News Shorts: Rojas Villegas tops final America Tour standings

Costa Rican rider wins America Tour ahead of Sevilla and Kocjan

Costa Rican national champion Juan Carlos Rojas Villegas topped the final standings of the UCI America Tour after winning the overall at the Vuelta Kolbi a Costa Rica that ended Christmas Day.

The 33-year-old rider, who competes with the Tierniticos Beans club team, won two stages of the 11-stage Costa Rican Tour and wore the leader's jersey for five days after taking the overall lead for the first time during stage 2. The win marked the third time Rojas has won the Vuelta a Costa Rica; he also took the overall there in 2010 and 2013 following his return from a two-year doping ban imposed in 2007.

Team SmartStop's Jure Kocjan, who finished the America Tour in third, led the season-long series for much of the year before Oscar Sevilla (EPM-UNE-Area Metropolitan) took the lead following a third-place performance at the Vuelta a Guatemala at the end of October. Sevilla finished second in the final series standings. UnitedHeathcare's Kiel Reijnen finished fourth in the America Tour, followed by Team Equador's Byron Guama.

Mike Creed, Kocjan's director at SmartStop, said it was unfortunate his rider lost the series lead.

"With the calendar the way it is it's really out of our hands," Creed said. "We can't have guys racing 12 months a year."

Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team announces 2015 roster

The Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team announced its roster for 2015, including eight returning riders and two new signings. The squad is heading into its fifth year and will again focus on mountain bike racing.

“The Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team is a leading domestic women’s cycling team, and in 2015, we will continue inspiring and getting more women on bikes,” said Sarah Kaufmann, one of the team’s managers. “To that end, we will be participating in a variety of races across the country and the world, and we’ll be leading ladies’ riding clinics at many of the races which we attend.”

US Mountain Bike Marathon National Champion Rose Hughes Grant is joining the Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team. The Kalispell, Montana, resident and mother of a 20-month-old daughter was also sixth at the 2014 US Cross Country National Championships.

Under 23 development rider Emily Shields of Advance, North Carolina, will also wear the colors of the Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team in 2015. Shields won the under 25 women’s category at the seven-day Trans-Sylvania Epic Mountain Bike Stage Race and finished fifth in the under 23 category at the US Cross Country National Championships.

“We’re thrilled to welcome Rose to the team and to have the opportunity to mentor Emily and see her develop into a top racer,” said Kaufmann.

Returning team members include Vicki Barclay, Nina Baum, Mical Dyck, Shannon Gibson, Sue Haywood, Kaufmann, Kathy Sherwin and Jennifer Smith. The team will be managed in 2015 by Femme First Racing, LLC, which is owned by three members of the team: Baum, Smith and Kaufmann.

2015 Stan’s NoTubes Elite Women’s Team Roster:
Vicki Barclay, Nina Baum, Mical Dyck, Shannon Gibson, Rose Grant, Sue Haywood, Sarah Kaufmann, Kathy Sherwin, Emily Shields, Jennifer Smith

Oregon women sues MTB race after crash

An Oregon woman who crashed while riding on a mountain bike race course is suing the event's organizers for $273,000, according to a report in the Oregonian newspaper.

Lisa Belair, of Portland, filed suit this month against race organizers of the Dog River Super D in Hood River, claiming she was injured after going off a jump that had been built from a fallen tree. The race was organized by Fat Tire Farm in Northwest Portland and Hurricane Racing in Government Camp, according to the report. Although the actual racing took place on May 4, Belair was injured on May 3, a day reserved for pre-riding the course.

Belair and her lawyer claim a windstorm several days before the race blew down trees all along the course, but organizers claimed on the race website that crews had cleared the trail. Belair was launched through the air and landed badly when she went over the jump, crushing the C1 vertabra in her neck and fracturing her T3, T5 and T7 vertebrae.

“She’s able to walk,” Belair's lawyer, Tim Williams, told the Oregonian. “She’s able to ride her bike. But she has a fair amount of pain, constant, and it’s not going away.”

Although Belair had signed a standard liability release form, the Oregon Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that a Bend teenager who was paralyzed while skiing at a local resort could proceed with a his lawsuit despite having signed a waiver. The high court said such waivers were “unconscionable,” according to the report.

Belair's lawsuit is seeking as much as $23,307 for past and future medical bills, plus lost wages. The suit is also seeking up to $250,000 for pain and suffering.

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