MTB news & racing round-up for November 22, 2007
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Edited by Sue George
Cramer leaves role with USA Cycling mountain bike development director
By Sue George
Matt Cramer and the under-23 mountain
bike team from 2005
Photo ©: Mitch Friedman
USA Cycling's National Mountain Bike Development Director Matt Cramer
announced last week
that he is leaving his post. For nearly the past five years, Cramer has
filled a range of responsibilities including developing the US national
team's under 23 mountain bikers through working with elite athletes on
US Olympic Team selections. He'll move on to a new position with the US
Olympic Committee (USOC).
Of his job at USA Cycling, Cramer said to Cyclingnews, "It
was multi-faceted. Just dealing with all the aspects of mountain biking
as it pertained to athlete programs from the grassroots through the elite
levels. I managed the U23 development team as well as the dissemination
of information from USA Cycling to all athletes
pertaining to selection [to teams] for the Worlds and Olympics."
Although Cramer was involved in developing and publicizing the selection
criteria for the 2008 Olympics, he said, "I don't think my departure
will change the selection process. That has been solidified for some time
and will remain as it." He said he did not know who would replace
him in overseeing it, but indicated the replacement process is already
"I will miss the relationships that I've developed over the years
with teams, athletes, and USA Cycling," said Cramer. "There
are no negative reasons why I'm leaving; it's all professional development.
I'll miss everyone." Prior to his current position, he worked as
a resident coach and on contract projects since 1999.
Cramer has seen the rise of many upcoming and elite athletes in the
national and international rankings. "From the development side,
a lot of the riders that have come through the U23 program are still in
the program or have graduated to pro teams. Nick Waite went to Kelly Benefits
and John Devine went to Discovery for a short amount of time. Sam Schultz
left a year early to ride for Subaru / Gary Fisher. They all took the
steps we'd hoped." And they could be the Olympians of the future.
"On the elite level, all of our top guys have been making gains:
Adam Craig, Jeremy Horgan Kobelski, Todd Wells and Jeremiah Bishop. They've
been on a very steady, healthy upward trend." All four will be vying
for spots on the US Olympic team in 2008.
On the women's side, Cramer remarked on the growth of Georgia Gould as
a racer. "Following behind her are Mary McConneloug, Heather Irminger,
Willow Koerber, and Sue Haywood. Look out for Chloe Forsman. She's gone
from top level junior to being a top-level international U23 rider and
competitive on the domestic circuit. She rides side by side with her Luna
team-mates [Gould, Katerina Nash and Shonny Vanlandingham]." Forsman
recently defended her US National Collegiate Mountain Bike title and is
the reigning Under 23 champion. Cramer also named Jeanna Xander as young
American rider to watch.
In his new position as Manager of Sport Partnerships for the USOC, Cramer
will manage a portfolio of sports including rowing, canoeing/kayaking,
volleyball, baseball, equestrian, fencing, modern pentathlon, skiing and
snowboarding to name a few. He will also be involved in water skiing and
racketball, which are not Olympic sports, but are in the Pan American
"I'll be working with twelve sports instead of one," Cramer
told Cyclingnews. "I will work with a team of four people.
I'll deal with resource and funding allocation for the sports and with
National Governing Body (NGB) development. I'll deal with the sports from
the NGB level through the USOC level."
Despite leaving USA Cycling, Cramer said, "There is a good possibility
that I will be going to Beijing, and I may also go to Vancouver because
I have winter sports in my portfolio, too."
Cramer, who's new work has no involvement with any aspect of cycling,
plans to remain involved as an avid fan.
Winners crowned in 15th anniversary La Ruta de los Conquistadores
By Rob Jones in Costa Rica
Riders carefully make their way
Photo ©: Luis A. Rueda Fonseca
Federico "Lico" Ramirez (BCR-Pizza Hut-Powerade-KHS) became
the first four-time champion of the La
Ruta de los Conquistadores, while first-time attendee Sue Haywood
(Trek-VW) took the women's title. The 15th edition of the 360km, four
day race ended Saturday on the Caribbean Sea in Costa Rica after traversing
the country from its start on the Pacific Ocean on the west side of the
Both winners had claimed the first three stages as victories, but neither
made it a sweep on the final
day. Thomas Dietsch (Gewiss-Bianchi) took the men's stage four win
and Louise Kobin (Sho Air-Rock and Road) the women's. Ramirez finished
ahead of Paolo Montoya (Macosta-Lee Cougan) and Dietsch, and Haywood ahead
of Kobin and Maria Carvajal Brenes (BCR-Pizza Hut-Powerade-KHS) in the
"This was another hard stage, and I struggled at the end,"
commented Haywood after stage four. "All I could do was follow Louise."
