MTB News & racing round-up for September 7, 2005, part
Edited by Steve Medcroft
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UCI Mountain Bike World Championships wrap up
By Steve Medcroft
Gunn-Rita Dahle (Norway)
Photo ©: Marek Lazarski
The 2005 Mountain Bike World Championships was a showcase for the best
in the world to prove why they’re the best. Defending Champions and Olympic
Gold medalists Gunn Rita-Dahle (Norway) and Julien Absalon (France) reclaimed
the Cross Country titles on Sunday. Former multi-time downhill winner
Anne Caroline Chaussen snuck off with one more World Championship jersey
before retiring. Frenchman Fabien Barel, after winning his National Championship
and the European Championship already in 2005, took care of business in
the men’s downhill.
The exceptions to the show of European dominance came from a pair of
Americans (Brian Lopes and Jill Kintner) winners in the Four Cross competition.
Kintner earned her first World Championship jersey and former Champion
Lopes was just back to World Championship competition after two years
lost to injuries. Here’s a quick run down of the action:
Julien Absalon (France)
Photo ©: Marek Lazarski
The women’s Cross Country field might as well get used to coming second
to Gunn Rita-Dahle. The Merida/Multivan pro recently said in her
Cyclingnews diary that she’s signed a six-year deal with her
sponsors and is committed to at least three more years of racing; she
intends to defend her gold medal in the 2008 Beijing. Since she’s won
about 80 percent of her major races and 100 percent of her championship
attempts in 2005 (Word Cup, Marathon and European and now World Championships),
every other woman in racing better think solely on how they’re going to
unseat the Norwegian if they want to place better than second place.
Dahle put her phenomenal dominance on display at the UCI World Championship
races this past weekend, opening a thirty-five second gap on her chasers
in the first of two and a half laps and never giving a second of time
back. “Today was a perfect day for me,” she understated after the race.
Poland’s Maja Wloszczowka took the silver and Switzerland’s Petra Henzi
In men’s Cross Country competition, 2004 Olympic Gold medalist Julien
Absalon (France) successfully defended his World Championship title but
not with the ease that Dahle defended hers. From the gun, Marco Bui (Italy)
strung out the field. Absalon was locked in a chase group with UCI World
Cup leader Christoph Sauser (Switzerland), Fredrik Kessiakoff (Sweden)
and Ralph Naf (Switzerland).
“My strategy for today’s race was to control my rivals then attack after,”
Absalon said in the post-race press conference. In the race, Bui blew
up after the first lap and the lead shook out with Absalon and Sauser
up the trail and Jose Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spain) chasing in third.
“I gave my best effort in the second lap to keep the front position,”
But effort was not all that was needed; a little luck was just as necessary.
“I flatted in the last lap,” Absalon said. “I noticed that I was losing
pressure at the first feed area, but I didn’t think it was a flat so I
climbed the big uphill with the tire (like it was). I stopped at the 2nd
feed area to fix it and I noticed that Christoph (Sauser) also flattened.”
Absalon said he was nervous, but knew as long as he could retain the advantage,
he could win. And he did.
Anne Caroline Chausson (France)
Photo ©: Rob Jones
On the eve of her retirement, the women’s Downhill crown went to Anne
Caroline Chausson (France); her nineteenth world title. At the post-race
press conference, she was asked about returning to BMX for the Beijing
Olympics, but said that she is finished with all competition. "I am stopping
because I don't want the stress of racing anymore. It was my plan to stop
last year, in France (at the Worlds in Les Gets), but I broke my collarbone
during training and could not race, so I decided to go one more year.”
Chausson has a three-year contract with sponsor Commencal-Oxbow and says
she’ll spend the rest of her career focused on freeride.
