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MTB News & Racing Round-up, Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Date published:
September 11, 2013, 1:00 BST
  • Lesotho team grateful for first world championship experience

    Tumisang Taabe (Lesotho)
    Article published:
    September 06, 2013, 22:30 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Riders challenge themselves with most technical terrain yet

    Lesotho cross country national champion Phetetso Monese led his nation to its first-ever participation at a UCI World Championships last weekend at mountain bike Worlds in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

    The experience was eye-opening for Monese and his teammates.

    "We come from a small country where we have some singletrack," said Monese, who finished 68th in the elite men's cross country race. "We have few technical trails, but most of the time we ride on the singletrack. So what we have learned at these world championships is how to ride technically and also that we need to go back and train more. But we've had a great experience being here."

    He also noted that he and his teammates are not full-time athletes like many of the participants at Worlds. It makes it hard for them to get in as much training and racing as they'd need to be competitive.

    Monese especially enjoyed the downhills at Worlds and promised that he would return to Lesotho and share what he'd learned from his experience.

    "This, of course, changed our lives. We are looking forward to being one of the heroes that hopefully some of the young stars in Lesotho can copy. I will go back home and try and use these memories to show young riders how to do this type of training."

    Out on course, the racers from Lesotho, many of whom were riding equipment that was obviously not as good as that of their counterparts, got the loudest cheers from the spectators after the South African racers.

    Lesotho is a nation fully surrounded by South Africa, and its nearest neighbors proved very supportive of the efforts of Lesotho's racers.

    The entire Lesotho team almost didn't make it to the Worlds, despite the proximity, due to last minute funding issues.

    After an...

  • Absalon ends season early

    Julian Absalon injured his ribs in a crash while training for the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in South Africa
    Article published:
    September 07, 2013, 12:55 BST
    Cycling News

    No World Cup final for French rider

    Two-time Olympic gold medallist Julien Absalon (BMC) has been forced to end his 2013 mountain bike season early due to injury. The decision is the result of one broken rib and one bruised rib sustained in crashes while training a few days prior to the UCI Mountain Bike World Championship in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

    Upon returning home to France, Absalon underwent x-rays in Frejus, which confirmed the earlier diagnosis of broken ribs.

    "The bone actually moved a bit, so three weeks of rest are necessary. Unfortunately, I won't be able to attend the start of the World Cup finals in Norway," said Absalon, who will likely lose his second place overall in the World Cup standing.

    Despite his painful injuries, Absalon still managed to finish sixth at the cross country world championship event. He did not start the eliminator.

    "Right now it's pretty painful, but I hope to be training again on the road as soon as possible," said the 33-year-old Absalon.

  • Wloszczowska happy to be back in action among the best

    Maja Wloszczowska (Poland)
    Article published:
    September 08, 2013, 14:10 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Former world champion puts injury and disappointment behind her

    A year ago, a disappointed Maja Wloszczowska (Giant XC Racing) was trying to get over the disappointment of breaking her leg three weeks before the Olympic Games and missing out on her chance to race in London and at the mountain bike Worlds. This year, she's basking in the glow of having won a silver medal at the cross country mountain bike world championships recently in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.

    "It was a tough time for me," said Wloszczowska to Cyclingnews. "I had broken two bones and tore all my ligaments in my ankle. After six weeks in a cast, my foot was not moving at all. I have one Titanium piece of hardware in one bone and none in the other."

    Wloszczowska had figured she could get back to training after six weeks post-injury, but her foot wasn't moving.

    "I was doing five hours a day at the limit of pain to move it," she said. "It's still not moving fully, but luckily for me, I ride with my right foot in front. I couldn't move it the more that would be required to ride with my left foot in front."

    Wloszczowska couldn't do her usual winter cross training on skis or many exercises in the gym. "At least I could ride a bike, but I didn't get on a mountain bike until training camp in Cyprus this spring."  In the meantime, she switched over to a new team, the Giant  Pro XC Team.  She said her new squad didn't put any pressure on her to come back too quickly.

    "It was a long journey to come back," she said. The comeback began with a second place at the Albstadt and Nove Mesto World Cups in the spring as well as at the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup in August. Her string of second places continued at mountain bike Worlds. Each time, she was beat by a different...

