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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Date published:
August 14, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Moseley and Clementz lead Enduro World Series ahead of Crankworx Whistler

    Men's winner at Enduro World Series round 3 - Jerome Clementz
    Article published:
    August 09, 2013, 21:10 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Course revealed for first-ever Canadian EWS round

    The Enduro World Series heads to Crankworx Whistler for round five of seven.  Series leaders Jerome Clementz (Cannondale Overmountain) and Tracy Moseley (Trek Factory Racing) are expected to defend their leads at what will be the second North American round of the inaugural series.

    Reflective of the epic style of mountain biking available in Whistler, British Columbia, the five-stage race developed in consultation with pro rider Richie Schley and creative dervish Seb Kemp will be compressed into one long single day. Athletes will race over 19km of trails, tallying a total of 51km of riding in the eight-hour time window.

    With the first four stages of racing set outside the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, and the final stage involving a top-to-bottom link-up from the Top of the World trail, the Canadian Open Enduro will combine lift access with approximately 863 metres of climbing. Riders will travel from Whistler Peak to the valley, twice, with the final stage a 10.7km, 1450m vertical top-to-bottom test-piece of endurance.

    The added "Whistler" twist is that, unlike in previous rounds, riders will not be able to return to the pits in between the first four stages, demanding a much higher degree of self-sufficiency and equipment management than has been required before.

    Crankworx GM Darren Kinnaird said, "The course will take riders through a range of trails, from the alpine to the sub-alpine to race-course type terrain. Each trail is unique to the different part of the valley that it's situated in and showcases the variety of riding available here in Whistler. I think people will feel they're more in wilderness than in a resort."

    Having witnessed the drama and excitement of the first four rounds of the Enduro World Series first-hand, EWS Managing Director Chris Ball says this weekend's race will continue to challenge the world's best.

    "This Series has tested athletes from sea level to altitude, from the...

  • Marotte out to bury Pietermaritzburg demons

    Frenchman Maxime Marotte (BH-SR Suntour-KMC) has had a torrid time in Pietermaritzburg and will be hoping that he can make amends for his poor results in the past when he gets to the UCI MTB World Championships.
    Article published:
    August 10, 2013, 18:55 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Frenchman looking forward to mountain bike Worlds in South Africa

    Current men's cross country world number 11 Maxime Marotte (BH - SR Suntour KMC) has had a fairly torrid time at the Cascades MTB Park in the past, but this year he is fit and ready to take on the challenge of the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Pietermaritzburg starting on the August 26.

    The Frenchman has had a difficult season so far with a few tough patches that have disrupted his performances. He fell ill before the second World Cup event of the year and that meant that he was not able to reproduce the form that saw him take a fourth place in the season opener.

    "I was really happy with my fourth place at the first World Cup event this year," Marotte said.

    "After that first World Cup it became more and more difficult for me because of my illness and with the antibiotics I felt really tired and the good form I had was just not there."

    Competing in an event of this magnitude is something that Marotte has not taken for granted. The opportunity to wear his national colours and represent his entire nation is something that is not lost on the rider.

    "The world championship is very special because we compete in our national jerseys.

    "We live with the other riders from the other disciplines which means that we interact with other riders from our country which is exciting and we are always supporting each other because we are representing France," he said.

    The pressures of a one day race like the world champs is great and the riders know that they only have one chance to win the rainbow jersey. Being able to control the emotion and hype that surrounds such a high profile, pressurized event will be something that Marotte will hope he can control.

    "This is the most important race...

  • Streb and Vouilloz among 2013 Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductees

    Marla Streb told Cyclingnews that she intended to race in the downhill event
    Article published:
    August 10, 2013, 22:05 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    MBHOF gets new home

    The Mountain Bike Hall of Fame announced its five new inductees for 2013 for several categories according to its website: Marla Streb and Nicolas Vouilloz (racers); Bill and Robin Groff (pioneers); David Epperson (journalism) and the Concerned Off-Road Bicyclists Association (CORBA) (advocacy).

    Both nominated racers are downhillers. Streb won a UCI World Cup downhill, three US downhill national titles and the X Games championship. She has also been the Singlespeed World Champion. Vouilloz retired from mountain bike racing after winning his 10th downhill world championship in 2002. He only lost one world championship in which he competed due to suffering a flat tire. More recently, he has returned to racing in the new enduro format.

    CORBA was founded in August 1987 as a response to trail closures and to represent the interests of mountain bikers in the Santa Monica Mountains and Rim of the Valley Corridor near Los Angeles. CORBA quickly became a prominent voice of reason in the chaos of newly emerging mountain biking advocacy. A year later, and with other like-minded advocates, CORBA became one of the five founding clubs of IMBA. It has more than 25 years of advocacy experience and still operates today.

