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MTB news & racing round-up for June 16, 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

NMBS #5 to Utah

By Sue George

Shonny Van Landingham (Luna Women's MTB Team)
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

Round # 5 of the National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) comes to Deer Valley Resort in Utah this weekend, and this round features a full slate of gravity and endurance events. The event is sandwiched between two World Cups: #3 in Champéry, Switzerland, and #4 in Mont Saint Anne, Quebec, Canada.

"It will present a good test of mid-season fitness, we'll start to see who has started too fast and who has been saving themselves for the longer haul," said NMBS series director Jeff Frost, of Blue Wolf Events.

The 7.1-mile (11.4km) cross country course at Deer Valley Resort is at altitude, a condition that often causes a shake-up among the usual podium contenders. It features 1,400 feet (427m) of climbing per lap. Deer Valley is the first time NMBS cross-country racers will be racing together at altitude in 2007. The rounds in Phoenix, Fontana, and Santa Ynez have been much lower. Pros will tackle four laps, while experts do three, and sports do two laps. The pros race the cross country on Saturday. Their short track is Sunday.

Going into round four of the non-gravity disciplines, Canadian Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis) will be looking to defend his overall lead. Kabush has 546 points, leading the series ahead of 2005 US National Champion Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Gary Fisher), who's got 499 points and 2006 US National Champion Ryan Trebon (Kona), who has 458 points. Kabush has won all three cross country rounds thus far in 2007, but Horgan-Kobelski won in 2006 at this venue.

Reigning women's national champion Georgia Gould (Luna) will look to continue her winning ways this season. Gould also has won all three rounds of the cross country so far and leads the standings with a perfect 546 total points. Teammate Shonny Van Landingham, who's known to be a strong performer at altitude events like Deer Valley and is second overall with 482 points, is a contender for this round of the cross country. Van Landingham finished second at the Santa Ynez Round #2 cross country and won at Deer Valley last year.

Willow Koerber (Subaru / Gary Fisher) is in good form, too, coming off a strong fifth place finish at the World Cup in Champery, Switzlerland last week, and another favorite Katerina Nash (Luna) has appeared on all but one of the short track and cross country NMBS podiums this year. She's sitting in third with 419 points. Known absentees are Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain / Haywood), who is competing in the TransGermany, and Sue Haywood (Trek / VW), who is teaching a mountain bike clinic in West Virginia.

To read the complete preview, including information on the short track and gravity events, click here.

Nys changes focus back to 'cross from mountain bike

Sven Nys
Photo ©: Luc Claessen
(Click for larger image)

Sven Nys (Rabobank) has given up his Olympic mountain bike ambitions in favor of full concentration on cyclo-cross according to the team's website. The Belgian previously had planned an attempt at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

However, the triple World Champion and five-time Belgian National Champion underwent tests last week at the University of Leuven in Belgium that reported his body does not react optimally to extreme temperatures which are expected in Beijing.

"To me it is clear: my body is an excellent body for cyclo-cross, so that's what I fully want to focus on," said Nys to www.rabobank.nl.

Nys, who has been racing various mountain bike events this season, began racing BMX at age eight, winning eight national titles before focusing on 'cross and road racing. Nys did not finish the World Cup cross country race in Champéry last weekend.

NUE #3 Lumberjack 100 set for weekend

Chris Eatough at 2006 Lumberjack
Photo ©: Jack Kunnen
(Click for larger image)

The Lumberjack 100 will happen Saturday, June 16, near Udell, Michigan. It's the third event in the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series and also serves as the Michigan state Ultra Singlespeed Championship.

Michigan's only 100-mile (161km) mountain bike race will be held again at the Big-M Ski Area in the Manistee National Forest. Four 25-mile (40.2km) loops make up the race which features a 99% singletrack course and 8,000 feet (2438m) of climbing.

