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MTB news & racing round-up for August 24, 2007

Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking. Feel free to send feedback, news, & releases to mtb@cyclingnews.com and results, reports & photos to cyclingnews@cyclingnews.com.

Edited by Sue George

NUE Series race Endurance 100 set for the weekend

Chris Eatough (Trek/VW) is a favorite for the NUE Series Overall
Photo ©: Jack Kunnen
(Click for larger image)

Endurance racers will contest the next round of the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series in Utah with the Endurance 100 coming up this weekend. They'll race a new course with 2,000 feet less climbing than last year. The course features more sections for recovery and more rolling ups and downs. Organizers reported that marking efforts were delayed a day by rain, but the recent rain has left the trails in good condition.

As the second to last round in the NUE, competition for the series is heating up. Chris Eatough (Trek / VW) is perhaps the favorite for the win in the race and the overall. The six-time 24 Hours of Adrenaline World Champion recently stated his intentions to Cyclingnews to skip this year's worlds and go for the NUE series overall title. He now sits in seventh, after competing in only three of five races, however, he'll tackle the last two rounds as he goes for a win. Results from each racer's best four events will determine the series winners.

In Utah, Eatough will face off against Josh Tostado, who has won the Montezuma's Revenge several times and the Breckenridge 100. Tostado has a history of going fast in Utah. He took second in the E100 12 hour race in 2006. Long-time endurance racer Tinker Juarez (Cannondale) won the E100 Solo in 2005, and he'll be there to do battle, too.

On the women's side, Amanda Riley tops the favorites list. She finished second in Leadville earlier this summer and finished third last year at the E100. Unfortunately, last year's winner Lynda Wallensfels and Monique Sawicki will not be racing. They'll be saving their energy for doing battle at the 24 Hour Solo Worlds in Monterey the following weekend.

The Endurance 100 also marks the end of the Overall E 100 Series, whose winners will be awarded trophies created by blacksmith Karl Redel.

NUE Standings after five events

Elite Men 
1 Shawn Adams (October Lake Effect)                         20 pts (with 4 races)
2 Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication)                    20 
3 Gerry Pflug (Freddie Fu/Kona/Speedgoat Bikes)             28 
4 Mike Kuhn (Visitpa.Com (Mountain Bike Team))              47 
5 Andy Klumb (Bicilibre)                                   167 
6 Cadet Bryant (Bike Pro Of San Angelo Texas)              339   
7 Chris Eatough (Trek/Vw)                                    3 (with 3 races)
8 Tinker Juarez (Cannondale)                                 8 
9 Josh Tostado (Giant, Smith, Dakine, Michelin, Niterider)  17 
10 Shey Lindner (Bear Naked/Cannondale)                     22 

Elite Women 
1 Danielle Musto (Slingshot)                                11 pts (with 4 races)
2 Carey Lowery (Outdoor Store)                               6 (with 3 races)
3 Erika Tieszen (Giant, Smith,Dakine, Niterider)            10 
4 Suz Falvey (Dirty Harrys)                                 19 
5 Laureen Coffelt (Renn Multi-Sport)                        22 
6 Reenie Greene (Www.Os2Ogear.Com)                          23   
7 Michelle Schneider                                         8 (with 2 races)
8 Paula Figura (Founders Ales/Alger Racing)                 18 
9 Shirlee Finch (Cannondale Midwest Racing)                 19   
10 Monique Merrill                                           1 (with 1 race)   

To view complete NUE standings, including for singlespeed and masters categories, click here.

Team United Cycles wins TransRockies

Team united cycles cross the finish line first.
Photo ©: Dan Hudson
(Click for larger image)

Team United Cycles duo of Roddi Lega and Tim Heemskerk won six stages at the 550km, seven-stage TransRockies to take the overall of the TransRockies which wrapped up last weekend. Federico Ramirez and Ivan Amador (La Ruta) and Matt Hadley and Matt Green (Rocky Mountain EA Sports) finished second and third. This year, racers faced the hottest and driest conditions in the history of the race.

Kona pro cross country rider Wendy Simms and her partner Normon Thibault, from Nanaimo, British Columbia won the open/mixed duo as Team Frontrunners/Kona. Perennial challengers Eric Warkentin and Louise Kobin, riding for Shoair/Rock'n'Road Cycles took second. Kobin is one of only three riders who have participated in every edition of the TransRockies, and she was presented with a deluxe engraved Campagnolo corkscrew in a ceremony held at Whiteswan Lake for her achievement.

In the open women's category, TransRockies newbie Sue Haywood (Trek / VW) proved she was the perfect last-minute replacement partner for race veteran Hillary Harrison (Giant). The duo won six of seven stages on their way to the overall win over the Jo Turnbull and Jenny Hillmand (Team Canwi) and the British Minx/Extreme Endurance pair of Fi Spotswood and Meggie Bichard, who valiantly fought through a few days of sickness to keep their podium spot.

