MTB news & racing round-up for April 18, 2008
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Edited by Sue George
Cohutta 100 to open NUE series this weekend
By Harlan Price
2007 NUE Series Winner Chris Eatough
Photo ©: Guru Graphix
The 2008 Cohutta 100, set for Saturday, April 19, will kick off the 2008
National Ultra Endurance Series, with the deepest field of endurance talent
since the series' inception three years ago.
In the men's field, the top three series' finishers from last
year are returning. Six-time 24 Hours of Adrenalin Solo World Champion
and recent Cape Epic finisher Chris Eatough (Trek/VW) will be defending
his 2007 Cohutta victory and overall NUE series win. He went undefeated
in the four NUE races he completed last year and looks to be a clear favorite
going into this year.
2006 NUE series winner and last year's runner-up Harlan Price (Fitness
Together/ IFracing.org) will continue focusing on the series and returns
with another year of experience. Last year's third place, Josh Tostado,
will bring his Colorado climbing skills to the start line of at least
four races this year when he's not otherwise busy racing 24 hour solo
Perhaps the biggest name on the start list for the 100 miler is Floyd
Landis (Smith & Nephew - BHRhip.com). If he brings his A game, it will
be unlikely that most racers can follow him on the mountain climbs. So
far only David Weins, Jeff Schalk (Trek/VW) and Harlan Price have managed
to defeat him on a 100-mile mountain bike course.
Schalk is the newest convert to the NUE series. He has proven himself
in the hills of Virginia at the Shenandoah Mountain 100, where he won
in 2007 and holds the course record. Schalk has the greatest potential
for upsetting the top three from last year, and all eyes should look out
2007 NUE Series Carrie Lowrey (Outdoor
Photo ©: Bill McCarrick
Michael Simonson, of Quiring Bikes, will bring his aggressive racing
style to the series this year, and could put the minds of the other racers
to worry. He has been steadily been improving at the 100 milers and last
year's second place at the Lumberjack 100 in Michigan proved his potential.
Throwing his hat into the ring is Evan Plews (Scott USA) from Oregon.
A man with many palmares to his name, he is ready to prove himself. His
second place at the first NMBS marathon event of the year in Fountain
Hills showed he is on form and ready to rumble.
A talented and deeper field than in years past will make just breaking
into the men's top ten a chore for this year. The women's field has also
seen an increase in challengers and the likelihood of any woman walking
away with a win is getting narrower by the day.
Last year's series' champion Carey Lowery (Outdoor Store) will return
to defend against the onslaught of new and old contenders. She will have
her hands full with the likes of Danielle Musto (Kenda Titus Hayes), who
won last year's Cohutta, Erika Tieszen (Kona) and Trish Stevenson (Fitness
Together/ IFracing.org). Also look out for Cheryl Sorenson (Trek/ VW)
and Michelle Stoppard (Visit PA).
All of the previous years' contenders will also have to watch for the
24 hours of Adrenalin World Solo Champion Pua Sawicki (Team Mata). Sawicki
dominated women's endurance racing in 2007, and looks to be hunting another
Sea Otter action returns to Monterey
By Sue George at Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, California
The Sea Otter race & expo area
Photo ©: Sue George
Under bright, sunny skies and in warm temperatures, the Sea Otter Classic
opened day one of its expo and competition in, on and around the Laguna
Seca Raceway in Monterey, California. Thursday's action offered the chance
for some amateurs to compete on and off road while many pros and amateurs
were checking out the courses for the coming days' competitions. In the
infield of the raceway, cycling manufacturers of all sorts were onhand
to showcase their wares in an expo open to the general public. Most major
manufacturers offered bike demo opportunities to those looking to try
out the newest rigs.
Elite racing will kick off Friday with the Super D, and the endurance
action gets going with the short track on Saturday and the cross country
on Sunday. In past years, Sea Otter has attracted some of the world's
and America's best cross country racers, but in this Olympic year, most
will be otherwise occupied competing at the opening round of the UCI World
Cup in Houffalize, Belgium.
That leaves the door open for other talent, especially from Canada and
the US, to make their mark. Carl Decker, Nat Ross, brothers Andy and Sam
Schultz, Ross Schnell, Chris Sheppard and Federic Ramez Mendez will be
some of the men to watch. On the women's side, Kelli Emmett, Mary-Ellen
Ash, Zephanie Blasi, Lea Davison, Chloe Forsman, Shonny Vanlandingham
and Kathy Sherwin are the favorites.
