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MTB news & racing round-up for June 23, 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

Premont ready to race at home

Marie-Helene Premont (Rocky Mountain Haywood)
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

June is the month of mountain bike world cups. First there was Champéry, Switzerland. Next come two back to back weekends in Canada - one at the popular Mont Sainte Anne venue on June 24 and one at St Felicien next weekend.

The two Canada World Cups should suit Rocky Mountain Haywood's Marie Helene Prémont just fine. Prémont finished second at round two in Offenburg, Germany, and third in Champéry, Switzerland. Now she gets to race on home turf, where she'll defend her Mont Sainte Anne victories of 2005 and 2006. She's also won on the St Felicien course.

Prémont is currently in third place overall in the World Cup standings with 490 points. She's in a tight race with Irina Kalentieva of Russia (514 points), and Marga Fullana (560 points) of Spain.

As she proved on a slick course in Offenburg, Prémont does well on technical terrain, but sometimes, she has a little more trouble with steep climbs.

Referring to Champéry, she said she was struggling on the climb. "I woke up with a headache, from the altitude I think, but it was more that this climb was too steep for me. I like climbs, but the speed was very fast on the first laps and I overpaced myself. Then I made a mistake in the roots and they (Kalentyeva and Sabine Spitz) got a gap on me." But on the slippery, technical course in Champéry, she recovered to finish strong.

Mont Sainte Anne moves up in venue rankings

Sauser at the front
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

Speaking of World Cup venues, the Mont Sainte Anne, Canada World Cup moved up from second in 2005 to third in the 2006 rankings of important mountain bike gatherings world-wide. The rankings are done by IMTTO or International Mountain bike Teams, Technical support companies and Organizers.

The Mont Sainte Anne World Cup is part of Velirium, Canada's biggest mountain bike festival, the only site in North America to have hosted a World Cup every year since 1991. The festival is spread out over three weekends, culminating in the World Cup. From June 9-24, the festival has included cross country, downhill, 4X, the Vélo Mag and Apéro raids, the Cycles Lambert Freeride Cup, Véli-Slope Jam, BMX demonstrations, kids competitions, Vélo-Arto, and the Bleu Nuit party.

The only venue to top Mont Sainte Anne was Fort William, Scotland, which has previously hosted the 2006 World Cup and will host the 2007 World Championships in September.

Ranking IMTTO 2006 (2005 rank in parenthesis where applicable)

1.(1) Fort William, Scotland - World Cup
2.(3) Mont-Ste-Anne, Canada - World Cup
3.(8) Schladming, Austria - World Cup
4.(12) Vigo, Spain - World Cup
5.(17) Roc d'Azur, France
6.(9) Crankworx, Canada
7.(2) Sea Otter Classic, USA
8.(4) UCI World MTB Championships
9.(7) Camboriu Beach, Brazil - World Cup
10.(-) Bundesliga XC, Heubach, Germany
11.(15) Madrid, Spain - WorldCup
12.(6) Spa Francorchamps, Belgium - World Cup
13.(10) Swisspower Cup Bern
14.(19) LaBresse, French Cup Finals
15.(-) Cape Epic, South Africa
16.(-) European XC Championships
17.(-) Fontana, California, USA - NORBA
18.(-)Bundesliga XC,Offenburg,Germany
19.(-) NKMTB Noorbeek.
20.(20) Swisspower Cup, Reinach

Dahle Flesjå out for further World Cup races

Gunn-Rita Dahle FlesjŚ
Photo ©: Rob Jones
Click for larger image

Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå (Multivan Merida) will remain sidelined for racing. Prior to the Champéry World Cup, she withdrew from competition to return home to seek medical treatment for an ongoing illness that was zapping her strength.

Medical tests have shown that she suffered a viral infection a few weeks ago. Recovery not yet complete, Dahle Flesjå is trying to get back to her old level slowly in her home country of Norway. Medical tests have shown that she is on her way to getting well again and that the infection should be over within a few days.

