MTB news & racing round-up for August 25, 2006
Edited by Steve Medcroft
2006 World Championships so far
Marosi tries to cut in on Lopes
Photo ©: Mikkeli Godfree
The 2006 MTB World Championships are well under way in Rotorua, New Zealand.
With seven races in the books, it appears Switzerland came the most prepared
to succeed. With wins in the Team
Relay, Women's Trials and a sweep of the podium in the Junior
Men's race, the Swiss have grabbed the greatest share of medals so
But not every new champion is Swiss. The People's Republic of China went
one-two in the women's U23 competition (Ren Chengyuan and Ying Liu) proving
that they are taking success at the 2008 Beijing Olympics seriously and
Slovenian Tanja Zakelj scored that country's first-ever World Championship
in mountain biking.
And there was not a Swiss rider in sight in the Four Cross competition.
American Jill Kintner was there and successfully defended her World Champion
status and Michael Prokop, the 2004 champion, got in front of a tumble
that took down 2005 World Champion Brian Lope (USA) to grab back the jersey
Elite Downhill and Cross-Country titles will be settled through the weekend.
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for complete results, race reports and photography
from New Zealand.
Results to date:
Hermida goes home
Spanish cross-country mountain bike racer José Antonio Hermida has returned
home early from the mountain bike world championships, his team announced
late Monday evening. Hermida was a favourite for Sunday's men's cross-country
race and was a member of the victorious Spanish team relay squads in 2005,
2000 and 1999.
Neither Hermida nor his Multivan Merida team have offered an explanation
beyond "important personal reasons" for his early return to Spain, but
the team said it would have more information Tuesday afternoon.
Merida team demands to see Operacion Puerto files
After mountain biker José Hermida has been ordered back from the world
championships in New Zealand by his national federation prematurely, his
team Multivan-Merida demands a comprehensive look into the Operacion
Puerto files that allegedly relate to the rider. "So far, neither
sufficient reasons nor any proof has been given for José Hermida’s suspension,"
the team management said in a statement. "Neither the team nor the UCI
have received any information on this matter. For this reason, legal measures
have been taken to ensure a look in the files."
José Hermida himself "has demanded this look from the start and moreover
has been asked by his team’s management emphatically to do his utmost
to participate actively in the clearing up of this matter." Moreover,
the team stated that it does not see the need to take any action against
Hermida at this point. "As long as the Multivan Merida Biking Team has
no additional information on José Hermida’s suspension at hand, the team
sees no need to act at the moment. Still, the team’s management stresses
its zero-tolerance strategy regarding doping offences," the statement
Australian MTB world's rider hospitalised
Queensland cyclist Renee Junga, 20, has been airlifted to Auckland City
Hospital suffering suspected spinal injuries after a training accident
ahead of competition at the MTB World Championships in Rotorua, New Zealand,
according to Cycling Australia.
Junga, who is also a member of the BMX High Performance Program targeting
the Beijing Olympic Games, crashed during training on the four-cross course
on Tuesday afternoon.
The Championships' medical team was quickly on the scene and she was
initially taken to Rotorua Hospital. After extensive tests, including
an MRI, CT scan and x-rays, doctors decided to transfer her by helicopter
to Auckland City Hospital.
Her mother, Sallie Howie, was notified immediately after the accident
and was on the first available flight to Auckland. She arrived shortly
before midnight local time.
Doctors determined on Thursday that Junga has broken the C1 and C2 bones
in her neck and has suffered spinal trauma at T6. She has also suffered
two broken ribs and a fractured sternum. Surgeons will operate on Friday
to screw together the C1 and C2 bones. They will also operate on her back
to stabilise her spine.
Renee, who won the silver medal at last year's BMX World Championships
in France, was the 2005 Australian Female BMX Cyclist of the Year.
Aussie Wade Bootes also injured at World's
Australian National Mountain Cross Champion, Wade Bootes, 32 was released
from Rotorua hospital today after doctors kept him in overnight after
crashing during the warm up for qualifying on Wednesday.
