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MTB news & racing round-up for July 19, 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

Spitz and Hermida win Euro championships

By Aybars Oge Sürücü

German Sabine Spitz (Ghost) at Mont Ste Anne
Photo ©: Frank Bodenmuller
(Click for larger image)

German Sabine Spitz and Spaniard Jose Antonio Hermida won the European Cross-Country Mountain bike Championships last weekend in Turkey. A deep, sandy course challenged the riders.

Spitz beat Russian Irina Kalentiyeva and Czech Katerina Nash. Initially, Spitz and Kalentiyeva escaped together and were chased by Nash and Maja Wloszczowska, who eventually took seventh. Spitz rode away to victory, and Nash joined Kalentiyeva, but the latter opened up a gap on the third and final lap to take second ahead of Nash in third.

After the race Kalentiyeva graciously praised her opponent, "Sabine rode a very strong race today. She earned the win."

Under cloudier skies and cooler temperatures than the women's race, the men started off racing in a compact group on the start loop. The day's winner Spaniard Jose Antonio Hermida led the early charge to break 20 riders off the front.

José Antonio Hermida Ramos (Multivan Merida)
Photo ©: PhotoSport International
(Click for larger image)

While Hermida extended his lead, the chase group tested each other's legs. Julien Absalon saw he was losing time and attacked on the second lap. Florien Vogel and Fredrik Kessiakoff were not able to keep pace with Absalon.

After the race Hermida said, "It was my tactic to make an attack from the start to have the gap before the first descent. I tried to keep my gap but I saw that the others lost time and started to ride faster to stay safe."

Absalon was happy after his bad start to finish second. "At the start, I was not feeling faster. I wanted to see the others to attack and I wanted to have control but I found my rhythm later."

UCI President Pat McQuaid and UEC President Vladimir Holecek were pleased with Turkey's efforts to host the European Championships. After receiving words of praise, Turkish Cycling Federation Vice President Abdurrahman Acikalin predicted, "We will go for [hosting] 2010 MTB World Championships and 2013 Road Cycling World Championships."

For coverage of the European Mountain Bike Championships, click here.

Dietsch and Sundstedt collect World Cup victory & overall

Pia Sundstedt (Fin) at World Cup Round 1 on way to overall victory
Photo ©: MTB World Cup
(Click for larger image)

451 racers competed on Sunday in Oisans, France, in marathon races. The 100km distance between Deux-Alpes and Bourg d'Oisans served as the third and final round of the Nissan UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Cup.

Frenchman Thomas Dietsch (Gewiss Bianchi) was the clear winner of the final round. He crossed the line just over three minutes in front of Austrian Alban Lakata (Trek-VW) in the 100km race. Dietsch also keeps his top spot in the final World Cup standings with 610 points, ahead of two runners-up Italian Massimo De Bertolis (Full-Dynamix-R.S.M) with 540 points and Lakata with 480 points.

In the women's race, Finland's Pia Sundstedt (Gewiss Bianchi) left the rest of the women's field behind, finishing more than 13 minutes ahead of her nearest rival Switzerland's Esther Süss. With her win, Sundstedt secured the overall World Cup series title with 700 points ahead of Süss and Ivonne Kraft (Germany), who had 600 and 360 points respectively.

Read complete results for elite men and elite women.

US Nationals to award US$20,000 in Vermont

By Sue George

2006 National Cross Country Champion Ryan Trebon
Photo ©: Rocky Arroyo
(Click for larger image)

The 2007 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships are scheduled for July 17-22 at Mount Snow Resort in West Dover, Vermont. In part thanks to sponsor X-Fusion USA, US$20,000 will be on the line as prize money for the podium finishers in the pro men's and women's cross country, downhill, short track cross country and dual slalom competitions. Over 2,000 competitors are expected to compete across beginner, sport, expert, semi-pro and professional categories for national titles in Olympic-style cross country, short track cross country, downhill, dual slalom, super D, observed trials and singlespeed cross country.

Mount Snow has been hosting world-class mountain bike events for 19 years including World Cups and NMBS stops. However, this weekend will mark the first the venue hosts a stand-alone national championship event since USA Cycling introduced the format in 2004.

Look for some exciting racing this weekend. In this pre-Olympic year, the domestic competition has been hot and heavy. On the women's side, defending national cross country champion Georgia Gould (Luna) will be looking to keep the stars and stripes jersey for another year.

"I'm excited about racing at Mount Snow this year. I've improved a lot on the roots and rocks and wet," said Gould to Cyclingnews. When I started (racing) in Idaho, I had none of that experience."

While her teammate Katerina Nash will be in the Czech Republic racing her Nationals, teammate Shonny Vanlandingham is a likely challenger for the title. Also, look out for Willow Koerber and Heather Irminger (both Subaru / Gary Fisher) and Mary McConneloug (Kenda / Seven) after their top 10 World Cup finishes this year. Sue Haywood (Trek / VW) will also be there as defending short track and super D national champion.

On the men's side, Barry Wicks (Kona/Les-Gets) will try to defend his short track title while teammate Ryan Trebon will be aiming to keep his cross country title. Look out also for top American World Cup racer Adam Craig (Giant), perennial favorite Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Gary Fisher), former Olympian Todd Wells (GT), and Jeremiah Bishop (Trek/VW), who had to sit out the recent Canadian World Cups due to illness.