In the men’s downhill race, 2003 World Champion Greg Minnaar (South Africa)
has locked up the World Cup title already and was showing the kind of
control in downhill that almost certainly means a win. But just like in
the Cross Country races, the defending champion, Fabien Barel (France)
was in a winning mood of his own. He wanted a trio of 2005 championship
jersey collection to rival Dahle’s having won the European Championship
and his National Championship earlier this year. Barel posted a .77 seconds
faster time than former Junior World Champion Sam Hill (Australia) to
win. Minnaar came in third.
The men’s Four Cross came to halt after 2003 World Champion Michael Prokop
(Czech Republic), took a nasty spill off berm and had to be carried off
the course on a stretcher with what appeared to be a broken leg. Brian
Lopes (USA), who had qualified well and worked his way through the brackets,
found himself in the final against with Jared Graves (Australia), Mickael
Deldycke (France) and Greg Minnaar (South Africa) but was able to hold
a super-fast start all the way to the finish for the win.
Kintner says she prepared herself for the 2005 World Championship Four
Cross race through focused training, diet and by working on techniques
she struggled with. When it came to Championship race time though, she
narrowed her focus down to having solid gates. "I think the key here was
to qualify well and get the inside gate,” she said after the race. “After
that, it was 'stay calm, do a good gate, and don't make mistakes in the
first turn'." Kintner had the advantage after the first double in a final
alongside Katrina Miller (Australia), Tara Llanes and Melissa Buhl (both
USA) and held on to claim her first World Championship jersey.
MTB World Championships, Ita (CM) Aug. 31-Sept. 4:
Chris Eatough: 24-Hour lone gunman & six-time world champion
By Steve Medcroft
Chris Eatough (centre)
Photo ©: Jon Posner
At 12:08 p.m. Sunday, Chris Eatough claimed his sixth consecutive 24
Hours of Adrenalin World Solo Championship. The Trek/VW endurance star
said this year’s race was more challenging than all the others before
it. He explained why to CyclingNews’ Steve Medcroft while traveling
to Mammoth Mountain, California, where he’ll try for the U.S. National
Marathon Championship on September 15.
Cyclingnews: You’ve won six straight 24-Hour World Championships.
What is about this race or this format that keeps you coming back?
Chris Eatough: Because this is the kind of race I made my career
on. Plus my sponsors like it; it’s the race Trek wants me to do. And 24
hours is still an emerging discipline. If it grows - if we get some TV
coverage or the kind of recognition that an event like the Ironman (Triathlon
series) does - I’d like to be here and be at the top when it does.
CN: You’ve done more cross-country and marathon-format racing
this year. Did it affect your preparation for 24 Hour Worlds?
CE: Doing more marathon racing did change my prep.
I thought marathons would be good for me but they just weren’t as long
as I expected; I did a lot of three and a half hour races when I really
needed six or seven hours. I developed some speed but for 24 hours, you
need longer training rides. So this year (in 2005 Worlds), I lacked a
little durability and strength.
CN: You’ve become somewhat famous for fast pits and methodical
preparation (Eatough spends less than three minutes at any one time in
a pit and in six World Championships has suffered only one mechanical
issue; a flat tire). Where did the approach come from and did you change
anything this year?
Chris Eatough sets out
Photo ©: Jon Posner
CE: My dad and I came up with a lot of the original
thought on how to be efficient – and it boiled down to common sense and
the idea that I needed to be out there riding for every possible minute
and spend no time in the pits. We figured that five minutes wasted in
the pits equated to a mile on the course. It would take an hour to make
that mile back up on the bike. And while my dad is still an important
part of the race, this was my first full year with true factory support
and Jon Posner, the Trek Factory Team manager, took charge of the pit.
They did a great job for me and it was really important for me to show
them I could continue to do this and thank them for the support they’ve
showed me throughout the season.
CN: How did the race go for you?
CE: I’ve never been rained on for an entire 24 Hours
race before. It was raining – a steady or hard drizzle that only ever
let off a little - before the race started, raining on the start line
and raining at the finish. It wasn’t too cold – in the fifties – but when
you’re wet all the time, fifty degrees feel cold. I’ve never done one
of these where the conditions were that bad.