Although Bootes has a break in his right collarbone he can still move
his arm. Its the hardest Ive ever hit my head,
said Bootes. I was practicing for the qualifying rounds and came
up short in one of the jumps. Because its a downhill course it is
a long way down, explained Bootes.
Bootes was expected to race in America in the Jeep King of the Mountain
race and the BMX Supercross over the upcoming weeks. Basically its
made me have a forced break, he added. Doctors will recheck Bootes
neck injury on his return to Australia to see if it is a result of this
incident or an old injury.
The racing accidents have forced last year's Silver Medallist, Katrina
Miller, also from the Gold Coast to withdraw from the Mountain Cross event
which she was intending to be her final World Championships.
And one more injury
Nico Vink of the Dolphin Bike Team will also not start his race at the
world championships in Roturoa. After a crash in training in France, the
Belgian rider kept on having pain in his back. A CT-scan at the hospital
showed that there was a crack in his backbone between the 12th and 13th
spine. Recovery is expected to take at least three weeks. Vink says he
will shift his focus to the final UCI World Cup in Austria.
National Ultra Series heads for Park City, Utah
By Steve Medcroft
The National MTB Ultra Endurance Series moves to Park City, Utah this
weekend for it's fifth stop. Being both at altitude and containing more
climbing than any of the other series races, the E100 could provide challengers
to series leaders Harlan Price (Open Men), Tricia Stevenson (Open Women),
John Majors (Master's) and Dan Jansen (Singlespeed) an opportunity to
make up points in the series.
Starting at 6am at The Canyons Resort, the E-100 climbs through Park
City Mountain Resort, Deer Valley Resort, the Deer Crest Development and
portions of Park City's municipal trail system before returning to the
finish area at The Canyons. Along the way, riders will have climbed a
total of 18,627ft.
Promoter Boris Lyubner says he's made only one last-minute change to
the course. Due to the construction in the city's resorts, Lyubner has
included a new section of the Bow Hunter trail which is supposed to include
incredibly narrow singletrack and views that make it hard for a rider
to keep their eye on the trail.
Capped at 499 riders, the course record for the E-100 (10:09:07) was
set by Utah rider Bart Gillespie.
Time for luck to change; Steve Peat Interview
Steve Peat is one of the favourites for the downhill gold medal at the
world championships in Rotorua, New Zealand. Mikkeli Godfree caught
up with the Englishman to find out how his preparation is going for his
Steve Peat (Santa Cruz)
Photo ©: Santa Cruz
Less than a week remains before Peat's world title race but he seems
far from tense. "[I'm feeling] pretty good, just been walking the track,
checking it out. We've been here a while. We got here last Wednesday and
have just been chilling out, soaking up what the town has to offer and
just getting used to being here. I'm feeling alright," said Peat.
"It's a one day race and you become World Champion...
That tends to make people crazy."
-Steve Peat is aware that he needs
to stay composed on the downhill course in Rotorua.
Peat's preparation has been going according to plan, "It's been good
actually. We've had a big break since the last World Cup. It was nice
to be home and actually have a base to train from. There's enough good
riding there to help me stay sharp. I've got everything I need there.
We've got small hills but good tracks I can ride there. That's how I prepare
in the winter," he said. In fact, his preparation has actually been better
than in previous years, "the season's been good, the new Santa Cruz bike
is awesome so I think I'm pretty well prepared."
This year has been a bit different for Peat in that he has had more time
to prepare for the Worlds, "I've had a lot more time to focus on this
event - usually I don't focus on the World Championships, I just take
it like any other race but this year it's different," he said. The situation
is the same for most of the top downhill contenders so it's possible that
his competition will be more keyed up this year. "Everyone's had a bit
of a gap. There are some exceptions, [Greg] Minaar has been doing the
NORBA races in the US and so has Sam [Hill]," said Peat.
Read the entire Steve
Peat interview here.
The Luna Build; Georgia Gould's Orbea Alma
By Steve Medcroft
Georgia Gould's Orbea Alma
Photo ©: Steve Medcroft
On July 14th in Sonoma, California, Georgia Gould (Luna Chix) rode her
Orbea Alma carbon hardtail to her first-ever elite
cross-country national championship. The win was somewhat of an upset.
