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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Date published:
December 07, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Crusher in the Tushar back for another helping

    A variety of different bicycles were on the front row of the start line of the inaugural edition of the Crusher in the Tushar. Left to right: David "Tinker" Jarez, Tim Johnson, Jeff Louder, Tyler Wren, Nick Frey and Paul Mach.
    Article published:
    December 05, 2011, 20:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    Off-road race grows in 2012

    The Crusher in the Tushar, a race promoted by recently retired road and mountain bike pro Burke Swindlehurst, will return in 2012 with the Beaver County Travel Council as a new title sponsor. The 69-mile point-to-point off-road race from Beaver, Utah, to the ski resort at Eagle Point will happen on Saturday, July 14.

    Last year's inaugural edition attracted 200 racers from 17 states and Canada. Olympian Clara Hughes won the pro women's division while Tyler Wren won the men's division over competition like Tinker Juarez, Tim Johnson, Jeff Louder and Paul Mach.

    "It was hugely satisfying to see the race come off the way it did and particularly how much the local community embraced the event," Swindlehurst said. "The Beaver County Travel Council came to me afterwards and said they wanted to play an even larger role for 2012. As a result, the event now has a title sponsor and I couldn't be more thrilled."

    As a special thank you to first-year participants, Swindlehurst said riders who registered for the 2011 edition will be given an special early registration opportunity the day before it opens to the general public on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 at 7:00 pm MST.

    "In anticipation of a quick sell-out of the limited number of spots (350) available for the 2012 Crusher, I want to show my gratitude to those who supported the event in its first year by giving them a jump on registration," Swindlehurst said. "I like to take care of those who take care of me."

    Registered "Crusher" riders from 2011 will receive an email explaining how they can take advantage of the early registration opportunity, Swindlehurst said.

    For more information, visit

  • Fontana drops out of US Pro XCT

    The elite women all lined up to start the US Pro XCT in Wisconsin
    Article published:
    December 06, 2011, 1:38 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    2012 US National Series to consist of five rounds

    The 2012 USA Cycling Pro Mountain Bike Cross Country Tour (US Pro XCT) will shrink by one round after the originally scheduled third round, Fontana, withdrew from the series. Originally announced on September 21, the 2012 US Pro XCT will consist of five rounds as it did in 2011. Changes to the dates and UCI categories of some of the other series races have also been made.

    The US Cup's Triple Crown Fontana round will not be inscripted by the UCI in 2012. No longer part of the US Pro XCT, it will continue to happen as part of the US Cup's Rock N Road West Series Cup.

    "The long and short of it is our budget," said Ty Kady of the US Cup, which organizes races in Bonelli Park and Fontana. "What we collect and what Sho-Air is providing has been reduced. From a business standpoint and having hosted these events in the past, hosting a Pro XCT isn't a money maker for us. You have to hire UCI judges and house them and have a larger (prize) purse. It's not like we get a larger turnout for doing so. This year things are tighter, and we're watching our dollars."

    Kady told Cyclingnews that the US Cup had thought about also pulling Bonelli Park out of the US Pro XCT, too, but changed its mind after USA Cycling and the UCI allowed them to down-categorize the race from a C1 to a C3. "With a C3, entry fees and purse are lower - it's more affordable for us," said Kady.

    Another reason for withdrawing Fontana from the series was scheduling. With the Olympic Games taking up some of August in 2012, other major events have fewer total weekends to happen. Per the US Pro XCT schedule released in mid-September, top US athletes would have travelled to California for Bonelli Park, then to South...

  • Video: Meet Nicole Allan, directeur sportif with MTN-Qhubeka

    MTN-Qhubeka DS, Nicole Allan
    Article published:
    December 06, 2011, 3:39 GMT
    Cycling News

    Twenty-eight-year-old tells Cyclingnews about her unique role

    There is no single woman working as a directeur sportif in the the world's best teams. Cyclingnews met one who might be the exemption at the recent Tour of Rwanda - Nicole Allan, who at age 28 is a directeur sportif with South African team MTN-Qhubeka.

