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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Date published:
May 01, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • NICA expanding with more high school MTB leagues in 2013

    NICA leagues existing and prospective
    Article published:
    April 24, 2012, 19:52 BST
    Cycling News

    Executive Director Matt Fritzinger switching roles

    The strong growth of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) continues with applications from Arizona, Georgia, Maryland, New York, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia to join the organization's Project League program. Project Leagues have access to select NICA services, providing them the needed public awareness, support, funding and momentum to become fully fledged chapter leagues.

    As many as three will be chosen for 2013 induction, and the total number of NICA leagues - now seven - will rise to as many as 10. This will bring the organization three steps closer to its goal of providing mountain biking opportunities to high school students coast to coast by 2020.

    Supporting this expansion requires a considerable depth of technical advisory experience leading up to the initial racing season. NICA's Executive Director, Matt Fritzinger, who founded NICA, and the pioneering NorCal League before that, is uniquely qualified for this job and will transition from his current role to focus on key tasks such as new league technical development and fundraising.

    "NICA is a jet plane we have built together, and it has been a great thrill to be centrally involved in building it," said Fritzinger. "This aircraft is ready to be handed over to a seasoned pilot, rather than someone who specializes in the creative work. I'm very excited about building new leagues where I can draw on a decade of operations experience. I also look forward to building relationships with new supporters who want to join this movement.'"

    Fritzinger will remain in post as Executive Director to participate in the transition. NICA is presently engaged in the search for a replacement and interviews are being handled by NICA President Rick Spittler.

    "The idea of Matt transitioning from Executive Director to special projects was a joint decision by Matt and the NICA Board," said Spittler....

  • South Africa welcomes Singlepseed Worlds

    Singlespeed Worlds 2012 Logo
    Article published:
    April 24, 2012, 22:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Beer shortcuts among promises made by organizers

    The town of Winterton, South Africa will host the 2012 Singlespeed World Championships on September 29. While the majority of the field will be there to dress up in batty outfits and party all night long after the race, some will be there for the beer shortcuts, a signature of this annual leapfrogging global event.

    Some will come to win the rights to host SSWC2013 in their country. Some will be there to get the tattoo reserved for the winners and yet others will simply come to make friends and experience the awe inspiring riding of the KwaZulu Natal bushveld.

    There are no UCI points on the line and no qualification procedure. The only rule is that bikes are limited to one gear.

    Organizers have said that local registration thus far has been strong, and they are hoping to attract more international riders to keep the event's global vibe strong. Entries are limited to 1000 riders.

    They are running the event as a not-for-profit. "Besides covering hard costs and giving up our time for free, any extra loot we make is going straight into the immediate community; not a back pocket in sight!" said a statement on their website.

    The 2010 Singlespeed Worlds were held in New Zealand. Last year's Worlds were held in Ireland, where South Africa won the right to host this year's event.

    For more information, visit

  • Video: Last on track with Olympic preparations

    British racer Annie Last
    Article published:
    April 25, 2012, 10:07 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Young British rider hopeful for chance to go to London

    Annie Last (Milka-Brentjens) has been pleased with her preparations thus far for the 2012 London Olympic Games. But before she can get too focussed on details for the big day in August, she has to qualify to be one of the 30 women selected to be on the start line.

    "It is going really well," said Last. "We get the nations qualification in May. Hopefully we'll qualify a place, and I'll be able to get that. We're chipping away at scoring points. For me personally, my training and racing are going in the right direction." Just this weekend, she won round 2 of the British Cross Country Series at Dalby Forest.

    Last is hoping she will help qualify Great Britain to send a rider to the Olympics and that she is the rider her federation selects to go to London.

    The number of riders each nation gets to send will be determined after World Cup round 4 in La Bresse. Last expects to hear sometime in June whether or not she will race the Olympics if, in fact, Great Britain does get to send a female representative.

    Thinking optimistically, Last has taken several chances to check out the 2012 London Olympic mountain bike course.

    "All nations got to ride the course the other week and I had a look then," she said. "It's really good. I think that quite a lot of sections were widened with more options to overtake. The new rock garden is a good feature - it's quite a wide rock garden with a lot of lines - there is no one that's the fastest."

    "It will be interesting to see us all going in different directions over it. People can take different lines and you might even pass people and make up time on that section."

    While many riders have already announced their intentions to race 29ers on...

  • Rose Vaujany Gravity team presented

    The Rose Vaujany Team is officially presented
    Article published:
    April 25, 2012, 17:44 BST
    Cycling News

    New team presented in Vaujany

    The new Rose Vaujany Gravity Mountain Bike Team was presented recently to media and the public in Vaujany, France, which is one of the title sponsors of the squad.

    Vaujany is a small community in the Isère department in south-eastern France. The area is known for its winter sports activities, but it also features mountain biking in the summer.

    Rose Vaujany team members will help develop trails and to expand the network of routes in Vaujany. As part of the presentation, team members also enjoyed riding the mostly natural surface trails.

    The Rose Vaujany team, founded this season by Dutchman Joost Wichman, is travelling around Europe to participate in downhill, enduro and four cross races. Joost Wichman is on the team along with Nico Vink (Bel), Katy Curd (GBr), Petrik Bruekner (Ger), Daniel Prijkel (Ned) and Leo Combee (Ned).

  • Giant Mid-Atlantic team launched for 2012

    Forrest Conrad
    Article published:
    April 25, 2012, 21:43 BST
    Cycling News

    Pro mountain bike team focuses on developing east coast talent

    Blasting into its third season, the Giant Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Team looks to continues to balance its goals of dominating races and developing riders in the northeast. To take on this challenge, new member Forrest Conrad will join returning riders Matt Miller, Seamus Powell, and Jordan Kahlenberg. Conrad, who is in his last season as a junior, has already begun to make a presence in the regional elite races.

