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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Date published:
January 12, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • Marathoners to race Club La Santa two-day race

    Team Norway - Lene Byberg and Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesj
    Article published:
    January 05, 2011, 21:04 GMT
    By:
    James Ouchterlony

    Dahle Flesjå, Bigham, Langvad test early season legs in Lanzarote

    Several top marathoners will test their legs early in 2011 at the ninth edition of the Club La Santa two-day mountain bike race on the Canary Island of Lanzarote on January 29-30. Former world champion Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå (Multivan Merida), Sally Bigham (Topeak Ergon) and Annika Langvad (Easton Rockets) will be on the start line.

    Saturday's race will be a 30km point-to-point contest while Sunday will feature a 60km point-to-point marathon.

    The two courses are different and while in the past, the Sunday race was flatter and windier, last year it was improved and routed through the National Park of Timanfaya, a change which appealed to racers.

    The island of Lanzarote is known for its good January a terrain including flat roads and small hills - with less climbing than the islands of Tenerife or Gran Canaria.

    On the men's side, confirmation is pending for possible elite participants Oli Beckingsale and Sergio Mantecon.

    Both the elite men and women will compete for an 800-euro top prize and five total, equally paid places - awarded for the combined results of both days of racing.

    The two-day race will overlap with a Club La Santa Cape Epic training camp from January 27 to February 3 at which Bigham will be a guest rider.

    For more information on the mountain bike race, visit www.clublasanta.co.uk/events/2-stage-off-road-mountain-bike-races.

  • 2011 New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup kicks off this weekend

    Justin Leov (New Zealand)
    Article published:
    January 06, 2011, 14:24 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Tauranga hosting opening cross country, downhill rounds

    The New Zealand mountain bike series begins this weekend in Tauranga. Round one will be hosted by the Cycle Obsession Mountainbike Park in Welcome Bay, with downhill racing on Saturday, January 8 and cross country racing on Sunday, January 9.

    Each year, the series runs in January and February on both islands, with the national championships forming the highlight of the summer race programme at the end of February. A full schedule of the six downhill and four cross country rounds, two of which are UCI-categorized races, is below.

    New Zealand's top mountain bikers will be in attendance at the national series, in which they will race against some of their peers from Germany, Ireland, Great Britain, Australia and Tahiti.

    At the opening Tauranga round, the downhill racing is attracting domestic pro stars Justin Leov of Dunedin, Sam Blenkinsop of Wanganui, Cam Cole of Christchurch and Brook MacDonald of Napier.

    New Zealand has been doing well in international downhill competition. In September at the 2010 Mountain Bike World Championships, the nation earned a top ranking in the under 19 junior men's category, a number two ranking in the elite men's category and a number three ranking in under 19 junior women's category.

    Spectators in Tauranga will benefit from a full-size digital screen at the finish, where live footage will be streamed during both days of the downhill program - a technical service not seen at downhill races in New Zealand since the 2006 World Championships in Rotorua.

    Sunday's cross country race is the first at this level on the Cycle Obsession Mountainbike Park race course. Many entrants have been scoping the course out during the week, with excitement building about its racing potential.

    New Zealand's top athletes will be in attendance, building up to the all-important UCI Category 2 events in Napier and Nelson, where Olympic international ranking points are on offer. Like the downhill...

  • La Ruta de Los Conquistadores shifts forward on 2011 calendar

    Ben Sonntag refuels during a tough stage 3
    Article published:
    January 06, 2011, 17:20 GMT
    By:
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Mountain bike stage race moves to early November

    La Ruta de los Conquistadores will move a few weeks earlier on the calendar for 2011, when it will be held November 2-5. The four-day mountain bike stage race takes riders across Costa Rica from the Pacific Ocean to the Carribbean Sea.

    The race annually attracts some top international racers, and the earlier date should make the race more attractive to many. "La Ruta is past most of the season, so by moving it earlier, international racers will not have to keep training as long," said Race Founder and Organizer Roman Urbina to Cyclingnews.

    While the race will happen earlier in Costa Rica's official rainy season, there is no telling what sort of weather racers will face.

    "It is really matter of luck. We have had the race in October - the rainiest month - in years before and have had great, sunny weather," said Urbina to Cyclingnews. "In 2006, the race was held on November 3-5, and we had a great event with over 500 racers, so we think if the rain gods are good, things will be fine."

