Seven stages in five days in Australia's Northern Territory
The Ingkerreke Commercial MTB Enduro will return for its seventh year on May 19-23 in 2014, packing seven mountain bike stages over five days in Australia's Red Centre - Alice Springs, Northern Territory.
As in recent years, about 200 racers are expected, including four-time participant and runner-up in 2013, Shaun Lewis of Swell-Specialized.
"Alice has developed into a true mountain bike riding destination with a huge amount of sweet and flowing singletrack." Lewis said. "Whether you are there to go for the win, to get the best out of yourself, or just to take in the trails and riding that Alice offers with your mates, this is an awesome event."
The seven stages of racing over five days range from a 45-second individual time trial hill sprint, a night race to the sounds of AC/DC's "Thunderstruck", and an 80km epic capturing the majestic MacDonnell Ranges.
The race's course and friendly camaraderie attract racers. Each stage features singletrack and 4WD trails that offer plenty of riding variety over the course of the week, with all logistics covered for participants.
"The event is all about racing some good miles on your bike and then kicking back around the pool with new and old friends afterwards," said Rapid Ascent's General Manager Sam Maffett. "It's about riding in a truly awesome location, where the tectonic lines of the grand old MacDonnell's disappear into a distant horizon, with big blue skies, and the rolling single track of the desert."
Ingkerreke Commercial returns as the naming rights sponsor in 2014. Ingkerreke (pronounced: In-ger-uka) is an Aboriginal-owned, Alice Springs-based all trades construction company.
Ingkerreke CEO Scott McConnell said, "This race is of enormous benefit to the people of Alice Springs and Ingkerreke is all about supporting our local community. The word Ingkerreke means 'All together' and reflects the corporation's values as portrayed in the tag line: 'Together we...
Former winners share opinions on next year's courses
Several racers shared their opinions about the 2014 Cape Epic route after it was announced earlier this week. Next year, the race will cover 718km, with 14,850m of climbing from March 23 to March 30.
Four-time Cape Epic winner Christoph Sauser predicted that the route would suit him, as he is a good all-rounder.
"This will be my 10th Cape Epic. I look forward to Robertson as I have good memories from last year," he said. "I have less fond memories of Greyton as we lost a Cape Epic due to Burry [Stander]'s famous crash there, where we broke the front wheel. I personally was hoping we go back to Wellington and especially Stellenbosch, as it's my second home!"
"Stage 5 will be very difficult as we'll be tired and we have the UFO and Groenlandberg to climb, which are never easy after five days of racing already. We're targeting an overall win, so every stage has the same importance. We always decide what to do in a situation and don't follow a master plan."
Karl Platt, also a four-time Cape Epic winner, reckoned that every year is hard. "We're returning to familiar terrain from past years. Because mountain biking has changed in South Africa, I'm really looking forward to seeing the new style of self-made trails in and around these towns. They are really famous for awesome and breathtaking mountain biking."
With regards to the stages, he thinks they will all be difficult. "The long distance stages are especially difficult to amateurs. One of the key stages will be the stage to Oak Valley with the monster of Groenlandberg. I can remember that terrain very well, maybe because of all the impressions from past years and the pain. Not to sound arrogant, we'll target every stage for a win. It's more about the general classification than the wins though."
He jokingly added that there would be no easy stages during the Cape Epic. "I promise," he...
US national downhill series postponed indefinitely
The US Grand Prix of Mountain Biking has come to an end with the 2013 season, according to its organizer, who has indefinitely suspended the series.
"After much reflection, I have decided to postpone the US Grand Prix of Mountain Biking until further notice. I wanted to thank everyone for their continued support through my time with the Pro GRT and into the USGP of Mountain Biking," read a statement by Jeremiah Dylan Dean, the man behind the gravity series.
Dean announced the series nearly two years ago. The first season was run in 2012, and the second was in 2013. Prior to starting the USGP of Mountain biking, Dean coordinated the USA Cycling US Pro Gravity Tour (US Pro GRT). He stepped away from the US Pro GRT to focus on the US Grand Prix.
