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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Date published:
January 15, 2014, 0:00 GMT
  • Former marathon world champ Lakata sidelined due to injury

    Alban Lakata during the final few miles on his way to a win.
    Article published:
    January 04, 2014, 20:29 GMT
    Cycling News

    Austrian mountain biker hurt in skiing accident

    Former world marathon champion Alban Lakata (Topeak Ergon) injured himself while skiing on the last day of 2013 and will be sidelined from competition for the first four to five months of 2014 according to

    The Austrian won the European marathon championship and a silver medal at the marathon Worlds in 2013. He has also previously won the Leadville 100, the Roc d'Azur, the Riva del Garda marathon and the Andalucia Bike Race.

    Lakata fell while skiing with a friend in the mountains near his home and tore his Achilles tendon.

    "Just before the end of the year, I lost a ski on a descent," Lakata said. "I crashed taking a tumble, and unfortunately over extended my Achilles tendon causing it to snap." He also sustained other injuries, however none as serious. Wasting no time, Lakata went to a private specialist in Innsbruck, and was operated on the same day. The operation took 30 minutes and passed without problems.

    "At the moment I actually feel okay. The pain subsides a bit every day."

    Doctors have estimated that he will be out of competition for at least four months, which means he will not be able to defend his title at the Andalucia Bike Race where he was slated to pair up with new Topeak-Ergon teammate Kristian Hynek. Lakata will also miss the Cape Epic mountain bike stage race in March, but he is hoping to be back in action to contest the 2014 marathon Worlds in late June in Pietermaritzburg.

    "I will start again on the home trainer in four to five weeks, but then it will be a careful build process, aiming for the Riva Bike Marathon at the beginning of May. It is then that...

  • Italians Lechner and Fontana compete in home 'cross World Cup

    Eva Lechner finished third
    Article published:
    January 05, 2014, 20:24 GMT
    Cycling News

    Mountain bike skills put to work in the mud

    Italians Eva Lechner (Colnago Sudtirol) and Marco Fontana (Cannondale Factory Racing) both raced the Rome, Italy round of the UCI Cyclo-cross World Cup on Sunday. Better known for their mountain bike achievements, both riders took advantage of the chance to race the best elite 'cross racers on their home turf.

    Lechner put in the best Italian finish with a third place in the elite women's contest after Katie Compton and Marianne Vos. Her finish pleased local Italian fans cheering her on at Ippodromo delle Capannelle. The Italian national champion took the third and final spot on the podium after a battle with Pauline Ferrand Prevot that lasted until the last lap.

    In the men's race, Fontana finished 15th, 2:08 behind winner Niels Albert. After having made the podium last year, Fontana's aspirations were high for this year despite the fact that this round of the World Cup would be his only major elite 'cross race of the season as his focus is on preparing for the 2014 mountain bike season.

    "I certainly expected a better result, but the track was very muddy and hard," said Fontana. "From the beginning of the race, I tried to gain positions [after starting in 40th]. I felt pretty good and I was getting closer to the first riders but at mid-race, I got nervous because I could not reach the best and I made some little mistakes."

    "I'm not satisfied with the final placement, but I'm happy with my legs and with my physical condition. The work I am doing in this winter will pay off."

    Lechner is ranked 10th in the elite women's World Cup standings while Fontana is ranked 47th after today's round six of seven. Both riders are expected to defend...

  • Mantecon signs with Trek Factory Racing

    Sergio Mantecón Gutiérrez signed with Trek Factory Racing for 2014
    Article published:
    January 08, 2014, 17:08 GMT
    Cycling News

    2014 cross country mountain bike squad comprised of all Olympians

    Sergio Mantecón Gutiérrez has signed with the Trek Factory Racing World Cup cross country racing team for 2014. After a season in which Mantecón made the podium at the top level of cross country racing, the Spanish Olympian joins a roster of talented young athletes, all of whom are also Olympians.

    The first round of UCI Mountain Bike World Cup racing in 2013 resulted in a career-best second place for Mantecón, where he soundly defeated marquee names of the discipline, highlighting his talent and tenacity when racing conditions are at their worst. For this season, Mantecón aims to take another shot at unseating the status quo World Cup podium.

    "With the full-fledged support of the Trek Factory Racing program, I know I'll have what I need to continue to compete at the top of the sport," said Mantecón.

