MTB news & racing round-up for April 6, 2007
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Edited by Sue George
Gould dominates American season opener
By Rob Jones and Sue George
Georgia Gould (Luna)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
U.S. cross-country national champion Georgia Gould became the hero of
the opening weekend
of the National Mountain Bike Series held near Phoenix, Arizona, after
she won all three women's endurance events.
The Nova National has a long history as the season opener for North American
mountain biking, stretching back to the early nineties, when John Tomac
and Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain-Haywood) were racking up wins in the
Specialized Cactus Cup. Held at the McDowell Mountain Regional Park, the
organizers have access to a network of permanent trails through the sage
brush and cacti.
Gould's dominance started Friday when she took the opening
time trial. Looking mid-season fit, she was the only woman to go under
23 minutes. Despite being a little more tentative than some of the other
women on the drop-off descent before the climb, Gould rode powerfully,
winning by 20 seconds over teammate Katerina Nash.
"It was a good ride for me; I felt consistent," she said. "It
was a bit of a funny course - you can only go so fast or you overcook
the turns. There were a couple of times that I had to slam on the brakes
in the middle of a turn, but overall I felt pretty smooth. I tried to
be steady, because even the 'long' climb was only a couple of minutes."
On day, two Gould won the short
track;; breaking free from a lead group of four which also included
Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain-Haywood), Nash, and Kathy Sherwin (Titus).
"I noticed that I was getting a gap before the last turn in the
gravel, so I started to push it when I got onto the pavement," explained
Gould, who then increased her lead over the final three laps to cruise
in for the victory.
Gould made it three for three with a win in the cross
country on the final day. She took an early lead after a gap opened
on the first singletrack climb, and she never looked back. She won in
front of Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven Cycles) and Susan Haywood (Trek/VW).
Haywood was showing a strong return to cross country form in her season
Kabush showed his Pan Am form
Geoff Kabush (Maxxis)
Photo ©: Jon Devich
Like Gould, Geoff Kabush (Maxxis) also won the Pan Am Mountain Bike championships
in Argentina three weeks ago. Although he wasn't quite as dominant on
the men's side, Kabush still took an impressive two victories this weekend.
The only endurance race Kabush didn't win was the time trial in which
Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Gary Fisher - on a Gary Fisher 29er with
a single chain ring) took a nine second victory over Adam Craig (Giant).
But Kabush showed his form in both the short track and cross country
races by emerging victorious from a field of nearly a hundred riders.
A good start was essential to avoid getting hung up in traffic and choking
on dust. Kabush, counted among the winningest short track racers in history,
leapt off the line to grab the holeshot onto the gravel and opened up
a slight gap by the end of the first lap of the short track. He was quickly
joined by a group containing Horgan-Kobelski, Wells, Craig, Sam Schultz
(Subaru-Gary Fisher), Jeremiah Bishop (Trek), Ryan Trebon (Kona) and Ross
Schnell (Trek). This group worked together to build up a gap on the rest
of the field, and soon started to catch the tail end of the field, which
was being steadily pulled from the race. Eventually the group splintered
and Kabush broke away for a win over Wells and Horgan-Kobelski.
In the cross country, the race ultimately came down to a battle between
Kabush and Wells, with both looking strong. In the end, it was Kabush
who would solo in for the win, after dropping Wells in the second half
of the final lap. "I felt really comfortable on the third lap, and then
I took over the pace on the fourth and kept winding it up," said Kabush.
"(Wells) stuck with me, though, and I was getting a bit worried, but the
back side of the course was pretty rough, and I got a gap on a step up
before a steep climb."
Look for more of Kabush and Gould in less than two weeks at Sea Otter
in Monterey. For full coverage of NMBS #1, click
Hundreds finish gruelling Cape Epic
The peloton battles through
Photo ©: Frank Bodenmuller
The final 80km stage eight of the eight-day Cape
Epic mountain bike race in South Africa took a physical, mental, and
emotional toll on exhausted racers as it took them through Winelands territory,
but the were welcomed by thousands of supporters at the finish in Lourensford.
Out of 603 teams that started last Saturday in Knysna, 468 completed
all eight torturous stages - 278 Men, 125 Masters, 52 Mixed and 13 Ladies
Teams crossed the finish line in Lourensford Saturday for a finishing
rate of 77.6 percent. However, only 15.7 percent of the total number of
riders dropped out of the race. Cape Epic rules allow participants who
lose a team partner to continue to race.
