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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Date published:
August 22, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Platt to defend title in Langkawi

    Karl Platt (Team Bulls) wins in Langkawi
    Article published:
    August 16, 2012, 18:45 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Team Bulls rider returns to mountain bike stage race in Malaysia

    Having conquered Langkawi in style on his maiden attempt last year, German rider Karl Platt has no intention of being dethroned as the Langkawi International Mountain Bike Challenge men's overall winner.

    The Team Bulls ace, who won three stages en route to topping the general classification in the second edition last year, confirmed his defence of the title in the upcoming race this October 15-20.

    The challenge of facing a much tougher and longer course in addition to an expected stronger field this year has not curtailed Platt's optimism in continuing his winning ways.

    "The LIMBC was an awesome experience for me last year. Winning the general classification made for a perfect ending to my season, and I even had time to enjoy the beauty of the island a bit," said Platt.

    "I'm excited to see the new route and after my success last year, I'm for sure not only coming back to just participate."

    Platt, 34, was truly a dominant force in LIMBC 2011, winning stages 2, 4 and 5 and he never finished outside the top three en route to the overall title.

    The record holding four-time winner of the Cape Epic in South Africa and seven-time winner of the TransAlp from Germany to Italy is currently ranked ninth in the UCI MTB Marathon Series.

    Platt's track record especially at the TransAlp Challenge - a route that covers nearly 600km over eight days, which includes 20,000 metres of climbing - makes him a hot favourite to remain on the pedestal in Langkawi.

    LIMBC organiser and CEO of Human Voyage Sdn Bhd, Datuk Malik Mydin, is happpy to have Platt back for the third edition. "We are delighted to see Karl return to Langkawi to defend his title. The moment he topped the GC in 2011, he intimated to us his plans of returning this year.

    "We are happy that he has made good his promise. He showed himself to be a true champion at...

  • Schurter comes to terms with silver medal

    Nino Schurter (Switzerland)
    Article published:
    August 16, 2012, 21:29 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Two Olympic medals to date in career of 26-year-old mountain biker

    Nino Schurter had the fight of his life in London on Sunday, when he battled Jaroslav Kulhavy and Marco Fontana for a gold medal at the Olympic Games mountain bike race near London.

    In a thrilling finale, Kulhavy beat Schurter in the sprint at the end of the seven-lap cross country race. It wasn't the result that Schurter, who won bronze in Beijing in 2008, had hoped and trained for, but eventually the Swiss rider realized and celebrated what he had accomplished.

    "I know that this was one of my best performances ever, and I am proud to have achieved two Olympic podiums at the age of 26. We had a great team and London 2012 will always hold fond memories for me."

    Having just won the 2012 World Cup, including four of the seven rounds, Schurter, who races for Scott-Swisspower, was on form. Even defending champion Julien Absalon had tagged Schurter as the man to beat prior to the race.

    Schurter seemed to be faster in the technical bits and descents while Kulhavy was a slightly stronger on the flats and climbs. All three leaders tried attacks on the final lap until Fontana had to drop back following a broken seat post that resulted in his seat and seat post falling off. Schurter led into the final three turns, but on the very last small climb, Kulhavy surprised him by coming through on the inside of a long left turn. It proved to be the race-winning move by the Czech rider.

    "Up until 200 meters before the finish it was my perfect race," said Schurter. "Everything went superb. I was able to ride at my best. I had no critical moments. It all looked so good for me, I was sure I would win!"

    "After he passed me and I thought I could still catch him on the final straight, but it was too short."

    The post-race...

  • Kabush happy after best Olympic performance

    Geoff Kabush (Can) settled into eighth place with two to go.
    Article published:
    August 17, 2012, 14:56 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Eighth place yields best-ever Canadian finish

    Geoff Kabush achieved the best ever Canadian results in the Olympic men's mountain bike race last Sunday in London. He finished in eighth place.

