MTB news & racing round-up for April 13, 2008
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Edited by Sue George
Barel starts new downhill team
Fabien Barel (France) earned second
at the 2007 World Championship Downhill
Photo ©: Rob Jones
After arriving at a crossroads in his career, double World Champion (2004
and 2005) and last
year's runner-up Fabien Barel decided to establish his own downhill
team with the goal of continuing his career on his own terms and selecting
the people he needs to help him perform best.
The four-time French National Champion and 2005 European champion said
he will put no pressure on his hand-picked young riders to perform in
2008, but he still expects their talent will carry them through to top
10 finishes at the World Cup level. Barel, himself, will focus on regaining
the rainbow jersey and staying injury-free.
The former Kona rider
had the idea for a team since 2001, but the opportunity to execute it
did not arrive until he partnered with Subaru France, which committed
to a three-year contract to help develop young, French riders like Florent
Payet and Damien Spagnolo.
Payet, 22 years-old, finished eighth at the 2007 World Championships.
The Reunion Island native is now studying on the French mainland (Montpellier).
His background of motorcycle trials has given him a smooth style. In 2008,
he will work on his physical condition and preparation skills.
Spagnolo finished 19th at the 2007 World Championships and resides in
Saint de Maurienne, Savoie. Third at the 2007 French National Championships,
he will work on improving his skill for dealing with pressure this season.
The team was officially presented on March 29-30 at the French ski resort
of Roubion. Paul Walton will serve as team manager and be supported by
mechanic Christain Tabart.
Cape Epic shopping list impresses
The peloton at the Cape Epic
Photo ©: Sven Martin
To manage a nine-day international stage race like the recently completed
Cape Epic takes an incredible
amount of planning, including a lengthy pre-race shopping expedition.
The race involves over 140 event registered vehicles, including two superlink
taunt-liners, three superlink hardbodies, four superlink flat-beds, two
foodgrade tankers for single source water transport (34,000 litres), six
transport vehicles, seven refrigerated vehicles, five sprinters, 20 kombis,
10 ATV's, and 24 motorbikes, amongst others.
On a daily basis, approximately 225 tons of goods are transported, including
1,700 chairs, 170 tables, 2,400 tents, 1,400 mattresses, 22,000 square
meters of marquees, 700m of fencing, the start/finish set-up, 33 individual
luxury showers, 125 portable flush toilets, 500,000 litres of liquids
(including 100,00 litres of purified drinking water).
In terms of food, 13,500 muffins were consumed, as well as 27,000 pastries,
3,500 loafs of bread, 79,800 fresh fruit, 2,100 kg pasta, 3,800kg of rice,
potatoes and other starches, 1,400 kg of cereals, 21,200 portions of butter,
18,000 juice packs and 11,000 litres of milk.
Trek / VW Cape Epic Diary: The bigger picture
All strung out, two by two
Photo ©: Sven Martin
It's been six days now since the Cape Epic stage race wrapped up in Cape
Town, South Africa. I've heard from the riders and staff that they are
finally back home, lost luggage has been reclaimed, and they are gradually
adjusting to normal life. It's fair to say that everyone is flat out exhausted
and happy to be done.
Shortly after the finish of the final stage, I got the happy report that
Chris [Eatough] and Jeremiah [Bishop] were eighth on the final stage,
and Sue [Haywood] and Jenny [Smith] were second. Each team solidified
its hold on their overall positions. From a racing standpoint, things
went as well as we could have hoped. I think the level on the men's side
was higher even than we anticipated, and Chris especially was stunned
by the level of the World Cup riders in attendance. On the women's side,
we put up the best fight we could and made a great race out of it. Two
stage wins plus the prologue is really good!
Plus, from a team and brand perspective, we gained a great deal of exposure.
