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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Date published:
July 03, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Simms and Kindree hope to defend BC Bike Race titles

    BC Bike Race singletrack
    Article published:
    June 26, 2013, 20:32 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Racers ready for lots of singletrack at Canadian mountain bike stage race

    The BC Bike Race is ready to roll with a stacked roster of singletrack hounds salivating at the mouth to get out and race the "Ultimate Singletrack Experience" as deemed by promoters. Day one will begin on June 30 in Cumberland and the race will finish in Whistler on July 6.

    Year seven will see few changes to a course that has been tweaked to perfection over the previous six years. Each town along the course provides a large selection of "handmade" trails that have for 359 days or since the last edition received some serious trail attention; buffing, shaping and carving the legendary trails into premium condition for this the 2013 alumni's adventure.

    The enduro is back. Thirteen chip-timed special segments will highlight some of the best descents of each stage. Ranging in length from 1km to 2.5km, the enduro - the race within the race - will continue to reward the technically savvy over the engine-only types.

    550 racers from 26 different countries will hit the dirt, flowing singletrack in Cumberland. From there the journey will unfold crossing the Pacific Ocean three times on the BC Ferries, visiting Campbell River, Powell River, Sechelt and Squamish to it’s conclusion in Whistler, British Columbia.

    Last year's champions Neal Kindree and Wendy Simms will take on challengers from all over the globe as they defend their right to wear the leaders yellow jersey on the final podium.

    Kindree hails from the local town of Squamish and has been a member of the Canadian National team. He will compete against 2011 Canada Cup overall winner Matt Hadley (Team Xpresso), endurance specialist Cory Wallace (Kona), European marathon specialist Guido Thaler (Craft Rocky Mountain Bikes), Carter Hovey (Orbea), Sam Whitingham (Naked Bikes) and Mountain Bike Hall of Fame Inductee Joe Murry (Voodoo...

  • NICA creates Honorary Board

    Members from the NICA Honorary Board at the 2013 Sea Otter Classic. From left to right: Kimber Tedro, Forrest Arakawa, Max Plaxton, Scott Tedro, Mike Sinyard, Ty Kady, Davy Kady, Alex Grant, Austin McInerny, Jeremiah Bishop (looking away)
    Article published:
    June 26, 2013, 21:52 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    New board members to promote various NICA initiatives

    The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) announced an honorary board of directors, comprising a group of prominent figures in the cycling industry who are actively contributing to NICA's efforts to achieve its mission of developing high school mountain biking programs from coast-to-coast by 2020.

    NICA Executive Director, Austin McInerny, said, "I have very high hopes for our new honorary board. We are so very fortunate that everybody involved with NICA has shown a willingness to roll up their sleeves and volunteer time to help assist us grow interscholastic cycling opportunities across the nation."

    "The honorary board members are keen to help us expand our programs aimed at providing every American teen the opportunity to strengthen body, mind and character through participation in their school’s mountain bike team."

    Honorary board members are high-profile devotees of the NICA mission who are very active in cycling events and have demonstrated strong communication skills. By including NICA in their regular communications efforts, honorary board members are expected to attract 25,000 viewers to screenings of Singletrack High, recruit 500 members to the NICA Booster Club, and cultivate sponsors from out of the cycling industry.

    The co-chairs of the honorary board are Sara Ecclesine of Sidi America, and Gary Boulanger, of Dirt Rag magazine.

    "For starters, all honorary board members have joined the Booster Club, and some such as Mike Sinyard of Specialized Bicycle Components, Scott Tedro and Jeremiah Bishop both from the Sho-Air/Cannondale Mountain Bike Team have made very significant financial contributions," said Boulanger.

    Other duties for honorary board members include applying their unique skills and talents to assist NICA expand its support network, especially outside of the bike industry.

    "High school cycling should have sponsorship appeal to out-of-industry companies, and...

  • Enduro World Series continues in Val d'Allos

    Everyone expected the top fifteen riders to hold their places, but nobody would have predicted a win for France's Alex Cure (Yeti - Urge Team), denying his countrymen Fabien Barel (Canyon Factory Team) and Cedric Gracia (SantaCruz - CG Racing Brigade).
    Article published:
    June 27, 2013, 18:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Round 1 winner Barel and Moseley back for round 2 in France

    After starting in Punta Ala, Italy, Enduro World Series moves to Val D'Allos, France, the birthplace of enduro mountain bike racing.

    Three hundred riders will tackle the five-stage course, with reigning French Series champions Jerome Clementz and Tracy Moseley battling for supremacy against Punta Ala winner Fabien Barel and other titans from all disciplines of biking, including Dan Atherton, Aussie BMX champ Jared Graves, Belgian wunderkind Martin Maes, Nico Vouilloz, Steve Peat, Curtis Keene, Remy Absalon, Nico Lau, Cam Cole, Justin Leov and René Wildhaber, and Pauline Dieffenthaler and Hannah Barnes amongst the 30-strong women's competition.

