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

Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Mt Hood Classic
Photo ©: Swift

 MTB index page for all MTB content

MTB news & racing round-up for March 30, 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

Epic racing continues in South Africa

Jakob Fuglsang and Roel Paulissen
Photo ©: Frank Bodenmuller
(Click for larger image)

The elite men have been waging a heated battle at the fourth annual edition of the Cape Epic stage race in South Africa this week. The team leader jerseys are getting passed around like hot potatoes, and two stages still remain in the eight-day, 886km event.

Currently, Roel Paulissen and Jakob Fuglsang (Cannondale-Vredestein 1) hold the overall lead after they claimed victory in Stage 6. But their lead is tenuous. They have only 11 seconds up on former GC leaders Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm (Team Bulls) - even after 25+ hours of racing.

On the women's side, leaders Anke Erlank and Yolande De Villiers have been giving many of the men's and mixed teams a run for their money. They extended their lead again in Stage 6 to a seemingly insurmountable gap of 3 hours and 20 minutes. Myriam Saugy and Fabienne Heinzmann (Texner BMC Thoemus) bring up second, over 25 minutes ahead of third placed Kerstin Brachtendorf and Daniele Troesch (ADIDAS FIAT Rotwild).

To follow Cyclingnews' complete coverage of the Cape Epic race, including daily results, reports, and photos, click here.

Cancelled World Cup moved to Canada

Todd Wells at a Quebec World Cup
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

Canada will now host two cross country UCI World Cups in 2007.

The city of Saint Félicien in Quebec, Cananda, has been selected as the venue for the replacement fifth round World Cup on the weekend of July 1 to make up for the round originally awarded to Angel Fire Resort in New Mexico. While the cross country will still be held for the newly located round five, the four cross and downhill have been cancelled.

Saint Félicien joins Mont-Sainte-Anne as another Quebec location. Mont-Sainte-Anne will host round four of the cross country world cup and round three of the gravity events on June 23, one week earlier. The proximity of the two events should minimize travel time and expense for participants.

The CCA, the Fédération Québécoise des Sports Cyclistes (FQSC), and the organizers of the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup all supported Saint Félicien's first-time bid to host.

Other World Cup disciplines wait in the wings

With the first marathon World Cup at Gran Canaria completed, racers and fans alike are looking forward to kicking off the other disciplines' World Cups coming up soon.

April and May see the first two cross country rounds. On April 21-22, Houffalize, Belgium, will host the opener, and round two is set for May 26-27 in Offenburg, Germany. In between, downhill and four cross racers get their opener in Vigo, Spain.

NMBS opens North American season

Mary poses with her new, wicked bike.
Photo ©: Mike Broderick & Mary McConneloug
(Click for larger image)

The elite North American mountian-bike racing scene kicks off this weekend in Phoenix, Arizona, at the first National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) event on March 31. Although many of the top cross country racers have been flying all over the globe to collect UCI points early this season, they have yet to all face off in one place at one time.

On the men's side, Todd Wells (GT Team), Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru / Gary Fisher), Michael Broderick (Kenda / Seven Cycle) and Adam Craig (Giant USA) all saw action as recently as this weekend at the Medalla Light Ultimate Challenge in Rincon, Puerto Rico. The first three stood atop the podium there. Wells also came third behind Geoff Kabush (Maxxis) and Seamus McGrath at the Pan American Championships amidst a similar cast of characters including also Jeremiah Bishop (Trek / VW).

Mary McConneloug (Kenda / Seven Cycles) and Heather Irmiger (Subaru / Gary Fisher) took one-two in the women's event in Puerto Rico, but it was Georgia Gould (Luna) who won the Pan American championships earlier this month. Look out also for Willow Koerber (Subaru / Gary Fisher) and Sue Haywood (Trek / VW).

Following the NMBS opener, most racers, including the gravity set, will meet again at Sea Otter in Monterey, California, from April 12-15.

Hill, Makgill, Joseph, & Jongewaard win at Oceanias

The Oceania Mountain Bike Championships served as the continental championships for the region from March 24 to 25.

Sam Hill defended his Oceania Championships downhill gold medal at Australia's Thredbo Ski Resort by defeating rival and compatriot Nathan Rennie. For Hill, the event was a fine tune-up for the upcoming World Cup and NMBS series. Australia's mountain biker of the year will travel to the US on April 4 and begins his North American competition with the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California.

New Zealander Jennifer Makgill clocked an impressive 7:10.19 to claim her first Oceania women's title.

ANZAC rivalry: New Zealand's Rosara Joseph and Australia's Tory Thomas
Photo ©: Evan Jeffery
(Click for larger image)

Meanwhile, a six month break from riding evidently did not affect New Zealand's Rosara Joseph as she crushed her cross country competition after not racing her mountain bike for eight months. Joseph rode an impressive 1:59:37 at the Oceania Mountain Bike Championships held at Thredbo on Sunday. The 24 year-old was out of sight from her competition as she took out her second Oceania cross country title.

