MTB news & racing round-up for February 28, 2006
Edited by Steve Medcroft
Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in MTB. Feel free
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Filip Meirhaeghe ready to put cycling first
By Steve Medcroft
Filip Meirhaeghe signing autographs
Photo ©: Cyclingnews
Former World Mountain Bike Champion Filip Meirhaeghe is back in the
saddle after fifteen months on the sidelines.
positive for EPO on June 25, 2004 (just before the Mont St. Anne World
Cup) in an out of competition test and received a 15 month suspension
from cycling, making him eligible to race again as early as January 14
of this year. At the time, Meirhaeghe was quoted by Sporza radio
as saying that he felt there was actually hope for him to make a comeback.
Without EPO. "...if I climb back on the bike, it will be without EPO.
An ass doesn't stumble twice on the same stone."
Meirhaeghe was recently spotted in the peloton at the Tour
de Langkawi. Speaking in contemplative tones to Cyclingnews
by phone from his home in Belgium, Meirhaeghe says he spent his season
in exile contemplating the damage he'd done to his career. "It will be
easy," he says about his plans to avoid a repeat of his decision to take
EPO. "My life will never be the same. Every day, I remember how it changed
my life and I don't ever want to live through the same experiences again."
The break from racing also left Meirhaeghe with a gap in training that
makes him wonder if he'll ever compete at the level he once did. "I didn't
train for ten months," he said. "But I have been training all winter and
my form seems to be all right for the moment."
The first test of Meirhaeghe's form came in Langkawi. "My goal was to
be able to stay with the group and I was able to do that," he said about
the nine-stage race. "I came out of it with better form than I started
so I consider it a success."
Meirhaeghe has also taken in one local MTB race so far this season but
admits he won't know where he ranks against the world best cross country
racers until the 2006 World Cup season opener. "I'll be racing on the
road for a full month so I won't race my mountain bike again until April
first in Curacao (Netherlands Antilles)."
Will he be received well by his peers? "At the moment, nobody has given
me any bad energy. Ninety-five percent of the people are reacting well,"
he says. He knows to expect some ill will though. "The thing I have to
do is stay focused, know what I'm looking to accomplish, and try not to
care about their reactions."
So beyond the potential for a boo or two, Meirhaeghe says he's focused
on the racing. "Missing a season is my biggest question mark. I just don't
know what my level my racing is at. I'm very curious to race again. And
excited. And nervous."
Rocky Mountain goes custom
Canadian bike builder Rocky Mountain has announced a customized bike
building service that allows buyers to choose the colour scheme and components
of Rocky Mountain Solo road bikes.
The scheme applies the three bikes, the Solo CR in Columbus Mecano carbon,
Columbus Spirit Solo ST and Columbus Metal and carbon Solo AC. A simple
on-line ordering system takes you through the options and shows you how
the bike will look at you go.
"We're very pleased to offer this new service to our customers, "said
Jean Poisson, general manager of Rocky Mountain Bicycles. "Our philosophy
has always been to build our bikes to a higher standard of quality and
greater level of innovation to give the rider a better, more enjoyable
riding experience. To allow the rider to personalize their bike this way
is a natural extension of that philosophy."
More info : www.bikes.com.
Aussie MTB junior team receives award
At the SBS Television 26th Australian Sport Awards in Sydney this week,
the Junior Men's Downhill Mountain Bike Team won the Young Australian
Team of the Year Award. The award was accepted by the National Mountain
Bike Downhill Coach, Scott Sharples and World Junior Gold Medallist, Amiel
Cavalier from Wollongong. Cavalier was also nominated for Young Australian
Male Athlete of the Year.
The 7 rider team consisted of:
Amiel Cavalier (Figtree, NSW)
Ayden Eves (Mackay, QLD)
Sam Hocken (Leongatha, VIC)
Hugh Mansfield (St Ives, NSW)
Christopher Panozzo (Tawonga South, VIC)
Liam Panozzo (Mt Beauty, VIC)
Darren Pokoj (Greenbank, QLD)
At the World Championships In Livigno, Italy in September, the young
team did remarkably well with all 5 finishing in the top fifteen. Queenslander's
Ayden Eves (Mackay), 17, in sixth place and Brisbane's Darren Pokoj (Greenbank),
18 came ninth. Victorian, Christopher Panozzo ( Mt Beauty), 18, was 12th
and Sydney's Hugh Mansfield ( St Ives), 18, placed 15th.
