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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Date published:
July 04, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Trans-Sylvania Epic sets 2013 dates

    You never know who or what you might run into in the woods of Trans-Sylvania 4.
    Article published:
    June 29, 2012, 15:59 BST
    Cycling News

    Some changes expected for next year's edition

    The NoTubes Trans-Sylvania Epic mountain bike stage race organizers set the race's dates for 2013. It will happen from May 26 to June 1 next year. Deep lush forests, cold mountain creeks and and rocks await racers in Pennsylvania.

    "Trans-Sylvania Epic is a different focus from other stage races. This one is about community, the tribe, about getting people together who want to ride bikes. It is fun! The Average Joe can get through it and not be destroyed," said racer Rich Dillen (Team Dicky), a veteran of more than a dozen different mountain bike stage races when asked about the TSEpic.

    In 2013, the Trans-Sylvania Epic will offer a wide range of options and make it possible for for all levels of riders to take part. Solos and duos looking for the thrill of competition have seven days of fast racing to look forward to on challenging singletrack filled courses. Mountain bike lovers looking to ride in a more relaxed vacation-like way can do so through the "Experience category" where stopping to take in the beautiful views of rolling green ridges stretching into the distance is encouraged and rewarded. And groups of racers from beginner to elite can band together in an Epic Team and choose their own adventure in ways that allow all participants to make the week fit their lives, fitness, goals and abilities.

    Riders can look forward to improvements to camp and some new and revamped courses in 2013.

    "We take a little different view of things here regarding our courses," said TSEpic co-organizer Mike Kuhn, "and mix up a little of everything into the week." The changes in focus - from wide open fast dirt to the fastest cross country course in North America at Allegrippis to the IMBA-style build of the Nittany Mountain Bike Association trails in Rothrock to raw old school trails from RB Winter - offer different racers an opportunity to excel and showcase the...

  • Plaxton breaks through onto World Cup podium

    Max Plaxton (Specialized) on his way to his first World Cup podium
    Article published:
    June 29, 2012, 19:00 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Canadian mountain biker excels in back-to-back weekends

    Last week was an amazing week for pro mountain biker Max Plaxton (Specialized). It all started when he defended his Canadian cross country national championship title. A few days later, he was named to the Canadian Olympic team, and he finished the week off by stepping onto the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup podium for the first time in his career after finishing fifth in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada.

    "This year I set myself a goal to get one [World Cup] podium leading into the Olympics for confidence. Now that I achieved that, I'll continue to train harder than ever for the next three to four weeks leading into it," said Plaxton to Cyclingnews. "It's a huge honor to be top five in the World Cup. There aren't that many guys missing. Maybe [Julien] Absalon and one other, so it's a pretty legit podium."

    It was extra special for Plaxton to step onto his first podium at the only World Cup in Canada. The achievement came after the last World Cup in La Bresse, France, where he finished ninth.

    Plaxton's first World Cup at Mont-Sainte-Anne was in 2004, when he finished in the top 15. "I have good memories of here. I've been racing awhile and the fans were pushing me up those switchbacks... not literally of course, but they were cheering."

    "It was a tough course and I think a lot of guys were kind of scared of the course. Living in Victoria on the west coast, we train in this stuff every day of the winter. I was telling myself to 'just get on the trail and have a smooth start and just ride your race'."

    When asked about his new-found success at the highest level, he said, "Part of it is confidence and getting my training down and figuring out what works for...

  • 2012 Olympic Games mountain bike spots definitely decided

    Elite Men start with a huge amount of climbing on lap one
    Article published:
    July 02, 2012, 19:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Some changes to initial allocations per nation

    The UCI published the definitive attribution of places for the men's and women's mountain bike races for the 2012 Olympic Games.

    Qualified National Olympic Committees (NOCs) had until June 15 to accept their starting slots. In accordance with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and UCI regulations, a reallocation of quota places was undertaken after some NOCs turned down their spots

    Regarding the men's qualifying, Sweden declined its quota place which was reallocated to Portugal.

    Regarding the women's qualifying, The Netherlands declined its only quota place and Norway one of its spots. These were, in the first instance, reallocated to Hungary and Spain. Spain declined the place and it was reallocated to Japan.

