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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Date published:
February 29, 2012, 0:00 GMT
  • Lechner and Schneitter lead Colnago-Südtirol in 2012

    The Colnago-Südtirol Pro Mountain Bike Team
    Article published:
    February 23, 2012, 12:12 GMT
    Cycling News

    Italian-based, all women's team presented

    The all women's Colnago-Südtirol mountain bike pro team is ready for 2012. As the only Italian-based team awarded "UCI Elite Team" status for this season, the squad is looking forward to another strong showing on the international circuit.

    Eva Lechner, Nathalie Schneitter, Vivienne Meyer, Mariangela Cerati, Julia Innerhofer and Lisa Rabensteiner comprise the team for 2012.

    With a 2011 world championships bronze medal in her pocket and an overall third and fourth finish in the individual UCI ranking in 2010 and 2011 respectively, expectations are high for the forthcoming Olympic season for Italy's Lechner.

    The intentions of Nathalie Schneitter of Switzerland are similar. She was fifth last year in Switzerland at Champéry's world championships and placed eighth in 2011 and sixth in 2010 in the overall UCI rankings.

    Whereas Lechner has already managed to secure her spot for London, Schneitter still needs to qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games. Only at the end of May, after the first four World Cup races in Pietermaritzburg (RSA), Houffalized (Bel), Nove Mesto (Cze) and La Bresse (Fra), will the Swiss National Olympic Committee evaluate performances and select their Athletes for London.

    "We have a dream - winning World Cups, world championships and the 2012 London Olympic Games," said team manager Edmund Telser during the team's presentation. "Eva and Nathalie, having gained valuable experiences in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, are very promising candidates for the upcoming 2012 Olympic Games in London, with a podium finish within their reach."

    "The aims for the rest...

  • Video: 24 hours of Old Pueblo race wrap-up

    24-Hour Town hosts up to 3,500 racers and spectators for the weekend of the 24 Hours of Old Pueblo race
    Article published:
    February 23, 2012, 17:06 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Thousands enjoy weekend of racing and fun in the Arizona desert

    With the growth of mountain bike marathons and stage races, 24-hour races have been dropping off the endurance race calendar in recent years, but in Arizona, 24-hour racing is alive and well.

    Thousands of 24 Hours of Old Pueblo racers met up in the Arizona desert over the weekend of February 17-19 to compete solo and as parts of two, four and five-person teams from noon on Saturday until noon on Sunday. Some raced with gears, some raced on singlespeeds.

    This video by Devon Balet (, provided courtesy of race organizer Epic Rides, captures the true spirit of 24-hour racing.

    You can also check out complete race coverage with full race results (including riders and teams), photos from Dave McElwaine and a brief race report from the weekend.  Or read this article about the winning, four-person teams.

  • Hermida heads to Andalucia Bike Race with new partner

    Jose Antonio Hermida is an ambassador for the Andalucia Bike Race.
    Article published:
    February 24, 2012, 11:29 GMT
    Cycling News

    Race's second edition kicks off this weekend

    Jose Antonio Hermida (Multivan Merida) will return to race the second edition of the Andalucia Bike Race, which starts on Sunday, February 26. The former cross country world champion recently finished up a training camp on Mallorca.

    "It's been very positive to spend three weeks in Mallorca. We have met up with teammates and the entire technical staff again, what is a pleasure," said Hermida. "These are moments that strengthen the human connection within our group." Hermida was also pleased to receive his team equipment for 2012 and get it dialed in.

    The Andalucía Bike Race is a stage race in the south of Spain, with traditionally good weather despite the "winter' season. Hermida is an official ambassador of the race.

    "The race was great last year, and I was amazed by the quality of the routes that can be prepared in this part of our territory. What motivates me the most is the level of the riders who will be at the starting grid. It will be a tough fight that will be very useful for tuning my shape toward the first World Cup."

    Hermida will race together with his teammate Rudi van Houts. He is aiming to win a stage and finish the race without any mishaps. Multivan Merida will also field a second team consisting of Andreas Kugler and Hannes Genze.