Also put up for the same award was the Australian Youth Sailing Team
(Hobie 16 Class).
For further information check out: http://www.australiansportawards.com.au/
2006 ADJOMTB application available
Applications for the 2006 Alison
Dunlap Junior Olympic Mountain Bike Series (ADJOMTB) are now available.
To be included in the Series, applications must be received no later than
April 1, 2006.
Entering its seventh year in 2006, the program has provided racing opportunities
for aspiring young riders across the country. At the end of the series,
invitations to USA Cycling Regional Development Camps are extended to
the top riders. The series not only grows mountain biking by identifying
and recognizing potential talent, but it also increases promotional exposure
for participating events.
Kona Clump Team 2006 roster
The Kona Clump Team is Kona's professional freeride squad,
a group that travels to distant corners of the world and pushes freeriding
and dirt jumping to new limits is comprised of riders John Cowan, Robbie
Bourdon, Dave Watson, Carlin Dunne and Paul Basagoitia. The Clump Team
is the most progressive team of out-of-bounds riders in the cycling industry
and the driving force behind the design of Kona's Coiler and Stinky freeride
John Cowan, Kona's ambassador to dirt jumping, is the signature builder
of the Whistler/Kona Jump Farm and namesake for Kona's top of the line
dirt jump bike, the Cowan. A San Diego, California native, Cowan grew
up surfing but jumped on a mountain bike in 1998 and, while he still loves
to surf, was able to quit his day job at UPS and turn his new-found passion
into a full-time job. His breakout moment came when he was featured in
2000's New World Disorder mountain bike film; almost overnight he became
a freeride superstar and one of the most recognizable riders in the sport.
Cowan's exploits have included winning the Big Air Contest at the NORBA
National in Snow Summit, Calif., being featured on the cover of the October
2000 issue of Bike magazine, and feature segments in dozens of mountain
bike films. Cowan is respected among riders for his tireless work ethic
and building his own jumps and stunts, including the world-renowned Hell
Track I in San Diego and Hell Track II in Kamloops, BC.
Nineteen year old Paul Basagoitia is the youngest and newest member of
the Kona Clump Team. This Minden, Nevada native jumped onto the radar
screen at 2004's Sea Otter Classic when he almost landed an unheard of
flipwhip. Paul had a break out year in 2005, winning Crankworx for the
second straight year, coming first at The Gathering and the Kona Indoor
Dirt Jump, second at the Red Bull District Ride and the John Cowan Jump
Jam, and winning the Best Trick award at Bike Magazine's Monster Park
. Most recently, Paul made jaws drop when he landed a 360 tailwhip at
the Third Annual John Cowan Backyard Jam. The freeride world is waiting
with baited breath to see what Paul pulls off next.
Nelson, BC native Robbie Bourdon, or “Air” Bourdon as he's know to fans,
is another stand out on the Kona Clump Team. After turning pro at age
17, Bourdon traveled the world on the competitive circuit. Now, at age
24, Bourdon ranks among the most explosive freeriders on the scene today
and regularly appears in the New World Disorder film series, which showcases
the world's most skilled riders in outrageous locations. Bourdon's strength
and toughness is apparent when watching him cruise a crazy line, and he
needed every ounce of it to recover from life threatening injuries sustained
in a 2003 car accident. Now back in top form, Bourdon is again raising
the bar with lines and stunts that leave other riders simply shaking their
heads in amazement.
Dave Watson, a Clump rider who brought international consciousness to
the freeride scene when he jumped a group of racers in the peleton of
the 2003 Tour de France, is another integral part of the Kona team. Watson's
Tour de France stunt earned him England 's Guardian Newspaper Alternative
Sports Personality of the Year award and coverage in magazines like Rolling
Stone, Sports Illustrated and FHM. Watson, also an entrepreneur who operates
Sombrio clothing, is humble when it comes to talking about his smooth,
solid riding style. He prefers to let his riding speak for itself.
Clump rider Carlin Dunne, a freerider who hucks himself off massive jumps
others wouldn't even consider, is perhaps the Kona team member who pushes
the limit of what's possible on a mountain bike more than any other, as
evidenced by his feature segment in New World Disorder 6. Runner up in
Race Face's 2004 Ultimate Freeride Challenge, Dunne came to freeriding
when a friend let him borrow his Kona Stab Supreme for a beer run. For
this 22 year old future of freeriding, the rest was history.
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