    Epperson has been on the mountain bike scene for nearly three and a half decades, and almost always with a camera in tow. He was the founding editor and senior photographer for Bicycle Sport Magazine and in 1981, his iconic photograph of a group of riders on klunkers in Crested Butte became the first poster for the Specialized Stumpjumper. His work has appeared in publications such as Bicycling, Bicycle Guide, Outside, Mountain Bike Action, Time Magazine, Velonews, Cyclist and Winning.

    The Groff brothers opened a bike shop, Rim Cyclery, in Moab, Utah in 1983. They also teamed up with John Groo to start a guide service called Rim Tours and put on the Moab (road)...

  • Couple weds during Leadville 100 race

    Soon to be newleyweds Rich Bucher and Julie Bass on their way to the highest point of the race to tie the knot.
    Article published:
    August 11, 2013, 19:49 BST
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    First-time 100-mile racers tie the knot atop Columbine

    First-time Leadville 100 racers Rick Bucher and Julie Bass took an unusual approach to the 100-mile mountain bike race in Colorado. They got married at the top of the famous Columbine climb midway through Saturday's race.

    "We had originally planned a wedding in Sedona. There is good mountain biking there," said Bucher to Cyclingnews. "We'd spoken about Leadville in the past. A few of our teammates had done it and said it was worth doing at least once."

    "One day Julie said, 'What do you think about getting married in Leadville?'. I said, "That'd be nice,' and she said, "How about on top of Columbine?'. That was one of the coolest things I ever heard, so we moved forward with the plan."

    Getting into the popular Leadville race is no easy chore, but contacting the registration personnel and letting them know their plans ahead of time helped Bucher and Bass get in.

    The couple has been racing bikes for more than two decades. "This is 26 years for me and 22 or 23 for Julie," said Bucher, who is a firefighter / paramedic in Scottsdale, and she is a physical therapist. They've been together for four years and engaged for one.

    The met because of two wheels, but not the bicycling kind. "I used to be a motorcycle road racer, and I had a catastrophic accident in which I broke my neck, leg and ankle. Julie was my PT. We got to talking during PT, and I came to find out we had a lot in common including road cycling and mountain biking. I think I'm more of a road racer than a mountain biker and Julie is more of the opposite."

    "One thing led to another and we went for a bike ride. The last four years have been absolutely fantastic."

    The couple has been training together all summer, including taking some trips to cooler locales at altitude to prepare for the conditions at Leadville.

    "Our biggest goal is to get to Columbine and...

  • Birthday boy Cooper returns to World Cup glory

    Anton Cooper on the climb at the UCI Under 23 Mountain Bike World Cup at Mont Sainte Anne, Canada
    Article published:
    August 11, 2013, 22:12 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    New Zealander breaks record in Mont-Sainte-Anne

    Junior mountain bike world champion Anton Cooper received the best possible birthday gift on Saturday with a record-breaking victory in the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Canada.

    The Cannondale Factory Team rider, who turned 19 in New Zealand on Sunday, took out the World Cup at Mont-Sainte-Anne to celebrate a remarkable return after recovering from a debilitating virus that forced him out of competition since May.

    With the North Canterbury teenager still 18 years of age in North America on Saturday, team officials informed that his win is the youngest by any cross country rider in a UCI Under 23 World Cup.

    "It is huge really. It's a huge confidence boost to come back from a rough couple of months out with illness. It really means a lot to me and I really want to thank everyone for sticking by me through thick and thin. It's good to be back on track," Cooper said.

    The young star became ill at the time of his under 23 World Cup debut in Germany in May, finishing down the field. He remained at his base in Germany for the next month but after he did not respond to treatment, he returned to his home in Woodend near Christchurch.

    Slowly his health improved and last month he got back on the bike, returning to race in Andorra two weeks ago where he placed 18th.

    "I only had two and a half weeks back in full training leading up to Andorra, and I had a rough week leading in. But I knew that a couple more weeks of training under my belt and with my health 100 per cent then I was going to be on for a good race," he said.

    "This whole week, my legs have been great, and I have been enjoying riding the...

  • Knox shifts gears back to cross country

    Max Knox (Specialized SA) has made the shift to the cross country event from Marathon riding for the UCI MTB World Championships and wants to absorb the occasion and learn from riding against the best riders in the world.
    Article published:
    August 12, 2013, 21:50 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    South African looking forward to MTB Worlds on home turf

    Former South African men's marathon mountain biking champion Max Knox has made the shift to cross country and is feeling confident that he can perform well as he prepares for the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in his hometown of Pietermaritzburg from August 26 to September 1.

