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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Date published:
March 8, 2011, 18:00

Edited by Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking. Feel free to send feedback, news, & releases to mtb@cyclingnews.com and results, reports & photos to cyclingnews@cyclingnews.com.

  • US Open of Mountain Biking returns for ninth year

    Andrew Neethling (Trek World Racing) on his way to winning the US Open Downhill.
    Article published:
    March 3, 2011, 02:31
    By:
    Cycling News

    Registation open for downhill event

    The US Open of Mountain Biking, a downhill event at Diablo Freeride Park in Vernon, New Jersey, is returning in 2011 for its ninth edition. The event, which will take place from May 26 to May 29, draws elite gravity racers from around the globe to compete for the US$50,000 prize purse.

    Founded in 2003, the US Open of Mountain Biking was established to reinvigorate interest in American gravity racing. Organizers say that was "at a point in time where neglectful sanctioning bodies and sponsors of yesteryear had stripped the US gravity scene of its identity, its soul and necessary funding".

    Downhill World Champion Tracy Moseley and Andrew Neethling won the 2010 edition of the downhill race. Brendan Fairclough and Jill Kintner came out on top in the giant slalom.

    The race adopted an unique pro/amateur format that allows up-and-coming athletes the opportunity to test their mettle against the world's fastest gravity racers. While the professional categories typically take center stage, the US Open has become a premier proving ground for amateur racers, with several past champions using the win to kick-start professional careers.

    Held over the Memorial Day holiday weekend, the racing will feature an enhanced downhill course with re-routes and additions.

    Registration, capped at 450 total competitors, is now open. For more information on the US Open of Mountain Biking, visit www.usopen-mtb.com.

  • CNP Orbea Mountain Bike Team presented

    Darren Alexander, Oli Holmes, John Whittington, Cameron Balfour and Matt Sumpton
    Article published:
    March 3, 2011, 17:36
    By:
    Cycling News

    New British team launched

    On a snowy, foggy weekend in the heart of the Peak District the new CNP Orbea Mountain Bike Race team held its launch. Riders were invited to the team headquarters in the United Kingdom, getting a chance to meet and catch up.

    The team includes Darren Alexander, Oli Holmes, John Whittington, Cameron Balfour, Matt Sumpton and Roy Hunt, and it will contest all the British Mountain Bike Series events with Whittington and Holmes competing among the elites, Sumpton among the juniors and Alexander among the masters. Balfour will race in the youth category while Hunt, the only rider who missed the official launch, will race marathon events and the Nutcracker Series.

    Strong performances at the National Championships and the Bontrager 24-12 are two other key goals. In addition to the major events, riders will make appearances at the Southern XC, Midlands XC and Scottish XC rounds.

    The team will race on Orbea Almas.

    CNP Orbea Mountain Bike Team for 2011
    Darren Alexander
    Cameron Balfour
    Oli Holmes
    Roy Hunt
    Matt Sumpton
    John Whittington

  • Klemencic, Markt lead Sunshine Cup with one round remaining

    The start of the men's cross country race in Amathous
    Article published:
    March 3, 2011, 17:56
    By:
    Cycling News

    Final race in Amathous on Sunday

    The final round of the Cyprus Sunshine Cup is set for the ancient village of Amathous on Sunday, March 6. That's when and where Olympic Champion Sabine Spitz will open her mountain bike season. She'll race Lene Byberg, Annika Langvad and Blaza Klemencic. In the men's race, Emil Lindgren will try again to go for his first victory over top picks Jaroslav Kulhavy and Karl Markt.

    Spitz just arrived in Cyprus to kick off her competitive season. For years, she's been coming to the Mediterranean island. After taking part in the cyclo-cross world championships, Spitz took a break and is back to racing on a mountain bike.

    Spitz's Central Haibike teammates Elisabeth Brandau, Terezea Hurikova and Kathrin Stirnemann will also be racing. Hurikova is fresh off two months of training in Arizona in the United States.

    Langvad, Byberg and Sunshine Cup overall standings leader Klemencic are the favorites heading into Sunday. Langvad was the strongest woman in the first two stages of the Afxentia race last weekend, but due to an unfortunate organizational mistake, she missed the start and the chance for the overall win.

    Emil Lindgren had his share of bad luck in the men's Sunshine Cup. The Swede lost his chance at round one in Voroklini on the last lap due to a mistake while riding in the lead together with eventual winner Karl Markt. At the Afxentia time trial, he missed the win only by 1.5 seconds and then on the second stage, he was leading by about 30 seconds with six kilometers to go when he punctured and the had to finish the race on the rim of his front wheel (in 12th position). He came close to success in the final stage of Afxentia when he finished second behind Kulhavy by a mere 10 seconds.

