MTB & 'cross news & racing round-up for September
Edited by Steve Medcroft
Formula for success; Liam Killeen interview
By Steve Medcroft, MTB Editor
With only one more complete season of competition before the 2008 Olympics
in Beijing, the riders that will be contenders in the cross country race
are becoming apparent. One of the shiniest stars in the bunch is Great
Britain's Liam Killeen, a rider that has shown natural ability and the
kind of year-to-year growth that could put him firmly in the medal hunt:
Photo ©: Rob Jones
The rise of Liam Killeen is not sudden, he was an under-23 superstar
and won the under-23 World Cup. He was also runner-up in the 2004 under-23
World Championships. But when an under-23 rider finally makes it into
the elite ranks, there is usually a slip back in results while they adjust
to the intense pace of the upper ranks. But Killeen, in only his second
year in the elite category, seems to have mixed together a formula that
includes physical and mental training, solid equipment, loyal teammates.
He showed the results of that formula when he won the 2006 Commonwealth
Games in Melbourne, Australia in March. He followed it up with a solo
win at the Sea Otter Classic, two full minutes ahead of world-class riders
including teammate Alban Lakata and European champion Jean Christoph Peraud
It didn't stop there. He finished third in his first World cup, just
behind 2004 Olympic gold medallist and world champion Julien Absalon and
Curacao course designer Bart Brentjens (Giant). He also came second in
the world cup at Mont Sainte Anne and, most recently, placed tenth at
the world championships in Rotorua, New Zealand. He's even taken the time
to win a couple of hometown races.
Read the entire Liam
Killeen interview here.
MTB World Cup finale
Premont chats, Dahle celebrates
Photo ©: Nick Warren
The world's elite mountain-bikers ended the UCI World Cup season in Scladming,
Austria last weekend, settling overall series championship titles in Cross
Country, Downhill and Four Cross.
Marie Helene Premont (Rocky Mountain / Business Objects) was able to
outpace four-time world champion Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa (Multivan-Merida)
to win the final world cup cross country race for 2006. The two riders
has been locked in a tense battle for the virtually the entire race, Dahle
leading Premont by no more than a few seconds. Premont's success didn't
change the World Cup overall though as Dahle-Flesjaa took the overall.
In men's cross-country, Cristoph Sauser (Specialized) who finished second
to Julien Absalon (Bianchi) at the World Championships in Rotorua, New
Zealand, was at the head of the race from start to finish. Sauser's win
secured his second place in the World Cup series behind world champion
With recently-crowned world champion Jill Kintner (GT - who had already
sealed the World Cup overall on points) out of competition due to a crash
at the Jeep King of the Mountain finale, Fiona Griffiths of Great Britain
got a chance to take the Four-Cross competition, beating American Tara
Llanes and Joey Gough in the women’s race.
Czech Republic’s Kamil Tartarkovic was a deserved winner of the men’s
4X on a tricky course which saw countless tumbles and a large crowd enjoying
the action. Holding off a close challenge from Dutchman Joost Wichman
(Netherlands) and local hero Rudiger Jahnel (Austria).
Photo ©: Nick Warren
Sunday turned into a day for world champions to strut their stuff as
Frenchwoman Sabrina Jonnier took out the women;s race and Sam Hill the
Jonnier, who won a rainbow jersey in New Zealand two weeks ago was obviously
at the top of her game, looking calm to finish just 0.41 seconds ahead
of Emmeline Ragot. Hill (Australia) beat Nathan Rennie and Greg Minaar
by five seconds to win the World Cup finale in Schladming on Sunday.
For complete results, race reports and photos, follow the links below:
1 - September 9: Women cross-country
2 - September 9: Men cross-country
3 - September 9: Women four-cross
4 - September 9: Men four-cross
5 - September 10: Women downhill
6 - September 10: Men downhill
National MTB Ultra Endurance Series finale
By Sue George
Photo ©: Bill McCarrick
The Trek VW team dominated the eighth annual Shenandoah Mountain 100
on Sunday as Jeremiah Bishop and Sue Haywood won the men and women's races
respectively and teammates Chris Eatough and Jeff Schalk finished off
a team sweep of the men's podium.
