Home Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  

Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Dauphiné Libéré
Photo ©: Sirotti

 MTB index page for all MTB content

MTB news & racing round-up for February 3, 2007

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

Edited by Sue George

Quin breaks neck again

Vanessa Quin (New Zealand)
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

At the New Zealand national championships in Nelson last weekend, 2004 world downhill champion Vanessa Quin broke her neck for the second time in less than a year. She last broke it at the 2006 world championships in Rotorua, New Zealand. Although two such breaks may seem unlucky, the 30-year-old Quin did escape paralysis both times.

Quin endoed over the bars during her seeding run through the woods about mid-way down the course.

According to NewsTalkZB, "The crash has left Quin with a fractured C2 vertebra, cracked sternum and injuries to her hands. With the help of a marshall, she walked almost a kilometre to the first-aid tent, before her neck was immobilised." She will likely be in a metal brace for 10 weeks. She is expected to recover but faces several months off the bike.

2006 was an injury-plagued year for Quin. Besides breaking her neck, she also broke her arm at the downhill world cup in Vigo, Spain, in May.

She previously fractured a bone in her neck in a crash on the track about five years ago.

Kenda, X-Fusion and Titus announce 2007 team

Kenda, X-Fusion, and Titus combined to take over title sponsorship of the women's mountain biking team formerly sponsored by Ford Motor Company. Managed by Quick Release Racing, this team will compete at all of the National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) events, the Sea Otter Classic, the US National Championships, collegiate nationals, and several marathon and ultra-distance events in 2007 including La Ruta de los Conquistadores.

Melanie Meyers, who capped her first season in the elite ranks as the third ranked U23 rider in the US, re-signed for a second year. She also took two podium places at collegiate nationals in cross country and short track events.

Joining the team for 2007 are first-year professional Sarah Barber and Zephanie Blasi. Barber had a breakout year in 2006, finishing eleventh in her first elite national cross country race. Blasi has competed in both endurance and gravity events, but will focus on cross-country and super D events for 2007.

Heather Holmes rode with the squad as an expert in 2006 during which she captured the expert cross country and short track national titles. She moves into the pro ranks. Timari Prius rounds out the roster with her emphasis on ultra-endurance and marathon events.

In addition to competing, the women will serve as cycling ambassadors across the US. They will focus on school and community programs aimed at getting more girls involved in sports and cycling by partnering with local advocacy and junior racing programs.

"This Team is the culmination of many years of sponsoring women athletes," said Jim Wannamaker, Marketing Director for Kenda USA. "Bringing several of the women athletes that Kenda has sponsored individually under one umbrella will really showcase the team aspect of this sport."

Alex Wheeler, US Marketing Manager for X-Fusion, had similar sentiments. "The team is a great addition to the broad support our company invests in US mountain bike competition." The women will ride Titus bikes to help market their women's geometry line of bicycles.

2009 mountain bike worlds in Australia

Downhill racing at Stromlo Forest Park
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

The management committee of the UCI (International Cycling Union) at a meeting in Belgium confirmed Canberra, Australia the host city of the 2009 Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships. The Championships will be held from September 1 to 6, 2009.

UCI Vice President, Ray Godkin, said the UCI was impressed by Australia's passion for mountain biking and the quality of the proposed venue; Canberra's new $7.5 million world-class Stromlo Forest Park, where the Australian Mountain Bike Championships are currently being contested.

"Australia has a proven track record of hosting world class events and we are confident Canberra will deliver an outstanding World Championships," Godkin said.

The event will involve more than 750 of the world's top riders who will compete in the four mountain bike disciplines of cross country, downhill, four cross and observed trials for the honour of being crowned World Champion.

Cycling Australia President Mike Victor noted that being awarded the right to host the Mountain Bike World Championships is a major coup, and will not only highlight the talent of our elite mountain bikers but the excellence or our sporting organisers. "The World Championships will put mountain biking well and truly in the spotlight ... and showcase Australia's emerging dominance in a cycling discipline that continues to go from strength to strength," said Victor.

Canberra Off Road Cyclists (CORC) and Apis Events have joined forces to host and manage the 2009 World Championships. MTB World Events, the CORC-Apis joint venture company will oversee the planning, organisation and running of the 2009 UCI World Championships. CORC president Anthony Burton said it was a historic achievement and a major vote of confidence for the local mountain biking community.

"It's a perfect chance to highlight Stromlo Forest Park and Canberra as the number one mountain biking venue in Australia," he commented.

Stromlo Forest Park is Australia's most advanced, purpose-built mountain bike park with courses designed by course expert Glen Jacobs.