Interviews and TV on Eurosport, photos in London Times, plus all the endemic
cycling press covering the race. While I personally was in the US working
the first two NMBS events, it seemed like EVERY DAY people were coming
up to me and asking how our team was doing in the Cape. I think it's fair
to say that the eyes of the mountain bike world were focused on the Cape
Epic as a class-leading global event. It's good for our team to participate
at that level when we can.
In chatting with riders and staff, it's interesting to hear more about
the race and the effort required. Chris for one said that he's confident
that the training benefit will persist through the whole season. Jeremiah
is likely to be on par with his World Cup competitors, going into the
first three rounds of the World Cup. On the other hand, the staff is just
flat out exhausted. Steve our mechanic said that he's never worked so
hard in his life, and he's a really hard worker! I'm glad that our first-year
soigneur Laura hasn't quit yet ...
Read the complete
diary entry or see Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Cape
Gispert assumes Spanish series lead for ECP-TAU Cerámica
Marti Gispert (ECP-TAU Ceramica)
Photo ©: Eduard Aguilera
At the Spanish Cup round
two held last Sunday in Sant Gregori, Girona, Spain, the ECP-TAU
Cerámica team assumed overall leadership of the series after a
strong performance by Martí Gispert, who finished second behind
Juan Pedro Trujillo (Cemelorca-Seguros10.Com).
The week previous at the Swisspower Cup in Buchs, Gispert didn't fare
so well, but he wanted to show his form was heading in the right direction.
At Sant Gregori, he managed to keep the pace with the fastest riders and
went to the front for the final two laps. It was not enough to win the
race, but he finished second and jumped into the leadership role for the
"I didn't have a good start. It took me some kilometers to get
the pace and it was already late to close the gap that Trujillo had over
me," said Gispert. "But, as kilometers went by, I started feeling
better and my legs started to work. Alejandro Díaz [De La Peña
López (C.C.Tierra De Barros-Specialized)] and myself could leave the rest
of the riders and tried to catch Trujillo, but it was not possible. I
was able to open a gap in one of the downhill sections of the last lap
and arrive alone to the finish line."
"I am happy to be leading the series, but also happy for the sensation
I have had in the second part of the race."
One Gispert's team-mates struggled in the Spanish race, but still ended
up fifth. On the final lap, Marc Trayter suffered a problem with his eye.
"I don't know what happened but I lost the vision in one of my eyes.
I was a little bit worried, as I got surgery a couple of years ago. But
it seems that luckily it has nothing to do with that."
Margarita Fullana Riera (Massi-Illes Balears) won the women's race ahead
of Anna Villar Argente (Massi) and Ruth Moll Marques (Toscaf BH Suntour).
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of Open
de España - Maxxis Cup round two.
Gunn-Rita diary: First off-road race
Gunn-Rita next to the support vehicle
Photo ©: Kenneth and Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå
My first confrontation with rough terrain this year was very demanding.
A few slips and falls, plus cramping in fingers and lower arms, really
gave me an authentic sensation of being back in my element. Fantastic
to be on the go again!
My first mountain bike race of the year took place yesterday [Sunday,
April 6 - ed.] and it was a fantastic experience in more ways than one.
My nerves were already playing up the evening before, with a touch of
loose stomach and butterflies, and not quite as many hours of sleep as
usual. So it was a terribly nervous and excited Gunn-Rita eating her breakfast
on Sunday morning. In other words, nothing out of the norm!
Marlene Sunshine Race
is part of the Italian Cup and this year was the eighth year it was being
run. The race has a high number of international riders, both men and
women, and includes a very tough race track, both up and down. Long and
steep climbs and technically demanding, steep descents. An exciting and
fun track to race on for the well-trained and experienced mountain biker.
The only riders from Multivan Merida Biking Team taking part at Nals
were Robert Gebauer and myself, with our mechanic Marco. (The rest of
the team had taken part in a mountain bike race in Switzerland the day
before.) We also received good support from the Italian Merida team which
has a good number of riders and an excellent support team (in addition
to their super-cool RV - see the pictures). They're a friendly bunch,
one big family, and it's good fun being together with them.