    "Our team is all about the most talented, up-and-coming young riders making a name for themselves at the top of the sport," said Jon Rourke, Trek Factory Racing MTB team manager. "That's why Sergio is a perfect fit."

    Mantecón joins returning World Cup opener winner, and series silver medalist, Dan McConnell. In 2014, under-23 World Cup series champion Bec Henderson will also graduate to the elite ranks, where she joins teammates Annie Last and Emily Batty. All three ladies are excited about the prospect of racing towards World Cup podiums together.

    Mantecón's signing perpetuates the all-Olympian theme on Trek Factory Racing's roster. Mantecón joins McConnell and Henderson, who hail from Australia, Last of the United Kingdom, and Canadian Batty, all of whom competed in the London Olympic Games. Outside of Rio 2016, the squad's more immediate goals are to have a strong World Cup campaign as well as defend or reclaim some national championship titles.

    Mantecón, who made the move...

  • UCI still discussing controversial Rule 1.2.019

    Racing at the Whiskey Off-Road
    Article published:
    January 09, 2014, 15:48 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Decision about participation in unsanctioned races coming soon

    The January 1, 2014 deadline relating to the controversial UCI Rule 1.2.019 came and went without any news about it from cycling's international governing body. The first day of the New Year was when the UCI's moratorium on enforcing UCI Rule 1.2.019 was set to expire.

    The lack of updates did not mean the issue has been forgotten or ignored; instead, Cyclingnews discovered that talks about the rule are currently underway at the highest levels.

    "Discussions [are] still ongoing," said UCI Press Officer Louis Chenaille to Cyclingnews when asked about the rule's status at a time when many riders are in the process of planning their 2014 race calendars.

    Chenaille couldn't say exactly when a decision about the rule and/or any changes might be issued, but expected the issue to be resolved by the next UCI Management Committee meeting in late January.

    UCI general regulations include a section called "Forbidden Races". Within it, Rule 1.2.019 states, "No licence holder may participate in an event that has not been included on a national, continental or world calendar or that has not been recognised by a national federation, a continental confederation or the UCI." Related rules 1.2.020 and 1.2.021 provide additional details, including specifying punishment via fine or suspension for all UCI licence holders who violate the rule.

    The rules were applied to all disciplines and levels of cycling, but were opposed loudly by many mountain bikers in the US, who have historically competed in races not sanctioned by their national governing body. It was an issue for high school racers, local amateurs and regional racers as well as pros, many of whom like to compete at their local grassroots events and big-money races, including certain enduros and the well known Whiskey 50, which are run independently of USA Cycling.

    During his election campaign, Brian Cookson, who took over the presidency from Pat McQuaid,

  • Multivan Merida announces 2014 team

    Rudi va Houts racing at the Val di Sole World Cup
    Article published:
    January 10, 2014, 17:29 GMT
    Cycling News

    Six riders comprise elite mountain bike squad

    The Multivan Merida Biking Team announced its complete roster for 2014 including six mountain bike racers. New signing Julian Schelb joins Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå, Jose Hermida, Rudi van Houts, Thomas Litscher and Ondrej Cink.

    Unlike going into the 2013 season, when the squad made major changes to its line-up, this year's team is staying mostly the same. 2013 was a successful year for the Multivan Merida squad, including winning a world championship title, another world championship medal, multiple national championships and a number of podium finishes. In the UCI's team ranking, the squad was second overall.

    A year after signing previous U23 cross country world champions Thomas Litscher and Ondrej Cink, the signing of Schelb keeps alive the intention of bringing young talent onboard. Schelb earned the silver medal at the most recent U23 world championships. Still just 21, he will continue trace the under 23 category this season, with a focus on the goal of winning the world championship

    Dahle Flesjå is one of the team's most consistent riders and the only woman. In 2013, she won the marathon world championships but did not make her goal another World Cup win, which would have made her the most winning rider of all time on the World Cup circuit. Nonetheless finishing on the podium in Vallnord, Val di Sole and Hafjell World Cups was still impressive. This year, Dahle Flesjå is especially looking forward to racing the cross country world...

  • Fontana, Flückiger, Lechner and Ferrand-Prevot excel at 'cross nationals

    Swiss cross nats podium: Marcel Wildhaber, Lukas Flueckiger, Simon Zahner
    Article published:
    January 13, 2014, 18:54 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Mountain bikers earn 'cross titles Switzerland, Italy and France

    At cyclo-cross national championships held around the globe this weekend, several mountain bikers took a break from their mountain bike pre-season preparations and rode to victory or other podium spots.