Australia, New Zealand crown national champions

Clinton Avery (NZL)
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
(Click for larger image)

Last weekend, both Australia and New Zealand crowned their national champions.

On the cross country side, Clinton Avery and Anja MacDonald claimed New Zealand titles to become new national champions after both the men's and women's defending champions were away overseas training and competing. Steady rain made the course difficult and caused several riders to withdraw. Avery was seeded first, based on UCI results at the end of 2006, and led from start to finish in an impressive run at Nelson. MacDonald beat a small, but strong field of elite female competitors.

Across the Tasman in Canberra, Tory Thomas proved herself again at national level by taking out another title. The 28-year-old from Mt Beauty in Victoria was determined to win the Olympic distance cross country. Thomas also holds the national marathon title and the 24 hour solo title. "I just really wanted to win today," she admitted. Her motivation came from narrowly missing selection in the last Commonwealth Games and World Championships. Fresh off the Tour down Under, Chris Jongewaard placed first in the national cross country elite men's race.

Jared Graves found two seconds was enough to win the 2007 Australian downhill championship. Riding against some of the world's best riders, the 24 year-old from Toowoomba had a clean run to finish in 3.19.86. Graves, the 2005 world silver medallist, has been focused on his specialty of mountain cross, but that didn't stop him from winning his first national downhill. Defending national champion, Nathan Rennie could not repeat last year's win but claimed second with 3.22.05. World downhill champion Sam Hill was unlucky when a slide in the final section put paid to the Perth rider's chances, forcing him to settle for a top 10 finish in eighth position.

The fastest time in the Australian elite women's category was posted by "local" Julia Boer. Unfortunately for Boer, she was unable to claim the champion's jersey as the Hungarian citizen is not eligible for a national placing. The citizenship technicality meant that second fastest on the day Joanne Fox took out the Elite Women's Australian Downhill Championship with a superb 4.13.

On the New Zealand side, Kieran Bennett and Scarlett Hagen won the elite downhill men's and women's titles.

See race reports and results from the Australian and New Zealand national championships.

Single Speed Worlds set for 2007

The Singlespeed world championships race and gathering will happen on September 1-2 in Aviemore, Scotland. Last year's worlds were in Stockholm, Sweden, in mid-August. Sveinung Bjørkøy (Norway) and Tiffany Allmandinger (USA) won the men's and women's divisions.

Aviemore is about a three hour drive from Edinburg and Glasglow airports and one hour from the Inverness airport. According to the organizers' website, you can also get there by railway, Sustrans cycle routes, and ancient hill paths.

For more information, visit http://www.sswc2007.com.

USADA clears two mountain bikers of "no show" doping violations

USA Cycling and the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) announced that two athletes previously sanctioned for anti-doping violations have been cleared by USADA. Their eligibility to compete was reinstated effective immediately after a joint investigation by USA Cycling and USADA's Legal and Doping Control departments.

Cale Redpath and Alice Pennington had accepted one-year suspensions each for failure to appear for a doping test. Both were selected as reserve athletes during competitions in 2006; however, neither would have been tested because both the automatic selections and the randoms were available for testing at the events where the violations occurred.

Cyclingnews previously reported that Redpath received a one-year ban from competition because he failed to present himself for testing following the NORBA National Mountain Bike Series race at Deer Valley, Utah. Penningon received the same sanction for failing to show up to the antidoping control at the NORBA Series Finals in Snowmass, Colorado.

In USADA's decision to set aside the offenses and sanctions of Redpath and Pennington, it cited a "fair and appropriate application of Article 122" (of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules) in light of USADA's investigation regarding reserve riders that are subject to a no-show violation only in the event they would have actually been tested.

USADA reviewed the cases in conjunction with USA Cycling. The organizations are aiming to better communicate anti-doping procedures to reduce the number of no shows for testing at events. USADA also worked with the UCI to determine a position regarding riders who are picked as reserves for testing.

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå diary: Home to deep winter

Gunn Rita Dahle Flesjå
Photo ©: Tom Haga
Click for larger image

The conclusion to our fantastic stay in South Africa was a four hour relaxed long-distance ride under sunny blue skies with a good 30 degrees centigrade. Now "King Winter" awaits us back home in Norway, meaning indoor training for a week.

The long flight from Johannesburg to London is completed. I'm sitting here in the lounge, waiting for our flight back to Stavanger. It's amazing to think that we've already been gone for a full four weeks. A whole lot of good work has been accomplished, both on and off the bikes. It's going to be a cold experience coming home to Norway again.