    Last year, Hermida withdrew from the race after his teammate Ralp Näf had to pull out due to an injury.

  • Downhill racing returns to Massanutten

    Logan Mulally racing at the Massanutten Yee Ha!
    Article published:
    February 24, 2012, 15:29 GMT
    Cycling News

    Virginia venue set to host regional contest in April

    The site of a former UCI Downhill World Cup, Massanutten Resort, near Harrisonburg, Virginia, will host its annual Massanutten YeeHa! downhill on April 28-29.

    New for 2012 is a shift from a Friday-Saturday event to a more standard Saturday-Sunday event. "For the first time since 1997, we will run the downhill on a Saturday and Sunday instead of a Friday and Saturday," said Massanutten's Resort George Willetts. "Saturday is practice day, and Sunday is race day."

    The event is not part of any gravity series. "This year, we will be a non-sanctioned race. We're an independent, stand-alone race with a long-running history."

    Organizers are working on continued improvements to the tried and tested 1.2-mile course.

    "The course has a small facelift planned. There is a bit of work happening," said Willetts. "We're constantly trying to improve the trail. Ironwood Outdoors is running a machine to create the flow trail section. That will take more track off the dirt road and fireroad and make it more singletrack. It builds on what we did last year."

    Last year, young riders like Logan Mulally and Lauren Delaney excelled and both are expected to return to compete again this year.

    Massanutten hosted the UCI Downhill World Cup in 1997 and has hosted downhills each year since 1998. It also hosts a popular Triple Crown weekend of cross country, super D and short track racing each June, known as the Massanutten Hoo Ha!. This year's event, the 24th annual, is scheduled for June 9-10.

    Camping and practice time are included in the race registration fee. For more information, visit

  • NorCal high school league so popular it may have to split

    Racers in the NorCal High School Cycling League during the 2011 season
    Article published:
    February 24, 2012, 19:29 GMT
    Cycling News

    Another year of big growth necessitates forthcoming restructure

    Student-athletes, coaches, team directors and league officials are focused on February 26, the start date of yet another record-setting year of mountain bike racing with the five-round Northern California High School Cycling League.

    In a year in which the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) embarked on its most expansive season to date, with seven racing leagues taking place in six states, the NorCal League, which is where it all started back in 2000, continues to grow at about the maximum manageable rate, with athlete numbers expected to reach 650, up 14% from last year, and team numbers up 16%, 43 this year compared to 38 in 2011.

    Vanessa Hauswald, the NorCal League’s director, said, "With more teams than ever, the 2012 NorCal League race season will showcase the power and determination of riders from every skill level. Thanks to our incredible coaches, we are able to provide the opportunity for every student-athlete to succeed on these teams. We look forward to seeing even more community members and non-cyclists out to cheer on the kids this season!"

    Emily Cerna, Salinas Cowboys, varsity, started two years ago as a freshman and now in only her third year is leap-frogging junior varsity to go straight in into varsity.

    "I worked very hard at this last year, and now, being a junior going into a varsity race, I am very excited yet nervous at the same time because the competition level is so high in varsity girls," said Cerna. "I'm also excited for my team, The Salinas High Cowboy Racing Team because I think they will do very well! I probably couldn't accomplish so much without my coach/dad Mike Cerna and my coaches Robert Estrella and Jim Warwick."

    Sean Bennett, of the El Cerrito team, moves into junior varsity after winning the freshman's league last year.

    "I haven't been racing in...

  • Stan's NoTubes Women's Elite team rides again

    The NoTubes Teams put on quite a show this weekend.
    Article published:
    February 27, 2012, 18:26 GMT
    Cycling News

    Barclay, Haywood, Kaufmann, Smith bolster line-up

    The Stan's NoTubes Women's Elite Team announced it has returned for a second season. Coming off of a victorious inaugural year, the women are poised to repeat their success with an even stronger team and additional sponsors.

    The 2012 roster includes returning members Nina Baum, Shannon Gibson, Kathy Sherwin and U23 rider Kaila Hart. Joining them will be four additional riders: Vicki Barclay, Susan Haywood, Sarah Kaufmann, and Jenny Smith.