    "I will go full gas again," said Lindgren, giving notice that he would rather not leave Cyprus without what would be his first win of the season.

    Some of the other favorites in the men's race include Kulhavy and Markt, who is leading the Sunshine Cup overall standings. Fabian Giger and Henk-Jaap Moorlag are other podium contenders along Thomas Litscher, who will be starting his first mountain bike race of the year.

    Cyprus Sunshine Cup overall standings after 2 of 3 rounds

    Women
    # Rider Name (Country) Team Result
    1 Blaza Klemencic (Slo) Felt Ötztal X-Bionic 180  pts
    2 Rie Katayama (Jpn) Specialized 145  
    3 Anne Terpstra (Ned) MPL Specialized 145  
    4 Laura Turpjin (Ned) Dutch National Team 136  
    5 Iana Belomoyna (Ukr) Info Tre BI ESSE 122  
    Men
    # Rider Name (Country) Team Result
    1 Karl Markt (Aut) Felt Ötztal X-Bionic 200  pts
    2 Fabian Giger (Swi) Rabobank-Giant 165  
    3 Emil Lindgren (Swe) Rabobank-Giant 165  
    4 Jan Skarnitzl (Cze) Rubena Birell Specialized 150  
    5 Periklis Ilias (Gre) Protek 142  
  • Moos and Milatz lead new BMC Mountain Bike Team

    BMC Mountain Bike Team: Yves Corminboef, Moritz Milatz, Julien Taramarcaz, Balz Weber
    Article published:
    March 3, 2011, 20:15
    By:
    Cycling News

    World Cup cross country and marathon competitions on the schedule

    BMC is familiar team name in road cycling, but as of January 1, the bike manufacturer gave its name and support to a professional mountain bike team, too. The BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team has its sights set on World Cup glory with its line-up of international talent.

    Reigning German Cross Country National Champion Moritz Milatz and the former road racer Alexandre Moos are at the vanguard of a young team with ambitious goals.

    The Grenchen-based company notched up competitive road success in 2010 with performances like those of then World Champion Cadel Evans in the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia. The Swiss company is presently re-discovering its origins in mountain biking and pinning its hopes on an expanded long-term strategy.

    "Our mountain bikes have been of a world-class standard for years. We now want to consolidate and refine our product development work with feedback from professional cross country sport, and of course demonstrate our expertise," said Mike Hürlimann, CEO of BMC Trading AG.

    "The BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team is the tip of the iceberg of our long-term involvement in mountain bike sport. We want that involvement to be an enduring partnership, so along with the two (partner) Swiss teams Fischer and Texner, we have also set up an Under 23 US Development Team to offer riders prospects at junior or development level."

    "Anyone who races on a BMC should do so in the reassuring knowledge that with the right performance, they can look forward to a professional career with us," said Frank Schreiner, Head of Marketing at BMC.

    For 2011, a five-man team is embarking on its first season under the sporting leadership of veteran Moos.

    "It is a gigantic prospect for me to be able to participate in shaping the commitment to mountain biking for BMC. My experience as a professional cyclist is bound to help the young riders," said Moos.

    Milatz, a 2008 Olympian, is looking forward to racing for BMC. "For me, the BMC team is an ideal group with the right background. Living in Freiburg, I am also very close and will be able to integrate myself well. After being plagued by injury in 2010, I am truly motivated to give it my all in 2011. The materials and the environment are perfect."

    The team's other riders include Patrik Gallati, runner up in the Under 23 World Cup and European Championship and Julien Taramarcaz.

    Balz Weber will join Moos in racing marathon events. Their first joint race wearing BMC Mountain Bike Racing Team colors will take place at the end of March at the Cape Epic in South Africa.

    David Chassot will be in charge of its management.

    The team will be competing on two BMC models: the teamelite TE01 (hardtail) and fourstroke FS01 (full suspension).

    BMC Mountain Bike Team for 2011
    Yves Corminboeuf
    Patrik Gallati
    Moritz Milatz
    Alexandre Moos
    Julien Taramarcaz
    Balz Weber

  • Beltran takes two stage wins in Andalucia

    Manuel Beltran and Jose Luis Carrasco (Sport-Bike) on the way to winning stage 6 of the Andalucia Bike Race.  It was snowing up in the Jaén mountains.
    Article published:
    March 4, 2011, 20:07
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Road pros visit top of podium in mountain bike stage race

    Road pros Manuel "Triki" Beltran Martinez and Jose Luis Carrasco Gamiz (Sport-Bike) won the final two stages of the Andalucia Bike Race, a mountain bike stage race in Spain this week.