"Unfortunately, my plans to help rebuild the US race scene by combining downhill, enduro and other disciplines have yet to bear fruit. Although I do believe that program I developed can be and will be successful, it will have to wait until a further time."
Instead of the USGP, Dean will now focus on his ARMA Energy MTB professional mountain bike team and his bike shops, the Bike Vault and T.RYX Recumbent Trikes in Escondido, California.
"I will continue to grow my race team into one of the premier race teams from the US. In addition to national caliber downhill racing, we will be expanding into enduro and World Cup racing for the 2014 season."
"I urge you to continue to support US racing, as we will be. Until a true national caliber series can be developed and be sustainable, there are plenty of regional and local events to support."
With the end of the US Grand Prix of Mountain Biking, there will remain one US national downhill series; however, USA Cycling has not yet announced...
The Iceman Cometh Challenge is a 29-mile, point-to-point cross country mountain bike race from Kalkaska to Traverse City, Michigan. Held traditionally on the first Saturday of November, except for years when the first Saturday of November is the 1st, the 24rd annual Iceman will be raced on Saturday, November 2, 2013. Over 5,000 competitors are expected.
Over $52,000 in cash prizes and $10,000 in merchandise prizes will be awarded for the race.
In last year's race, Sam Schultz beat Geoff Kabush and Brian Matter while Georgia Gould topped the women's standings ahead of Emily Batty and Heather Irmiger.
Tune in here on Cyclingnews for live streaming coverage of the popular North American season-ending mountain bike race from approximately 10:15 am until 4:30 pm US EDT. The elite men and women will start at 2:30 pm, and they are expected to finish around 4:00 pm. Live streaming for the pros will begin around 3:20 pm.
The forecast for Saturday is for a high of 47 degrees (Fahrenheit), cloudy skies and showers possible. Conditions vary widely from year to year, from warm and sunny and dry to rainy to snowy or icy.
Stage race to become UCI-categorized event next year
The 2014 Cape Pioneer Trek mountain bike stage race has been given a fresh boost following the announcement that Bridge, the title sponsor, has significantly increased the prize money for the race's Swartberg Pass stage with its iconic mountain-top finish.
The 2013 edition of the seven-day race finished in Oudtshoorn in South Africa's Western Cape province last weekend, and Neels Grobler, Chief Growth Officer at Bridge, then announced that the third year of the company's involvement would see increased focus on the women's category, starting with equal prize money on the event's queen stage.
This year, the first men's team to the summit of the Swartberg Pass, Asrin Cycling's James Reid and Jens Schuermans collected R112,000 (US $12 ,000). The first women's team earned R25,000 (US $2,500). The women's prize money this year was donated by Khombisa Media.
For 2014, the event's first year it will be a UCI-graded stage race, Bridge has increased the Swartberg Pass stage prize money to R125,000 for the top men's team and R125 000 for the top women's team.
"The top women make just as much sacrifice and show just as much commitment as the men. They deserve the same reward," said Grobler. "At Bridge, we're not just a sponsor, we're a partner to the Cape Pioneer Trek, and we want to make a meaningful contribution to the success of the event. Increasing the prize money for the race's biggest stage is a good place to start."
Among the women's field this year was two-time marathon world champion, Annika Langvad, who is also the current Danish national marathon champion. She partnered with current Swiss marathon champion, Arianne Kleinhans in the RE:CM Davinci team, which won the women's title in dominant fashion. Their main rivals were Great Britain's Jane Nuessli and Switzerland's...
National series and national and Oceania championships dates and venues set
Mountain Bike New Zealand and BikeNZ announced the venues and hosts for New Zealand's summer mountain bike season.
The New Zealand Mountain Bike Cup, a national series now in its 24th year, will be running a condensed format for 2014. The downhill category will compete over three events and the cross country over two. MTBNZ has also partnered with existing events to deliver some Cup events, the New Zealand Open in Christchurch and Top Gun in Nelson.