I sat on the rollers warming up before the race at the Merida Italy stand
and got to do my normal routine as always. I had a good feeling before
starting the race and was totally euphoric about getting to race again.
My goal for the day was to keep up with the riders at the front for as
long as possible, and work on specific points through the race.
Read the complete
Kobold Watch Company & Cannondale co-sponsor team
Cannondale teamed up with another Pennsylvania-based company, Kobold
Watch Company, to sponsor for 2008 the mountain bike team formerly known
as the Rover/Cannondale Team in 2006 and 2007.
The team, directed by Charles Stanley, will be focusing on National series,
Southeast regional and North Carolina events as well as hitting up some
12 and 24 hour races. The team boasts its strongest roster to date, with
Travis Livermon and Alex Ryan, two of the top U23 riders in the US. Both
are targeting a spot on the U23 worlds team.
Kobold Watch Company / Cannondale for 2008: Andy Applegate, Ross
Bowden, Daniel Corum, Aaron Hoag, Travis Livermon, Alex Ryan, Charles
Steamboat Springs race shortens format
Instead of a full 24 hours, The Rio Stampede will offer racers the chance
to compete for 6 or 12 hours solo or as part of a team at the Steamboat
Ski area in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, on June 7.
Now in its fifth year, the new format replaces the established Rio 24
hours of Steamboat. "We are looking for ways to get more people involved,"
said veteran event promoter Katie Lindquist. "We believe the format
change will attract a great field of competitors creating an experience
to be remembered."
"The only change from the 24 hour race is the clock," said
co-director Brad Cusenbary. Racer will compete on a course with legendary
climbs and aspen-lined singletrack. For more information, visit www.rockypeakproductions.com
Endurance racers to descend on Alice Springs
The Anaconda Mountain Bike Enduro is set to run seven stages over five
days in and around Alice Springs from May 18-23. Stages will range in
length from a 45 second sprint up Anzac Hill in town to a 90km trek from
Ross River Station back to Alice Springs.
Formally known as "The Bullroarer" and then "The Bullrider",
the event has now changed its name one last time to be the Anaconda MTB
Enduro after outdoor retailer Anaconda signed a three year naming rights
agreement to sponsor the event.
"We've tried to include a lot of diversity in the riding" said
race director John Jacoby, "and are very happy with the tracks the
locals have put forward and appreciative of the assistance they have given
us. There will be some epic lengths of flowing single track broken up
with plenty of flowing 4WD tracks all set within the majestic MacDonnell
ranges. In two words, I think the racing will be 'fast and fun' so once
you're locked into the terrain the competitors will really enjoy the riding
The event boasts 200 riders already signed up from all over Australian
and New Zealand. Among them is three-time Australian cross country champion
and previous winner Chris Jongewaard from South Australia. As recent winner
of the Lowan Otway Odyssey Mountain Bike Marathon in Victoria, he is the
race favourite. Expected to challenge for victory are 2006 winner and
Commonwealth Games representative Matthew Fleming; and national representatives
Shaun Lewis , Aiden Lefmann, Tim Bennett and James Williamson.
Anaconda Adventure Race winner Deanna Blegg, Queensland mountain biking
specialist Naomi Hansen and 2006 runner up Kimberley Fleming are all expected
to push for a spot on the podium in the women's event.
For more information, visit www.anacondamtbenduro.com.
Rocky Mountain Bicycles goes on US tour
Rocky Mountain Bicycles is going on the road for its first official US
Demo Tour which will visit events like the MTBR Spring Fling, Sea Otter,
Fruita Fat Tires Festival, Downieville, and Crankworx Colorado as well
as local trailheads and independent bike shops throughout the Western
US. Look out for a Dodge Sprinter full of bikes and driven by driver /
mechanic Thane Hall.