In series competition, Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication) and John
Majors (Giffen Interiors), leaders all year in the Open Men and Master's
50+ categories respectively) locked up the overall series win. After Open
Women series leaders Tricia Stevenson (Landrover/Cannondale) and Karen
Masson (Litespeed) both fell out of contention due to injury, the series
championship went to Washington State-based Hillary Harrison (Giant Bikes/Kenda)
over Ruth Cunningham. Both finished three races out of four or more attempts.
Dan Jansen (Founders Ale/Algers Racing), who had recently traded the lead
in the singlespeed category with Matt Ferrari (Mount Nittany Wheelworks),
was able to win the category at the race and the series.
Teammates Bishop and Eatough battle on familiar turf
Despite three previous days of rain, largely due to the remnants of Hurricane
Ernesto, a record four hundred racers signed up to tackle the lush trails
and roads through western Virginia's dense hardwood forests. As the series
finale of the National MTB Ultra Endurance Series, the race drew riders
from all over the United States. Fresh off his eighth-place finish at
the 2006 mountain bike World Championships in Rotorua, New Zealand, Jeremiah
Bishop took the men's event on trails located just outside his Harrisonburg,
For complete results, race report and photos from the Shenandoah
Mountain 100, click here.
Gordon Wins Australia's first marathon championships
Photo ©: Flight Centre Epic
At the end of 110 punishing off-road kilometres, looks can certainly
be deceiving for although Cannondale's Craig Gordon appeared spent after
more than four hours in the Australian wilderness during the fourth Flight
Centre Epic, his reply to the question, how much did you suffer out there?
.. came quick and sharp. "I don't blow up, it just doesn't happen," Gordon
said with the confident aura, one can only associate with champions.
And a champion he certainly is! The inaugural Australian Marathon Mountain
Bike Champion to be more precise, Gordon clocked off duty at the picturesque
Peppers Hiddenvale Retreat, some four hours, ten minutes and eleven seconds
after starting his day at the Preston Peak winery near Toowoomba. The
time was well outside of the race record set by Murray Spink in 2005,
but on a sticky track, Gordon's ride was arguably of just as high a quality
as that of the previous year's winner.
Better still, he did it alone for most of the journey, without the help
of any fellow competitors, who might have been of assistance on the long
road sections. "I think I went at about the 25 kilometre mark," Gordon
said. "I thought the bunch would have come back to me on the road, but
For complete results, photos and race report from the Flight
Centre Epic, click here.
Lopes and Miller take Jeep KOM finale
Prokop and Miller secure the series titles
Photo ©: Jeep KOM
Given the outcome of the first two legs of the Jeep® King of the Mountain
(www.jeepsports.com) 2006 Mountain Biking World Professional Championships,
where Michal Prokop of the Czech Republic and Jill Kintner of Seattle,
Wash., captured the men's and women's titles in convincing fashion, it
would take a brilliant day of racing by the star-studded field of competitors
at the grand finale in Beaver Creek, Colo., to prevent a season sweep
by these phenoms in their mid 20's.
Several thousand spectators took advantage of the pristine fall weather
conditions and extended Labor Day holiday weekend to take in the world-class
racing, which coincided with the city's renowned Oktoberfest celebration.
They didn't leave disappointed, as the day was filled with a wealth of
tight passes, unnerving crashes, extreme air and down to the wire finishes
that resulted in numerous upsets in the men's and women's brackets.
For full results, race report and photos from the Jeep
KOM finale, click here.
Thomas defies odds to win first Aus women's marathon
Mountain biker Tory Thomas (MT Beauty, Vic) defied all odds to win the
first National Marathon Championships in Toowoomba last week. In early
2005, the 28 year old was hit by a car, suffered serious back and pelvis
injuries and told by specialists she would never ride again.