In the men's race Chris Eatough (Trek / VW) will attempt to defend his 2006 win, but he'll be challenged by the likes of Tinker Juarez (Cannondale) and Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication). Danielle Musto (Slingshot), who took third last year, will be going for gold this year as last year's winner Karen Mason (Litespeed) and runner up Trish Stevenson (Cannondale) were not on the startlist as of earlier this week.

Great Divide Race kicks off

The Great Divide race started Friday at high noon at the Port of Roosville, Montana. The 2,490 mile (4007km) self supported event runs through Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico along a north to south route. It has over 200,000 feet (60,960m) of climbing.

Racers have to carry all their own gear, and navigate backcountry terrain. They restock on food and other supplies at small towns en route. 21 riders, making up the largest field ever, were signed up to start. This year's roster includes Ashley Mckenzie, Jon Hurly, Josh Ficke, Scott Hodge, John Nobile, Steve McGuire, Steve Wilkinson, Bruce Dinsmore, Andy Buchanan, Dave Nice, Rick Hunter, Matthew Lee, Matt McFee, Jay Petervay, Matt Kemp, Pete Basinger, Kevin Montgomery, Nathan Bay, Jeff Kerby, Alex Field, and Noah Dimit according to the race's blog greatdividerace.blogspot.com.

Racers can call a toll-free number at any time 24 hours a day to leave voice messages with their whereabouts and descriptions of their experiences.

Mike Curiak currently holds the fastest male record (from 2004) of 16 days, 0 hours, and 57 minutes. Trish Stevenson set the women's record in 2005 at 21 days, 23 days, and 47 minutes.

Crested Butte Fat tire fest celebrates 27th year

Crested Butte, Colorado, home of the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame, has played a role in mountain bike for over three decades. It hosts the world's oldest mountain bike festival according to the North Denver News, set to take place as the 27th Annual Fat Tire Bike Week June 25-30.

The festival includes the seventh annual Wildflower Rush Mountain States Cup Race June 23-24, and is also held in conjunction with the Law Enforcement Bicycle Association Conference (June 25 – 28), followed by the Colorado Mountain Biking Summit (June 28 – 29). The Bridges of the Butte 24-Hour Townie Tour finishes off the event June 29-30 (note: costumes are encouraged at the latter event).

Local riders will lead beginner, intermediate, and advanced tours in and around the town that some bill as the birthplace of mountain biking. An expo, a beer garden, and live music add to the fun as do a Poker Run/Scavenger Hunt, Dog/Owner race, and a showing of Kranked. In the Chainless Race, competitors will coast from Kebler Pass (9,980 feet elevation) down into Crested Butte.

For more information, visit www.ftbw.com.

Swisspower Cup to Savogin

Julien Absalon (Orbea)
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

Julien Absalon (Orbea) will take on challengers at the Swiss Power Cup from June 16-17 in Savogin. Last weekend's World Cup winner will race round six of eight against Florian Vogels (Swiss Power), Nino Schurter (Swiss Power), and Thomas Frischknecht (Swiss Power). Vogels is currently leading the overall series by two points over Absalon.

On the women's side, Sabine Spitz is the likely favorite to win. Renata Bucher (Stöckli - Craft) is leading the overall standings for the women ahead of Katrin Leumann (goldwurst-power.ch/Sputnik).

MONT 24hr race to Majura Pines

The MONT 24hr Mountain Bike Race will be held at the world famous Majura Pines (Canberra) on the weekend October 27-28, 2007. 1,500 riders slots are available for teams of four or six riders each competing for over AUS$50,000 in products and prizes. Male and Female pro teams are racing for a prize pool of AUS$14,000 ($4,000 - first place, $2,000 - second place and $1,000 third place). Age group teams will be competing prizes and even singlespeeders get their own categories this year.

Majura has been voted as one of the top ten mountain biking rides in Australia. The 12km course consists of 60% singletrack interspersed with plenty of overtaking (or cruising) opportunities. Camping and support will be available at the Mount Majura winery. For more information or to enter, visit www.mont24.com.au.

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