Joseph, a Rhode Scholar, rode the quickest lap recording 22 and a half minutes. Cool conditions suited the UK based, Joseph who remained unchallenged and rode the five laps in less than two hours, nearly 13 minutes faster than her nearest rival, Australia’s National Champion, Tory Thomas.

"The first lap was really good then by the second and third lap I started to fade a little bit," said Joseph.

For the Oxford University law student, this was her first mountain bike race since placing 10th at the World Championships in Rotorua last August. "I was a little unsure of my form really," she said. "This is way beyond my expectations." To rub salt into the wounds, Joseph rode on a borrowed bike after her Giant frame was dinted in transit. Australian Tory Thomas held off a challenge for second from New Zealand's Kaytee Boyd, an ex-BMX racer making the move to cross country.

Sid Taberlay and Chris Jongewaard
Photo ©: Evan Jeffery
(Click for larger image)
In the men's cross country, Australian riders dominated with current national champion Chris Jongewaard taking out the title by three minutes over Dylan Cooper and Athens Olympian Sid Taberlay. The Adelaide rider was pleased to win his first race since the national championships a month earlier.

Jongewaard rode a blistering average speed of 17.37 km per hour on a tricky and slippery 5.7 km course to finish the seven laps in 2:16:16. A puncture in the second lap delayed the Tasmanian Taberlay. "It was always going to be between Sid and I," Jongewaard said after the race.

However, Dylan Cooper was able to gain a spot and pass Taberlay and did not let him gain any ground. Cooper never threatened Jongewaard's lead and finished in second with 2:19:31. Taberlay was not disappointed with third, preferring to ride a little easier after suffering a puncture and a slip in the wet conditions.

In the Under 23 cross country division, New Zealand's Clinton Avery lead from start to finish, to take out his first Oceania men's title while the Under 23 women raced alongside Under 19 riders such as New Zealand's rider Samara Sheppard who had an impressive time of 1.24:11 for three laps riding quicker than the Under 23 riders who still had one extra lap to go. The Under 23 winner after four laps was New Zealand U23 champion Lindsay Gorrell.

For complete coverage of the Oceanias, click here.

Swiss Power Cup preview

This weekend marks the first Swisspower Cup of 2007, to be held for the first time in Schaan, Lichtenstein. The elite categories are expected to draw 160 racers to vie for the prize money and prestige associated with the popular races. About 800 amateur racers are also expected.

Three time world champion and Olympic winner Julien Absalon is the favorite in the men's race. He will be joined by Under 23 racer Nino Schurter, and Sweden's Fredrik Kessiakoff, and Italy's Tony Longo.

Russian Irina Kalentieva, who's living in Germany, German champion and former world champion Sabine Spitz, and Petra Henzi will go head to head in the women's field.

Châtel Mountain Cycle team

Châtel Mountain Cycle Team announced its 2007 roster featuring a mix of international downhill and freeride riders. The team has two divisions, one of which is a UCI mountain bike team managed by coach Stephan Girard that will go to all rounds of the World Cup and attend various enduro and downhill marathon races in Europe.

Floriane Pugin looks to continue the success she's logged on the junior circuit. In 2006, she was victorious in the Junior World Cup, she took second in the Junior World Championships, and was European Junior champion. Her teammate Emily Horridge was consistently placed on podiums in the United Kingdom all through last year and now looks to make her mark on the World Cup standings.

On the men's side, Frenchman Cyrille Kurtz, will take on World Cup and slopestyle events. He'll be joined by Esteban Deronzier, Julien Fournier, and Thibaut Vasselet.

The team has already logged its first victory on French soil at a regional downhill in the Brouilly Mounts and a cross country in Cassis while Horridge won the Midlands Winter Series in England by taking two of the three series events.

Look for the team in Vigo, Spain, at the first round of the World Cup.

Race to the North Pole

The first-ever mountain bike competition at the geographic North Pole will take place on April 7. Racers will cover a 26.2 mile marathon distance in extreme sub-zero temperatures on the Arctic Ocean while negotiating small hillocks of ice and pressure ridges. In general six to 12 feet of ice will separate racers from the 12,000 foot deep ocean below. Racers will have to carry their bikes for sections to negotiate the challenging terrain.

Confirmed participants for this year include the following: Juan Antonio Alegre (Spain), Peter Bell (Northern Ireland), Bobby Bostic (USA), Miguel Caselles (Spain), Francesco Galanzino (Italy), Robert Greaves (Wales), David Horsley (England), Kym McConnell (New Zealand), Karen Michelsen (Canada), Finbarr Murphy (Ireland), Andrew Murray (Scotland), Johan Soderstrom and Peder Stenson (Sweden), and Jukka Viljanen (Finland).