Thomas won in 4.55.35 a full 3 minutes ahead of Commonwealth Games rider
Emma Colson, 37 from Melbourne. The pair had ridden side by side for three-quarters
of the race until Thomas took off on one of the final climbs. In
March I had a screw taken out of my back by my lovely surgeon," she
said immediately following the race. "I had no power in my left leg.
I was constantly cramping. The cramps today paled in comparison to what
I used to get.
Americans claim 13 medals at Master's Worlds
American riders won thirteen medals two gold, five silver and
six bronze at the 2006 UCI Masters Mountain Bike World Championships
at Sun Peaks Resort in British Columbia August 30-Sept. 3.
Tracy Oswell (Acton, Calif.) captured a world title in the mens
45-49 downhill competition and Fred Joehnck (Santa Barbara, Calif.) won
the mens 55+ category to give the United States its two rainbow
Silver medalists included Patrick Michael in the mens 40-44 cross
country event, Susan Butler (Portland, Ore.) in the womens 30-39
cross country race, John Fisher (Oakhurst, Calif.) in the mens 40-44
downhill event, Michael Jennings (San Diego, Calif.) in the mens
50-54 downhill competition and Michael Sabin (Sandpoint, Idaho) in the
mens 55+ event.
Riders who claimed bronze medals were Henry Kramer (Menlo Park, Calif.)
in the mens 50-54 cross country race, Stan Ford (Temecula, Calif.)
in the mens 60+ cross country event, Jane Finsterwald (Snowmass
Village, Colo.) in the womens 40+ cross country race, Scott Smith
(West Haven, Conn.) in the mens 50-54 downhill event, Julie Olsen
(Silverthorn, Colo.) in the womens 35+ downhill race and Gene Hamilton
(Fruita, Colo.) in the mens 40-44 downhill competition.
For complete results from MTB
Master's World Championships, click here.
Global MTB and cyclo-cross racing round-up
- MTB - World Cup XC #6, Aut (CDM), Sep 9-10: Main
- MTB - Masters worlds, Can (CMM), Aug 30-Sep3: XC,
- MTB - Australian Marathon championship (NE), September 3: Full
results, report & photos
- MTB - Jeep KOM, USA (NE), Sep 3: Full
results, report & photos
- MTB - Shenandoah Mountain 100, USA (NE), September 3: Full
results, report & photos
- MTB - Endurance 100, USA (NE), Aug 26: Full
- Dudzele Cyclocross, Bel (C1), September 10: Full
results & report
Renee Junga appeal launched
Bicycle Motocross Australia (BMXA), Cycling Australia (CA) and Mountainbike
Australia (MTBA) today jointly launched an appeal for injured athlete
Renee Junga. The 20 year old, who won a silver medal at last year's World
BMX Championships in France and was the 2005 Australian Female BMX Cyclist
of the Year, crashed on August 22nd while training on the 4X course in
preparation for the World Mountain Bike Championships in Rotorua, NZ.
Renee broke the C1 and C2 bones in her neck and suffered spinal trauma
at the T6 vertebrae. She also suffered two broken ribs and a fractured
sternum. Surgeons operated to fuse together the bones in her neck and
to insert a surgical rod and screws to stabilise her spine. Renee remains
in Auckland City Hospital recovering from the surgery but is expected
to fly back to Brisbane later this month where she will initially be admitted
to the Princess Alexandra Hospital.
"The purpose of the appeal is to raise funds to assist Renee with the
challenges she faces in the future," said Cycling Australia CEO, Graham
Fredericks. "A number of fund-raising efforts have already commenced in
Australia and New Zealand and this support is greatly appreciated by Renee
and her family."
"Renee is a very strong and determined young woman and we all wish her
well with her rehabilitation," said BMXA Australia President, Graham Arnold.
Renee yesterday was visited by former motorcycle Motocross racer Niki
Urwin who suffered spinal injuries in a racing accident in Horsham, Victoria
several years ago. Urwin, who is paralysed from the chest down, is the
coach of New Zealand mountain bike cyclist Vanessa Quin.
"It was good to speak to someone who has actually been through what
I am going through," said Renee. "He told me about what I can expect and
shared some of his experiences with me."