Her teammate, Shonny
Vanlandingham, had been almost unbeatable in cross-country in the
domestic 2006 season. But a fast, exposed racecourse with plenty of long,
hard-surfaced sections, opened the door for a rider with a huge engine
and the power to drive a strong tempo to take the Stars and Stripes jersey
Two morning's later, an hour before Gould would ride the short-track
cross-country race, we cornered Luna Chix team mechanic, Chris Mathis
(who lives down the California coast in San Luis Obispo), for a run-through
of Gould's team-issued Alma.
Orbea manufactures the Alma using a monocoque carbon layup process and
broad, flat-sided tube shaping. The result is a 1,200-gram (in the 18-inch
size), boxy hardtail frame that includes more than one innovative element.
The one that's gets the most attention though is the unusual shaping of
the rear triangle. Where most bicycle designs call for a joint between
the seat stay and chain stay, meeting at the dropout, Orbea adds a fourth
angle to their one-piece rear-end. Dropout and replaceable derallier hanger
are mounted with a collar around this angled tube rather than lugged into
the frame. Mathis says "(the design) lets Orbea keep the bike carbon all
the way back. They tell us this is the strongest way they can have it;
so people don't rip this piece off or have the frame separate. It works
really well for us."
Read the entire Georgia
Gould's Orbea Alma Pro Bike article
Ellsworth Truth review
James Huang spends some quality time aboard Ellsworth's premier
cross-country suspension mountain bike:
Mountain bike rear suspension has evolved in leaps and bounds over the
past dozen or so years. Plenty of mistakes were made early on and some
designs bordered on comical. However, a handful of those early themes,
plus some new ones, have managed to survive the evolutionary cull including
the ubiquitous four-bar linkage. True four-bar linkages are just about
everywhere these days, but a common misconception is that they all work
about the same. Pivot placement is critical in determining not only how
the suspension reacts to trail features but also how it reacts to other
input. In an ideal world, the rear end is always free to react to bumps
and is completely immune to pedaling or braking forces but few designs
manage to achieve this goal.
Like so many others, the Ellsworth Truth uses the ubiquitous four-bar
linkage design but with a unique twist called Instant Center Tracking.
This precise manipulation of pivot points is specifically designed to
almost completely eliminate pedaling- and braking-induced suspension movement
while retaining excellent bump compliance in all conditions. These are
rather heady claims for sure as they represent the ideal case, but after
a healthy dose of test time on a Truth, I suspect Tony Ellsworth really
may really be on to something here.
Anatomy of the Truth
The Truth is designated as Ellsworth's premier cross-country/endurance
racing frame with four inches of rear wheel travel. This is a true four-bar
linkage design complete with the critical Horst Link pivots just ahead
of the rear dropouts. All of the pivots rotate on sealed cartridge bearings
and movement out back are controlled by either a custom-tuned Fox Float
R or Manitou Swinger 3-Way Air shock. Note that neither of these shock
options is equipped with a manual lockout, nor is there another option
for one that is so equipped (we'll revisit this subject later).
Read the entire Ellsworth
Truth review here.
Erwin Bakker responds to criticism
By Steve Medcroft, MTB Editor
After running a story in last
Friday's MTB News that doping-suspended mountain biker Erwin Bakker
had been barred from competing in a non-sanctioned marathon in Switzerland
(as a follow up to his being caught racing in his brother's name in Germany
earlier this season), Bakker responded by email to complain that he is
being misrepresented in the media.
Bakker says the characterization that he was 'caught' trying to enter
races despite his ban is misleading. "Now it’s totally true that I used
EPO last year and I got my deserved ban," he wrote, "What they publish
now in the media is totally not true.
"Early this year I did ride some marathons with open registration (non-UCI
events). After several comments from other riders, I decided to quit riding.
The story that I entered with my brother's name is true but it’s also
published in a very sensational way."
