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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Date published:
June 06, 2012, 1:00 BST
  • Triple Crown East kicks off this weekend

    Racers are treated to sweet singletrack in the Triple Crown East
    Article published:
    June 01, 2012, 19:00 BST
    Cycling News

    Bump and Grind hosts first round in Alabama

    New for the 2012 mountain bike season, the US Cup has partnered with three select venues and promoters to offer the 2012 Triple Crown East Series presented by Sho-Air International.

    Working off its original 2010 concept of a national Triple Crown series in which riders race three different disciplines (cross country, super D, short track or time trial) over the weekend at three different rounds to crown the best "all around" rider, the US Cup has updated the concept and created a Triple Crown West and Triple Crown East series in 2012.

    "We found that in today's times and economy, racers want to stick closer to home when it comes to racing their bikes. So with that said, we decided to create the Triple Crown East series in conjunction with our Triple Crown West to give riders on the 'right' coast a chance to get in some high quality and multi format racing," said US Cup marketing director Ty Kady.

    The series kicks off this weekend, June 2-3, with the 18th annual Bump N Grind race in Pelham, Alabama. From there, the series rolls into the mid-Atlantic region as it pays a visit to Massanutten resort on June 9-10 and then finishes up on August 4-5 at Fontana, North Carolina with the folks from

    "We have teamed up with three of the best venues and promoters in our opinion to form the 2012 TCE series. I have personally ridden both Bump N Grind in Alabama and Massanutten in Virginia and they have quickly become two of my favorite riding spots in the US," said Kady.

    "The combined experience we have working with Corbin Camp of Bump N Grind, George Willetts of Massanutten and the Bergers over at the US Cup/SERC East series will ensure racers will be treated to some of the best riding and organized events in the nation."

    For more information on the 2012 Triple Crown East, visit

  • Nys pads Olympic MTB hopes with Antwerp win

    Sven Nys takes an important win on the mountain bike
    Article published:
    June 02, 2012, 23:05 BST
    Cycling News

    Cyclo-cross star closer to realizing dreams for London

    Sven Nys has taken one step closer toward an Olympic Games selection in the mountain bike event with a victory in the Belgacom Belgian MTB Grand Prix in Antwerp today.

    Nys rode away from the field at the start of the UCI category 1 race and never looked back. Fellow cyclo-crosser Tom Meeusen tried to chase but faded, while Jonas De Backer claimed the final podium spot.

    The 35-year-old Nys has dominated the non-Olympic sport of cyclo-cross for the better part of 15 years, but just as he did for Beijing in 2008, Nys is putting extra effort into the fat tire side of cycling over the summer in order to qualify for London, while at the same time fulfilling his road obligations with the Landbouwkrediet-Euphony team.

    Currently ranked fourth-best Belgian on the UCI cross-country rankings, Nys tacked on another 60 points with today's victory. He is competing with compatriots Ruben Scheire and Sebastien Carabin for one of two spots for Belgium in the Games - 21st-ranked Kevin Van Hoovels is the number one Belgian. Carabin, 23, and Scheire, 21 are, however, as yet unproven in the elite men's ranks, haven accumulated most of their points in the U23 ranks.

    Nys is pinning his hopes on a high placing in the European championships to earn a bid for London. In 2008, he placed ninth in the cross-country race in Beijing.

    "I have been preparing intesely for the European Championships for the past four weeks," Nys said after his Antwerp victory. "Also, the Tour of Belgium went well. This victory is a beautiful crowning glory."

    The points garnered in Antwerp will help Nys to gain a better starting position for the European Championships, which take place on June 10 in Moscow.

  • Gracia undergoes surgery following Val di Sole crash

    Cédric Gracia (CG Racing Brigade)
    Article published:
    June 05, 2012, 18:42 BST
    Cycling News

    Pelvic and femur fractures sustained by French downhiller

    Cedric Gracia (CG Racing Brigade) underwent surgery for injuries sustained while practicing during the Val di Sole round of the UCI Downhill World Cup last weekend according to

    In addition to fracturing his pelvis in four places, he also fractured the head of his femur. The Frenchman went down after a rock impacted his front brake cable, and he was unable to slow himself down.