    Both road pros are local to Jaén, where the race was happening on Thursday and Friday. Thursday's 63km stage 5 in Eastern Jaén was the shortest of the brand new, six-day event while Friday's 82km stage 6 in Southern Jaén was run in challenging conditions, through snow showers and cold weather in the mountains.

    Beltran, 39, has been part of the international road cycling scene for well over a decade. He became known to many cycling fans as a rider on the US Postal Service team in 2003 and 2004 and as a rider on the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team in 2005 and 2006. He has also ridden for Mapei, Banesto, Mapei, Team Coast and Liquigas

    He won stage 19 of the 1997 Giro d'Italia. He rode as a domestique for racers like Lance Armstrong in several Tours de France and Giri d'Italia.

    Beltran tested positive for EPO after the first stage of the Tour de France in 2008. He was suspended for two years, and became eligible to race again in the summer of 2010. He was riding for Liquigas at the time of his positive doping test.

    Beltran's partner in the two-person team event is Carrasco. The 28-year-old most recently rode for Andalucía Cajasur. won mountains classification at 2005 Tirreno-Adriatico.

    Retired pro Roberto Heras, who won the Vuelta a Espana four times, but was disqualified from a fourth win due to doping with EPO, was also in the race. As of the end of stage 5, he was in 15th overall in the men's category along with his teammate Marcos Serrano, but he was not listed as a finisher of the final stage.

  • USA Cycling announces 2011 American Mountain Bike Challenge (AMBC)

    Winding Pennsylvania singletrack through the laurels
    Article published:
    March 4, 2011, 22:39
    By:
    Cycling News

    21 events to happen in 14 states

    USA Cycling revealed the complete calendar for its 2011 American Mountain Bike Challenge (AMBC) on Friday.

    AMBC cross country events will serve as qualifiers for the USA Cycling Mountain Bike Cross Country National Championships, on July 14-17 in Sun Valley, Idaho while AMBC gravity events will qualify riders to compete at the USA Cycling Mountain Bike Gravity National Championships, September 24-25 in Beech Mountain, North Carolina.

    In its 15th year, the AMBC features 21 races and will visit 14 states between March and September. The series opens this month with the Southeastern Regional Championships (SERC) race in Gainesville, Florida on March 20 and it concludes with the Camp Eagle Classic Mountain Bike Festival in Rocksprings, Texas, September 2-4.

    The AMBC was created in 1996 to provide opportunities for mountain bikers of all ages and abilities. Each stop on the series offers cross country events, and several stops offer short-track cross country, downhill, time trials, or super D competitions as well.

    The complete AMBC calendar is below.

    American Mountain Bike Challenge (AMBC)
    March 20: Southeastern Regional Championship Series (SERC) - Gainesville, Florida
    March 27: Chickasaw Trace Classic - Columbia, Tennessee
    April 3: Southeastern Regional Championships Series (SERC) - Bryson City, North Carolina
    April 9: 17th Annual Barking Spider Bash XC - Boise, Idaho
    April 17: Stump Jump 2011 - Spartanburg, South Carolina
    April 30 - May 1: The Idyllwild Spring Challenge - Idyllwild, California
    May 1: Southeastern Regional Championship Series (SERC) - Winder, Georgia
    May 15: Southeastern Regional Championship Series (SERC) - Ducktown, Tennessee
    May 15: Tymor Park Challenge - Lagrangeville, New York
    May 22: Greenbrier Challenge - Hagerstown, Maryland
    May 29: Iron Horse Bicycle Classic - Durango, Colorado
    June 4-5: Bump ‘N Grind - Pelham, Alabama
    June 12: Southeastern Regional Championship Series (SERC) - Chattanooga, Tennessee
    June 18-19: Magic Cycles Mountain Bike Race Weekend - Beech Mountain, North Carolina
    June 26: Southeastern Regional Championship Series (SERC) - Clemson, South Carolina
    July 10: Southeastern Regional Championship Series (SERC) - Huntsville, Alabama
    July 17: 16th Annual Bulldog Rump presented by Cycle Craft - Andover, New Jersey
    August 7: Southeastern Regional Championship Series (SERC) - Fontana, North Carolina
    August 14: Bear Creek Challenge - Macungie, Pennsylvania
    September 2-4: Camp Eagle Classic MTB Festival - Rocksprings, Texas

  • British four cross national series set for 2011

    The British Four Cross National Series signed a one-year sponsorship deal for 2011 with Schwalbe.
    Article published:
    March 8, 2011, 15:00
    By:
    Cycling News

    New title sponsor signed

    The British Four Cross Series is set for 2011 with a new title sponsor, Schwalbe. Organizers of the series signed a one-year contract with the tire manufacturer, which already supports four crossers like current world champion Tomas Slavik, former world champion Jared Graves, Joost Wichman and Johannes Fischbach.