CN: You ended up with 22 laps, one more than last year on a course
that was supposedly longer and steeper. So how did you cope?
CE: I changed clothes a few times and wore a really
good jacket and rain paints. It helped for a little while but there was
nothing you could do. It was like standing in a car wash; it didn’t matter
how well dressed you were, you just got wet. I had to focus on keeping
the laps consistent and doing all the things we know how to do.
CN: Your main challenge came from a somewhat unknown (in 24 Hour
Worlds circles) racer; Ernesto Marenchin.
CE: Ernie rode really well. I didn’t know a whole
lot about him. He had the race of his career and I guess my lead was around
30 minutes the whole race so we kept our eye on him. When he was able
to reduce the gap, we made sure we put in a couple of good laps to keep
him back there.
CN: What’s next on your list of goals?
CE: I’ll be racing the Super D and Marathon Nationals.
I’m doing Marathon, of course, because it fits my endurance-racing mold
but I’m doing Super D because it’s a fun, new and exciting aspect of the
sport. It’s the kind of riding most people do when they’re out with their
friends; you ride a regular cross country bike on trails with more technical
downhills than you normally get in cross country.
Read the 24
Hours of Adrenalin Solo World Championship race report and results
An interview with Geoff Kabush, September 3, 2005 - King of NORBA
heads for Europe
By Steve Medcroft
It's been a super 2005 for Canadian mountain biker Geoff Kabush. Overall
victory in the NORBA cross country and short track series and a national
championship put a shine on his year. With the world championships taking
place this weekend, the Maxxis rider has still got plenty on his plate
before he can relax. But Kabush is no stranger to juggling a dozen demands
at one time as Cyclingnews' Steve Medcroft found out.
Chillin' out post win...
Photo ©: Colin Meagher
If you had seen NORBA XC and STXC series winner Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis)
the Monday after the Mount Snow NORBA finale, you might have thought of
him as yet another frantic corporate road warrior in a rush to make his
next travel connection. The 2005 Canadian National Champion started his
day stuck at his hotel waiting for a UPS delivery, then had to drive four
hours to Boston's Logan International Airport for a mid-afternoon flight
while juggling luggage, rental car return, airport security and calls
from pesky reporters wanting to know how he felt about his repeat as series
champion. Gee, don't those guys know when to quit?
Geoff Kabush's dominance in NORBA National Series mountain biking stretches
back to 2004 when, three years after he 'broke out' by making Canada's
2000 Sydney Olympic MTB team, Kabush reached the pinnacle of the prominent
US Circuit and took his Cross Country title. Then he did something unconventional;
he kept racing.
Kabush finished second the six-race Crankbrother's US Gran Prix of Cyclocross
and won the Canadian Cyclocross National Championship over the following
three months, extending his racing form much later than conventional wisdom
said he should. So coming into the 2005 mountain bike season the question
lingered; would Kabush be as dominant as he had in 2004 or did he sacrificed
his form for winter glory?
Read the entire Geoff
Kabush Interview here.
UCI announces changes in 2006 World Cup
By Rob Jones
The UCI Mountain Bike Commission, headed by President Daniel Baal, held
an hour long briefing conference this morning to discuss numerous changes
that will be implemented for the sport of mountain biking, starting in
2006. The briefing was wide ranging, covering everything from the World
Cup, to new ranking systems, Olympic qualification and age categories.
2006 World Cup
The UCI has been working with 23 Degrees Sports Management (Martin Whitely)
and Gestev (Canadian organizers of World Cups and world championships)
to outsource the management of the World Cup, but doesn't feel the arranegement
has been a success.
"The World Cup is the high point of the mountain bike season, but we
regret that there have been no sponsors or TV program for the last two
seasons," said Baal. "In 2004 we talked to the organization
(23 Degrees and Gestev) about outsourcing management of the World Cup
for 2006. For this year they had the possibility (of taking charge of
the World Cup), and worked for one year. They did not have success. Despite
a lot of effort and energy, there were not sufficient guarantees to start
the agreement for 2006. Unfortunately, the marketplace and the economic
conditions do not show the (required) interest in this program.