Besides being one of the coldest mountain bike races, the North Pole race may be one of the most expensive, with an entry fee of €12,000. However, the entry comes with a Crescent NPBE bike, some hotel accommodations on the way, helicopter transportation in the polar region, and heated tents while at the Pole.

Cape Epic stage six diary: A more comfortable second

Myriam Saugy
Photo ©: Ryan Scott
Click for larger image

It's hot out here. Today the media centre is set in a barn in the middle of old tractors collection. It's quite funny. We have passed a lot of farmlands and vineyards during this stage. It's kind of cool to get the same smell we usually get at the end of the summer in Europe.

We had again a very good day for our team even though it didn't feel like it on the bike. On my side, I was really feeling out of my body. It may sound crazy, I know, but that's the way it was.

The kilometers passed and at the same time, I didn't see them passing and on the other hand, I was just wishing to be at the finish. We suffered on some of the tar and gravel sections as we couldn't keep up with the flying South African bunches. So we spent quite a few kilometers on our own having to fight the wind.

We were always scared to be caught from the back but it didn't happen. Actually, we finished (in second - ed.) 25 minutes behind the South African team and 18 minutes ahead of the Rotwild girls which means that we now have about 20 minutes lead in the overall ranking. It may seem like a lot relative to road racing rankings, but I can tell you that in such a race, it is not. A puncture, a fall, a bonk and your 20 minutes just melt…

Read the complete entry or check out Myriam's other diary entries leading up to and during the eight-stage Cape Epic race

Tory Thomas diary: Oceania madness

ANZAC rivalry: New Zealand's Rosara Joseph and Australia's Tory Thomas
Photo ©: Evan Jeffery
(Click for larger image)

My performance at yesterday’s Oceania Championships was a rather spectacular display of how NOT to ride a bike in slippery conditions. If you close your eyes and picture Bambi on ice, and then picture Bambi on ice with two sprained ankles and blurred vision, then that’d come close to replicating how ungainly and uncoordinated I was on the muddy and rocky descents.

Despite my sloppy descending, I was able to climb and slip and slide my way to second place, a massive 12 or 13 minutes behind Rosara Joseph (NZ). I have mixed feelings about my race. On the one hand, I am frustrated by how slow I was in the wet conditions and disappointed to waste so much time in singletrack. On the other hand however, it was satisfying to achieve my goal of placing on the Oceania podium, and I am happy with how much my climbing has improved in the last three months. I was also happy that I rode to my race plan, which involved pacing myself and pushing smaller gears on the climbs.

Racing aside, the weekend was a lot of fun, with a lot of contrasting personalities crammed in to our apartment accommodation at Thredbo Alpine Village! The torrential rain was a welcome novelty after such a dry hot summer, and it was novel to ride in the mud - I think I’ve only ridden in the mud once or twice in the last few years!

To read the complete entry, click here.

South Tyrol Marathon

Promoters announced the running of the 4th annual Ötzi Alpine marathon event on Sunday, April 22 in South Tyrol, northern Italy. The 42km race's motto is "From flowering orchards to high mountain glaciers," and events encompass not only 24.2 km of mountain biking, but also 11.8km of running and 6.2 km of ski touring. Mountain bike racers can choose between solo or three-person teams.

The race starts from Naturns and climbs up 3,384 meters into the nearby Schnals Valley in view of a high glacier where Ötzi, the Man from the Ice, was found.

Last year's edition saw a record time set by Heinz Verbnjak in 3:35:31. Simone Hornegger won the women's event in 4:52:33.

Tasmania 24 hour race

Preparations are well underway for Tasmania's inaugural 24 Hour race, to be held at Kellevie (45 minutes from Hobart) in the state's South East on May 5 and 6.

After many days of summer work, construction of the 9.5km course amongst the rolling hills of Kellevie is complete. Participants can race in teams of up to six or they can give the Solo Nutter category a go on their own. Onsite camping will be available. For more information, visit www.kellevie24.com.

2007 GearJammer registration opens

Registration is open for the 47km cross country point to point fifth annual GearJammer race on July 15 in Squamish, British Columbia. Participation this year is limited to 500 racers. No licenses are required as the race is sanctioned by the Grass Roots Mountain Bike Association of BC, a society formed to encourage and enable fun, grass roots oriented mountain biking clubs and events.

The race course covers some of the best singletrack in Squamish. The course features 70% singletrack. Winning times are around the 2.5 hour mark, but many take an average of four to five hours to finish.

For the second year, the GearJammer is part of the "Hell of a Series" which also includes the Brodie Rat Race in Roberts Creek (May 5) and the Test of Metal in Squamish (June 16).

Dirtmasters festival set

The iXC Dirt Masters festival is set for May 18-20 in Winterberg, Germany. The festival brings together racing from three series: the iXS German Downhill Cup, the Felt MDC 4Cross Cup, and the Cut“ Slopestyle. The festival includes competition, an expo, and a concert.

Previous News     Next News

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