    For 2011, the series will include seven rounds throughout Britain. It will kick off on April 3 at Leamington Spa, Warwickshire and finish on September 18 in Redhill, Gloucestershire.

    "2011 looks set to be another amazing year for four cross with growth once more here in the United Kingdom," said organizer Chris Roberts.

    "Enquires about the series from riders are well up on previous years, many of the tracks have had changes over the winter and now to add Schwalbe as the title sponsor to the series is a huge boost for four cross here in Britain. I can't wait to get the series underway at Leamington on April 3.

    "Schwalbe are incredibly proud to be the title sponsor of The National Four Cross Series 2011. We view four cross as one of the most exciting and technically challenging mountain bike disciplines around. We're looking forward to exposing four cross to new audiences... and we hope to achieve big things this year for the four fanatics!" said Schwalbe's Dave Taylor.

    Schwalbe is also supporting the British four cross national championships, which will be held July 17 in Harthill, Cheshire.

    A complete schedule is below. For more information on the series, visit www.british4x.com.

    2011 Schwalbe British Four Cross Series
    April 3: Round 1 - Leamington Spa, Warwickshire
    May 8: Round 2 - Penshurst, Kent
    May 28: Round 3 - Afan, South Wales
    July 16: Round 4 - Harthill, Cheshire
    August 6-7: Rounds 5 & 6 - Southwest Extreme, Devon
    September 18: Round 7 - Redhill, Gloucestershire

  • BMC backs new US-based development mountain bike team

    BMC's new US-based Development Mountain Bike Team for 2011
    Article published:
    March 8, 2011, 17:03
    By:
    Cycling News

    Three men and two women signed for 2011

    The future of mountain biking in the US is getting a boost with BMC Bicycles backing a new top level development cross country mountain bike team. The Swiss bike manufacturer announced its intention to support the US-based team after recently introducing its new European professional mountain bike team. The team will include five promising young mountain bike racers.

    A core group of five racers will make up the team. On the men's side Stephen Ettinger of Cashmere, Washington, will be the senior rider, aged 22. Second year Under 23 riders Kerry Werner of Birdsboro, Pennsylvania, and Jack Hinkens of Eden Prairie, Wisconsin, will join him. All three were standout athletes on US National Team trips in Europe last season as well as some of the strongest Under 23 riders on domestic soil.

    Chloe Forsman of Tucson, Arizona, will anchor the women's side of the team and will bring a wealth of top level domestic and international race experience. Collegiate national cross country champion Erica Zaveta from Erwinna, Pennsylvania, will round out the team.

    "We want to develop a sustainable program. Whoever rides/races on a BMC today should have the prospect, with the right performance, of becoming a professional with us and have the opportunity to step up to the BMC Mountain Bike Team in the next years," said Frank Schreiner, Head of Marketing

    The team will add a marketing boost to BMC's renewed push toward significantly increasing US mountain bike sales. In addition to contesting all of the UCI sanctioned, USPro XCT events across the US and the North American World Cups, the team will be at the US National Championships and plans to compete in various regional events as well as schedule a number of dealer visits.

    Team operations will be based out of Boulder, Colorado, where Ben Turner will manage the young group of riders while they travel the country. He will provide leadership and logistical support throughout the long season.

    "I'm excited to work with such a great team of young and talented mountain bike racers. Having the opportunity to help BMC on such an important project is very motivating, and it's my hope that this team will help return the US to a dominant role on the international stage of mountain bike racing," said Turner.

    Damian Shanks will join the team on the road as team mechanic.

    The team will kick off its inaugural season next weekend at the opening round of the US Pro XCT in Bonelli Park, California, where the young riders will be looking to secure early leads in both the men's and women's overall Under 23 US Pro XCT series.

    The team will race the all-new Teamelite TE01 Carbon Hardtail and the proven Fourstroke FS01 carbon full suspension bikes.

    2011 BMC Development Mountain Bike Team
    Stephen Ettinger (Cashmere, Washington)
    Chloe Forsman (Tucson, Arizona)
    Jack Hinkens (Eden Prairie, Minnesota)
    Kerry Werner (Birdsboro, Pennsylvania)
    Erica Zaveta (Erwinna, Pennsylvania)