Duncan Riffle (Honda/Iron) and Tara Llanes (Giant) took home the downhill titles in 2006 while Eric Carter (Mongoose Bicycles) and Jill Kintner (GT) stood atop the mountain cross podium.

Meanwhile, France and Czech will be among several other countries hosting their national championships this weekend.

Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for complete coverage of US Nationals from Mount Snow.

Win chance to pit crew for Pua

One lucky person can win an opportunity to work in the pits as member of Team MATA at the 24 Hours of Adrenalin Solo World Championships in Monterey, California, August 31 to September 2 and help endurance pro Pua Sawicki attempt to win the world title.

To enter, write a letter telling Pua why you should be the newest member of her team. Pua will pick her favorite entry. For more details, how to enter, and other prizes you can win, visit www.teammata/contest.html. Entries are due Monday, August 6.

Mike & Mary diary: Canada times two

Mary McConneloug
Photo ©: Mike Broderick & Mary McConneloug
(Click for larger image)

Mike and I returned to Martha's Vineyard after a two week trip to Canada for the fourth and fifth rounds of the UCI World Cup. This was an action packed 1,500 mile road trip to the Quebec province where we visited some familiar places, explored new ones, met new friends and had the chance to catch up with some old ones. We returned with some great memories along with a few new scars to help make sure we never forget.

This was our first big road trip in our "new" van and although it is a big improvement from other vehicles we have owned, it felt kind of limited without the luxury conveniences that we have become accustomed to while traveling in our rented Euro RV. We split the eight hour drive north to Mont Sainte Anne into two days, stopping to pitch our tent along the way in a quiet campground. Luckily, the sweet Canadian summer weather held out for the night and though it wasn't the best night sleep ever, I can say that we were both rejuvenated by the overall experience.

It was a luxury to have a few supporters around to lend us a hand and especially to have Mike's mom, Emily, join us for a part of our Canadian travels. It is amazing how much a set of extra hands can help on race day, and it was especially nice to have some friends and family around to help celebrate my 36th birthday.

To read the complete entry, click here.

Geoff Kabush diary: The World Cup nemesis

Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

Well I certainly have done a variety of racing since my last report; this included another European World Cup, some road bike meets, a NORBA, and a couple more World Cups in the nation of Quebec.

This last stint began over in Germany with round two of my nemesis, the European World Cup. Regrettably I can say I definitely lost the match. I had a sweet in-and-out operation going, was feeling great too; but then it all went pear shaped a few hours before the race. The sky clouded up and wept torrentially, and in turn I didn't manage the conditions very well. I tasted the dirt a few too many times and in the end was forced to limp in for a mediocre finish. Offenburg was a great course and venue though; they did a lot of work and even had bleachers and a beer garden set up in the middle of woods.

I came back to North America a little beat down, but happy to have a break from racing. I had time to hang out with my wife Miss Pink as well as our farm of dogs and cats. I decided to skip the third World Cup in Europe to make sure I stayed healthy and mentally fresh for some big races to come. This included weeding the back yard, putting some miles in the bank, and scouting possible locations for family relocation.

I wasn't interested in a third trip to Europe before summer hit and instead I ended up getting to do one of the coolest road races in the U.S. of A. For those of you who don't know, I am a member of the powerful Symmetrics road squad, but haven't attended every race.

To read the complete entry, click here.

Specialized brings the integrated approach to iconic Stumpjumper

By James Huang, Tech Editor

The new Stumpjumper bears a closer resemblance
Photo ©: James Huang
(Click for larger image)

Specialized's current S-Works Stumpjumper FSR Carbon has only been on the market for a short two years, but the company has already decided to launch an all-new, and dramatically revamped, version for 2008. Cyclingnews continued to brush up on his Spanish while taking a look at the new Stumpy and other gems in the new Specialized lineup.

Good ideas for product innovations apparently trump traditional fiscal responsibilities in the halls of Specialized's Morgan Hill, CA, headquarters. After an exceptionally short two-year reign, the S-Works Stumpjumper FSR Carbon will be replaced for 2008 with an all-new version that promises to be stiffer, faster, and a lot lighter than the bike we've come to know and love.

At first glance, the new Stumpjumper Carbon frame looks almost like a downsized Enduro with a similarly low-slung profile for greater standover clearance, an S-shaped down tube to provide room for a bottle cage, and a new rocker link-type rear suspension configuration that allows for a more refined axle path and nearly completely uninterrupted seat tube for a greater range of seatpost adjustment.

Read Part I and Part II of Cyclingnew's coverage of the 2008 Specialized mountain bike line-up.

Murray severely injured

Two-time Gravity Games Champion and X-Games Champion Stephan Murray was very severely injured during a crash at the Dew Tour Dirt Jump Event. The British rider suffered major damage to his C3, 4 and 5 vertebra and was in critical condition in a Baltimore-area hospital. He was scheduled to be transferred to a Denver facility to begin rehabilitation.

Murray lives in Southern California with his wife and two young children. Faced with his new life-altering condition, the BMX rider will benefit from several fundraising efforts taking place to support him. These include an eBay auction, the collection of direct contributions to the Stephan Murray Fund, and a bike jam in Lake Perris, California, held in early July. For more information, contact stephanmurrayfund@hotmail.com.

Regular updates on Murray's condition are being posted at the forum www.bmxtalk.com.

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