  • Fumic ends season on a high note

    Manuel Fumic (Germany)
    Article published:
    September 09, 2013, 17:53 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Comeback complete after broken collarbone

    Manuel Fumic (Cannondale Factory Racing) was delighted to score his best-ever world championship finish in the elite men's cross country race in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa earlier this month while representing Germany. His previous best Worlds finish was fifth.

    Fumic's silver medal performance was especially sweet after he broke his collarbone earlier this season and missed several of the World Cup rounds. Due to that injury, he dropped from third in the world rankings to 14th.

    "I had a rough year - I broke my collarbone, and it was a hard comeback," said Fumic to Cyclingnews. "I knew I'd need a lot of time and maybe I could be back in shape in time for the world championship. For me, it's motivating to get a good result like this."

    Fumic was optimistic going into Worlds. "The day before the race, I told my guys that I had a good feeling and could go for the medal. I grabbed one of those medals and now I'm really happy."

    There were some early moments during which Fumic's chances seemed in danger, but he remained calm and focused. "I crashed early in the race on the Treehouse rock garden and lost some places. Once you have any problem, the speed at the front is so fast, you often can't come back, but I was focused. When I crashed, I was like, 'ok, I have a plan. I'll make it back.'"

    He did just that, steadily working his way forward. "The guys were not that far away. When I went through the start/finish, I could see the guys in the front. I was pushing hard to catch the second group. I made my way through the field."

    "I didn't hide at all. As soon as I was up to [eventual third place finisher] Jose Hermida's back wheel, I overtook him. I wanted it so badly. I pushed...

  • Young Disera excels across cycling disciplines

    Peter Disera (Canada) in 2nd on last lap
    Article published:
    September 10, 2013, 0:05 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Up and coming Canadian junior is one to watch

    If you haven't heard the name Peter Disera, you may want to make note of it for future reference. Having recently won the silver medal in the junior men's cross country mountain bike world championships, the Canadian is also a talented road and cyclo-cross racer

    "I've had an exceptional year. I'm national champion in cyclo-cross, individual [road] time trial, mountain bike cross country and [road] crit, and I was on the podium at nationals for the [mountain bike] eliminator," said Disera, who is from Barre, Ontario, to Cyclingnews.

    Disera is wrapping up his final season as a junior. This fall, he is heading to the University of Guelph to major in water resources engineering, and he's hoping his school will be accommodating to his continued racing.

    The young rider says that downhill and technical riding are his strengths in mountain bike racing. He found the world championship course in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa to be perfect for him. "My coach called it an 'elements course'. That means man-made technical features with smooth terrain in between. You can coast and rail turns and then switch on focus, do it and get out. I love that kind of stuff. I consider myself a good technical rider and when I don't have to be continually good technically, I find I do well."

    Though still a junior, Disera already has plenty of riding experience. "I've been racing for six years, and it's the classic tale of moving my way up through the grassroots program and chasing the faster riders and the older guys. I still ride at Hardwood ski and bike weekly race series."

    Disera was delighted to win the silver medal at cross country Worlds, one year after a heartbreaking experience. "I had a sort of devastating world championships last year in Austria. I ripped my tire off my rim on the third lap around. I...

  • UCI Presidential Candidate Cookson talks mountain biking, Part 1

    UCI Presidential candidate Brian Cookson
    Article published:
    September 10, 2013, 17:55 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Thoughts on UCI Rule 1.2.019 and downhill in the Olympics

    As the UCI Presidential election nears, there has been plenty of talk about men's and women's road cycling by both candidates, but what about mountain biking? Cyclingnews sat down at the recent UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa and talked with UCI Presidential candidate Brian Cookson about his vision for mountain biking.

    In part 1 of the interview with Cookson, he fills us in on his mountain biking background and his general view of the sport, and he considers the idea of adding downhill to the Olympic Games and how to deal with controversial UCI Rule 1.2.019.

    Cyclingnews: Have you ever been to mountain bike Worlds or any mountain bike World Cups before?

    Brian Cookson: Of course. The last one I went to was in Fort William [in 2007]. I've been there every year for the downhill mountain bike World Cup ever since. I went to a few cross country World Cups at Dalby Forest, and I was at the Olympic mountain bike race in London.

