A close-up look at the Australian's purpose-built ride
Australian's 2015 Tinkoff-Saxo team bike
Winner of the 2015 Tour Down Under
New and old kicks and lids seen at WorldTour race
Angel Fire wins two-year bid
Angel Fire Bike Park in Angel Fire, New Mexico, will host the USA Cycling Gravity Mountain Bike National Championships in 2013 and 2014. Exact dates will be announced later.
The event, which was held independently from the cross country national championships for the first time in 2011, features dual slalom and downhill races. The 2013 and 2014 contests will use part of the downhill course ridden during the 2011 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships in late October.
"We're very excited to bring the USA Cycling Mountain Bike Gravity National Championships to Angel Fire in 2013 and 2014," USA Cycling National Events Director Kelli Lusk said. "Angel Fire has a long, illustrious history of hosting gravity events, so we're looking forward to having the gravity national championships there."
"Angel Fire Bike Park is extremely honored to host the most prestigious gravity event in the United States for 2013 and 2014," Angel Fire Resort Bike Park Director Hogan Koesis said. "We look forward to showcasing the most exciting and challenging courses in the Rocky Mountains. Let the racing begin!"
The 2011 edition of gravity nationals will be held July 20-22 in Beech Mountain, North Carolina. Upcoming editions of cross country nationals will be held in Sun Valley, Idaho (July 5-8,2012) and the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania (2013-2014).
Brosnan and Hill to go head to head once more
The Australian Mountain Bike National Series continues this weekend with downhill action set for round 3 of the Gravity Cup in the ACT.
The cup will be held at Stromlo Forest Park from February 3-5, with the cycling venue now a part of Australian mountain bike legend after hosting the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in 2009 for which it was specifically refurbished.
Troy Brosnan, the 2010 and 2011 Junior World Downhill Champion, stepped up to elite from the juniors at the start of this season in December at Thredbo. With a confident first in Thredbo followed by a jaw-dropping 5.35 seconds win from the field in Mt Buller, Brosnan already carries a significant points lead in the season.
Happy to be racing well with "the big boys in elite", Brosnan feels his form shows good signs for his overseas preparations. "This is a really good lead up to the world cups," he said.
Sam Hill, a three-time elite world champion in his own right, will also be racing and is making progress on his return from injury in 2011 and is currently sitting in second place in the season behind Brosnan. Local rider Ben Cory sits in fourth place and will be hoping to have another strong performance on his home track.
In the women's field, Tracey Hannah, the 2006 Junior Women's Downhill World Champion, will continue her extraordinary return to the sport. Hannah is undefeated in seeding and race runs in her return national season, and goes into the Stromlo round as the unquestionable favourite, with a good result another strong step toward her world championship aspirations.
The event is separate from the CycleNation Real Insurance marathon series which begins in early March.
Elite and junior riders named for 2012
Team TX Active-Bianchi presented its new kit and named its riders for the 2012 mountain bike season. One month ahead of the official start of its season, Felice Gimondi's team unveiled the graphics and colors of the team for the coming season. Bianchi's designers have mixed black, Bianchi's celeste shades and the "white and orange" of the main sponsor's logo.
In this Olympic year, the TX Active-Bianch is counting on four elite racers for success: Tony Longo, Stephane Tempier, 2011 U23 European champion and overall U23 World Cup winner Gerhard Kerschbaumer and Leonardo Paez, who is returning to Italy after one year in Colombia. Directed by Massimo Ghirotto, the elite riders will race on Bianchi Methanol SL2 and Bianchi Methanol 29SL bikes.
The junior team's manager Andrea Ferrero will direct a younger six-rider squad including juniors Federico Barri and Cristian Boffelli, cadets Giorgio Rossi, Oscar Vairetti and Chiara Teocchi and new Italian cyclo-cross champion, and rookie Katia Moro. The juniors will compete on Bianchi Methanol SX 2 bikes.
Team TX Active-Bianchi's official racing debut will come at the GP d'Inverno MTB in Orvieto in Central Italy on March 4.
Six racers on the team for 2012
The Felt Ötztal X-Bionic World Cup Team will include Thomas Litscher, Paul Van der Ploeg, Adelheid Morath, Karl Markt, Blaza Klemencic and Simon Scheiber for 2012. The team started its season with a series of wins at the end of January.
At the team's first "official training camp", some of the riders competed in the Club La Santa 4-Stage race in Lanzarote. Under 23 world champion Litscher came out on top, leaving no doubt as to his winning form after he took every stage and the overall. Close behind him was his teammate Markt, finishing second overall.
In the women's race, Morath race strongly to win the first stage and make it to the podium on days two, three and four. Morath finished third overall after battling it out with overall winner and marathon world champion Annika Langvad.
Van der Ploeg has made the jump to the elite ranks for 2012. The Australian under 23 national champion, who lives in Europe during the Australian winter, and two-time Oceania champion is already busy racing in the Australian National Series events Down Under. In recent weeks, he came within two seconds of winning the Wildside MTB race in Tasmania, even after popping his shoulder out in a crash on day 3.
Morath for Germany has already been to an Olympics for Germany - in Beijing, and she is hoping to qualify to go again this summer in London.
"Beijing was my first Games, and of course, I was intrigued...