It came down to the very last stage but Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm of
Team Bulls managed to defend their tenuous hold on the lead. The Germans
headed into the final 75km day with only a 3.5 minute margin, but they
pulled off a third-place finish, only one place and 11 seconds behind
challengers Belgian Roel Paulissen and Dane Jakob Fugslang (Cannondale-Vredestein
1), who tried everything to win on the final stretch. The stage itself
was won by Swiss Team Texner-Stoeckli's Thomas Zahnd and Sandro Spaeth.
Check out all
eight days of our Cape Epic coverage here (which includes some amazing
photo galleries. Cyclingnews diarist Myriam
Suagy also sent in notes from each day's competiton as she and teammate
Fabienne Heinzmann managed to finish second overall in the women's competition
US Development team opens season in Arizona
At the first NMBS
race in Fountain Hills, Arizona, just outside of Phoenix, the future
of US mountain biking showed two bright spots. Sam Jurekovic and Colin
Cares, both members of the US National Development Team, logged strong
performances on the March 30 to April 1 weekend.
Beginning with Friday's time trial, the two U23 riders grabbed top ten
finishes, with Jurekovic placing fifth in a time of 20:29.93 and Cares
turning in a 20:45.78 to place eighth. For comparison, the winning time
was set by Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski in 19:44:10.
In Saturday's short track cross country race, Jurekovic crossed the
line in seventh place, less than 15 seconds back from the day's winner,
Canadian Geoff Kabush. Cares finished just out of the top twenty, placing
In the final day's pro men's cross country race, Jurekovic and Cares
finished 23rd and 27th respectively in the 100+ rider field. Kabush again
took the win.
The team will next race the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California
from April 12-15.
SwissPower Cup #1
Photo ©: Eduard Aguilera
The SwissPower Cup #1
opened April 1 in Schaan, Liechtenstein. It was the first-ever foreign
opener for the series. Julien Absalon (Orbea) and Sabine Spitz (Ghost
International) won the elite men's and women's categories.
Racing started right from the gun for the 160-rider elite men's field.
Absalon pushed the pace early, and racers started dropping off almost
immediately. His victory was almost assured early on, and the battle raged
behind him for the other podium places. Florian Vogel (Swisspower), Nino
Schurter (Swisspower), Fredrik Kessiakoff (Cannondale-Vredestein), and
Inaki Lejarreta Errasti (Orbea) worked together on the final lap. Kessiakoff
and Vogel took second and third.
Irina Kalentieva (Topeak-Ergon) and Spitz fought a duel in the women's
race. Initially, on the first three laps, Renata Bucher (Stockli-Craft)
was able to keep up, however she fell back to sixth place in the end.
2003 World Champion Spitz got away on the second lap from the end and
to take her first Swisspower Cup victory of the season. Third place was
decided in a battle taken by Italian Eva Lechner (Colnago) and Sabrina
Enaux (Lapierre International).
The next Swisspower Cup stage takes place in two weeks in Winterthur.
For complete results, click
Downhiller Minnaar completes second Cape Epic
Minnaar was 2003 World Champ
Photo ©: Colin Meagher
Pietermaritzburg's Greg Minnaar once again tackled the famous Cape
Epic stage race this past week, and for the second time in two attempts,
he made it to the finish after a gruelling week of racing eight days and
This year, the downhiller rode with top South African female cross country
rider, Hannele Steyn-Kotze in the Mixed Category. Both were part of Addidas
The first few days were tough on the pair, and with a total of six punctures,
the pair lost valuable ground early. Well outside the top 10 in their
category, the pair fought back to finish seventh in the mixed category
and 70th overall.
"The event was super tough, and a lot harder than the first year
I rode it, with longer distances to cover and much more climbing,"
said Minnaar. "The event has also really grown a lot too. This is
a really big deal now. It was good riding with Hannele as I learned a
lot about how to eat while riding a seven-hour day, and how much it can
help you with your endurance.
"I basically did this to support the event and for the challenge.
It's not a major or strategic part of my downhill season preparation,
but I think a little bit of extra fitness is never a problem!"
In the final four days, the two South Africans put in some big efforts
to gain ground on some of the more fatigued competitors. Their efforts
paid off with some good time gains made.
When asked if he would do it again, Minnaar said, "Yah, for sure.
Maybe next year I'll ride with a male competitor and try and mix it up
with the top teams!"
Saugy's Cape Epic Diary: The last stage
Stage 8 to Lourensford was the shortest of the stages. You'd think that
was the easiest, too, but no, no. It was a hard day throughout, and I
can tell you we had to push ourselves to get there.