    Gracia remained conscious throughout and was transferred to a nearby hospital in Italy. Following surgery there, he was moved to another hospital in Montpellier, France.

  • Absalon leads French team at European Championships

    Julien Absalon (Orbea Racing Team)
    Article published:
    June 05, 2012, 20:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Last year's winner Kulhavy expected to battle Frenchman again

    Julien Absalon (Orbea) will head to the European Championships this weekend, June 7-10 in Moscow, Russia. After finishing second in 2011, he will race against defending champion Jaroslav Kulhavy (Specialized). Absalon last won the European cross country championships in 2006.

    The Frenchman, who recently won the La Bresse World Cup and the Swiss Bike Trophy, is just one of two men being sent by the French Cycling Federation; Stephan Tempier (TX-Active Bianchi) is the other. The French Cycling Federation is only sending a small team to the championships event. While other riders did meet the criteria to race in the European championships, the Federation limited its picks to those it thinks have the potential to medal according to

    No French elite women or U23 men will be racing although Pauline Ferrand Prevot (Rabobank) will race among the U23 women. There are also several French junior men and women on the roster: Margot Moschetti (Scott), Perrine Clauzel (Focus / Coaching System) for the junior women and Victor Koretzky (, Romain Seigel (Definitive), Titouan Carod (Scott) and Antoine Bouqueret (Adrisport) for the junior men.

  • US cross country national championship course gets epic for amateurs

    US Cross Country Mountain Bike Nationals at Sun Valley, Idaho in 2011. They will return in July of 2012.
    Article published:
    June 05, 2012, 21:15 BST
    Cycling News

    New single loop national championship course created

    Organizers of the USA Cycling Cross Country Mountain Bike Championships in Sun Valley, Idaho, announced a new course for the amateur racers in 2012.

    Recognizing that last year's Ho Chi Minh Trail (aka Bald Mountain Trail) "might not have been the best use of brain cells", promoters are guaranteeing a true mountain biking experience with a new race course and format. The leg breaking for 2012 will occur on a circumnavigation of Bald Mountain via Cold Springs, Warm Springs and River Run Trails.

    Taking in some of the scenic trails in the Sun Valley region this single loop format is a first for the area. Racers will start and finish at River Run like last year. However this year's route will travel clockwise racing down the Big Wood River, climbing up Cold Springs and wrapping around to the Warm Springs side of Bald Mountain. From there, racers will climb up Maiden Lane to the Sunset Strip before descending the swooping River Run descent to the finish. With nearly 3,000 feet of climbing over 20 miles, no rider will finish begging for more. Ample passing, great descending and a mix of blazing sun and soothing shade make this ride one that will not be soon forgotten.

    The US cross country nationals will take place from July 5-7 as part of the Ride Sun Valley Bike Festival. The week begins on June 30 with a USA Cycling US Pro UET round, the Galena Grinder, and on July 1 with the first ever Baldy Super Duper Downhill.

    There is no word on any changes to the pro cross country national championship course. In 2011, the elites competed on a sub-four mile course starting and finishing at the River Run Lodge at Mt. Baldy. Georgia Gould (Luna) and Todd Wells (Specialized) won the women's and men's events.

    For more information, visit

  • Hanlen named to New Zealand Olympic team

    Kiwi Karen Hanlen had a great ride before crashing, and still managed to finish eighth
    Article published:
    June 06, 2012, 3:29 BST
    Cycling News

    Mother of two rises into elite mountain bike ranks in just two years

    Karen Hanlen has been named to the New Zealand cycling team for the 2012 London Olympic Games. The Whakatane rider will be her country's sole representative in cross country mountain bike racing.

    The 32-year-old mother of two and physiotherapist only took up the sport in 2010. She progressed quickly to a stage where she ventured overseas last year on the World Cup circuit.

