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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Date published:
January 05, 2011, 0:00 GMT
  • World champion Hermida wins his first 'cross race of the season

    Cross Country World Champion Jose Antonio Hermida (Multivan Merida) on his way to a cyclo-cross win.
    Article published:
    January 03, 2011, 19:10 GMT
    Cycling News

    Spaniard readies for national championships

    Cross country mountain bike world champion José Antonio Hermida (Multivan Merida) took victory in his second cyclo-cross race of the season this weekend. The 32-year-old Spaniard's win came in the final round of the Catalan Cup, held in Mataró, Barcelona, in Spain.

    Hermida is planning to compete in the Spanish Cyclo-cross National Championships coming up next week - the Catalan Cup was a chance to tune up in advance.

    David Lozano and Hermida battled together from the first lap onward. However, the show ended when Lozano broke his derailleur hanger at the half-way point.

    "Lozano beat me a couple of weeks ago, and today I could see he was really strong, even slightly stronger than me," said Hermida. "I was controlling the race, as it was clear that it was going to be a thing between the two of us, but when he had the mechanical, the race was over.

    "As laps went by, I was feeling better, but this is my second ('cross) race, and I feel the lack of explosiveness. Next week, it will be the time to suffer in order to be up there in front and have the chance to fight for the title."

    Hermida will be aiming for his third national cyclo-cross title, having previously won the national championship in 2007 and 2008. In 2010, he finished second to Javier Ruiz De Lar.

  • Cyprus Cup champions Langvad, Skarnitzl will defend titles

    Annika Langvad races at the front in Voroklini
    Article published:
    January 03, 2011, 20:31 GMT
    Cycling News

    Racers seek early season form in mountain bike series

    Cyprus Sunshine Cup overall winners Annika Langvad and Jan Skarnitzl have confirmed they will return to defend their overall titles in 2011. The pair will race the three-round mountain bike series on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus along with others from the Milka-Trek and Rabobank-Giant teams, which have also just committed to the series. The series will start on February 20 and end on March 6.

    In last year's series, 10 months ago, Danish racer Langvad put in a strong performance, taking the women's win in Voroklini and the Afxentia stage race. She built some early season form that later helped carry her to a victory in the Danish national championships and a bronze medal at the marathon world championships. In 2010, she'll be racing in new colors - for the Easton Rockets.

    Czech racer Skarnitzl, 24, will return to Cyprus on a different team, too: Rubena-Specialized-Birrel. In 2010, he won the opener at Voroklini and then finished third in the two other rounds. It proved a good start to a season during which he climbed from 48th to 15th in the UCI's world rankings.

    Milka-Trek will be bringing young Polish biker Marek Konwa and Finn Jukka Vastaranta while its Dutch rivals from Rabobank-Giant are bringing Swede Emil Lindgren, who won the overall Sunshine Cup title in 2009.

    The 2011 Cyprus Sunshine Cup, co-organized by Cyprus Tourism Organization (CTO) and Cyprus Cycling Federation (CCF), will contain the same three races as in 2010. However, changes will be made to the Afxentia stage race. It's second day, a marathon, will start in the village of Kapedes, which adds 4.2km and 100m of climbing to what was a 42km event.

    At every event, there will be an open category, and at the Afxentia stage race, the second day, a point-to-point race, is also open to amateur mountain bikers.

    2011 Cyprus Sunshine Cup
    February 20: Voroklini (UCI Cat. 1)
    February 25...

  • New Irish mountain bike stage race coming in April

    Niall Davis enjoys the course for the Mountain Bike Challenge due to be held in Lough Derg in April of 2011
    Article published:
    January 03, 2011, 22:19 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Race announced for Lough Derg

    The new Mountain Bike Challenge, a two-day stage race, is bringing mountain bike stage racing to Ireland in 2011. It will take place in the Lough Derg area over four different courses - one for each stage - within close proximity to Killaloe/Ballina on April 9-10.

    "Ireland lends itself perfectly to mountain biking. We have an abundance of rural routes, scenery like no place else and there's a growing amount of people who want to get out on their bikes to enjoy it," said Andrew Deakin of Dolmen Sports, which is organizing the event.