Kelli Emmett (Giant)
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
Emmett is scheduled to race the short track, cross country and the super
D. "The Super D is the most fun for me," said last year's Super
D winner to Cyclingnews. "It's bombing fast down some sweet
She is looking forward to the cross country, too, which is a change of
pace from the many-lap endeavors of many national series races. The pros
will race two 19-mile laps. Cyclingnews previewed the course Thursday
and noted very dry, sandy conditions. Each lap is a mix of open fireroads
and smooth, fast singletrack, sometimes through shaded tree groves. With
no roots and few rocks, flat tires will likely not play a role in deciding
With no gravity events at this weekend's World Cup in Belgium, many of
the stars have made the journey to California for the 4X and downhill
competitions held respectively on Saturday and Sunday. Among the favorites
in the men's competition are Dan & Gee Atherton, Sam Blenkinsop, Amiel
Cavelier, Sam Hill, Greg Minaar, Steve Peat, Nathan Rennie, Josh Bryceland
and Brendan Fairclough, just to name a few.
Rachel Atherton, Anneke Beerten, Melissa Buhl, Sabrina Jonnier and Kathy
Pruitt will likely be some of the fastest in the women's gravity competitions.
Cyclingnews' staff will be on hand to bring you coverage of the
pro races and a look at the latest in technology and products.
Spitz and Kurschat collect first German victories of the season
The women start round one of the
Photo ©: Armin M. Kästenbräck
Germans won both the men's and women's races at the first round of the
a first in a long time as no German had won the women's category since
2002 or the men's category since 2003.
In the women's race, Sabine Spitz (Central GHOST Pro Team) took victory
ahead of Sabrina Enaux (Team LAPIERRE International) and World Champion
Irina Kalentieva (Topeak Ergon Racing Team). Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan
Merida Biking Team) started the women's race and led for the first two
laps. Then Spitz caught and passed the 2004 Olympic Champion. Dahle followed
her, but then pulled out before completing her third lap.
Dahle Flesjaa said later that she wanted to save energy for the World
Cup at Houffalize, in Belgium, this coming Sunday. "I need longer
to recover from a complete race because of my illness last year. So I
decided to race hard and short. Next Sunday I hope to race hard and long,"
she said smiling.
So Spitz suddenly had a big gap and the six-time German national champion
put in a strong solo ride and was able to enjoy the last lap, cheered
by a crowd of some thousands of spectators. "Last lap I thought about
winning again here in Münsingen and it was a good feeling,"
Spitz said after taking her third spring classic win. She also won in
2001 and 2002.
Enaux put in a surprise effort for her second place, and Kalentieva said
after the race that she had problems in the beginning. "I hoped for
getting better and later I felt better, but it was too late. But it's
early in the season, I don't have to win every race," the Russian
New Zealand's Rosara Joseph (Team GHOST International) fought with Kalentieva
and Enaux for half the race. Until the beginning of the last lap, she
was with Kalentieva but then couldn't follow the Russian girl. "It
was great to race her. The crowd was very noisy," said Joseph.
In men's race, after one lap it looked likely to become a duel between
German champion Wolfram Kurschat (Topeak Ergon Racing Team) and European
champion José Antonio Hermida (Multivan Merida Biking Team). The
Spaniard caught Kurschat in second lap after a harmless crash by Kurschat.
Then Hermida was in front but had to stop to fix his derailleur. Kurschat
passed and stayed in front until the end.
But with two laps to go, more bad luck struck Hermida. He had reduced
the gap to Kurschat from 30 to 15 seconds, when he realized that his front
tire was loosing air. He decided not stop and refill. "Maybe it was
the wrong decision, but I thought if I lose time again, I have no chance
to win. At least I always lost time in the curves," he said.
Ergon-Topeak rider Kurschat was happy to grab his first career victory
in Münsingen. "My shape is extremely good. I never pushed over
the limit but could press the gas pedal whenever I want to."