    Hanlen has been locked in a battle for selection with Beijing Olympian Rosara Joseph (Rabobank-Giant) this year, winning the domestic national series and the Oceania title before grabbing a top-10 finish in this year's opening World Cup race in South Africa.

    She had two more solid results in Europe, but a crash on a brutal course in France last month thwarted her final World Cup. It also claimed Joseph, who broke her wrist in two places during practice, effectively ending her hopes of selection.

    Hanlen will be hoping to match Joseph's showing at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, where the latter placed ninth.

    BikeNZ High Performance Director, Mark Elliott said he was delighted with the selection of Hanlen to the team. "New Zealand has a history of producing world class women's cross country mountain bikers from the likes of Kathy Lynch, Susy Pryde, Robyn Wong, Rosara Joseph and now Karen."

    "To achieve such strong performances with such a short time in the sport, as a working physiotherapist with a young family is outstanding and she has the opportunity now to shine on the biggest stage."

    The New Zealand road bike team is yet to be selected.

  • Stander to lead South African Olympic mountain bike team

    Burry Stander (Specialized) is the pre-race favorite
    Article published:
    June 06, 2012, 16:30 BST
    Cycling News

    Buys and Neethling also selected

    The selection process for the South African Olympic mountain bike team came down to the wire. At the end of it, three racers were named to the team headed to the 2012 London Olympic Games: Burry Stander, Philip Buys and Candice Neethling.

    The 24-year-old Stander, who finished in 12th place at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was always going to be in for the running for the 2012 London Olympic squad.

    Racing cross country as a professional rider for Specialized and consistently ranked in the UCI world top 10, it was a foregone conclusion that Stander would receive automatic qualification. Stander is also listed on SASCOCs OPEX (operation excellence) program, and has had a lot of influence in building the qualification points to qualify a second male rider with his high world ranking.

    The tipping point for South Africa's second male and single female to qualify for the London Games was the 2012 African Continental Championships that were held in Mauritius. Cycling South Africa's main objective was to push up South Africa's quota by enhancing its country ranking. Results in Mauritius coupled with the efforts of the South Africans campaigning overseas in UCI World Cups bettered its nation ranking to qualify two men and one woman.

    Buys, 24, and Neethling, 20, both 2012 African Continental Champions, have been performing consistently well in World Cup races abroad and local National Cup races. Buys has been a consistent and strong rider for at least a year, with no other possible contenders beating him in cross country competition.

    2008 Beijing Olympian Yolande Speedy was ruled out of contention following her unfortunate crash during the practice lap at the Pietermaritzburg World Cup earlier this year where she broke her wrist. Speedy's start to the 2012 season showed an in-form contender once again dominating the...

  • Tinker Juarez takes back US Pro UET lead

    Tinker Juarez (Cannondale Factory Racing Team)
    Article published:
    June 06, 2012, 19:55 BST
    Cycling News

    Mata extends her lead at Big Bear 50

    The USA Cycling Pro Mountain Bike Ultra Endurance Tour (US Pro UET) continued with its third event, the Big Bear 50, on Sunday in Lake Morena, California. With wins at Big Bear, David "Tinker" Juarez (Cannondale Factory) regained the men's US Pro UET lead and Monique "Pua" Mata (Team Sho-Air Specialized) added more padding to her commanding lead on the women's side.

    Juarez, 51, put his experience to use to take the win in round 3 after skipping round 2, the Sage Brush Safari in California, won by Eric Bostrom. Juarez's combined points for his victory in Big Bear and Hot Springs, Arkansas gives him a lead of 120 points to Bostrom's 97.

    Reigning US Pro UET champion Mata collected her third straight victory in the series and extended her lead in the overall.

    The series will continue on June 30 with the Galena Grinder Whit Henry Memorial in Galena Lodge, Idaho. The series will then wrap up with the 12 Hours of Snowmass in Colorado on July 21.

    See full results from the Big Bear 50.

    US Pro UET standings after 3 rounds

    # Rider Name Points
    1 David "Tinker" Juarez 120  pts