    "This is a fantastic route in a spectacular part of the country. The course provides plenty of climbing, fast descents and spectacular views of Lough Derg and the surrounding area - for those who have the time to look," said Niall Davis of "It's very exciting to be involved with an event like this. It's a progressive concept and will provide a challenge for all participants from the elite rider to what we call the 'Weekend Warrior'."

    Less experienced riders will have an opportunity to participate in the MS Ireland Sunday Cycle, which will take place on the second day of the event in Ballycuggarrin Forest and benefit MS Ireland.  More experience racers may compete in all four stages of the full event.

    For more information, visit

  • Absalon voted Cyclingnews Male Mountain Biker of the Year

    Julien Absalon (France) can pretty much ride anything put in front of him
    Article published:
    January 04, 2011, 9:20 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Frenchman proves an enduring favorite among readers

    Julien Absalon may not have topped as many mountain bike podiums as in past years, but he's clearly still the favorite among Cyclingnews' readers. The Frenchman again won the Male Mountain Biker of the Year contest after previously winning in 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

    Absalon won just one World Cup in 2010 - in Offenburg, Germany, but consistent riding throughout the season netted him a second place overall in the World Cup cross country behind Nino Schurter. He finished second at the World Cups in Dalby and Val di Sole and was fifth at the Champery round.

    He went into the later part of the season with extra motivation after becoming a father for the first time this summer.

    Absalon had good form going into Worlds in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada, a venue where he has traditionally excelled, but Lady Luck wasn't on his side. He was mixed up in a crash just after the start. Although he tenaciously worked his way back up toward the front, a flat tire then dashed his chances of a podium placing. He hung tough, though, for a respectable fifth place finish.

    Absalon's win among readers was convincing, with 4714 votes or 28.1 percent. His top challenge came from gravity racer Sam Hill with 2639 votes (15.7%). Just behind him was Jose Antonio Hermida with 2034 votes (12.1%).

    Hill of Australia capped off a tough season with a downhill win at the world championships. "I don't know what it is, but this is where I do well," said Hill of Mont-Sainte-Anne, where he also had won World Cups in 2007 and 2009. "It's where I first raced the World Cup in 2001, and I'm always excited to come back."

    The rainbow stripes made up for two major injuries that marred Hill's season. He had reconstructive knee surgery in February, managed to rehab it well enough to compete in time for the World Cup despite feeling weak in training. Then, in the second World Cup, he snapped three ligaments in his shoulder and was out...

  • Koerber voted Cyclingnews Female Mountain Biker of the Year

    Willow Koerber (USA) being chased by Kalentieva
    Article published:
    January 04, 2011, 16:15 GMT
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    American dials up her international game

    Willow Koerber won the 2010 Cyclingnews Reader Poll with a resounding 4009 votes or 23.9% of the total. The American captured the hearts of many with her gutsy ride two years in a row at the cross country mountain bike world championships.

    In 2009, Koerber raced to a career-best performance, a bronze medal, at Worlds. Again and again in 2010, she proved her medal was no fluke by backing it up with memorable performances such as second places at the Dalby and Houffalize World Cups as well as third place at Champery, 10th at Val di Sole and sixth at Windham. Overall, she earned second place in the World Cup.

    What readers may remember most was the final 10 minutes of her world championship race. While  Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) rode away to the finish, Koerber, Catharine Pendrel (Canada) and Irina Kalentieva (Russia) waged a fierce battle for the remaining medal spots.

    Koerber was riding well in second place, but slipped near the end of the final lap, crashing and losing a spot to Pendrel. She lost another spot to Kalentieva and her medal chances started to look much slimmer.

    "My boyfriend Myles was on the right as I passed him and he said, 'Don't give up on a medal." I was almost in tears thinking 'what just happened?'" said Koerber. "I'd gone from silver to fourth. He could see the pain in my eyes, and I was fighting as hard as I could."

    "I got inspired to make that final pass before the last flyer," said Koerber. "I'm not sure how I did it. I just got fire from somewhere and saw red and attacked. It was close." Koerber's third placed matched her third place of last year at worlds in Canberra.

    American Georgia Gould finished second in the Reader Poll with 2424 votes or 14.4%. Gould had a good year both on the domestic and the international scene. She finished a career best second place in the Offenburg World Cup and also took fourth at Dalby, seventh at Val di Sole and third at...