On Wednesday, Renee achieved a milestone when she sat upright for the
first time. "I got onto the edge of the bed, feet on the ground and bent
at 90 degrees," said Renee. "It only lasted for about five minutes because
I got a bit dizzy but the physios were pretty happy with that. They are
going to set me up with a temporary wheelchair later this week."
Renee has been fitted with a brace, neck to waist, which she must wear
for around twelve weeks but says the pain from her surgery is beginning
"Today I also saw the dentist about my left molar which I cracked pretty
badly in the crash," she said. "They'll probably try and put a temporary
cap on it next week but there's not a lot more they can do until the brace
comes off because it restricts my neck movement."
People who wish to contribute to the Renee Junga Appeal can do so by:
Cheque – payable to
ACF – Renee Junga Appeal
C/- PO Box 7183
Bass Hill NSW 2197
Credit Card – (Mastercard, Visa, Bankcard)
by phone to CA +61 (2) 9644 3002 or in writing by fax +61 (2) 9644 3006
or e-mail (email@example.com)
Direct Deposit (Commonwealth Bank)
BSB: 062 314
Account No: 1008 8234
Branch: Flemington Markets (Sydney, NSW)
(Please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
to advise of your contribution amount, time of deposit and contact details
so they can record and respond to your valued support).
US cyclo-cross season kicks off
The US cyclocross season gets underway Saturday, September 30th and Sunday,
October 1st with the fourth annual Whitmore's Landscaping Super Cross
Cup in Southampton, NY.
Reigning U.S. National Cyclo-cross Champion Todd Wells will have his
hands full against northeast cyclo-cross stalwarts Mark McCormack, Tim
Johnson, Jesse Anthony and Jeremy Powers. Bolstering the lineup for the
men's field are racers from team Rock Lobster, Richard Sachs- RGM watches-Rex
Chiu and Independent Fabrications.
The race has equal prize lists for the women's and men's races, with
prize lists of over $4000 for each race. The women's field will include
2006 Canadian National Champion Lyne Bessette, who will take on former
national team members Christine Vardaros, Maureen Bruno-Roy and more top
Both events are UCI sanctioned (C1 status for Saturday and C2 status
Can Frischy repeat at La Ruta
Thomas Frischknecht (Swisspower/
Photo ©: Rob Jones
A year ago Thomas Frischknecht ended one of cycling's longest streaks,
becoming the first foreign rider to triumph at Costa Rica's famed La Ruta
de los Conquistadores mountain bike race. Fast forward 12 months, and
the Swiss legend will try to make it two in a row when he returns to defend
his title at one of the world's toughest stage races.
Among the Swisspower rider's chief challengers at La Ruta's 14th rendition
will be Colombian Leonardo Páez and American Jeremiah Bishop (Trek-Volkswagen).
Páez is currently No. 1 in the UCI's marathon rankings, while Bishop
is coming off a stellar performance at the world championships, where
he finished 8th in the men's cross-country. Páez and Frischknecht
were fifth and sixth respectively in that same race. Famed mountain bike
pioneer Tom Ritchey has also registered for the race.
The three-day trek across this lush Central American country commences
November 3 at the Best Western Jacó Beach Hotel, a stones throw
from the Pacific Ocean. November 5's finish is at the port of Moín
just a few blocks from Caribbean Sea. In between a mix of professionals
and weekend warriors will cover 176 miles and approximately 30,000 feet
of climbing. The high point comes beneath the looming shadow of Volcan
Irazu. Here the race tops out nearly 9900 feet above sea level, and the
starting line a day earlier.
As in year's past, day one's course will head through the Carara National
Park's thick jungle. This humid, muddy and breathtaking pass has been
traditionally one of the toughest obstacles on the opening day. After
the third checkpoint, located in San Pedro de Turrubares, racers will
face the grueling Grifoalto region with its muddy trail across the mountains.
This replaces last year's long asphalt ascent.
For more information or to sign up for the challenge of a lifetime go
Also see our 2005
coverage of La Ruta de los Conquistadores.