About the most recent news that organizers of the Grand Raid Cristalp
marathon in Switzerland found Bakker's name on their registration rolls
and struck him from the participants list before the event, Bakker says
"(I signed up in) February this year. Two weeks ago there was a big commotion
about a Swiss rider who refused an out of competition test. After that,
there were (as expected) questions about my registration. The organization
send me a mail that they decided I could not ride, and so I will not."
Instead of looking for new ways to compete in a hostile competitive environment,
Bakker says he's trying to put elite-level mountain-biking racing behind
him. "I’m working full-time in my brother's bike store and don’t even
have time to ride," he wrote. "I'm focusing on a new target and that is
not riding competition.
Australian MTB Marathon Championships
Australia's best endurance mountain-bike racers will get the chance to
compete for the Flight Centre Cycle Epic Australian MTB Marathon Championships
September 3rd. Starting at Preston Peak Winery (south Toowoomba) and travelling
through to Peppers Hidden Vale Homestead, the Championship race will start
at 7:30am. Additional information is available at http://www.nationalseries.com.au/.
Global warming is not my thing; the Keith Bontrager diary
I took me a while to get to this, for all the reasons that you'd imagine.
I'd recovered well and felt good the next morning. I was like a water
balloon, full of fluids, salt and minerals. We started at a modest pace
because there was a 1000 metre climb in the first 20 km or so. That all
Then I popped again. I'd been drinking and eating to the plan. Things
were fine until I got past the second control station, about 55 km in
or so, on a hot exposed climb. I lost power, got nauseous, puked, couldn't
eat or get my mineral supplements down. I sucked on a salt tab like a
lozenge and sipped water. In that state I rode as I could to the finish
but ended up cramping badly for two hours. My team-mate Richard was helping
me with my bike on the steep hiking sections late in the race. I was a
There has to be a solution
Photo ©: Keith Bontrager
I collapsed on a cot after finishing and my legs were locking up repeatedly.
I couldn't get back up without cramping. It was comical I suppose, in
a dark sort of way, ghosts chewing on my quads. But I've had this happen
before and the damage it does to my legs is not something that goes away
overnight. It's like the day after the first day back lifting weights
- only many times worse. That was that.
Global warming is not my thing.
It was tough being around the race after that. I just wanted to get away
and move on to the next thing. I do hope to salvage something decent to
end this season with.
There is a lot of racing left to do and it should be OK even if it is
hot. All of the races are 24 hour races or one day events. I am going
to have to pass on the Kona Global Series 24 hour race in Winter Park,
which is unfortunate. It's a good event and I wanted to get there. There
is a new 24 hour race in Landahl Missouri that I am going to race in with
some fast masters racers, then the 3 Peaks cyclo-cross followed by a new
event in Arizona called the Tour of the White Mountains and then the 24
Hours of Moab will end it.
Read the entire Keith
Bontrager diary here.
Ready for a new World Championship; the Gunn-Rita diary
We're all set for a new World Championship in Cross Country, and this
time we'll be competing on the soil of New Zealand. Our preparations have
gone as expected, and I'm in good shape. The countdown has started, and
I feel excitement and nervousness increasing every day that passes.
It was a long trip down to New Zealand, but with a new World Championship
gold medal in my luggage, it was an amazingly easy flight. We travelled
non-stop for around 30 hours, so we were pretty worn out when we were
fetched at the airport in Auckland, and then driven to Rotorua where we're
presently staying. I've spent some time getting used to the new time-zone,
but it's starting to get better now.
I've been out on the track today and had my physical condition confirmed,
my legs and body are ready to do battle on Sunday. We women will be starting
at 10:00 on Sunday morning, or Saturday night at 24:00 European time.
The track down here consists of a lot of climbing, both long and steep
hills, plus rapid descents, not too technically demanding, but with lots
of bends and turns. The weather report is for rain this weekend, but the
downhills will be a rather different story from what they are today. The
ground usually dries quickly here, but if it rains nonstop, the track
will end up as incredibly slippery clay.
Read the entire Gunn-Rita
Dahle-Flesjaa diary here.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)