  • Ray's Indoor Mountain Bike Park second location opened

    A sampling of the expert section at Ray's Indoor MTB Park's newest location in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
    Article published:
    January 04, 2011, 18:15 GMT
    Cycling News

    Milwaukee venue ready for riders

    Ray's Indoor Mountain Bike Park opened its second location in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, this past weekend. The new facility builds upon the success of the original location in Cleveland, Ohio.

    The new and existing indoor facilities give mountain bike riders from across the Midwest a place to ride, train and develop skills - especially during the long winter months when local trails are closed or unridable.

    The Grand Opening  of the Milwaukee location was postponed until New Year's weekend from its original November date due to the extra time it took to complete the work required to procure all permits from the City of Milwaukee.

    For more information about Ray's Indoor Mountain bike Park, visit

    Ray's MKE Sneak Peak from RaysMTB on Vimeo.

  • Test of Metal race sets another registration record

    Catherine Pendrel took out her third title in four years.
    Article published:
    January 04, 2011, 20:00 GMT
    Cycling News

    Point-to-point mountain bike race set for June

    Now that the difficult part - trying to get a spot for the the race - is over, competitors can get down to the serious work of training for the 16th annual North Shore Credit Union Test of Metal mountain bike race on June 18.

    This year, the race sold out in only 22 minutes and 47 seconds, taking almost two minutes out of the record set for the 2010 race.

    "I think that the only thing that prevents us from selling out immediately is the limitations of the technology," said race director and Test of Metal, Inc. President Cliff Miller. "Our last entrant started logging in to register a 5:58 pm.

    That final registrant, Joffre Brondgeest of North Vancouver, started getting concerned when his browser crashed and he had to log back in. "I was a little worried, but it didn't slow me down," Brondgeest said.

    This will be Brondgeest's 5th Test of Metal. "It gets me out riding early in the season," he said, "and I get lots of support from my family. I get such a kick out of all the volunteers. I try to say 'thank you' to every one of them as I ride by."

    Miller acknowledged the efforts of the more than 300 Test of Metal volunteers. "To be frank, without the volunteers and the people of Squamish lining the course, this would just be a bike race. It's the town that makes it the event that it's become. They're the ones who ensure this sells out so quickly," he said

    The Test of Metal covers a gruelling 67 kilometres, point-to-point, through Squamish's world-renowned trails.

    Past participants in the race include Canadian Olympians Alison Sydor, Geoff Kabush, and Seamus McGrath, as well as notable celebrities like Vancouver Canuck icon Trevor Linden.

    The Test of Metal is the centrepiece of the Squamish Mountain Bike Festival which runs from Friday, June 17 to Sunday June 19. The weekend activities include the "Pre-Test Festival" in downtown Squamish on Friday evening and the "Rock Star Invitational Downhill" on...

  • Topeak-Ergon team sticks with proven roster for 2011

    Two-time cross country world champion Irina Kalentieva will continue to race for Topeak-Ergon in 2011.
    Article published:
    January 05, 2011, 18:45 GMT
    Cycling News

    Lakata, Kalentieva, Kurschat return for team's seventh season

    The Topeak-Ergon Racing Team's line-up remains unchanged for 2011, its seventh season. The cross country and marathon mountain bike squad hopes to build on its success from previous years. Since its inception in 2005, the team counted three world championship titles, three silver medals at Worlds, an Olympic medal and many national and international victories.

    Marathon world champion Alban Lakata, two-time cross country world champion Irina Kalentieva and three-time German national champion Wolfram Kurschat return as the leaders of the team. They'll be joined by British champion Sally Bigham and Robert Mennen for European events. The team will also have continuing representation in the US, including long-time racer Dave Wiens.

    In 2011, the squad will race on Canyon bikes.

    "With Canyon, we have found an innovative partner, that is technologically at the highest level," said Team Manager Dirk Juckwer. "The long experience of Canyon as a sponsor of a professional road team will strengthen our infrastructure, and the global media presence of Canyon will promote the awareness of our team."

    Topeak Ergon also picked up two new sponsors for the new year: Ritchey and RockShox.

    The team's distinctive mostly green and black color scheme will remain the same.