The final stage may have looked easy on paper, but among several challenges
of the day, were a pre-race soaking by rain and 35km of riding railway
ties, a bone-jarring effort that broke up any attempt at a rhythm. Finally,
a waist-deep swamp had some of the smaller riders all but swimming with
"This was another hard stage," said Dietsch, "just as
hard as the others. The trestle bridge was difficult to do; you were watching
where you put your foot all the time, and the railway [ties] were very
rough and hard on the body."
"I'm very pleased to win; I've entered five times and won four of
them," said Ramirez. "This one maybe means the most, because
the level of competition keeps getting better and higher. Also, for the
first time we crossed the whole country with no gaps, so I feel that I
am really the champion now."
This year's edition was made harder by the weather, too. Race Director
Luis Diego Viquez said that the rain definitely made it more difficult
for the organization as well as the riders. "We had lots of problems
with the weather; unlike last year, which was really good. It made everything
harder for the logistics, for marking the course, for getting our people
in place. The rain makes us work double." The race will stick with
its four-day format for 2008.
While there's no word yet on whether Haywood will return next year, but
Ramirez promised another attempt. "I will be back for sure, for five,"
For full coverage of the La Ruta, click
Kessiakoff signs with Full-Dynamix
Fredrik Kessiakoff (Cannondale-Vredestein)
Photo ©: Rob Jones
27 year-old Swedish cyclist Fredrik Kessiakoff signed for 2008 with the
Full Dynamix team, which will be run by Mauro Bettin. Kessiakoff, who
moves after two seasons with Cannondale Vredestein, won his first cross
country World Cup race in 2007 - the finale in Maribor,
Slovenia. He finished fifth overall in the World Cup standings for
Kessiakoff also earned a fourth place finish at the World
Championships in Fort, William, Scotland and a bronze medal at the
European Championships in Cappadocia, Turkey. Other wins came in Cyprus,
Lugagnano, a round of the German Bundesliga, and a stage of the Internatzionali
d'Italia, and he took third at the World Cup in St. Felicien, Canada.
The reigning Swedish national champion won his fourth consecutive national
title so he will race again in 2008 in the blue and yellow colors of his
country. Kessiakoff's goal for 2008 is to make the podium at the Olympic
Games in Beijing. He'll be looking to improve on his 11th place finish
in 2004 in Athens.
In addition to the Olympics, Kessiakoff will be aiming for additional
World Cup victories and the World Championship title in Val di Sole, Italy,
and he'll be looking to build on his marathon resume by racing the marathon
worlds and the Dolomiti Superbike.
Kessiakoff's reliable mechanic, Swede Daniel Rosdahl, will also switch
with him to Full Dynamix.
Minnaar to Santa Cruz Syndicate
Greg Minnaar (South Africa) took
Photo ©: Rob Jones
Former World Champion and two-time World Cup champion Greg Minnaar signed
with Santa Cruz Syndicate for two years. After four years of racing for
Team G Cross Honda, which is disbanding at the end of 2007, Minnaar is
moving to join fellow downhill strongmen Nathan Rennie and Steve Peat.
"The most important factor for me in choosing a team I race for
is the level of support, and the ability to race at my best. It's clear
that the Syndicate is driven by people who love to race," said Minnaar.
"To have a race winning bike beneath me as well as team-mates that
will continue to push me, makes me very excited about the upcoming season.
We are going to be a pretty tough team to beat!"
"Racing for Team G Cross Honda for the past four years was an amazing
experience. I had more wins and World Cup podiums on that bike than any
other, and the support and friendliness of the whole team made for a very
sad day when the announcement came down that it was ending," continued
Minnaar. "In this game though, you hope that there is always a new
and exciting chapter around the corner, and I'm sure that the Syndicate
is going to be an awesome experience for me."
"Clearly...Greg has immense passion for his craft, which is evident
in his demeanour and race results throughout the many years he has been
racing," said Rob Roskopp, owner of Santa Cruz Bicycles and founder
of the Syndicate. "We strive to support each athlete as an individual
under the umbrella of the Syndicate, in order that they may express their
individuality in a manner that they feel most happy and have their personal
integrity expressed through their sport. We are delighted to have Greg."
Minnaar's first race appearance with his new squad will be at the Sea
Otter Classic in April 2008.