    It was the Scott-3Rox Racing Team rider's third Olympic participation. He was ninth in the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and the Beijing Olympics in 2008, but sat out the Athens Olympics in 2004 when he was not selected for the team.

    "With so many variables in mountain biking, I was happy to be able to produce a solid competitive race in London," said Kabush. "I've always dreamed and prepared to compete for a medal at the Olympics but I have to be satisfied with the best ever Canadian Olympic result in eighth."

    Kabush was also the best placed North American rider.  Todd Wells, riding for the United States, was the next best in 10th place.

    "I owe a huge thanks to the incredible supporting cast behind the scenes as I couldn't do it with this team behind me," said Kabush, who named his team and sponsors specifically.

    "I have truly enjoyed the journey to London and if I continue to have as much fun racing as I am now, I might make another run at Rio 2016. Thanks to everyone who has sent messages of support and congratulations."

    Kabush's Canadian teammate Max Plaxton also had high hopes for the day after logging his best-ever World Cup finish, on the podium, earlier this summer. But he pulled out of the race after crashing on some gravel and aggravating a knee that had been bothering him for several weeks.

  • Bresset still celebrating Olympic success

    Julie Bresset (France) flies toward victory
    Article published:
    August 18, 2012, 18:01 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Champion returns home after winning gold in London

    Olympic mountain bike champion Julie Bresset, 23, returned home to Ploeuc sur Lié, France, on Tuesday afternoon, where nearly 300 people gathered to welcome and cheer the gold medal winner, according to velovert.com. Bresset stepped off a train and onto a red carpet, posing for photographs, signing autographs and giving out hugs. What followed later were speeches and a party with 2,000 people.

    The BH - SR Suntour - Peisey Vallandry racer made history by winning the World Cup in 2011 while she was still a U23 rider. Then one week ago, she won the Olympic women's cross country mountain bike race in her first year as an elite rider.

    Bresset described what it was like on the top of the Olympic podium. "I felt a lot of things. I couldn't believe it. Standing on the podium was great! Tears just wouldn't stop running down my face. My family, my friends, my coach came to mind."

    Bresset had promised to throw a big party if she won the Olympics. "I must say, though, I haven't stopped celebrating since Saturday. I'm going to celebrate in Spain, too."

    The Olympic day went perfectly for the French woman, who looked smooth and comfortable throughout the race while her main rival world champion Catharine Pendrel had a bad day.

    "I was super focused and in very good form. I liked the circuit. I'd decided to stay on the front and rely on my racing technique. It was a perfect race. This was a rhythmical course, with abrupt gradients and recovery sections, was good for me."

    When asked what comes next for big...

  • Absalon to race mountain bike Worlds

    Medal contender Julien Absalon (France) suffered an early race puncture and pulled out of the race
    Article published:
    August 18, 2012, 19:24 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    French man extends season after Olympic disappointment

    Following a disappointing Olympic race in London, Julien Absalon decided to extend his final season with Orbea through the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Saalfelden, Austria, in mid-September.

    The French mountain biker pulled out of the Olympic race in London after a flat tire and was not able to defend his two previous Olympic titles from 2004 and 2008.

    In recent years, Absalon has tended to skip certain big races to target others. For example, he sat out the North American World Cups this season to prepare for the Olympic Games. After meeting with coach Gérard Brocks, Absalon decided to contend the Worlds.

    "He has taken up the challenge," said Brocks to velovert.com. "I told him after the Olympic race that it was worth it after all the sacrifices of the past few months. In addition, this winter will be long and he must not delay starting again on new projects."

    This 2012-2013 off-season will be extra long with the first World Cup starting one month later than usual in May compared with this season, when the World Cup kicked off one month early in March. He will race in 2013 for BMC.

    Absalon took a week to decompress after the Olympics and is expected to resume training for Worlds on a yet to be defined program.