    "We're excited to add several new women to our team who embrace all disciplines in mountain biking," said Shannon Gibson, who doubles as team manager. "Not only are these ladies tremendous athletes who excel in a variety of events, but they are excellent ambassadors for women in mountain biking."

    In their debut race, the ladies geared up and took on 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo where they repeated last year's win in the 4-person women category. Old Pueblo guest of honor and Olympic medalist, Susan DeMattei, made a guest appearance on the team and helped the women secure their victory.

    The team's full schedule will include US ProXCT, World Cup cross country, national and world championships, marathon, National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series, MTB stage races, super D and enduro events.

    "As a team, we are a group with a solid presence in the cycling community who will pull together and support each other - a whole greater than the sum of the parts," said Gibson. "As individuals, we are all excited to have the privilege of being outside, riding bikes with old friends and new, and inspiring women and girls everywhere with our athleticism, our ability to challenge ourselves to new heights, and our dedication to our sport."

  • Brosnan - Hill rivalry continues to excite fans at nationals

    Sam Hill was unable to match Brosnan today.
    Article published:
    February 29, 2012, 3:32 GMT
    Cycling News

    Australian pair never separated by more than one position

    Another 1-2 finish for Team Monster Energy-Specialized riders Troy Brosnan and Sam Hill at the Australian National Championships in South Australia over the weekend, further amped up their already intense rivalry, with Brosnan's blinding run of  1:59.05 giving him the edge on this occasion.

    Brosnan and Hill have been going 1-2 for the whole Australian National Mountain Bike Series season and expectations were extremely high for the duo, as they took on the national titles.

    The crowd were treated to a spectacle from the opening seeding runs, with Brosnan, Hill and Jarod Graves all separated by less than 3 seconds in their consecutive runs.

    Both riders were confident however they could improve ahead of the finals on Sunday. Despite Hill doing a near perfect run leaving nothing on the mountain with a 2.01.12, Brosnan was just a little bit better on the day, a growing theme in the two's competition meetings.

    "Troy is really on top of his game at the moment and I cant wait to race him on some World Cup tracks," said Hill after the championships. Brosnan meanwhile admitted that he was nervous hearing Hill's time just before his final run and was nearly thrown when he heard it over the loud speaker.

    "I was real nervous in the gate and tried really hard not to hear Sam’s time, but just heard it before I left. Luckily I kept it together and I had a great run. It all went to plan really, the pressure didn’t get to me and I didn’t make any mistakes. I couldn’t have asked for anything more."

    Team manager Sean Heimdal insisted that rivalry aside, it was amazing to see just how consistent the two have been throughout the year.

    "I'm speechless. I'm now just excited to see what they'll be able to do when the World Cup season gets under way."

  • Gallery: Cannondale Factory Racing kicks off team camp

    Marco Fontana and Tinker Juarez (Cannondale Factory Racing)
    Article published:
    February 29, 2012, 11:21 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Cross country, endurance and OverMountain riders gather

    For the first time in the four-year history of the Cannondale Factory Racing squad, all of the team's athletes have come together in an official team training camp. A mix of cross country, endurance and OverMountain riders convened in Finale Ligure, Italy, for a few days of riding and meeting the media.

    The images below capture the events of the evening just before the official team presentation. Following a few days of training and photoshooting, riders were introduced to the media on Tuesday night.

    The Cannondale Factory Racing team includes World Cup cross country racers such as Marco Fontana, Manuel Fumic, Martin Gujan and Jeremiah Bishop and American junior cross country racers Keegan Swenson and Taylor Smith. Endurance pros Tinker Juarez and Alex Grant are also in attendance. In 2012, the team will also provide support for US Olympic Long team member Krista Park.

    Jerome Clementz, Mark Weir, Ben Cruz and Aaron Chase are on hand representing Cannondale's OverMountain team.

    The site of the gathering, Finale Ligure, is west of Genoa and is home to the 24 hours of Finale Ligure mountain bike race, an enduro race and a new for 2012 Alta Via mountain bike stage race.