Stage 8 started in Kleinmond
Photo ©: Sven Martin/Dirt Agency
It was amazing to have a start by the sea in Kleinmond. Just before the
start, the announcer appealed to all the racers, and we put our hands
in the air and clapped enthusiastically. That was crazy. (Due to the excitement),
all my hair was all standing up on my arms--you should have seen it.
As I told you, we couldn't take it easy as we didn't have that much time
on the (third-place) Rotwild team in the overall ranking. So we started
very fast again. We actually climbed back up the National Park jeep track
we had come down on Friday. With less heat, it seemed easier than the
day before. We managed again to get in the track before the Rotwild girls.
However, we could see that they were not far behind us.
The good thing was that overtaking was really not easy. We got into the
first water station in second position. But we were soon overtaken by
Rotwild as we were lacking some juice on the way up the longest climb.
The Danish girls were also just behind us as we hit the top and entered
the compulsory walk(ing section) that was part of this last stage.
To read the complete diary entry detailing second-place finisher Myriam's
final stage of the Cape Epic, click
here. To read her other entries from the race, click
Nick Martin Diary: Who is this character called Martini?
Taste testing Malibu,
Photo ©: Nick Martin
With this entry, I am popping my Cyclingnews diary cherry and
kicking off the fast approaching 2007 mountain bike season. Maybe you
have heard of this Nick Martin character from the blog'o'sphere, over
at www.ridewithnickmartin.com. If not, swing by and catch up on your homework.
I am a 27 year-old professional mountain biker based out of Boulder, Colorado,
and am chasing this cycling dream daily.
I am not that young prodigy that just fell into a huge natural VO2 max....
I am more of the stubborn, live-out-of-the-VW-van and live-off-powerbars
kind of athlete. This will be my third season racing professionally under
the flag of Trek/VW, and I am hoping that persistence pays off.
This off-season, like so many before them, has taken me on some great
adventures. It was kicked off in style last August when Zap Espinoza invited
"Rad" Ross and I down to Wisconsin to check out the Trek factory
and hang out with some dealers. Well there must be something in that dairy
air because I met a woman and ended up leaving Madison engaged after only
three days! Crazy I know, but when you meet her you'll understand....
To read the complete diary entry, click
World champion set for Australian 24 Hour Solo nationals
Photo ©: Evan Jeffery
Current 24 Hours of Adrenalin World Solo Champion Craig Gordon will take
the first step toward defending his title by racing the Australian Solo
24 hour championships this weekend, April 7-8 in Canberra, which will
be held for the first time at Mt Majura pine forest.
The physically-demanding 24-hour race, hosted by Canberra Off Road Cyclists
(CORC) in conjunction with Apis Events, is the Australian qualifying event
for the 2007 24 Hours of Adrenalin World Solo Championships scheduled
for California in October.
Racers will tackle an 8.2km circuit at Innabaanya Guide Camp with 110m
of climbing per lap - meaning the top riders could ascend more than 5,000m
and pedal over 400km in 24 hours. The race starts at noon on April 7.
See also: 2006
24 Hours of Adrenalin World Solo Champinonships coverage
Pro Bike: Sharp-edged full-suspension for the tight-and-twisties
By James Huang
Adam Craig's race machine of choice
Photo ©: James Huang
Team Giant rider Adam Craig played a key role in developing Giant's dedicated
Anthem XC-racing platform two years ago, and has been heading straight
down the dual-suspension path since then with virtually no looking back.
At the first
major MTB test of 2007 on U.S. soil in Fountain Hills, AZ, Craig opted
to use his Anthem for each stage save only for the twilight short track
event that was held downtown on a mix of pavement and dirt.
"I can ride a hardtail as fast in almost all situations, but it would
take so much more effort," stated Craig. "If I were to put that much effort
into riding a dualie, I'd end up going a teeny bit faster in a much more
relaxed and much more composed manner. We're fortunate enough to have
a super efficient suspension design that gives you faster rolling over
all of the square-edged stuff because of the axle path and it just generally
facilitates riding fast."