    The Specialized-SA rider is aware of the massive difference between the two disciplines and does not feel that being a marathon rider will be hugely beneficial for him. Being a marathon rider does help in certain instances, according to Knox, but there are other areas that he will have to work on in order to be on top of his game.

    "Marathon riding and cross county are totally different and I don't think that being a marathon rider will give me an advantage over the other guys at the Worlds," Knox said.

    "But with that said, I have done a number of cross country races over the years, and I think that my endurance from marathon racing will be something that could help me.

    "If I use my endurance skills and add that to some speed work in the build-up to the Worlds, hopefully a good result will be possible for me."

    Being born and bred in Africa's "Bike City" should prove to be an advantage for Knox who has been able to get to know the course very well over the years. This knowledge could prove invaluable when the cross country gets underway at the Cascades MTB Park.

    "I went to school in Pietermaritzburg, which has meant that I have been on this course for years and I know what to expect," he said.

    The world's best riders will all be descending on Pietermaritzburg and being pitted against the finest is something that Knox is looking forward to. Being able to test his ability against these riders will be a huge experience for the Specialized-SA team member.

    "I think racing the best riders in the world is something that brings out the best in...

  • Smith shoots for mountain bike world championship gold

    The current world number three Steve Smith (Devinci Global Racing) claimed fifth position when the UCI World Cup was held in Pietermaritzburg last year and will be looking to beat an incredibly competitive field to win his first rainbow jersey.
    Article published:
    August 13, 2013, 20:45 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup winner proves form ahead of Worlds

    Steve Smith, the winner of the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup this weekend, has been in good form of late and is looking forward to having a shot at that elusive rainbow jersey when he returns to Pietermaritzburg for the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships at the end of August.

    The Devinci Global Racing rider also registered a fourth place in the UCI World Cup event in Andorra where he nudged out a number of big name competitors, including former world champion Greg Minnaar. He added this fourth to two top three finishes in the opening two World Cup events earlier this year and is positive about his season to date.

    "I'm happy with how the season has gone this far," Smith said.

    "I finished second and third at the first two World Cups and won two North American races including the Canadian National Champs and a Pro GRT along with a second at Sainte-Anne in Quebec and a third at the world champs last year in Leogang, Austria so I'm happy with my recent results."

    Representing your country is one of the standout reasons why Smith enjoys the world championships whilst the pressure that comes with a world championship is very different to that of a World Cup.

    "During the World Cup season, you have a number of legs to win the competition. At a world championship, you only have one opportunity and if you are not ready for it then you have to wait a whole year for another crack," said Smith.

    "It feels great to come with a different approach to World Cups with only the one objective, which is to win," he said.

    "It's also cool because we represent our countries and get bikes painted into the colours of our countries which makes for a very special race.

    Most riders have a good idea of their form and ability coming into an event and set their specific...

  • Schurter aims to defend rainbow jersey in South Africa

    The current men's Cross country world number one Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower MTB Racing) will be pushed all the way by a number of the world's top riders - especially Julien Absalon (BMC MTB Racing) and Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized Racing).
    Article published:
    August 14, 2013, 16:55 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Swiss rider on form after claiming three of five World Cups this season

    It has been a stellar season for current men's cross country mountain biking world number one and defending world champion Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower), and as he returns to one of his happiest hunting grounds, it would be brave to not bet on him to take the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships title at the Cascades MTB Park starting August 26 to September 1.

    Schurter has been in unbeatable form for the majority of the year, registering three wins out of five World Cup events in the process with only a flat tyre having prevented him from challenging for a fourth at the Mont-Sainte-Anne leg in Canada this past weekend.

    The Scott-Swisspower MTB Racing team rider did not start the season as well as expected when he could only manage a disappointing 18th place in the opening World Cup event in Albstadt, but he turned his season around dramatically to claim victory at the next three rounds before settling for a third just days ago.

    "I have been more than happy with my results so far this year," the 27-year-old Swiss rider said. "Having won three of the five World Cup events this year, I have been able to remain in first place in the rankings which is great."

    The defending world champion's record in Pietermaritzburg is outstanding with a hat-trick of victories on the track he thoroughly enjoys riding. In his current form and with his favourable record in "Bike City" he will be confident he can retain his world championship title in a couple of weeks' time.

    "I have raced there three times in the past three years, and I have won all of those races so you could definitely say it is my favourite course on the...