    Switzerland's 'cross nationals was dominated by mountain bikers, especially in the elite men's category. Lukas Flückiger (BMC) attacked the remaining group of leaders on a long climb before the finish and took the title ahead of Marcel Wildhaber (Scott-Odlo MTB Racing). Other notable mountain biker finishes were Florian Vogel (Scott-Odlo MTB Racing) in sixth, Mathias Flückiger in seventh and Julien Taramarcaz in eighth.

    Wildhaber was delighted with his second place finish. "I never had the luck to win a medal at nationals until my eliminator [MTB] title last July. So this is my only second one, but also the second in only six months."

    In the Swiss elite women's race, junior mountain bike national champion Sina Frei won, ahead of Katrin Leumann and Jane Nussli.


    In Italy, Eva Lechner (Colnago Sudtirol) raced to her third 'cross national title more than a minute ahead of her rivals while Olympic cross country bronze medallist Marco Fontana (Cannondale) got to keep his national champion's jersey for another year in the elite men's race.


    In France, mountain biker and road racer Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Rabo Liv Women Cycling Team) earned the gold medal ahead of 'cross favorites Lucie Chainel-Lefevre (EC Stephanois) and Caroline Mani (CC Etupes Le Doubs PM).

    United States

    In the US, Katie Compton, who is best known for her international cyclo-cross accomplishments, topped the women's podium. Although she has stopped racing mountain bikes in recent years to focus on 'cross, she is a former...

  • New women's mountain bike team based out of Bend, Oregon

    The Elevated Sports Performance/BendBroadband women's mountain bike team does some pre-season cross training.
    Article published:
    January 14, 2014, 19:39 GMT
    Cycling News

    Elevated Sports Performance/BendBroadband announces roster

    The Elevated Sports Performance/BendBroadband women's mountain bike team will begin its first season in 2014 under the direction of team director Sloane Anderson. The team, based out of Bend, Oregon, will be the first-ever all women's mountain bike racing team in central Oregon.

    Its racers plan to compete in local and regional cross country, marathon, 24-hour, super D and downhill events as well as the US Marathon National Championships.

    Elevated Sports Performance, LLC, owned and operated by Anderson, will be providing strength and conditioning as well as coaching to the riders. The team officially began its training in October 2013. Anderson, a former professional mountain bike racer during 2003-2012, has high hopes for the team being the premier woman's mountain bike team in the Northwest region.

    Although the team will be in its first season in 2014, its riders bring plenty of experience, with several riders showing potential to turn pro.

    With Bend recently announced as the host venue for the 2015-2016 US Cross Country Nationals, the team is extra motivated to do well.

    2014 Elevated Sports Performance/BendBroadband Team Roster
    Sarah Hall (cross country)
    Amanda Hoffus (cross country, marathon, 24-hour)
    Chelsey Magness (cross country, marathon, 24-hour)
    Kyla McDermott (cross country marathon, 24-hour)
    Stacey McKinney (cross country, downhill, super D)
    Shawn Taylor (cross country, 24-hour)

  • McConneloug and Rusch lead strong women's field at Trans Andes

    Mary McConneloug (Kenda NoTubes) at the end of the lead group
    Article published:
    January 15, 2014, 19:50 GMT
    Cycling News

    One week to go until start of Chilean stage race

    With less than one week remaining until the start of the sixth annual Trans Andes mountain bike stage race, the favorites are headed to South America to get used to the climate and terrain.

    In the women's race, American Mary McConneloug will challenge fellow Americans Rebecca Rusch and Sonya Looney.

    2011 Trans Andes winner Jason Sager of the United States will take on 2013 Trans Andes winner Javier Puschel of Chile in the men's race.

    The six-stage race is drawing 350 riders from 32 countries. Racers will cover 356km from the Huilo Huilo Reserve to the tourist city of Pucón.

    The race travels through a region of abundant lakes, volcanoes and ancient forests in Patagonia, Southern Chile.

    2014 Trans Andes
    January 20: Huilo Huilo - Huilo Huilo; 64km
    January 21: Huilo Huilo - Liquiñe; 57km
    January 22: Liquiñe - Menetúe; 81km
    January 23: Menetúe - Menetúe; 72km
    January 24: Menetúe - Huife; 40km
    January 25: Huife - Pucón; 42km