    The final distribution of the 50 men's and 30 women's places is below.

    Olympic Mountain Bike race qualifying by nations

  • Freire not yet in top sprint form at Tour de France

    Oscar Freire (Katusha)
    Article published:
    July 02, 2012, 21:35 BST
    Brecht Decaluwé

    Former world champion gives Cavendish perfect lead-out

    The first bunch sprint in the Tour de France is often quite hectic, and that proved to be the case again this year for stage 2 from Visé to Tournai, Belgium. For an experienced man like Oscar Freire (Katusha), it was a little over the top. The 36-year-old Spaniard lost the wheel of eventual winner Mark Cavendish (Sky) and then lost ground in the final metres, eventually finishing 16th.

    "At one moment, I was on the wheel of (Peter) Sagan, but everybody wants to be there. I was in the sprint in the beginning, but in the last moment I didn't have power enough to sprint. Today I tried, but I need to be better," Freire said.

    In the build-up to the sprint, Freire waited a long time before moving to the front. Current world champion Cavendish knew the former triple world champion was the perfect man to follow in the chaos, as he stated during the post-race press conference. "In the last kilometre, I was on the wheel of Freire because he knows when to move up," Cavendish said.

    A little later, Daryl Impey (Orica-Greenedge) rode next to the Freire-Cavendish duo to bring his sprinter Matthew Goss (Orica-Greenedge) to the front. Cavendish managed to sneak in behind Impey with Goss remaining on the world champion's wheel. Freire realized that he had to get onboard this train to make it to the very front, and he tangled with Goss for Cavendish's wheel. Right after the finish, the Spaniard was spotted in an argument with Goss.

    "It's hard to keep your cool in these sprints as it's always risky. I don't know if they crashed, but it was a really dangerous sprint," Freire said. With age, some sprinters tend to avoid the risks more often. Tom Boonen is an example of this. "I think...

  • Leov announces retirement

    Justin Leov (Trek World Racing) in Windham
    Article published:
    July 03, 2012, 0:25 BST
    Cycling News

    New Zealander will finish off the World Cup season

    The Windham World Cup was a bittersweet one for Trek World Racing. While its Aaron Gwin won the elite men's downhill, another of its riders, Justin Leov, announced his retirement from the UCI Downhill World Cup circuit at the end of this 2012 season.

    For a number of months, Leov has been preparing to announce that this season will be his last. It's his 10th season and his career includes many highlights such as three World Cup podiums, winning some US national events, Crankworx Garbanzo, and importantly having a major impact on the careers of Gwin and has compatriots Sam Blenkinsop, Cam Cole and Brook MacDonald.

    "I've given this a lot of thought and for me there's no question that this is the time to announce my retirement," said the New Zealander. "The sport has given me a great 10 years, and these last four with Trek World Racing have been the real highlight. There are other things for me to do and both me and my wife Tory are looking forward to the future."

    "I'll be giving it my all for the next races and aiming for the best results possible, I'll always be a super competitive and committed person but for now it's time to turn these traits to another life."

    In his last practice run before the final in Windham, Leov smashed a tree with his left hand and raced the final with a suspected broken finger. The damage was evident but x-rays later confirmed he escaped serious injury and is off to Highland Park, New Hampshire, next weekend to race.

    Team Director Martin Whiteley said, "While I've known for some time that this will be Justin's last year on the...

  • Davison makes first World Cup podium

    Lea Davison (Specialized Racing)
    Article published:
    July 03, 2012, 15:33 BST
    Cycling News

    American celebrates breakthrough ride in Windham

    Lea Davison (Specialized) stepped onto the first World Cup podium of her career this weekend in Windham, New York. The American, who lives relatively nearby in Vermont, raced to a fifth place finish.

    "I'm pumped. It felt awesome," said Davison according to her team's website. The 29-year-old was recently named to the US Olympic Team. She will head to London in August for the cross country mountain bike race with fellow American Georgia Gould, who almost won the Windham World Cup until her chances were dashed by a late, last lap flat tire.

