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MTB News & racing round-up for March 2, 2005

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

Oceania Championships draws a top field

In a sign that the world MTB community is taking August's Rotarua, New Zealand World Championships seriously even in March, promoters of the Oceania Championships (which will be held on the same terrain as Worlds), say that they expect huge crowds of racers, fans and UCI observers this weekend.

"There is no doubt that the MTB Oceania Championships are the biggest cycling event undertaken by New Zealand," said UCI Vice President Ray Godkin to BikeNZ earlier this week.

The extra attention the race is getting is, no doubt, due to the upcoming World Championship race. BikeNZ's Ted Jones says that non Oceania-region athletes are not normally permitted and the decision to open the field has brought a lot of brand-name mountain bikers eager to get an early shot at the World Championship course to New Zealand. Over 250 riders from places as far away as Italy, Switzerland, USA, New Caledonia and more are expected including this list of who's who:

  • Fabien Barel – 2 times and reigning World Champion Downhiller from France
  • Tracy Moseley – World ranked number 1 downhiller from Britain
  • Sam Hill – runner up to Barel at 2005 Downhill World MTB Champs from Australia and 8th ranked in world
  • Sabrina Jonnier – runner up at 2005 Downhill World Champs and third ranked in world from France
  • Vanessa Quin - former Downhill world Champ from NZ
  • Geoff Kabush – Number 1 Cross Country rider from Canada
  • All of NZ and Australian Commonwealth Games XC riders
  • Scarlett Hagen – former junior Downhill World Champ from NZ
  • Lewis Ferguson – Number 1 cross country rider for Northern Ireland
  • The Scottish cross country Commonwealth Games squad
  • Cedric Gracia – world 6th rank downhiller biker from France
  • Lisa Mathison – former U23 cross country World Champ from Australia
  • Over 40 Australian cross country and downhill competitors

Check back on Cyclingnews through and after the weekend for results and news from the races.

Back on the Olympic track; the Gunn-Rita Dahle diary

On Friday we were back on our "Olympic Track" here on Majorca, and the experience gave us a little extra enthusiasm on a terribly wet and chilly day. It was the first time we experienced white mountaintops here on Majorca, but we've brought along all the necessary gear for this kind of treatment from the weather gods.

Sunday evening has arrived here in our little hotel room, and wet clothing is hanging around everywhere to dry. We are naturally quite used to these kinds of conditions, so we don't think much about it. It's probably more unusual to have typical Stavanger weather down here in Spain at the end of February. Today we've had strong winds and pouring rain all day, and the mountaintops around Megaluf were covered in snow yesterday when we went out for a ride.

We were then back again at the so-called Olympic Track here, where we did power pedaling. The conditions were somewhat different from August in 2004, but apart from that, the area is well suited to this kind of technical training. Apart from the 30 degrees' difference in temperature, muddy ground, and somewhat different physical shape, the experience was pretty good.

Read the entire Gunn-Rita Dahle diary here.

Beckingsale takes Sunshine Cup

Oli Beckingsale leads
Photo ©: Mike Hadjioannou
(Click for larger image)

British rider Oli Beckingsale (Giant Racing Team) was the winner of the Sunshine Cup 2 International MTB race in Cyprus. A field of 48 men and 19 women in the elite categories were present at the first MTB event in the island of Cyprus. The race conditions were very good, with sunshine and the temperature around 20 degrees. On the start line there were most of the best European riders and also riders form the USA looking to get in some racing before the North American season kicks off.

From the beginning the team mates in team Giant, Oli Beckingsale and Roel Paullisen led the race with Michael Weiss and Bart Brentjens chasing. Beckingsale was stronger and attacked Paullisen on the fast uphills to make a gap of some seconds which grew in the last lap. Behind also strong was the Dutch rider Bas Peters who finished 3rd. In the women Sabine Spitz left no chance for the others. She led the race form the beginning with Bernadine Boog chasing at a near distance. Third place was the Swiss Petra Henzi.

For results and photos, click here.

Ontario cyclists score Quest for Gold funding

12 cyclists from the Canadian province of Ontario have been selected for funding under the Quest for Gold OAAP program. The athletes nominated were selected using the sport-specific selection criteria developed by the Ontario Cycling Association:

Brooke Boocock - Road
Sarah Coney - MTB XC
Chris DaSilva - BMX
Tim DaSilva - BMX
Krystal Jeffs - Road
Celeste Jones-Baumgardt - Road
Marty Lazarski - MTB XC
Kaitlin Michener - MTB XC
Adam Morka - MTB XC
Amanda Sin - MTB XC
Catherine Vipond - MTB XC
Derek Zandstra - MTB XC

24 Hours added to the Elephant Rock Cycling Festival

The Compass Bank Elephant Rock Cycling Festival, traditionally a multi-distance road ride in and around Castle Rock, Colorado, has added a 24 Hour MTB race to it's weekend of cycling. Sponsored by Denver-based energy drink and clothing company Go Fast!, riders will run laps on a moderate 8.25 miles course at the Greenland Open Space Park. The short lap structure has promoter's predicting lap counts in the forties!

The race starts June 2nd at 6pm. For more information and to register, visit www.elephantrockride.com.

Downhill in Croatia

The Sljeme ski resort above Zagreb in Croatia will be hosting the 14th edition of it's Downhill MTB race on May 21st. Now names the T-Mobile Sljeme MTB Downhill, the race date has been moved back two weeks from its traditional spot to fit it between Lisbon Downtown and the MTB World Cup in Fort William May 27th.

The UCI-sanctioned race is also a part of Alpe Adria MTB Downhill Cup and the Croatian national championship event. Some two hundred participants from over a dozen countries are expected.

Cycle Epic to host Australian MTB Marathon Championship

The first ever Australian MTB Marathon Championship will be held in September this year as part of the Flight Centre Cycle Epic to be held near Toowoomba in South East Queensland. In an Australian first for the sport of mountain biking, the nation's peak mountain biking body, Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA), endorsed the Flight Centre Cycle Epic as the inaugural 2006 Australian MTB Marathon Championship.

MTBA Executive Officer, Tony Scott, said, "The Epic has a great history and the winners will certainly be deserving recipients of the title of Australian Marathon Champion."

"Since the event began in 2003 it has grown into one of the largest mountain bike events in the Asia Pacific region," promoter Peter Creagh said."It's regarded as one of the toughest single endurance events on the cycling calendar making it the ideal event for first Australian MTB marathon Championship."

Riders from across Australia will tackle a gruelling 106km point-to-point marathon which traverses the National Bicentennial Trail from Preston (Toowoomba) to Grandchester September 2nd and 3rd.

The event will be run under UCI sanction. For more information visit www.cycleepic.com.au.

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