    But if it does rain, at least the racers won't get too chilled. "The great thing about tropical rain is that it is a lot warmer than in other parts of the world."

    In 2010, the race was held November 17-20, and it partially overlapped with a new, international stage race, the Brasil Ride. The change in dates should omit any conflict even as the Brasil ride also shifts to a new date of October 16-22.

    "There are no multi-stage races internationally at this time, and we hope not to compete with other races," said Urbina. "I think epic events like ours are a great way to see the world and learn a lot about yourself at the same time."

    In recent years, La Ruta has reached out to partner with other major stage races by trading race entries among the winners.

    "Hopefully, someday we can have a world championship of epic races," said Urbina. "We would like to see how winners of other races do here. We started the...

  • Ride the Divide goes on ambitious tour

    The Ride the Divide movie documents the Tour Divide racing experience.
    Article published:
    January 06, 2011, 21:18 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    10 days, 10 venues for mountain bike documentary

    The movie Ride the Divide is going on a 10-day, 10-stop tour throughout the Midwest and Eastern parts of the United States this winter. The film is about the world's longest mountain bike race - the 2,711-mile Tour Divide - which traverses the Continental Divide from Banff, Canada to the US - Mexican border.

    "We have scheduled our most ambitious tour to date... starting Jan. 25 -- hopefully this will be the social event of the winter at each of our stops," said Garry Harrington, promoter to Cyclingnews.

    Directed by Hunter Weeks and produced by Mike Dion and Joe Cantwell, the film follows three primary characters as they experience mountain and small town culture, pass breathtaking scenery and find out exactly where their own physical and mental limits are in the unsupported event.

    The mountain bike documentary won the best adventure film award at the 2010 Vail Film Festival.

    A schedule of the upcoming tour dates is below.

    2011 Ride the Divide Movie Tour
    January 25 - Cleveland, Ohio
    January 26 - Dayton, Ohio
    January 27 - Grand Rapids, Michigan
    January 28 - Madison, Wisconsin
    January 29 - Peoria, Illinois
    January 30 - South Bend, Indiana
    January 31 - Indianapolis, Indiana
    February 1 - Louisville, Kentucky
    February 2 - Huntington, West Virginia
    February 3 - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

    For more information on the film tour, visit www.ridethedividemovie.com.

  • South African marathon series to award UCI points

    Brandon Stewart sets the tempo with Kevin Evans paying close attention
    Article published:
    January 11, 2011, 17:08 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Warm place to train and race leading up to Cape Epic

    New for 2011, the first four rounds of the MTN South African marathon national series will award UCI points. Racers will compete for points at the rounds in Barberton, Attakwas, Clarens and Sabie. There is a good chance that ranking points could be earned in the Clarens and Cederberg races as well.

    The advantages of this system are twofold. Most importantly, it will give local riders an opportunity to improve their international rankings. This will benefit the riders who do not have the money to stay and race in Europe, where there are many UCI-categorized races, for extended periods of time.

    Furthermore, the participation in the MTN series of some of the top international marathon riders will also introduce an ability check for local riders and up and coming pros.

    The spin-off for international riders will be that with the addition of the UCI points, the MTN series will make it possible for them to train and race in South Africa from mid-January until the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race - an HC category stage race. Cold and snowy conditions in Europe and other places in the northern hemisphere during January and February can make it impossible to train on a mountain bike.

    During the past two years MTN's ultramarathon series has been dominated by the likes of Kevin Evans, Burry Stander and Max Knox. If the points help attract additional international competition, it could make the series a tighter battle.

    The move comes three years after Evans pointed out that there was no reason for pro-elite riders to compete in marathons over distances of 70km in preparation for World Championships over distances that range from 100km to 130km. In response, MTN introduced the new ultra-series for local riders to race farther than 100km on a regular basis. The shorter distances for the pros seemed to pay off afterEvans finished eighth at the marathon world championship. Last year, Stander won a bronze medal at cross country world...

  • Beckingsale signs with Endura

    Oliver Beckingsale (Great Britain).
    Article published:
    January 11, 2011, 18:10 GMT
    By:
    BikeRadar

    New team for British Olympic mountain biker

    British cross country star Oli Beckingsale has left long-term sponsor Giant to ride for Endura in 2011. The Scottish cycle clothing company already backs the Endura Racing road squad.

    "After putting so much investment into the road team we were keen to ensure that the Endura and Equipe [the company's premium road range] brand reach also extended into other cycling disciplines, so we were keen to back some athletes in mountain biking and track cycling," said the company's Jim McFarlane. Endura also signed track racer Chris Pritchard.