    Davison steadily moved up from ninth at the end of the opening lap to sixth place.

    "I was in sixth for three laps and putting pressure on Marie [Helen Premont], who was fading a bit. I was closing on her, but at the top of the last climb, I was about 20 seconds back and still in sixth."

    Lady luck intervened and showed Davison the path to the podium. "About halfway down the last descent, someone said Gunn-Rita [Dahle-Flesjaa] had a flat, so I was descending like a mad woman and I caught her and passed her."

    With her consistency throughout the season, Davison is ranked 12th in the World Cup standings after six rounds. One round remains in La Bresse, France at the end of July.

    In the nearer term, she will head to Sun Valley, Idaho to race the US Mountain Bike National Championships. In 2011 at nationals, Davison won the super D title and finished second in the cross country race.

  • Davids takes over US Pro UET lead

    Pua Mata (Sho-Air Specialized) has been having a terrific year
    Article published:
    July 03, 2012, 19:15 BST
    Cycling News

    Stage set for finale in Snowmass

    Brendon Davids (Sho-Air - Specialized) earned the victory at the Galena Grinder Whit Henry Memorial, on Saturday in Idaho and took the overall USA Cycling Pro Ultra Endurance Tour (Pro UET) lead. Monique "Pua" Mata (Team Sho-Air Specialized) tallied yet another victory, adding to her commanding series lead on the women's side with only one event remaining.

    Davids took advantage of the absence of the US Pro UET's former leader, David "Tinker" Juarez (Cannondale Factory) and rode to a more than one-minute win over Boise's Michael Tobin, who also put together a strong ride for silver. Davids' previous pair of second place results combined with victory in the series' penultimate contest puts him just 20 points ahead of Juarez who has won both of the 2012 Pro UET events he has entered. Eric Bostrom (Team Sho-Air-Specialized) also remains in striking distance headed into the July 21 showdown in Snowmass, Colorado.

    The reigning US Pro UET champion and current US Pro XCT leader Mata collected her fourth straight US Pro UET victory on the season earning the victory at Galena by more than 20 minutes. Amanda Carey (Kenda-Felt) had a solid ride in second place and Jessica Cerra (Calcoast Bikes) third. Carey's silver moves her into a four-way tie for third place in the series overall behind Tonya Bray ( who sits in second.

    See full results from the Galena Grinder.  Complete standings are below.

  • Men Olympic qualifying by nations
    # Rider Name (Country) Team Spots
    1 Argentina 1  
    2 Australia 1  
    3 Austria 2  
  • No gifts for Gould in Windham

    Georgia Gould (Luna) finishing 3rd with a flat after leading all race
    Article published:
    July 04, 2012, 16:00 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Pendrel and Gould reflect on unusual World Cup scenario

    Georgia Gould almost won her first World Cup on Saturday in Windham, New York. It was a heartbreaking finish for the American after she flatted on the final lap. She had been in the lead for most of the race and looked likely to win. Within sight of the finish line, her Luna teammates caught her: first world champion Catharine Pendrel and then Katerina Nash.  Gould had to settle for third place.

    "After my disappointing finish at Mont Ste Anne, I was very motivated to redeem myself at the World Cup in Windham," said Gould in her blog. One week earlier, she had led in Mont-Ste-Anne until the final lap when she faded and Pendrel caught and passed her. "I was focused, I was ready," said Gould about her mindset going into the only World Cup on North American soil.

    "As I rounded the last downhill turn and headed up the last short hill to the finish, I could see Catharine and Katerina coming out of the woods and I knew I wasn’t going to make it. I couldn’t even cry (yes, I had the "I'm crying" face, but I literally couldn’t even cry). I had no traction on the climb [with the flat tire - ed.] so I jumped off and started running. Catharine and Katerina both passed me within sight of the finish line. I couldn’t believe it. I was so close. I was crushed."

    Pendrel looked over at Gould, unsure of what to do as she caught her, then looked back and saw Nash charging to the line. Racing instincts took over and Pendrel sprinted Nash for the win.

    According to Pendrel,...

  • Men's US Pro UET Standings with one round remaining
    # Rider Name (Country) Team Standings