    Having completed a sports science honors degree, Allan joined MTN-Qhubeka last season.

    Allan spends most of her time working with the mountain bike team however in 2012 she is poised to work with the team's new directeur sportif, Jens Zemke at some European road races.

    Giving an insight into her unique role, Allan tells Cyclingnews that as a woman it's about earning the respect of her male counterparts.

  • Trans Germany presents 2012 host towns

    Pia Sundstedt was the top women's rider.
    Article published:
    December 06, 2011, 17:58 GMT
    Cycling News

    Stage race to visit Seefeld instead of Achensee

    Organizers revealed the 2012 host towns for the Trans Germany mountain bike stage race starting on June 6 in Sonthofen and finishing on June 9 in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The four-day race will also pass through Pfronten, Lermoos and Seefeld, with the later two of those towns being in Austria.

    With the inclusion of Seefeld as a host town, the route is changing significantly for stages 3 and 4.

    "Right now we are working on refining the route. But just to let you know, I was in Leutasch, in Seefeld and in Garmisch-Partenkirchen with my bike for three days, and I experienced wonderful landscapes and amazing views," said race director Marc Schneider.

    "I had a look at courses, which are very promising. Compared to 2011, the new route will be upgraded to a great extent."

    The head of Sonthofen's department of culture and sports, Helmut Maier, came along to check out stage 1 from Sonthofen to Pfronten. The first stage will get an extra 160m of climbing relative to last year's edition.

    No changes are planned for stage 2 from Pfronten to Lermoos.

    Details on the new routes for stages 3 and 4 are still under development. The Trans Germany will no longer visit Achensee, last year's final host town.

    "We were planning to include Achensee. We always had a fantastic collaboration," said Schneider. "Unfortunately the route from Garmisch-Partenkirchen to Achensee turned out to be difficult, even more difficult than last year. We had to consider issues of natural conservation as well as issues regarding the police. A construction site at Sylvenstein, which has a great influence on the traffic, also made things very complicated. To neutralize the race because of traffic safety is not something we wanted to consider again."

    Pia Sundstedt and Christoph Sauser won the 2011 edition of the Trans Germany, which was held about one week earlier on the...

  • USA likely to send four mountain bikers to Olympics

    Lea Davison dials in the first descent on the Olympic mountain bike course
    Article published:
    December 06, 2011, 20:38 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Qualification process still underway

    It is looking likely that two male and two female mountain bikers will wear American colors at the 2012 London Olympic Games - the same number that qualified for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

    Last Thursday, the United States announced its mountain bike Long Team for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. The eight men and nine women on the list are eligible to be selected for the US Olympic team to fill the spots for which the US ends up qualifying. The maximum that any nation can qualify is three men and two women.

    "It's my strong opinion that we'll qualify two women and two men," said USA Cycling's Marc Gullickson to Cyclingnews. "At the end of the last rankings cycle, I thought we had a chance for three men, but even though we have four more World Cups, I think it will be hard to move up that much.

    "Optimistically, I'd like to think we have a shot, but I think that most riders won't be going around trying to chase UCI points next spring. I think they'll be trying to train specifically to get the best results at the World Cups, and that doesn't always translate into flying all over and getting points." Good World Cup results are just what the nation's best riders will need to make the final cut for London.

    The UCI determines how many men and women each nation can send to the Olympic Games. Points are tallied from two year-long periods and then combined: May 24, 2009 to May 23, 2010 and May 24, 2011 to May 23, 2012. It is the total points, not the rankings that are added for each nation.  After the UCI determines the number of riders per country, each country gets to pick their specific riders.

    As of the most recent UCI rankings of November 14, the American women were in sixth place and the American men were in ninth place. The top five...