This illness in the middle of the racing season has been a severe setback for Dahle Flesjå. The effects were intensified because no one diagnosed the infection for quite a while and Dahle Flesjå kept training intensively.

"At the moment, I cannot train yet due to a lack of both the necessary power and energy. Instead, I sleep a lot and go through a lengthy phase of recovery. It's very hard for me to be forced to such a break in the middle of the season and having no power at all," said Dahle Flesjå.

She's hoping to make her reentry into racing in time for the European championships to be held in Turkey on July 15. But of course her major goal is still to defend both world championship titles she won in 2006.

Her teammates will rally for the Multivan Merida squad in Mont Sainte-Anne, Canada, in her absence.

Musto & Eatough win Lumberjack 100

Chris Eatough (Trek/VW)
Photo ©: Jack Kunnen
(Click for larger image)

National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Race Series competitors Chris Eatough (Trek / VW) and Danielle Musto (Slingshot) took wins in the men's and women's category of the Lumberjack 100, round #3 of the NUE series, held Saturday, June 16. The two will go into Round 4 as overall series leaders.

Michigan racer, Michael Simonson (Bell's Brewery / Quiring Cycles) led the first 40 miles with Chris Eatough (Trek / VW) close on his heels. By the 50 mile mark, Eatough had passed Simonson and built a two minute lead. Eatough went on to finish the race at a blistering time of 6:49:15 with Simonson coming in at 7:01. Third place was taken by Michigan racer Christian Tanguy (American Cycle and Fitness), who suffered a bad crash that broke his helmet and gave him some good scrapes across his forehead. Tanguy came in at 7:03:18 while Pennsylvanian Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication) came in fourth at 7:07:05

Danielle Musto (Slingshot) lead the women's field for more than 75 miles of the race, building a 18 minute gap by the half way point and finishing first in 8:47:09. Erika Tieszen (Giant,Smith, Dakine, Niterider) came in second at 9:22:37 and Michelle Schneider finished third at 9:31:25.

The series takes a break until July 21, when round four happens in Breckenridge. Click here for full coverage of the Lumberjack 100.

Deer Valley won by past and present national champions

Jeremy Horgan-Kabelski (Gary Fisher/Suburu)
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

Former US national champion Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Gary Fisher) ended the previously unbroken run of victories by the Canadian, Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis) at NMBS Round #5 in Deer Valley, Utah last weekend.. Horgan-Kobelski finished the 34 mile race some 39 seconds ahead of Kabush. Jeremiah Bishop (Trek / VW) placed third at some 2:20 minutes adrift.

Meanwhile, reigning women's national champion and this year's golden girl Georgia Gould (Luna) continued her spectacular run of success with a convincing win, 2:37 ahead of Luna teammates Shonny Vanlandingham and Katerina Nash.

Nash and Kabush scored victories in the short track while Duncan Riffle (Honda IronHorse) and Melissa Buhl (KHS) won the downhill.

The next round (#6) of the NMBS happens July 28 in Banner Elk, North Carolina.

Sydor and Bresser win Trans Germany

Overall mixed category winners
Photo ©: Trans Germany
(Click for larger image)

Alison Sydor and Carsten Bresser (Rocky Mountain / Haywood) triumphed in all eight stages of the inaugural Trans Germany race.

Right after the race, Bresser said, "It was a pleasure and honour for me to bike together with Alison. I really enjoyed the whole week. It was very nice how all stage towns welcomed us and sent us back on the track. I didn't expect this at all." Bresser said it was the perfect debut for the new race.

Veteran Sydor has been pro for 13 years, along the way winning three World Championships and a silver medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. "Carsten is a really good friend of mine and it's great to ride with him," said Sydor during her first participation on a team in a stage race.

During the Trans Germany, 188 teams and 37 individuals covered 836.79 km and 18,313 meters of climbing. The racers travelled west to east from St. Wendel to Oberwiesenthal crossing seven German Federal States.

Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm were the overall winners. Both pros of Team Bulls, took home five out of eight stage victories and needed just 28:52:41 hours for the whole distance.