    Taking place at the source of the Verdon River, near Mercantour National Park, the Val d'Allos course will travel the Alpine pastures and forests of the Southern Alps, a world apart from from the scene of St Tropez and the French Riviera, despite being just a two-hour drive away.

    Taking advantage of two of the Val d'Allos - Le Seignus resort's chairlifts means that the start of each liaison will be accessed primarily from the lifts, but with an untimed first lap for each stage offering a kind of live practice. In combination with the second timed lap, riders will total 10,000 metres of cumulative vertical drop and more than an hour of cumulative race time.

    The course will not be revealed until race weekend, with the resort's bike park closed through the week, ensuring no practice runs can be taken apart from a course walk the day before the race.

    The blind approach conforms with enduro racing as it originated in Val d'Allos a decade ago. "Having to find the best line in the heat of the moment is the original spirit of enduro," said Fred Glo, founder of Tribe Sport Group and president of Tribe Events, and the originator of enduro mountain bike racing. "It's a different kind of riding if you know the track perfectly."

    Glo's "raw" version of enduro racing was inspired by...

  • New Zealand names team for mountain bike Worlds

    Karen Hanlen will race for New Zealand at the 2013 Mountain Bike World Championships
    Article published:
    June 28, 2013, 1:38 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Twenty-nine riders headed to South Africa

    London Olympian Karen Hanlen and junior world champion Anton Cooper will lead a 29-strong New Zealand team at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in South Africa in August.

    The team is dominated in numbers by downhill riders, headed by New Zealand's professional quartet of world number four ranked Brook MacDonald (Trek World Racing), 13th ranked George Brannigan (Trek World Racing), 15th ranked Sam Blenkinsop (Lapierre International) and 19th ranked Cameron Cole (Yeti Fox Shox).

    The championships will be staged in Pietermaritzburg, 80kms from Durban, with the junior cross country on August 29, the U23 cross country and junior downhill on August 30, the elite cross country on August 31 and the elite downhill on September 1.

    New Zealand team for 2013 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships

    Elite men downhill
    Brook MacDonald
    Sam Blenkinsop
    Cam Cole
    George Brannigan
    Matt Walker
    Louis Hamilton
    Wyn Masters

    Elite women downhill
    Alanna Columb
    Amy Laird
    Sophie Tyas
    Veronique Sandler

    Junior men downhill
    Joshua McCombie
    Lawrence Cawte
    Connor Harvey
    Jamahl Stringer
    Kyle Lockwood
    Michael Melles
    Raphael Kammlein-Cutler

    Elite men cross country
    Carl Jones

    Elite women cross country
    Karen Hanlen
    Kate Fluker
    Samara Sheppard

    U23 men cross country
    Anton Cooper
    Sam Shaw
    Dirk Peters

    Junior men cross country
    Ben Oliver
    Sam Gaze
    Craig Oliver

    Junior women cross country
    Amber Johnston

  • Speedy's comeback on track for mountain bike Worlds

    South African elite female cross country mountain biker Yolande Speedy has recovered from her injuries and is preparing well for the 2013 UCI MTB
    Article published:
    June 29, 2013, 14:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    South African recovered after Cape Epic crash

    Top South African elite women's cross country mountain biking competitor Yolande Speedy (Epic Sports/USN/GT) is on the comeback trail ahead of the 2013 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, which take place at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg from August 26 - September 1, after being sidelined by a broken collarbone and two broken ribs.

    Speedy sustained the injuries in a nasty crash on the second to last stage of the Cape Epic in March however; being the tough competitor that she is, Speedy picked herself back up, dusted herself off and soldiered on to not only finish the stage but the race's final stage the very next day too as she and Catherine Williamson claimed a memorable ladies' title.

    Three months down the line, Speedy has made a full recovery with the 36-year-old having recently started training again as she looks to build some form ahead of this year's top event on the international mountain biking calendar.

    "I obviously was out for some time with my injuries from the Epic, but I've recovered well from those now and I'm back on the bike and really working hard towards the world champs in Pietermaritzburg in August," said Speedy.

    "The fitness is starting to come back nicely and I'm slowly starting to find my form and feel good again so that's positive."

    Despite having racked up UCI points from her Cape Epic victory, Speedy's subsequent absence from the sport leaves her uncertain of where she stands on the international women's ranking - a crucial factor in determining what position on the start line she will be handed in August.

    "It's been an up and down year for me, so I'm actually not even sure where I stand in the rankings at the moment," said Speedy.

    "I am hoping to be able to push for a top twenty position at World Champs but that's quite a big goal under the circumstances so we'll just have to see how things go over the...