    Beckingsale has been at the top of UK mountain biking for many years, winning numerous national cross country and marathon titles, competing in three Olympic Games and winning silver at the 2006 Commonwealth Games. In 2011 he'll use the same equipment as Endura's road squad - Look bikes, SRAM components and Continental tyres.

    "I'm really happy to be riding for Endura for the next two years," he said. "It's a strong British company with a long history with mountain biking and will give me the product, support and flexibility to work towards my long-term goal of not just competing in the London Olympics but producing a result that I can be proud of."

    McFarlane said the company had known Beckingsale for a long time. "Oli isn't just fast, he's a very switched-on rider and the ideal guy for us to be working with on a separate focused range of performance cross country kit that's the mountain bike equivalent of our Equipe range," he said.

  • NICA announces award recipients

    Zachary Valdez (United States Of America)
    Article published:
    January 11, 2011, 18:23 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Unsung heroes of the high school cycling movement acknowledged

    The quiet achievers of high school mountain biking were honored at a lively ceremony attended by many of the nation's cycling industry leaders at the new Clif Bar and Co. headquarters in Emeryville, California, on Saturday, January 8.

    The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) presented awards to 17 of the individuals that the Association considers to be the most outstanding athletes, most dedicated coaches, and most passionate volunteers to have supported the high school mountain biking revolution.

    "Most of the time you don't hear about these people. Normally it's me being quoted in the press releases and giving interviews on behalf of NICA, but the truth is most of the work is done by a large network of prodigiously talented volunteers, and we consider it important that at least some of these individuals get some public recognition," said Matt Fritzinger, executive director of NICA.

    "They are as much in the fabric of NICA as anybody is. What's more, they are key contacts for mountain biking development in the areas where they live."

    The award winners are as follows:

    Student Athlete Leadership
    Will Curtis, San Anselmo, California
    Sofia Hamilton, San Anselmo,California

    All Star Athlete
    Zach Valdez, Hemet, California
    Lindsay Dye, Broomfield , Colorado

    Distinguished Alumni
    Emma Worldpeace, Berkeley, California

    Coach of the Year
    Ben Boyer, Boulder, Colorado
    Lee Bird, Pasadena, California
    Paul Chourre, Fairfax, California

    Volunteer Service
    Mark Kintz, Monterey, California
    Donna Woods, Monterey, California
    Paul Goesling, Berkeley, California

    Community Impact
    Austin McInerny, Berkeley, California

    League Founder
    Quintin Reich, Newport Beach, California

    Innovator...

  • Whiskey Off Road victors to win trip to Singlespeed Worlds

    Racers at the Whiskey Off Road Race in Arizona
    Article published:
    January 11, 2011, 21:00 GMT
    By:
    Cycling News

    Top singlespeeders to be awarded airfare to Ireland

    Participants in the singlespeed category at the Whiskey Off Road mountain bike race in Arizona could win a free trip to the 2011 Singlespeed World Championships on August 27 in Ballyhoura, Ireland.

    Epic Rides, in partnership with the Singlespeed World Championships, will award the first place male and female finishers in the 50-proof singlespeed categories round-trip airfare to attend the World Championships. This award is in addition to the US$20,000 cash purse already planned for pro riders - with male and female riders receiving equal payout.

    "Those familiar with the unique subculture of singlespeeding know the nomadic Singlespeed World Championships is an annual event not to be missed," said Todd Sadow, Epic Rides president. "We are proud to take part in sending some of America's most talented singlespeeders to such a fine celebration among the world's cycling community."

    The 2011 Whiskey Off Road endurance mountain bike event, located in Prescott, Arizona, will take place Friday, April 29 through Sunday, May 1. The challenging course, festival atmosphere and superb organization of the Whiskey attract a large number of riders, supporters and spectators.

    Amateur registration opened January 3 and is limited to the first 1,400 registrants. With three days of event-related bike racing, fun rides, an industry expo and live music based in the "Event Hub" of Prescott's commerce district, Epic Rides expects the amateur category to sell out in record time.

    Amateur athletes choose between graduated distance options including a 15 Proof, 25 Proof or 50 Proof course (1 proof = 1 mile). All events will start and finish in the center of downtown Prescott on Whiskey Row.

    For event details or to register, visit epicrides.com/wor/wor.htm.