MTB news & racing round-up for March 30, 2007
Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking.
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Edited by Sue George
Epic racing continues in South Africa
Jakob Fuglsang and Roel Paulissen
Photo ©: Frank Bodenmuller
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
Cancelled World Cup moved to Canada
Todd Wells at a Quebec World Cup
Photo ©: Rob Jones
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
Photo ©: Mike Broderick & Mary McConneloug
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
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, Australias 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
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.
Photo ©: Evan Jeffery
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
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
For complete coverage of the Oceanias, click
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
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
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
Photo ©: Ryan Scott
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
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
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
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.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)