    As a group, the team is setting its collective focus on domestic cross country races, with forays into various endurance and stage race events. Powell, in his second year with the team, will again be looking towards US Pro XCT, Canada Cup, and domestic World Cup events in order to gain a spot on the U23 Worlds team. Based in Round Top, New York, he will also race regional Route 66 and New York State MTB Series events.

    Miller and Kahlenberg have both ridden with the team since its inception, and both will be making starts at US Pro XCT and US Cup Triple Crown East events. While Kahlenberg will be looking at more US Pro XCT events, Miller will make forays into various endurance and stage race events, such as the Transylvania Epic stage race. Both riders will also race regional H2H/Campmor and Mid-Atlantic Super Series events, with highlight on the Pennsylvania State Championship event at Bear Creek Mountain Resort. Bear Creek will be playing host to the 2013 and 2014 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships, and this event will serve as a preview of the course.

    New member Conrad is a fresh face to the sport, being only 17 and entering his last season as a junior. In his 2011 season, Conrad showed he had what it takes by racing regularly with the older elite categories, besting more experienced riders and showing steady improvement. He will race a mixture of regional and national level events in preparation for...

  • Kabush continues winning streak in Arizona

    Geoff Kabush (Scott-3Rox Racing) being interviewed before the race
    Article published:
    April 30, 2012, 23:10 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Canadian's Olympic season off to good start

    Geoff Kabush (Scott-3Rox Racing) doubled up on success this weekend by winning both the Fat Tire Criterium on Friday and the 50-miler at the Whiskey Off Road Race on Sunday in Prescott, Arizona.

    "It was a nice, fun weekend to fit in," said Kabush to Cyclingnews. "It was easy to fit in my schedule between Sea Otter and the next World Cups."

    It was the first time Kabush had ever raced the Whiskey Off Road Race. He was drawn by the race's reputation, the tough competition, fun trails and the strong prize list.

    "The Whiskey Off Road is a model for racing in the US. It was neat to see how behind the event the town of Prescott was," said Kabush, who made the drive from his base in New Mexico. "It's not often I can drive to an event like that."

    He added that the event reminded him of another popular event back home in Canada, the Test of Metal.

    Kabush got his legs going with the Fat Tire Crit on Friday. It had been years since he'd done that kind of event although Fat Tire Crits used to be quite popular at major North American mountain bike events. "That was not an easy way to get into the weekend," he said. "They put the steepest grade in Prescott in to the Fat Tire Crit. It was relentless, especially with the altitude."

    Two days later, Kabush crossed the line of the 50-miler in first place. He had chased down Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Trek) earlier in the race, but the two were caught by a group of about 15 going into a long climb.

  • U23 racer Ferrand Prevot excels among elite women

    Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Rabo-Giant Offroad)
    Article published:
    May 01, 2012, 17:02 BST
    Cycling News

    Young French mountain biker could be headed to London Olympic Games

    French woman Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Rabobank-Giant) turned some heads with her fourth place finish at the Houffalize World Cup last month. Finishing as the second French woman after runner-up Julie Bresset, Ferrand Prevot put in a performance that was a huge first step toward qualification for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

    Ferrand Prevot, who also excels in road competitions, is racing the mountain bike World Cups in the elite category, even though the 20-year-old is technically an under 23 rider. She is one of just five U23 women doing so this season.

    The 2009 and 2010 junior cross country world champion stepped up her training this winter by working with Simon Rogier, who has focused on improving her technical riding according to She is also getting advice on descending from former Spanish pro Oscar Saiz and on her physical form from Gerard Brocks.

    The technical work seems to be paying off. "Fourth place in Houffalize... it's not a surprise, I knew she was capable of that," said Rogier to "I followed the race live, and I could see that she had nothing to envy about the techniques of the three girls in front."

    In addition to Bresset, the other French women vying for Olympic team spots are Sabrina Enaux and Cecile Ravanel. Were Ferrand Prevot to be selected to the French Olympic team, she would be the youngest French rider...

  • Two more World Cups to determine Olympic MTB participation

    Julien Absalon (Orbea Racing Team) and Nino Schurter (Scott - Swisspower MTB Racing Team)
    Article published:
    May 01, 2012, 20:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Nations Olympic rankings as of May 1, 2012

    In just a few weeks, mountain bike fans will know exactly how many athletes each nation will send to the 2012 London Olympic Games. What happens in the meantime are two back-to-back UCI Mountain Bike World Cups, one in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic on May 11-13 and one in La Bresse, France on May 18-20.

    On May 23, 2012, the UCI will establish the UCI Olympic Qualification Ranking, and by June 1, it will have confirmed the number of qualifying spots for each nation.

    The final rankings are based the total number of points a nation has for the combined periods of 2010-2011 as of May 23, 2011 and 2011-2012 as of May 23, 2012.


    For the men, the top five ranked nations will send three athletes each while nations ranked sixth through 13th will send two athletes each. Nations number 14 through 24 get one rider each.

    Here is how it looks as of May 1:

    Countries likely to send three male mountain bikers
    Czech Republic

    Countries likely to send two male mountain bikers
    South Africa
    United States

    Countries likely to send one male mountain biker
    Great Britain

    The five top-ranked powerhouse nations are no surprise and are not too likely to change. The division between sending one and two male riders is much tighter with just 200 points separating Canada (sending two as of current rankings) and Australia (sending one as of current rankings).

    Countries like New Zealand are not too far below the cut-off for sending one...