  • Wells and Mata top US Pro XCT standings after Wisconsin finale

    Todd Wells (Specialized Racing) leads Ryan Woodall after the first climb
    Article published:
    August 21, 2012, 19:20 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Subaru Cup wraps up US national series for 2012

    The USA Cycling Pro Cross Country Tour (Pro XCT) wrapped up on Saturday with the Subaru Cup in Mt. Morris, Wisconsin. With standings supremacy up for grabs, riders competed hard for every inch of terrain.

    Todd Wells (Specialized Factory Racing) finished second in Saturday's race to collect 190 points and jump from third into the top spot of the US Pro XCT men's standings. Wells completed the season with 700 points, 70 points ahead of the second-place Sam Schultz (Subaru-Trek). Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Trek) matched Schultz's 630 points, but finished in third place because Schultz won the Missoula XC. Colin Cares (Kenda-Felt) tumbled from the top spot into fourth place after finishing 18th in Wisconsin. Russell Finsterwald (Subaru-Trek) is the top-ranked U23 rider, placing fifth in the final standings with 560 points, only 15 points behind Cares.

    Monique "Pua" Mata (Sho-Air-Specialized) placed second in Wisconsin, but topped the final US Pro XCT women's standings with 730 points. The winner of Saturday's race, Judy Freeman (Crank Brothers), collected the maximum 200 points after winning on Saturday, but finished the season in third place with 580 points. Heather Irmiger (Subaru Trek) kept her second place in the series with a sixth place on the day and 680 points overall, while Erin Huck (Tokyo Joe's) slipped one spot into fourth with 500 points. Only five points behind Huck is Chloe Woodruff (Crank Brothers), who placed third in Saturday's race to finish the season with 495 points.

    The top five of the Pro XCT team standings are unchanged after the previous standings update. Subaru-Trek topped the final standings with 194 points, 81 points ahead of the second-place Specialized Racing. Kenda-Felt Pro Mountain Bike Team finished in third place...

  • Kabush and Zandstra to race Crank the Shield

    Geoff Kabush (Scott-3Roxracing)
    Article published:
    August 22, 2012, 14:35 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Canadian mountain bike stage race set for mid-September

    Crank The Shield, a three-day point-to-point stage race in Ontario, Canada, will take place again this fall from September 14-16.

    Crank The Shield has grown to become one of North America's most popular stage races attracting riders from across Canada and the United Stated.

    The 2012 edition will include the participation of Olympian Geoff Kabush and teammate Derek Zandstra (Scott-3 Rox Racing) as well as over 300 riders of varying abilities and experience.

    For more information, visit www.cranktheshield.com.

  • British mountain bike national calendar announced for 2013

    Annie Last (Great Britain) races to a top 10 finish at the Olympic mountain bike race
    Article published:
    August 22, 2012, 18:08 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Dates and venues selected for national series and championships

    The Olympic mountain bike course of Hadleigh Farm will see racing action again next season. The venue will host the final round of the 2013 British Cross Country Series per the 2013 national calendar announced by British Cycling on its website this week.

    The British Cross Country Series will feature five rounds in 2013 and will include races for amateurs and pros. All rounds are in process of getting UCI classification.

    The season will open at the established venue of Sherwood Pines before visiting a new series venue in Cornwall. The next two rounds in Shropshire and Port Talbot are also familiar venues, and the series will finish off at Hadleigh Farm, just over one year after the Olympic Games race.

    The British cross country national championships will be held in Cathkin Braes, Glasgow. That event will serve as a test event for the 2014 Commonwealth Games. The trails at this venue are under construction and should be completed later this year.

    2013 British Cross Country Series
    March 24: Round 1 - Sherwood Pines, Notts.
    April 28: Round 2 - United Downs, Redruth, Cornwall
    June 2: Round 3 - Hopton Woods, Shropshire
    July 7: Round 4 - Margam Park, Port Talbot
    August 18: Round 5 - Hadleigh Farm, Essex

    2013 British Cross Country Championships
    July 20-21: National Championships, Cathkin Braes, Glasgow