  • KHS announces 2012 factory team

    The new US downhill national champion, Logan Binggeli.
    Article published:
    December 06, 2011, 22:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    Five athletes selected for gravity team

    The KHS Factory Team will be back in action for 2012, this time with five mountain bikers, who will compete in a mix of downhill, four cross, dual slalom and super D events.

    Look for the team at the Southridge Winter Series in Fontana, California, starting in January. Its riders will also be at events like the Sea Otter Classic, the US Open of Mountain Biking, US Mountain Bike Nationals, Urban Nationals, the US Grand Prix of Mountain Biking, Crankworx and UCI Gravity World Cups.

    Returning athletes include US downhill national champion Logan Binggeli, Kevin Aiello, Quinton Spaulding and Dale Holmes while Bryson Martin has just joined the squad.

    2012 KHS Factory Team Roster
    Logan Binggeli (downhill, four cross, dual slalom and super D)
    Kevin Aiello (downhill, four cross, dual slalom and super D)
    Bryson Martin Jr (downhill, four cross, dual slalom and super D)
    Quinton Spaulding (downhill and some super D events)
    Dale Holmes (some four cross, dual slalom and super D events)

  • Rabobank presents its 2012 teams

    Michael "bling" Matthews (Rabobank)
    Article published:
    December 07, 2011, 0:02 GMT
    Cycling News

    Men's and women's road and mountain bike squads are introduced

    Rabobank presented its team for 2012 on Tuesday - or rather, its teams. Four separate teams will carry the name of the Dutch bank in the coming season, and all attended the presentation in Utrecht. The mens' pro team, the Continental team, and the Off-Road team were joined by the new women's team built around Marianne Vos.

    Newcomer Mark Renshaw is the team's new hope for sprint victories, in the absence of Oscar Freire. The Australian, who comes over from the defunct HTC-Highroad, will now have the chance to go for sprint wins against his former captain Mark Cavendish.

    "I'm very motivated for next year, its a great opportunity for me," he said at the presentation. "I'm proud to be on board with Rabobank."

    "My first objective for the season is the Tour Down Under."

    The other two newcomers are Jetse Bol and Wilco Kelderman, both of whom come up from the Continental team.

    One of 2011's newcomers was Matti Breschel, who came to lead the team in Spring Classics, but missed them due to knee problems. He returned to racing over the summer, only to crash out of the Vuelta a Espana with two broken fingers.

    "Right now it's all about the Classics," the Dane said "I feel fine, 100 per cent."

    Robert Gesink was proud to report his progress recovering from a broken femur, suffered in a training crash in September. "I'm satisfied with how it is going. On Sunday I rode for four hours on the 'cross bike. That was a milestone."

    Steven Kruijswijk will ride the Tour de France for the first time next year, it was announced. He finished...

  • Spitz back in racing action

    Sabine Spitz in the Frankfurter Radcross
    Article published:
    December 07, 2011, 18:36 GMT
    Cycling News

    German recovered after broken elbow

    Sabine Spitz (Central Haibike) is back in competition after breaking her arm in a crash while training prior to the final German Bundesliga final round in Bad Sazdetfurth in September.

    The 2008 Olympic champion had fractured her radius near the elbow joint. This past weekend, she resumed racing at the Frankfurter Rad-Cross race in Germany. Her team reported that she was feeling good and the injury had healed well.

    "I'm very happy and it was fun. I no difficulty or pain in my arm during the race," said Spitz, who finished eighth.

    The race was her first real test after injury and after completing some base training in Cyprus.

    "From the second lap onward, I felt good, but I didn't want to risk too much given the slippery conditions, and therefore I rode defensively. I can continue to build for next season based on the preparation I've done thus far." Marianne Vos, the current cyclo-cross world champion, won the event.

    Spitz's Central Haibike teammate Tereza Hurikova is also back in action after breaking her collarbone during a training session at the world championships in Champery, Switzerland. She is feeling fit again and is highly motivated for the coming Olympic year.