Home Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  

Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

 MTB index page for all MTB content

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 to send feedback, news and gossip to mtb@cyclingnews.com

Filip Meirhaeghe ready to put cycling first

By Steve Medcroft

Filip Meirhaeghe signing autographs in 2003
Photo ©: Cyclingnews

Former World Mountain Bike Champion Filip Meirhaeghe is back in the saddle after fifteen months on the sidelines.

Meirhaeghe tested 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/ index.php?id=11.

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 bikes.

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.

Previous News    Next News

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)