MTB news & racing round-up for February 3, 2007
Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking.
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Edited by Sue George
Quin breaks neck again
Vanessa Quin (New Zealand)
Photo ©: Rob Jones
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
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
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
Photo ©: Mark Gunter
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,"
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
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
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
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
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
Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå diary: Home to deep winter
Gunn Rita Dahle Flesjå
Photo ©: Tom Haga
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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Florit enjoys new cycling career
Photo: © Keli N. Medcroft
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.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)