Three-time TransRockies champion Andreas Hestler of Rocky Mountain Haywood, who was teamed up with Kevin Calhoun from Vancouver, faced some bad luck. Coming off the Inaugural BC Bike Race just one month ago, the two were feeling confident for a good finish in the TransRockies, but their plans came to a halt when Calhoun hit the ground hard in Stage 4.

After an hour trailside while being helped with his team-mate, Calhoun was airlifted the Cranbrook Hospital where he was initially examined and then transferred to Invermere Hospital so that any spinal damage could be ruled out. Ultimately, he was diagnosed with stress fractures in five vertebrae, a broken shoulder blade, and a separated shoulder. He is expected to make a full recovery and even returned to spectate at the race and cheer on his team-mate, who partnered with Brian Moore for the duration of the event. The team finished unofficially in third place during the last three days of the race.

For complete coverage of the TransRockies, click here.

Van Houts wins Tour de France VTT

Rising star and Dutch rider Rudi van Houts (Dolphin-Trek) won the 2007 edition of the Tour de France for mountain bikers. Van Houts finished off the race with an effortless final stage, a short 4km time trial on the hills and stairs of the Sacre Coeur, Montmartre, and for his efforts throughout the week, he also collected the green points jersey.

Van Houts is not the first rider on his team to win the Tour VTT. Current team-mate Bart Brentjens won the race in 1995, 1996, and 2002, and he's the only Dutch rider to have done three times.

Maybe Van Houts was destined to win after receiving tips from the other 2007 Tour de France winner? His team reported that he had coffee with the road Tour de France winner Alberto Contador before the Tour VTT started.

Lopes and Beerten top the podium at second Jeep KOM

Taking a berm at speed!
Photo ©: Jeep KOM
(Click for larger image)

For Laguna Beach's Brian Lopes, who recently wrapped up his record sixth UCI World Cup Championship, heading back to California for the second race of the Jeep King of the Mountain series proved to be a rewarding homecoming. Not only did the 25-time World Cup titlist earn the victory at The Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, but in the process he moved into a tie for first place in the overall season standings and moved closer to bringing home the elusive crown for the series.

Joining Lopes on top of the podium was none other than the red-hot Anneke Beerten of the Netherlands, who is vying for her own UCI World Cup Championship with two wins already in the 2007 season. She kept her form in San Luis Obispo, and the payoff was her second-ever Jeep KOM victory and a jump to the top of the overall standings heading into the final race of the season.

Racers are battling for a share of the record US$100,000 cash purse and the season-ending reward of a new 2008 Jeep Liberty. The series wraps up at the grand finale on September 1 in Beaver Creek, Colorado, when the points will be worth double value.

To view complete coverage of the Jeep KOM #2, click here.

Kurschat and Kalentieva celebrate German National Series wins

The Ergon Topeak Team celebrated a successful weekend of racing at the German National Series in Salzdetfurth this past weekend. Russian Irina Kalentieva (Ergon - Topeak) celebrated her fifth consecutive German National Series overall win while team-mate Wolfram Kurschat locked up the men's title. It was his second national series win since 1999.

"The national series was the spring board into my international career. For that reason, I really enjoy racing it," Kalentieva said.

The race was close until the last lap. A determined Elisabeth Osl held tightly to Kalentieva's rear wheel. It was only when the World Cup Series Leader forced the tempo a little higher that she was able to shake off her Austrian challenger. "At the start of the race, I wasn't riding that well and my legs felt quite heavy. Towards the end though, I felt a little better," Kalentieva said. She is currently training intensively in Switzerland for the worlds on September 7th in Fort William, Scotland.

Kurschat wasn't as motivated for this race as he was for the others, in part because he had locked up the series overall and is already switched his focus to Worlds. "I am completely happy with my sixth place finish, especially considering the start list today. I didn't need to take risks,” he admitted following the race. Sweden's Fredrik Kessiakoff won the men's race ahead of Julien Absalon and Roel Paulissen.

Notably absent from the men's race was Ralph Näf (Multivan Merida), who chose to compete on the road in the five-day Regio-Tour.

For full results of the Bundesliga cross country in Bad Salzdetfurth, click here.

Landis to Shenandoah Mountain 100

Floyd Landis at the Leadville100
Photo ©: Wesley & Garrett Geer
(Click for larger image)

Floyd Landis will be racing at the Shenandoah Mountain 100, the finale in the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series to be held on Labor Day weekend near Harrisonburg, Virginia, in the George Washington National Forest.

"I am honored to be invited to be part of the Shenandoah Mountain 100 event. I look forward to racing on the challenging course they have put together since it includes the kind technical trail riding that first got me hooked on mountain bike racing," said 2006 Tour de France Champion Landis, who started his career growing up and racing his mountain bike throughout the mid-Atlantic.