The New Zealand Mountain Bike National Championships will be held in Rotorua as part of the Rotorua Bike Festival, in the first year of a new three-year commitment. Event dates for the national championships are February 14-16 for downhill, and February 15 for cross country country. Hosts for this event will be the Rotorua MTB Club.
The Oceania Mountain Bike Championships will be held at Mt Hutt on March 14-16. The bustling hub of Methven and a combined approach between Gravity Canterbury and Bike Methven will host this event, on its alternate year cycle with Australia. The Oceania Championships are one of six global Continental Championship events and provides New Zealand and Australian mountain bikers an ideal opportunity to gain valuable international ranking points.
MTBNZ President Jordan Moss is enthusiastic about the 2014 event format. "The NZMTB Cup is a shorter series for 2014, but all hosts and MTBNZ are aiming to deliver high quality events with a less busy format," he said.
"The summer period is crammed with all sorts of other mountain bike events, but the NZ Cup still retains its place for New Zealand's best to compete and we look forward to making that happen. National and Oceania Championships are New Zealand's pinnacle competitive events and will be absolute highlights of the summer season"
NZMTB Cup Downhill January 18-19: Round 1 - New Zealand Open, Christchurch, January 31-February 1: Round 2 - Top Gun, Nelson February...
Choosing just 10 candidates for the Cyclingnews Reader Poll's top male mountain biker of the year is never easy, especially considering the candidates are drawn from six sub-disciplines: cross country, downhill, eliminator, enduro, four cross and marathon.
Two riders stood out on the cross country World Cup circuit this year: Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) and Julien Absalon (BMC). Sure Schurter won more races, including the world championships and the overall World Cup title, but without the perennially strong Absalon, the races would not have been nearly as interesting to watch. The two champions went head-to-head on many occasions, with Absalon doing what he could, whenever possible, to avoid having to sprint Schurter.
Downhill fans were treated to many close races, perhaps the most nail-biting of all of them was when Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) successfully defended his world championship title in front of the home crowd in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. To repeat under that much pressure was impressive. Throughout the year, Steve Smith (Devinci Global Racing) also repeatedly showed he is among the best gravity riders. The Canadian successfully triumphed in the late season to pull off the World Cup downhill overall win, upsetting another candidate for male mountain biker of the year, Gee Atherton.
The eliminator may be the newest mountain bike World Cup discipline, but some riders have already chosen to specialize in it. Paul van der Ploeg (Satalyst Giant Racing Team), who also races on the road, brought home gold for Australia in the eliminator world championships while consistency paid off for Daniel Federspiel (Ötztal Scott Racing Team), who won the eliminator...
There was never a dull moment during this year's UCI Mountain Bike World Cup and world championship racing. No single woman dominated any sub-discipline, and with several favorites out at various times of the year due to injury, there was also room for some newer faces on the podium in the post-Olympic year.
Julie Bresset (BH-SR Suntour KMC) made a steady comeback after breaking her collarbone earlier in the season. The French woman patiently worked her way back up to the front of the field, in time to win the cross country world championships in South Africa.
Perhaps the surprise of the season was Tanja Zakelj (Unior Tools), a former U23 world champion who consistently excelled and ended up winning the cross country World Cup overall title.
Maja Wloszczowska (Giant) also made an impressive comeback from a severe leg injury in 2012 which had kept her out of the Olympic Games. The Polish star was back in action among the top cross country contenders throughout 2013.
Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida) again did double duty by racing both cross country and marathons. She not only won a round of the cross country World Cup, but also earned the marathon world championship title.
Eliminator queen Alexandra Engen (Ghost Factory Racing) again proved her dominance, both by winning the world championships and also the World Cup overall. Not far behind her on a regular basis was fellow Swede Jenny Rissveds.
On the gravity side, Rachel Atherton (GT Factory Racing) won both the downhill world championships...