    CN: Tell us about your mountain biking background.

    BC: I've got a mountain bike, and when my son was younger, we did a lot of mountain biking together. This was in the early 1990s when mountain biking was really taking off in the UK. I have fun mountain biking, but I tend to do more road biking these days. I have a mountain bike and try to ride it whenever I can.

    CN: What's your sense of direction for mountain biking if you win the election?

    BC: My view is that mountain biking is an extremely vibrant and healthy part of the sport that we need to support more on the international level. It's certainly a good entry level into the sport for all sorts of its branches. It's several disciplines.

    It's interesting...

  • Breck Epic announces 2014 dates

    Breck Epic women's winner Amanda Carey (Stan's NoTubes) leads local open space planner and Clydesdale Scott Reid down Little French on stage 3. Both riders kitted out in race leader's jerseys.
    Article published:
    September 10, 2013, 22:07 BST
    Cycling News

    Self-proclaimed MTB stage race world championship returns for another year

    Organizers of the Breck Epic MTB Stage Race announced that the 2014 edition of the race is slated for August 10-15. The event will once again, with tongue firmly in cheek according to organizers, serve as the "Mountain Bike Stage Race World Championships" for all categories.

    "We launched our first Breck Epic in 2009 with the simple belief that cross country racing could be better. That it could, and more importantly, should offer greater value to the mountain bike community; bigger experiences, grander landscapes, better value, and more lasting memories for both racers and enthusiasts," said Breck Epic Race Director Mike McCormack, "Along the way we've been gifted with incredible loyalty from our participants and best-in-class support from our bike industry partners."

    "When we launched in 2009, our plan was simple; we combined a conscientiously organized event with ambitious back-of-beyond race courses and courted passionate people to participate. It's proven a powerful mix. Not much has changed as we prepare for 2014 - we just try to be organized and thoughtful. We attempt to set the standard for course marking. And we listen to people when they have issues," said McCormack, "It's simple stuff. Seeing the 2013 race sell out in February last year tells us that our particular recipe works."

    The unofficial and self-ascribed "MTB Stage Race World Championships" designation first emerged in 2012, applying only to the singlespeed category. Created in response to what was perceived by organizers as increasing rigidity and self-importance among mountain biking's established national and international governing bodies, the world champion designation was expanded to all fields in 2013, a practice that will continue in 2014. GC winners in all 2014 categories earn the semi-official "World MF Champ" title along with a ceremonial jersey from in-on-the-joke apparel partner Twin Six.

    The enduro categories successfully integrated in 2013 will...

  • UCI Presidential Candidate Cookson talks mountain biking, Part 2

    Brian Cookson at the 2013 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships
    Article published:
    September 11, 2013, 19:45 BST
    Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor

    Thoughts on enduro, minimum salaries and successful Olympic racing

    As the UCI Presidential election nears, there has been plenty of talk about men's and women's road cycling by both candidates, but what about mountain biking? Cyclingnews sat down at the recent UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa and talked with UCI Presidential candidate Brian Cookson about his vision for mountain biking.

    In part 2, of the interview with Cookson, he fills us in on enduro racing, the successes of recent Olympic cross country racing, minimum salaries for pros and his experience in Great Britain and how it might translate to being president of the UCI if he wins the election.

    Read part 1 of the interview.

    Cyclingnews: What are your thoughts on the emerging mountain bike discipline of enduro?

    Brian Cookson: Enduro is an interesting element of the sport. I think it's important to try to keep it within the UCI, in terms of managing it and helping it develop.

    To me, it's interesting culturally and sociologically that different groups of people get involved in promoting different things. They put their hearts and souls and passion into what it is that specifically interests them. That's a good thing, and we should try to channel that and support that. We should do that with enduro.

    It's interesting how mountain biking evolves very quickly. That's because there are new people coming in all the time and getting excited and seeing potential for doing different things. Getting a balance between understanding mountain biking and promoting it on a consistent basis at the international and Olympic level has got to be counterbalanced by looking for innovation.

    CN: Any thoughts on cross country and the Olympics?

    BC: I...