCI mountain bike teams have confirmed their entry for the opening World Cup. Organizers are expecting close to 500 racers, approximately 100 more than in 2009, when Pietermaritzburg first hosted a mountain bike World Cup.

    Tickets for the World Cup can be purchased at

  • iXS 2011 European Championships cancelled

    Julien Camellini races the iXS Cup in Pila
    Article published:
    March 15, 2011, 19:38 GMT
    Cycling News

    Missing building permit derails event plan

    The 2011 iXS European Downhill Championships in Zermatt, Switzerland, scheduled for August 27-28, have been cancelled.

    "Despite a firm commitment on the part of the organisers in July 2010, we have now been informed that Zermatt Bergbahnen AG has decided not to hold this important event.

    "The cancellation is at such short notice that iXS Sports Division cannot, unfortunately, present a suitable replacement for this high profile occasion," read a statement by iXS.

    "The decision was accounted for by a missing building permit for the last part of the track," said representative of iXS to Cyclingnews. "Therefore the organizer told us, he is not able to realize the necessary finish area. All other details are unknown yet."

    iXS will continue to run its 2011 Downhill Cup and its Dirt Masters Festival.

  • Bailey Hundo returns for second running

    Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Trek Subaru) on the longest descent
    Article published:
    March 15, 2011, 20:46 GMT
    Cycling News

    100-mile mountain bike race increases field limit

    The Bailey Hundo 100-mile mountain bike race bills itself as "an epic race making an epic difference". The race, produced by the Advance Colorado Fund Inc., a Colorado-based nonprofit committed to youth biking initiatives and trail building, will return for its second year on June 18, 2011.

    "We are deeply proud that the Bailey Hundo will have 250 racers this year who are so committed to supporting youth biking initiatives in Colorado and trail building in the Platte Canyon area that they are willing to raise much-needed funds and spend months training for this 100-mile endurance race," said Bailey Hundo Executive Director Noah Aptekar.

    Thanks to a partnership with the Forest Service, more spots are available in this year's event just southwest of Denver. The Bailey Hundo was started in 2010 with only 150 racers.

    "The Bailey Hundo provides the opportunity; it is the racers who make the impact on the state of cycling for Colorado's youth and in the Platte Canyon area through their dedication to raising funds and participating in such an extreme and exciting event."

    In 2010, Olympian Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski won the event in 6:36. Colorado mountain biking legend Dave Wiens was second in 6:49 and Team Epic Endurance racer Brian Alders was third in 6:56. Sonya Looney took the women's race in 8:19, followed by Eszter Horanyi (9:04), who was on a singlespeed.

    The Bailey Hundo was created out of a partnership between four Colorado State Senators, the communities of Bailey and Park County, and Colorado cyclists.

    The 2010 event contributed over US$8,000 to further the mission of both supporting youth biking initiatives including Trips For Kids Denver/Boulder, Colorado High School Cycling League, and Kids On Bikes, as well as planning and building new trails in the Platte Canyon area in conjunction with the nonprofit Colorado Mountain Biking Association.

    The race is accepting applications to compete until March 29,...