Rocky Mountain organized the Tour in response to demand from customers,
shops and reps. "We firmly believe that this is the best marketing
approach in todays competitive market," said John Olden, Rocky
Mountain Bicycles US Sales Manager. For more information, visit www.RockyDemoTour.com.
Registration opens for US 24 Hour Mountain Bike Nationals
For the third consecutive year, the USA Cycling National Championships
in the 24 hour discipline will be held in conjunction with Wausau, Wisconsin's
24 hours of Nine Mile race on August 2-3.
This year's race will mark the 10th edition of the 24-9. In addition
to the six national championship categories, twenty non-national championship
categories will be contested by the more than 1,000 mountain bikers. These
include team and solo events in the 12-hour and 24-hour categories.
Organizers announced that registration has opened. To get more information,
register or volunteer, visit www.24-9.com.
Record entries for No Fuss endurance series
With less than two months to go until 10 Under The Ben, the first event
in the Scottish Three Tens Series of endurance cross country events, Fort
William-based No Fuss Events said it expected record entries.
"We are delighted to announce that over 800 people had registered
for the 2008 Three Tens Series so far. This is a 10% rise on 2007 figures
at this stage," said Frazer Coupland of No Fuss Events. "We
are optimistic that this year's 10 Under The Ben will attract in excess
of 800 riders with Kirroughtree and Moray expected to top 500 riders."
The three events 10 Under The Ben, 10 More In Moray and 10 At
Kirroughtree are run with participants riding for ten hours solo
or in relay teams of two, three or four.
In its fourth year, the 10 Under The Ben, the original 10-hour mountain
bike festival of fun and the flagship of the series, will be staged on
May 31, a week before the worlds best riders take on some of the same
trails in Fort William at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.
The course will run on trails within Forestry Commission Scotland's
Leanachan Forest just outside Fort William. Incorporating sections of
the UCI World Championships cross country course, the route will include
some sections of singletrack and fire roads, together with some new natural
sections, all in the shadow of the north face of Ben Nevis, the UK's highest
Three Tens Series for 2008
May 31: Under the Ben, Fort William
July 12: 10 at Kirroughtree, Newton Stewart, Dumfries and Galloway
August 23: 10 More in Moray, Fochabers
For more information, visit www.nofussevents.co.uk.
Collective's Seasons film to premiere in Boston
In celebration of Bike Week, The Cycle Loft will be hosting the Boston-area
premiere of Seasons, the new mountain bike film by the Collective,
at the Regent Theatre in Arlington Center on Thursday, May 15 at 7:00
Seasons follows seven of the world's top mountain bikers through
the four seasons of one year. The film explores what it means to be a
full time rider as told through the lives of downhill racers, slopestyle
competitors, and big mountain freeriders. It stars mountain bike greats
- Thomas Vanderham, Matt Hunter, Andrew Shandro, Steve Peat, Steve Smith,
Cam McCaul, and Darren Berrecloth. The premiere will benefit the New England
Mountain Bike Association and World Bicycle Relief.
For more information or tickets, visit www.regenttheatre.com.
NorCal League hosts new race
The NorCal High School Mountain Bike Racing League will host a new event
on Sunday, April 27 at the newly opened Lynch Canyon Park (near Vallejo)
in California. The hill climb time trial will meander up a 2.5 mile course,
first on fireroad and then finishing on singletrack that includes oak
knolls and a rock garden. From the top, finishers will be able to see
(if it's a clear day) Mt. Diablo, Mt. Tam and the Sierras. Proceeds will
benefit the NorCal High School Mountain Bike Racing League. Come test
your fitness against some of the League's best riders.
Twelve categories are being offered including High School Boys/Girls,
Varsity Boys/Girls, Open Men, Open Women, Masters 35+ Men/Women, Masters
55+ Men/Women, and First Race Ever. For more information and/or to register,
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing Limited 2008)