The UCI has another solution. “We will continue to manage the World Cup
in conjunction with organizers," said Baal. "There will be six
events in each specialty (cross-country, marathon, downhill, 4-cross).
The schedule will be announced at the latest by October 1st. We have to
face the economic realities."
Subsequent to the briefing, Cyclingnews spoke with Gestav co-owner
Patrice Drouin who said his management team have had only 7 months (not
1 year) to work on the series and that they do have a 2006 distribution
agreement in place - which will cover distribution to 100 countries –
but it is not yet signed.
Drouin said that the agreement is "very close" to being signed, and once
that happens, sponsorship will fall into place. He says he had meetings
with the UCI yesterday, and believes there is still the possibility of
an agreement falling into place for October 1st.
His group had selected eight venues (which they supplied to the UCI);
six will now be selected for the 2006 season. The program proposed began
the season with an event either in California or "the Caribbean", and
one of those events is still quite likely to be the opening event.
New categories and ranking system:
The UCI will make a large number of changes to categories and the way
points are awarded. The main changes are:
There are four separate formats for the sport: Olympic cross-country
(traditional cross-country), marathon, downhill and 4-cross.
Only cross-country will be used to determine Olympic quotas, which need
to be approved by the IOC. This removes the situation we saw in mountain
biking prior to the 2004 Athens Olympics when some countries leapt up
the rankings by scooping up marathon world championship points. National
quotas will be determined by nation rankings, and these will be calculated
by adding together the individual rankings of the top three Elite riders
in each of the men's and women's categories. For the 2008 Beijing Olympics,
the 2006 and 2007 results will be used to determine quotas. For the 2012
London Olympics, 2008/2009/2010/2011 will be used. This will force nations
to support the World Cup in order to qualify for the Olympics.
The points scale will be changed (not yet announced).
There will be an Espoir (U23, aged 19-22) category for the world and
continental championships. The UCI will also encourage national federations
to incorporate this modification into their categories. Separate Espoir
events will be encouraged for other events, but in the absence of a separate
category, Espoirs will compete with Elites.
Junior rankings will be added for the World Cup Downhill, and there will
be only one category: age 17 and over. This is similar to 4-cross. There
will be separate points tabulated, and a Leader's Jersey will be awarded
to the top Junior. The Marathon World Cup will have only the 19 and over
category. The world, continental and national championships will retain
separate categories and jerseys.
Riders will no longer be required to have one UCI point in order to be
able to enter downhill events.
The new UCI rankings will be reset to zero on January 1 each year. The
overall rankings from the previous year will determine start position
for the first World Cup of the season.
The UCI registered trade teams will continue to receive "advantages",
including team names on results, listing in the team rankings and free
entry (no fee) for World Cups:
- For cross-country top-20 ranked riders who belong to UCI teams
- For cross-country every rider on top-10 ranked men's team and every
rider on top-5 ranked women's team
- For marathon top-10 men and women in individual ranking who belong
to UCI team
- For marathon every rider on top-10 ranked men's team and every rider
on top-5 ranked women's team
- For downhill top-20 ranked riders who belong to UCI teams
- For downhill every rider on top-10 ranked men's team and every rider
on top-5 ranked women's team
- For 4-cross top-10 ranked riders who belong to UCI teams
- For 4-cross every rider on top-5 ranked men's team and every rider
on top-3 ranked women's team
Teams will continue to have contractual obligations and have to pay a
1000 Euro registration fee. Teams are limited to a maximum of 10 riders
per format and per team.
Medical monitoring will be mandatory for the top 100 UCI ranked men and
top 20 women in the cross-country. In marathon it will be the top 20 men
and top 10 women from the final World Cup standings of the previous season.
The rankings used will be the final rankings at the end of the previous
year. National federations will be responsible for the monitoring.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2005)