Craig himself played a key role in the creation of his Anthem, which
was formerly launched just prior to Interbike
2005. "I personally, and everyone at Giant, including Rune Hoydahl,
involved in development agreed across the board that we could make a super
steep, super short, aggressive race bike that would be designed to handle
like a razor blade on courses like this where it's just all super turny
and twisty," said Craig after his second place finish in the Stage 1 time
Read the complete Pro
New frames, brakes, and forks found in the desert
By James Huang
Cannondale introduces the Taurine
Photo ©: James Huang
Over in the pit area of NMBS #1 race series sponsor Bear Naked - Cannondale
(Bear Naked makes granola, for those of you who were wondering), the CT-based
bike company showcased its newest model, the Taurine. Cannondale's first-ever
full-carbon hardtail frame utilizes unidirectional high-modulus carbon
fiber construction for a claimed finished frame weight of just 1.25kg.
Cannondale uses a tapered oversized down tube just as it does on its
upper-end aluminum models, but the Taurine also incorporates fully integrated
headset bearings and uniquely flattened chain stays that supposedly offer
a bit of vertical give (not quite as dramatic as on the company's Scalpel,
of course, but along the same idea). Naturally, Cannondale includes its
proprietary Lefty fork and Si integrated crankset, yielding an astonishingly
light 9.4kg (20.74lb) complete bike (actual weight without pedals, but
with two bottle cages).
Fox Racing Shox isn't launching its new 2008 lineup until Sea Otter time,
but that doesn't mean bits of it weren't out in public for the first major
US mountain bike race of the season. We already showed you the new revision
to the RP23 rear shock, but a new fork was also found on the Anthem Advanced
of Team Giant's Adam Craig on the second day of the race.
To read the complete mountain bike tech coverage from the first NMBS
here. James Huang also brings us the latest information on new
shocks and tires that were on display on racers' bikes last weekend.
British XCracer.com/Trek team announced
The British XCracer.com/Trek team introduced their squad on n a sunny
and warm weekend Coed Llandegla just outside Wrexham.
Now into its second year of supporting a race team, XCracer.com has joined
forces with Trek Bikes to create a team with a focus on cross country,
marathon, and enduro races across the United Kingdom.
The team will tackle the British mountain bike cross country and marathon
series as well as the Nightrider12, Bontrager Twentyfour12, Mountain Mayhem,
TranScotland, Bristol Bike Fest and the National Championships. Individuals
will also visit regional races such as the Pro Cup, Southern XC series,
Gorrick Spring Series, Dragon XC series, Soggy Bottom Series.
Besides aiming for podium appearances, the team will provide insight
into each race and provide tips and gossip on their website: ww.xcracer.com
The team includes Maddie Horton (Elite), Phil Morris (Expert), Nadine
Spearing (Expert), Dave Flint (Veterans), and Charlie Wigfall (Expert/Team
24 hours of Insomnia for Australia
The inaugural Insomnia 24-hour mountain bike festival will happen June
23-24 near Brisbane, Queensland, in Australia. The race will happen at
a new location, recently opened to mountain bikers as part of an adventure
race, at Kurwongbah, less than 30 minutes from Brisbane.
The course, with its gentle undulations and wide passing lanes, features
16km of singletrack and fireroads. Solo riders or teams of two, four,
or six riders are welcome. For more information, visit www.gar.com.au.
EFTA announces summer race calendar
The Eastern Fat Tire Association released its mountain bike race series
calendar for 2007, now in its fifteenth year. The non-profit organization
has added elite and touring classes to all events making up the New England
Championship series. The touring class caters to recreational riders who
want to be part of the mountain bike race scene. New for this year is
an enduro race. The inaugural Hampshire 100 will run throughout New Hampshire.
For more information, visit www.EFTA.com.
The 2007 New England Championship Series:
May 6, 2007 NECS #1, Glocester Grind Glocester, Rhode Island
June 10, 2007 NECS #2, Sterling Sizzler Sterling, Connecticut
June 24, 2007 NECS #3, Clifford Park Assault Biddeford, Maine
July 1, 2007 NECS #4, All Out in Moody Park Claremont, New Hampshire
July 8, 2007 NECS #5, Horror at Harding Hill Road Sunapee, New Hampshire
July 29, 2007 NECS #6, Bradbury Mountain Enduro Pownal, Maine
August 5, 2007 NECS #7, Fort Rock Revenge Exeter, New Hampshire
August 26, 2007 NECS #8, The Pinnacle Newport, New Hampshire
September 16, 2007 NECS #9, GrillZ Memorial Georgetown, Maine
Desert Trophy for Morocco
The first-ever Desert Mountain Bike Trophy race will be held from October
13-20 from Merzouga to Zagora in Morocco. The five stage race will cater
to those who want to test their endurance and orienteering skills. The
A.S.D. Linea d'Ombra club is hosting the event.
For more information, visit www.merzougatrophy.com
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)