Spitz calls for more controls
By Susan Westemeyer
Photo ©: Rob Jones
Sabine Spitz has called for further doping controls in cycling, saying
that current controls don't go far enough. "If you don't have anything
to hide, then you can face unlimited testing," she told Sport
Spitz, 35, suggested that athletes could be located for doping controls
by using their mobile phones. "That would finally clear up the problem
of missed doping tests." She further criticized the fact that so
many athletes have a medical certificate allowing them to use otherwise
forbidden products. That 95 percent of athletes allegedly have attests
for asthma, is "lies and deception," said Spitz, who finished
as runner-up at the World Championships.
She also had harsh words for Rudolf Scharping, head of the German cycling
federation, Bund Deutscher Radfahrer (BDR). "Sometimes I am ashamed
to belong to his federation." She feels herself in the anti-doping
fight "not properly represented by Mr. Scharping or the BDR leadership.
I simply cannot see that they are systematically going a new way."
Tour de Trypotophan to benefit Lllanes
This year's Tour de Tryptophan will benefit fallen cyclist Tara Llanes,
a downhiller who crashed this summer at Jeep King of the Mountain round
of racing in early September. Llanes was partially paralyzed by the accident
and is undergoing long-term rehabilitation at the Craig Hospital in Denver,
Colorado. Just last week, she reported a major milestone - moving her
Partcipants in the Tour de Tryptophan will compete from high noon on
Friday, November 23 through high noon on Saturday by doing laps on the
11 mile Fullerton Loop in Fullerton, California. The Fullerton Loop is
a network of suburban trails that pass through city parks, horse trails,
hidden pathways and creekside wilderness. Llanes has previously ridden
Proceeds from the event will go directly to the Tara Llanes Road to Recovery
Fund. To read a recent interview with Llanes, click
Nat Ross diary: If you build it, they will come
Photo ©: Russell Lee Photography
I just got off the plane from riding my mountain bike in Cleveland, Ohio.
My team-mate Greg Watts and I flew in to Ray's Indoor Bike Park for this
season's Grand Opening. With 97,000 square feet of indoor mountain bike
terrain, Ray's is the largest and only place of its kind in the world.
Ray's features a full cross country course; beginner, sport and expert
sections; a killer head-to-head pump track; box jumps; a foam pit; ramps;
and a skate-type bowl. It is absolutely mind blowing and was created by
a bike enthusiast superhero "Ray" making a place for riders
of all abilities to ride indoors when it is cold and crappy outside. Joe
and Lindsey are two locals who gave me a tour and some pointers once inside.
We were not the only ones in town for the Grand Opening. Another of my
favorite sponsors SRAM was there to dial in the lounge and hang out spots.
Several years ago, they put in a foosball table and air hockey. This year,
they styled out the lounge even more and brought a load of stickers for
the kids. Along with SRAM, Dirt Rag, Red Bull, and Fox had a presence
as well. There were a several pros in the house for the weekend. Aaron
Chase and Jeff Lenosky were throwing down right beside Greg all weekend
"Why was I at Rays?" you might ask. Well, a lot of people there
were calling me the "24-hour racer". Of course that's what I
do, but there is a lot more to my mountain bike lifestyle. For me, riding
my bike is a way of life. Actually, it is my life! I chose to skip two
UCI 'cross races over the weekend to enjoy time on my bike and check out
something different. I do my best to keep it fresh and exciting weather
it is the travel or the new people I meet.
To read the complete diary entry, click
Singlespeed Worlds 2008 dates set
Organizers of the Singlespeed World Championships announced the dates
of August 23-24 for the next edition of the championships. The competition,
which was held in Scotland in 2007, moves to Napa, California, for 2008.
Two Wheel announces 2008 schedule
Two wheel promotions of announced a full slate of mountain bike events,
including many to please endurance riders, throughout Queensland, Australia
for 2008. Some also feature gravity or night racing and many of the longer
endurance races can be ridden solo or as part of a team.
February 9-10: Ay-Up Dusk to Dawn 12 Hour Challenge - Kooralbyn, Queensland
March 15-16: Weekend Warrior Mountain Bike Festival - Canungra, Queensland
(DH, DS, XC)
April 19-20: Merida 24 Hour Mountain Bike Challenge - Kooralbyn, Queensland
June 1: Incline Boonah Marathon - Boonah, Queensland (XCM - 30, 60 or
August 2: Race Face 8 Hour Challenge - Kooralbyn, Queensland (XC)
September 21: Coffs Mountain Marathon - Coffs Harbour, North South West
(XC - 25, 50, or 90 km)
November 2: 6 Hour MTB Team Challenge - Kooralbyn. Queensland (XC)
For more information, visit www.twowheelpromotions.com.au.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing (Overseas) Limited 2007)