Race features stop on Little Bellas National Tour
The third annual Beti Bike Bash is ramping up for another full weekend of events in support of women's mountain biking. Similar to previous years, the highlight of the weekend's activities will be a full day of racing on Sunday, June 10 at Bear Creek Lake Park, in the Foothills west of Denver, Colorado.
"The group of women who began this event have exhibited a deep love for the sport by creating an ideal setting for women to participate in an inviting race, test their skills, and make new friends in a unique, all-women's environment. Gear up girls and come join the fun!" said Cindy Koziatek, Co-Owner of NoTubes, which is sponsoring the event.
The race has been building over the last two years as the premier women's mountain bike event in Colorado. "Each year we've managed to add something new to the race weekend that helps promote the sport," said Amy Thomas from team YetiBeti. "The all-women's format has proven to be a very successful niche and we love the energy behind it. Overall, we've seen steady growth across all race categories. Clearly, women are excited to have an event created just for them."
The course at Bear Creek is a four-mile, non-technical, and fast singletrack loop with views of surrounding Red Rocks Park. Beginners (category 3) will ride two laps, sport racers (category 2) will ride three laps, and the open/pro/singlespeed racers will complete four fast laps. The pro women will again be competing for a cash purse that will pay 10 deep, awarding US$1,000 to first place.
A special addition to the 2012 Beti Bike Bash weekend is the Little Bellas National Tour, featuring girls' mountain bike clinics June 9 and 10 at Bear Creek Lake Park. Founded by pro mountain biker, Lea Davison, and her sister, Sabra Davison, the group's mission of empowering young girls has taken off at several large national events, including the Sea Otter Classic and the...
Australian will kick off international season with Pietermaritzburg World Cup
Tracey Hannah signed on to race with the Hutchinson United Ride team in 2012. The Australian has recently returned to racing after a four-year break from the downhill circuit, and she has gotten her comeback off to a good start with a wins in the Australian Gravity Cups held in Mt. Buller and Canberra.
Hannah, a former junior women's downhill world champion, is racing with her brother Michael "Mick" Hannah, on the team.
"There are not many Australian girls racing oversees, so it's good for me," said Hannah. "I'm excited to ride with Michael this season. It's been three to four years since I've ridden with him, and I've never been on the same team with him."
The petite, blonde downhiller said she's excited about having her name on the back of her jersey for the first time, and she also joked, "This is the first time I've ever ridden a pink bike, and I think they actually do go faster."
Hannah juggles racing with full time work. "I don't think I'm training as hard as I could be because I'm at work 10 hours per day. But you have to work to make money so you can race and do what you love. I have to compromise some work for riding and some riding for work. When I go to South Africa, I'll see how it actually works for me."
She said she will adjust her training as needed after that first World Cup round in Pietermaritzburg, where she will make her first international racing re-appearance.
The video below is provided courtesy of Jean-Baptiste Bazzarini.
Britain's Stone joins downhill mountain bike team
The Unior Tools Team announced its full roster for the 2012 season. The Slovenian-based UCI-registered downhill team includes five racers from three countries. Jessica Stone of Great Britain is joining her compatriot Harry Heath, Slovenian riders Nejc Rutar and Ziga Pandur and Maria Michalogiannaki of Greece.
The 2011 season was a success for the team with top 20 finishes in the UCI Downhill World Cup, top 10 results in the iXS European Cup overall standings and other podiums throughout Europe.
"Now we are aiming higher. We want to be in the top 15 teams in the World Cup and get the UCI Elite status for next season," said Team Manager Tine Mahkovec.
The team's new rider, Jess "the Rolling" Stone, is the 2010 British National Champion and a top rider in the World Cup. The 22-year-old Stone said, "With the support of the team, I will be able to improve on the results I have gained in previous years. I aim for top 10 in the World Cup, which I think I will be capable of attaining. I think that the team is an important platform for me to work from - as a racer, you need that support to push you further, so I am looking forward to this season and progressing further into the top ranks of this sport."
Stone will race the British Downhill Series and her national championships. "It would be amazing to get another National Champ's title, so I will work hard," she said.
Heath's best 2011 result was an 18th place at the World Cup. He is heading into his second year with the team. "2011 was a great step up with getting onto the Unior team and that support helped me hit some long term goals of mine," said Heath. "To be...
South African has high hopes for 2012
The first rider to check out the new course planned for the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa from March 16-18 was young South African mountain bike legend Burry Stander, who predicted, "2012 will be my year."
The 24-year-old Specialized rider from Umtentweni on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast has taken a different approach to his racing this year, using scientific analysis and support from the Sports Science Institute of South Africa (SSISA) in Cape Town, and feels that he has prepared and planned well to be able to make 2012 his most successful year yet.
Stander has three top priorities for 2012: the UCI MTB World Cup, the ABSA Cape Epic and the Olympic Games in London. "The World Cup is what I have in my sights right now," said Stander.
Stander set off to race the modified layout at the Cascades MTB Park in his native South Africa to clinically gather power output data so that his training, diet and preparations can be fine-tuned by the scientists at SSISA.
"It helps a lot," said Stander. "Not only in terms of planning, nutrition and recovery, but it gives me a lot of confidence and makes me even more motivated. Things didn't really go my way in 2011 - I had a lot of bad luck and made some poor decisions. This year I really feel that I can achieve what I set out to achieve."
Stander added that he is looking forward to competing in the World Cup in Pietermaritzburg because the support he gets from the crowd makes a major impact on his performance.
"It's phenomenal what a...