  • Davids eager for mountain bike Worlds

    Brendon Davids (Team Jeep) is relishing the opportunity to race in front of his home crowd when the 2013 UCI MTB
    Article published:
    June 30, 2013, 18:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    U23 African Champ gains experience in European World Cups

    With the under 23 African Cross Country Continental Championship title already under his belt, Pietermaritzburg mountain biker Brendon Davids (Team Jeep) is eager to clinch this year's South African title as well as he builds towards the year's ultimate goal - the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, which will take place in his hometown in August.

    With some large assignments on the slate, including the South African Cross Country National Championships and an all-important trip to Andora for the fourth leg of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, Davids is hoping some solid performances at these important events will not only give him good confidence heading into the calendar's premier showdown in two months' time but earn him vital UCI points as well.

    "The start of any big race, but especially the world champs, is just so important so having a good ranking really is crucial," said Davids. "You can't necessarily win a race off the start but you definitely can lose one so to be as close as possible to the front of the grid is huge!"

    "Obviously, the more points I can rack up at South African nationals and a couple other events before world champs in August, then the better for me so that's definitely a big focus at the moment.

    "[African] Continental Champs was definitely the best race I've had this season and gave me a lot of confidence so, with national champs three weeks away, I'll try draw on that as much as possible as I'm working really hard to try get the double and then go to Andora with two titles under my belt," he added.

    Earlier this year, on his first European mountain biking trip, Davids tackled the first and second World Cups in Albstadt, Germany and Nové Mesto, Czech Republic respectively and believes the experienced gained from the trip was hugely beneficial.

    "The trip was a huge learning curve for me," said Davids. "Racing is just so different over there with the various support structure they...

  • Improvements made to mountain bike Worlds course

    2013 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships Pietermaritzburg cross country route map.
    Article published:
    July 02, 2013, 19:30 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Floros implements subtle changes to cross country track

    With the first action of the 2013 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg now less than two months away, interest in the courses on which the year's Worlds will be staged is building rapidly, with the cross country tracks receiving subtle tweaks from course designer Nick Floros.

    The track for the elite cross country element of the champs is not dissimilar from the one utilized for the Pietermaritzburg leg of the 2012 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, with last year's event having served as the ideal trial run ahead of this year's premier showcase, however some new changes to the already popular course have added even more value and intrigue.

    "Apparently our cross country course was ranked the third best out of all the UCI MTB World Cup cross country courses in 2012 with guys giving us some really good feedback about how they enjoyed it and that the track allowed for a great showcase of cross country mountain biking as well as being hugely spectator friendly," said course designer Nick Floros.

    "This is obviously great and gave us a really good foundation to work from coming into this year's World Champs.

    "We've changed a couple of things for this year's event but by in large the course is very similar to the one used for last year's World Cup," he said.

    With, for practicality, the two feed zones being in very close proximity to one another, each lap consists of two separate halves, or loops, with both feed zones forming the epicenter of all the action.

    Most of the changes that have been made for 2013 are found in the first loop with Floros hoping they will help ease congestion and create good strategic opportunities, particularly on the closely fought opening lap, with riders set to experience the first of these comes just seconds after having crossed the start line.

    "We've changed the final stretch of the start straight, just before the climb up Red Face Hill, slightly,"...

  • Flückiger to challenge Schurter at Swiss mountain bike nationals

    Lukas Flückiger (Switzerland)
    Article published:
    July 03, 2013, 13:00 BST
    By:
    Cycling News

    Süss and Leumann expected to duel in women's championship

    BMC's Lukas Flückiger will challenge world champion Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) at the Swiss cross country national championships in Lenzerheide this weekend. The women's race will most likely offer a duel between Esther Süss and Katrin Leumann. There are many top contenders in the eliminator sprint format.

    Men

    As far as the elite men's category is concerned, the podium of the Swiss championships will perhaps offer the same winners that will later this year be present on the award ceremony photo of the world championships. Or the other way around: Last year's World medalists might just as well enter the podium in Lenzerheide on Sunday.

    There is no doubt whatsoever that current world champion Nino Schurter (Scott-Swisspower) is the top favorite in the men's race. Schurter has been the world's dominant rider during the first half of the season.

    "The national championships is not one of the big goals of the season, but of course I would like to do a good race so close to my home. I’m looking forward to seeing many familiar faces along the course," said Schurter, the 27-year-old Olympic silver medalist, who lives in Chur, less than 30 minutes from Lenzerheide.

    In Schurter's opinion, Lukas Flückiger will be his main rival for the Swiss title. Last September, the man from Ochlenberg stood next to Schurter on the world championships podium in second position, and he can also look back on a successful, even the best spring season of his career. Due to bad luck in the initial phase of the European championships race in Bern, he finished in fourth position, just barely missing a medal.

    Looking back, Flückiger sees the European championships race as an encouraging experience. "In Bern, we have seen that it is possible to beat Nino. He is the favorite, but if I do not lose too much time during the first 20 minutes, then I'll take my chances. For this purpose, of course, I...