It's not easy to come by fantastic conditions for exercising at high altitudes in January, and also with good temperatures for a cyclist - especially for those wanting to avoid jetlag. We've been living for a month in the town of Dullstroom, just outside of Johannesburg, and it's turned out to be the perfect place for us mountain bikers. We've stayed at 2,000 metres above sea level, and most of our training has been done at altitudes of between 1,700 and 2,100 metres.

We had a couple of cold and uncomfortable days when we arrived in Dullstroom, but since January 1, we haven't had any rain when out cycling. We've had a few afternoon showers with thunder and lightning, but that's quite normal in large areas of South Africa. The rain and bad weather comes quickly and then disappears after a couple of hours. It's not like at home where heavy, rain-filled clouds just settle in and lie there, passively, right above the roofs, for weeks and weeks.

It's full of dirt tracks and roads around Dullstroom and Belfast. There aren't that many paved roads apart from the main roads between towns. That was perfect for us, as we thereby avoided all the heavy traffic and had only the surrounding nature as inspiration during our fantastic exercise stints. Of course, we had to keep our senses keen, to avoid the audience of snakes, monkeys, cows, and ostriches which were to be found both on and along the sides of the tracks.

Read the complete entry or another recent entry describing Gunn-Rita's training adventures in Africa.

Blenkinsop re-signs with Gravity Group

Samuel Blenkinsop thanks his sponsors
Photo ©: Bike NZ
(Click for larger image)

After Sam Blenkinsop's successful 2006 season, which included a victory ahead of two-time world champion Fabien Barel (France) at a New Zealand national series event, the second place overall World Cup Junior rider re-signed with the Gravity Group. Blenkinsop also took second at the junior world championships, only 1.1 seconds behind the winner despite a crash in the final run.

Blenkinsop plans the following events for 2007: the world championships, world cup, Maxxis cup, and selected European events to be determined, but his main goals are a first trip to the World Cup podium and a top 10 overall ranking.

"I'm really happy to re-sign with Gravity Group for 2007. Last year, the team gave me my first chance to race at World Cup level, and I learned a lot. I'm looking forward to returning to the team this year," said Blenkinsop.

Tour De France star Phil Anderson joins Otway Odyssey field

Phil Anderson, Australia's most successful Tour de France rider, will join 1,000 other riders at the Apollo Bay start line this Saturday for a mountain bike marathon.

Famous for his aggressive approach to riding, Anderson wore the Tour's yellow jersey 11 times and was ranked number one in the world. An Apollo Bay local, Anderson is sure to show some of the younger bucks in the field a thing or two about handling a bike.

At the Odyssey, the sold-out field will chase the country's richest mountain biking purse of AUS$13,000. The course features 3,400 meters of climbing. Racers from every state and territory will compete, include many top-ranked riders in the national series. Olympian Sid Taberlay and new National Champions Chris Jongewaard and Tory Thomas, were scheduled to attend; however, Jongewaard's status is unknown given a recent training accident.

Alison Dunlap JOMTB series accepting applications

USA Cycling is accepting applications for the 2007 Alison Dunlap Junior Olympic Mountain Bike (ADJOMTB) Race Series. The series will celebrate its eighth year. It was originally created by USA Cycling to provide racing opportunities for aspiring junior mountain bike athletes across the US. Dunlap lent her name to the series involved in 2003.

Racers who do place top five in the series in the following categories may earn invitations to USA Cycling regional development camps as well as the 2007 national championships: Sport 15-16/male, Sport 17-18/male, Sport 15-18/female, Expert 15-16/male, Expert 17-18/male, and Expert 15-18/female.

Interested promoters may contact http://www.usacycling.org/adjomtb/adjomtbapplication.pdf or Tom Vinson at tvinson@usacycling.org for more information.

Florit enjoys new cycling career

Warming up
Photo: © Keli N. Medcroft
Click for larger image

Retired pro cyclists Jimena Florit took up a new competitive career - in the world of business after twelve years on the pro circuit. After competing all over the world, including in two Olympic Games, three Pan American Games, and nine World Championships, the Argentinean heads her own coaching services business.

The two-time NORBA cross country overall series winner will lead several upcoming camps with Cycling Camp San Diego. She provides on-the-road instruction, shares stories of her travels, offer tips, and gives insight into the world of competitive mountain bike racing. Cycling Camp San Diego creates opportunities for cyclists to gain base training miles during winter months.

On her website, Florit said, "I love this sport and I would like to pass along my passion to others." The retired pro has raced for LUNA women's mountain bike team and the RLX-Polo Ralph Lauren mountain bike team. She is now based in San Diego.

Eatough becomes a dad

Chris Eatough and wife Allison became the proud parents of Emerson Ruth on January 19. Emerson weighed in at six pounds and nine ounces (2.98kg). Mom and daughter are doing well.

Previous News     Next News

(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)