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MTB News & racing round-up for January 12, 2006

Edited by Steve Medcroft

Welcome to our regular round-up of what's happening in the dirt. Feel free to send feedback, news and gossip to mtb@cyclingnews.com

Your chance to give back to MTBA

Mountain Bike Australia's 2006 General Meeting will be held on Saturday 21st January at 4.30 pm in conjunction with the 2006 National MTB Championships. During the meeting, nomination will be called for the following positions:

  • President - Tony Scott currently holds both the President and CEO role for MTBA. Suitable nominees are sought for the role of President.
  • Vice President - Current incumbents are Colin Battersby (NSW) and Damon Wilmore (WA).
  • Secretary - Current position holder, Peter Gaull, will stand for re- election
  • Treasurer - Current position holder, Vanessa Medder, will stand for re- election.
  • CA Board delegate - Current incumbent is Nigel Walker, will stand for re- election
  • Public Officer - new position, The position holder needs to be resident in the ACT
  • Member Protection Officer - Current position holder, Gillian Duncan, will stand for re-election
  • Ordinary members - Interested people who wish to make a contribution to the management of MTBA. Eight (8) will represent a voice for each State and Territory in Australia and will be elected in their own right if a State or Territory is not already represented by an already elected member of the Management Executive above.

Additional elections will occur for the discipline representatives, currently held by Rod Smith (Bike Trials), and (unofficially) Jared Rando (DH) and Robbie McNaughton (MTNX).

Nominations need to be emailed to MTBA by the Friday 20th January and be present at the AGM in Thredbo, 4.30pm Saturday 21st January. For complete eligibility rules and to download the nomination paperwork, please visit the MTBA Web site (www.mtba.asn.au/).

TREK sponsors MerlanDuo team

Dutch/Belgian trade team MerlanDuo will be sponsored by Trek bikes for 2006. Trek will be providing the team with high performance materials in all disciplines including the Elite 9.9 OCLV carbon and the Top Fuel for cross-country for the team (which includes European U23 champ Rudi van Houts). Downhill rider Nico Vink will be riding the new Session 10 & 77. Bas de Bever will use the 'Jack Three' in four-cross events.

Specialized celebrates 25 years of mountain biking

To celebrate the silver anniversary of the Stumpjumper, the first mountain bike available from a local bike shop, Specialized Bicycles has commissioned the publication of a 128-page, full colour, hardcover book entitled Stumpjumper: 25 Years Of Mountain Biking. Specialized has also announced that they will donate all of the profits from Stumpjumper: 25 Years Of Mountain Biking to IMBA and the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame.

Written by Mark Riedy, formerly an editor at Bicycling Magazine, the book will be available through Specialized dealers and the Specialized web site in mid-January. Stumpjumper: 25 Years Of Mountain Biking will be translated in to six different languages (including German, French, Spanish, Italian, Chinese and Japanese), and will be sold through traditional booksellers. Retail price is expected to be $29.99.

"This book is a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Stumpjumper," says Specialized founder and President Mike Sinyard. "But it's more than that. We wanted to honour the passionate people, important places and unique culture that make our sport so amazing."

"This project is a dream," says Riedy, who left Bicycling in June to start his own company, True Communications. "Specialized has invested much more time, money and resources in this book than any publisher ever could. The result is the most colourful and vibrant mountain bike book ever. The stories we've dug up and the photos we've found are just astounding."

Design duties for the volume have been handled by San Francisco, California-based VehicleSF, who have worked with sports and lifestyle clients such as Nike, Reebok, Phat Farm and EA Sports.

Click here to be notified upon its arrival.

24 Hour promoter addresses Ontario Cycling Association

By invitation of the Ontario Cycling Association, Laird Knight, president and CEO of Granny Gear Productions, divulged key elements to winning cycling-related sponsorships to a captivated audience at the OCA's annual autumn meeting. With a vision to raise the quality of events nationwide, the OCA's executive director, Steve Merker, sought to convene race promoters, team managers and racers to learn through Knight's experience as promoter of some of mountain biking's largest and most prestigious events.

“Laird has demonstrated leadership on many fronts over the years,” said Merker. “With his innovative 24-hour mountain biking series and his creative sponsorship programs, there was no doubt that Laird was the guy we wanted talk to our cycling community. Our hope is that the excellent presentation Laird gave will rub off on our membership, creating larger, more fun and financially self-sustaining events in Ontario.”

The OCA receives 15-20 percent of its annual budget in government funding and to make up the difference, promoters, teams and athletes must find alternate sources of revenue. Sponsorship becomes a tool for cycling and its sponsors since both parties benefit from the relationship. According to Knight, cycling offers its sponsors an extremely valuable demographic with respect to household income, education, leadership, and buying power.

“Cycling is currently the sweetest and most un-picked fruit of the sports marketing world," Knight says. "As the cycling world becomes more sophisticated and effective in packaging sponsorships, and brand managers and their ad agencies gain awareness of the untapped potential, we will be able to create huge sources of funding for our sport and tremendous branding opportunities for our sponsors.” Knight said. “I was very impressed with the OCA's membership. Their passion and interest in forwarding the sport of cycling in Canada was really inspiring to me.”

Knight adds that the degree to which cyclists appreciate and value sponsors gets translated into brand loyalty and bottom line sales. 85 percent of Granny Gear's surveyed participants expressed an inclination to buy sponsor products and recommend sponsors' products to a friend. Other participants went right ahead and exercised their purchasing power, as was the case for the Honda Motor Company in their debut of the Honda Element at The Honda 24 Hours of Moab. Afterwards, several participants enthusiastically announced their purchase of new Honda Elements in e-mails to Granny Gear.

Cycling events provide an opportunity for sponsors to build an emotional bond with their customers and inspire future support for their product or service. The boundless potential to grow cycling exists in the imaginative strategies dreamed up by entrepreneurial event promoters. Tack on cycling's reputation for prestige, sportsmanship, teamwork, and above all, fun, and the value to sponsors gets fortified every time a cyclist steps to the start line of a new race.

The U.K.'s CLIC24 opens for registration

Awarded on a first-come, first-served bases and limited to just 500 entries, the 2006 edition of 24 Hours of Mountain Biking for Cancer and Leukaemia in Childhood is now open for registration.

Last year's event raised more than £34,000 for children's cancer and leukaemia charity CLIC Sargent, the 2006 event promises to be the bigger and better again. With a target of £50,000, CLIC24 will offer up its usual mix of home-cooked food, live music, free campsite and its unique laid-back atmosphere.

The race will be held on the the same course as last year; a widely acclaimed ten-mile loop including steady endurance climbs and miles of swooping downhill singletrack through an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Somerset known as the Mendip Hills.

CLIC24 2006 will be held on the weekend of 13 and 14 May at Charterhouse, Mendip Hills, Somerset and entry forms are now available for download from the event web site at www.clic24.org.uk.

Micayla Gatto named Canada's 2005 Junior Cyclist of the Year

Seventeen year-old Rocky Mountain/Business Objects rider Micayla Gatto, who took bronze medal in the Junior Women's downhill race in Livigno, Italy in September 2005 after bursting onto the Canadian National scene, has been awarded the "Russ Copeland" Canadian Cycling Associations award for best performance by a Junior Athlete in 2005.

Gatto set a string of progressive results in the junior and senior races, culminating in her performance at her first ever World Championships. This award is given to the junior with the most significant performance of the year in any cycling discipline.

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