While waiting to learn the outcome of his May anti-doping arbitration hearing that followed a positive doping test for testosterone in Stage 17 of the 2006 Tour de France, Landis has kept himself busy by returning to his roots and racing his mountain bike. Just a few weeks ago, he finished second at the Leadville 100, and earlier this summer, he took part in the Teva Games in Colorado.

Landis accepted an invitation to race the Shenandoah Mountain 100 offered to him by Mid Atlantic Off Road Enthusiast (MORE) member Scott Scudamore, who served as MC at a Floyd Fairness Fund event held in Northern Virginia in January. At the time, he deferred committing and joked instead, "I'd like to come, but I don't have to race if it's raining, right?"

"I'm pretty stoked that Floyd Landis has decided to return to his mountain biking roots and show up for the SM100. I've been dogging him for close to a year," said Promoter Chris Scott.

"If he's really on his game, he could beat the course record set by Jeremiah Bishop last year of 7 hours, 15 minutes," said Scott.

March leads Americans to gold medal at Master's Worlds

Shaums March was crowned world downhill champion last Saturday at the 2007 UCI Masters Mountain Bike World Championships in Pra Loup, France. He was named world champion after besting a field of 97 riders in the men's 30-34 downhill contest. Posting a time of 3'55.28", the lone American entered in the event improved upon his third-place time posted in the previous day's seeding run. He outpaced second and third places by just fractions of a second to claim the world title.

The US team was delighted to take home four other medals. Lars Tribus won bronze in the men's 35-39 downhill, 5.97 seconds behind winner and British rider Nigel Page, who was the only rider in the group to break the four-minute barrier with his time of 3:55.36.

On the women's side, Jane Finsterwald raced in a combined field of women in the 45-49, 50-54, and 55-59 age groups and completed three laps of the course in 1:28:07 to earn the bronze medal. Julia Violich and Alexandria Fabbro earned the silver and bronze medals respectively among women 40-44. Violich made a strong effort as a solo chaser and finished only 1'15" down from the new British world champion Belinda Tarling. Fabbro rode in for the bronze medal 7'15" off the winning pace.

For complete results from the UCI Masters Mountain Bike World Championships, click here.

Slovenia Cup final to serve as World Cup final rehearsal

The Slovenian National Series Finals at Maribor, to be held August 25-26 will serve as a UCI category one test event for the upcoming finale of the 2007 Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Finals on September 15-16.

Top Slovenian mountain bike riders will compete on Maribor Pohorje mountain in National Series cross country and downhill finals, but they'll be joined by some international competition as some take advantage of the only chance to test the tracks prior to the World Cup.

On Saturday, cross country riders will race the all-new 4.5 km lap with 150m elevation gain. Women start at 11:00 and men at 13:00.

On Sunday, downhillers will face the 3.4 km course with a 450m drop in elevation. The top part of the course has not changed much since the 2002 World Cup race while the bottom part (following the notorious rocky section) will be completely new to bring riders to a new finish area. Finals start at 14:00.

All three World Cup events will finish at the end of the Èop ski run under the Pohorje gondola. Organizers reported that most of the four cross track is in place but racing on it will have to wait until mid-September. For more information, visit www.pohorje.org.

4X racing in Prague all weekend

Prague will become the 4X capital this weekend on August 25-26. Two days of four cross racing will include Saturday's Czech 4X Championships and the fourth round of the Ruhrbau 4X Cup 2007 on Sunday. 4X riders from around the world have been invited for Sunday's event.

For the first time, the Czech 4X Championships are not a part of the Czech 4X Cup which will keep the battles for the national titles fair and not influenced by foreign athletes.

Two-time World Cup winner Michal Prokop of Author, and Kamil Tatarkovic of Kona Les Gets are expected to be on the start line for the 4X Cup. Its unique urban course is in the middle of a modern housing estate and within view of the nearby underground station.

Round #5 will wrap up the series on September 22-23 in Litomerice.

Gold Coast MTB Race to preview national series track

Australia's Gold Coast Mountain Bike Club is hosting the Gold Coast mountain cross race in Illinbah on Sunday, August 26. A new track has been developed which will also be used for the national series round coming in November.

The race will not be run in the event of a wet track. For more information, contact mobile number 0407 753 327.

Iron Hill is MASS cross country penultimate series race

This 22nd annual Iron Hill Challenge hosted by the First State Velo Club will place on Saturday, August 25 at Iron Hill Park in Newark, Deleware. The race will serve as the penultimate round of the 2007 Mid Atlantic Cross Country Super Series and the 15th round of the Team Super Series plus it will also feature a four hour enduro race.

For more information, visit www.fsvsonline.com or www.masuperseries.com.

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