What does it take to keep a race like this rolling? More than 100 chains, 70 tyres, 60 cassettes, 150 cables, 30 switchgears, 30 derailleurs, and 250 brake linings were repaired or replaced by race sponsors and service partners. Racers used up 300 metres of bandages and 1,000 compresses.

Next up for Sydor and Bresser is the Trans Alps Challenge in July 14-21. Carsten is a two-time German Champion and has won the Trans Alps four times. 2007 will mark the 10th edition of the race.

Click here for Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Trans Germany race.

Petterson earns early ticket to World Championships

Brodie b Team pro Joanna Petterson got an early season invitation to represent her native South African Cycling Federation at the World Championships in Scotland later this summer. A resident of Hawaii, the South African born rider does most of her racing in North America, where she's the reigning NMBS 4X champion.

In what's becoming a familiar sight, Petterson found her way to the podium two more times this past weekend at the NMBS stop in Deer Valley, Utah, where she beat Brodie teammate Jackie Harmony in the small final for a third place finish in Dual Slalom. She then capped the weekend with a fourth place podium finish in downhill despite a serious crash mid-course during which she, among other things, broke her finger. Since Sea Otter, her first race back from injury, Petterson has been on the podium nine times - in every single race this season.

Petterson's next stop is the World Cup in Mont Sainte Anne this weekend.

Cole home to heal injuries

Cameron Cole (New Zealand)
Photo ©: Mikkeli Godfree
(Click for larger image)
New Zealand's only current world champion Cameron Cole returned home Thursday for an operation to heal dislocated bones in his left hand and a broken arm.

Cole, the current junior men's downhill mountain bike world champion and highest world ranked New Zealand men's downhill biker at 17th, was training for last weekend's NMBS race in Utah when the accident happened.

Cole expects to be fit in time for the 2007 world championships in Scotland in September.

Summer in the Berkshires

For mountain bikers in the Berkshires, summer means one thing: the Pedro's Festival. As in past years, the pros are making their travel plans now to kick back, ride, camp and enjoy the show with their biking brethren at the 13th Annual western Massachusetts gathering.

This year's festival, from July 13-15, features something special for every rider from the moment the gates open. Perennial festival favorites, Iron Horse's Brian Bartlett and Simon Lawton, kick the weekend off in style Friday morning with a downhill clinic that's sure to attract a crowd. Trek/VW gets things started for the ladies with Super D and short track national champion Sue Haywood's women's-only ride. Trek/VW's Lea Davidson will be down from her Little Bella's girls' mountain biking camp in Vermont to instruct and ride with the kids.

Kona's Barry Wicks will be serving up both cross country and cyclo-cross options and for those seeking more cerebral late afternoon options, and Haywood and former world champion, Luna Chix's Alison Dunlap, will offer autograph signings and chats on Friday and Saturday afternoons.

Dunlap will also offers numerous women's skills clinics and rides along with her fellow teammates from the Boston Luna Chix team: Roz Puleo, Stephanie Goodell, Kasia Beznoska, Abbie Briscoe, and Anne Noga.

For more info, visit www.PedrosFest.com.

MASS cancels one race, adds another

The Mid Atlantic Super Series (MASS) Summer Sizzler scheduled for Sunday, July 8 has been cancelled. According to No Cents Racing, the event promoters, unauthorized construction of trails in environmentally sensitive areas raised concerns from the Gloucester County College administration that resulted in the race's cancellation. Of more immediate concern for the club is preserving any bike access to the trail system that has been built and maintained for many years. That access is now in jeopardy as a result of the unauthorized trails.

On a more positive note, a four hour enduro race has been added to the Iron Hill Challenge scheduled for August 25. The new race will count for points toward the Endurance Super Series and run in conjunction with the previously scheduled Cross Country Super Series races. Both events will count toward the Team Super Series competition, too. The enduro will feature four classes: Men's Open, Women's Open, Masters 45+, and Single Speed Open. Based on previous results in the series, it is likely that some of masters will try to score a clean sweep by competing for the overall win aboard single-speeds. For more info, visit http://www.masuperseries.com.

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