Savouring a unique performance; the Gunn-Rita Dahle diary
[Translation: Crispen T.P. de Lange]
Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Norway)
Photo ©: Rob Jones
Here I sit on my small aeroplane seat, savouring the tired feeling in
my whole body. We've already been travelling for a good 20 hours, and
there's still a long way to go. The most important race of the season
is already history, and we can look back on an extremely exciting and
challenging period which has taught us a lot and given us a lot.
We celebrated the World Championship gold medal at a good Indian restaurant
in Rotorua, New Zealand, in good company. We didn't stay up late, since
I was worn out after the race on Sunday and everything else that's been
happening during the last weeks. We'll have a proper celebration of the
gold medal in two weeks when we get back to Stavanger again.
Demanding race period
Kenneth and I have already talked through and evaluated a lot of what
has been achieved and experienced during these last five weeks. When we
mapped out the season of 2006, we realised that the championship period
this year would be extremely tough if we chose to go for all four championships.
Our goal was to take a medal at every single championship (European Championship
Marathon, European Championship Cross-Country, World Championship Marathon
and World Championship Cross-Country).
Read the entire Gunn-Rita
Dahle-Flesjaa diary here
Where in the world; the Mary McConneloug & Mike Broderick diary
By Michael Broderick
Do they do it
Photo ©: Mike Broderick & Mary McConneloug
As we have gone through the heart of the race season, it has proven difficult
to keep the updates rolling and can only apologize for the lapse in communication.
The past weeks of back-to-back racing and widespread travel has put us
to the test and left us with time for nothing else. Our diary may be looking
like more of an archive than a place to get the latest news . Still we
hope you will enjoy hearing the stories from our of our experiences as
Spring Travels (May 30- June 13, 2006)
Mary and I arrived back to mainland Europe after a smooth night crossing
the North Sea from Scotland. We were greeted by an impressive rain as
we drove south through the Netherlands. Rain had in fact become the theme
of our trip to northern Europe.
The coastal area of Netherlands is pretty much dead flat and can be incredibly
windy, still the huge number of bike dedicated paths/ trails make it a
great place to ride the bike. we got in a 4 hour training day, rain and
all, inspired by huge numbers of people out cranking around on these 50
pound utilitarian cruisers with aerobars.
Read the entire Mary
McConneloug & Mike Broderick diary here.
Looking forward to riding the trails; the Kristin Danielson diary
Photo ©: Tom Danielson
Just a fad that has passed? When I think of fads leg warmers, the zone
diet and more fashion faux-pas come to mind, not an entire sport. How
could my friend say this to my face? I do believe mountain biking is a
lifestyle. A lifestyle that attracts fun loving and free spirits to it.
No other place am I more content than when I am on my mountain bike riding
through towering pine trees, through creeks, smelling the fresh mountain
air and getting both wheels off the ground from that last jump. Whether
mountain biking is a recreational sport, competitive sport or just a fad
it is a beautiful sport that has brought much happiness to me this past
summer. Not only did this sport introduce me to amazing people, such as
my team, this sport has brought to me aspirations, accomplishments, mental
and physical strength. The last time I checked, it is still a sport that
is a part of the Olympic Games and has seen fierce competition among the
Even though my racing season has wound down, the time I spend on trails
has not. This season is my absolute all time favorite to be encompassed
by Mother Nature. Brilliant fall days are cool and colorful, who wouldn't
want to be out on the trails? I know winter is larking around the corner
and when winter shows its white face my Kalua-Lisa Kona will have to be
hung up until next season; so it is imperative to explore new single track
as I know soon they will be covered in a blanket of snow.
Read the entire Kristin
Danielson diary here
Correction: Fionn Griffiths
In our coverage of Sunday's
final round of the four-cross mountain bike world cup we mistakenly
said that this was Fionn Griffiths' last race before retirement. In fact,
according to Mark Schmid of Griffiths' bike sponsor Norco, Griffiths'
"return to the top of a World Cup podium has increased her passion for
Cyclingnews apologises for the error.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2006)