Defending champion Ralph Näf (Multivan Merida Biking Team) missed
the first attack and then didn't want to bring competitors up to his Multivan-Merida
team-mate Hermida. He finished a safe third place against hard-chasing
Peter Riis Andersen. "I' felt good. My legs were better compared
to some weeks before," Näf said.
See full coverage of the German
MTB-Bundesliga round one.
Vogel and Leumann collect Swisspower victories
Florian Vogel at the 2007 World
Photo ©: Didier Weemaels
Instead of horses, mountain bikers occupied the horse race track in Muttenz,
Switzerland, last weekend. In front of an ecstatic crowd, Florian
Vogel (Swisspower Mountainbike-Team) won the men's event, while local
woman Kathrin Leumann (Goldwurst-power / Sputnik) celebrated her first
victory of the season in round #3 of the Swisspower Cup.
Christoph Sauser (Specialized), who turned 32 on Sunday, and legend Thomas
Frischknecht (Swisspower Mountainbike-Team) did their first race in Switzerland,
both having recently returned from Cape Epic in South Africa. Non-starters
were Nino Schurter, who is taking a break from racing, as well as Ralph
Näf and last year's winner José Hermida, both of whom opted
to start in the Bundesliga race instead.
The race on the Schänzli (little ramp) was held over three
laps on the track before heading out on a nine-kilometre loop, to be done
six times. The pace was fast right from the gun and the decisive move
came already on the first lap, with Florian Vogel and Martin Gujan (Athleticum
MTB Team) able to get off the front. Italian champion Marco Fontana (Hard
Rock FRW) was able to catch the duo, with Sauser and Lukas Flückiger
(Athleticum MTB Team) chasing behind.
Fontana tried to attack, but couldn't drop the other two. Vogel's attack
was more successful, dropping both riders initially. Gujan was able to
fight back and he and Vogel started the last lap together. One kilometre
from the line they had 30 seconds on Fontana. Vogel (bird) flew
away from Gujan in the finale and won the race, with Gujan celebrating
his second place like a victory. Fontana hung on to third, ahead of Sauser
and Andreas Kugler (Fischer-BMC). Frischknecht finished sixth.
In the women's event, Maroussia Rusca (Scott Allianz Suisse), who has
won the race twice in the past, did not start. Right from the beginning
of the race, a leading group developed with Swiss champion Petra Henzi
(Fischer-BMC), Kathrin Leumann, Esther Süss (Wheeler Pro Team/RC)
and Marielle Saner (Bikepark.ch / BMC). Henzi dropped out after two laps.
Leumann was cheered on by "her" spectators and won the race
ahead of Süss and Saner.
See full results from
the Swisspower Cup in Muttenz.
Injury still sidelining Stander
Cape Epic team-mates Christof Sauser
and Burry Stander before they pulled out due to Stander's injury
Photo ©: Karin Schermbrucker / SPORTZPICS
An injury that brought a premature end to Burry Stander's debut at the
Absa Cape Epic has continued to plague South African cross-country mountain
bike champion. Most recently, Stander sat out round four of the Mazda
MTN South Africa Cup, held in George last Saturday. The injury is hampering
his build-up to the Olympic Games.
The 20-year-old Stander, who races for the Mr Price GT team, has been
struggling for the past two weeks to recover from the Iliotibial Band
(ITB) Syndrome that forced him to quit the Cape Epic on stage three whilst
wearing the leader's jersey.
"It's really been a problem in that I can only ride for an hour
and then the pain sets in," explained Stander on Thursday before
the race. "It's very frustrating because I have a World Cup race
in Belgium next weekend and am not even sure I'll be able to race it."
Stander had intended to start the South Africa Cup race and continue
as long as he was pain free. He was also getting bike set-up help from
Dr. Jeroen Swart to see if any position fine-tuning might help him.
"As for the weekend's race in George, I decided to just spectate
as the leg needs as much rest possible right now. It's not really something
I can ride through."
The Iliotibial Band is the longest tendon in the body. It connects the
hip to the shin and runs along the outside of the leg. ITB Syndrome is
an inflammation of the ITB, with an excruciating, stabbing pain where
the tendon crosses the bony protrusion on the outside of the knee each
time the knee bends.
Pedros under new ownership
Photo ©: Sue George
The Pedro's s brand will be under new ownership effective May 1. Management
announced at the Sea Otter Classic that the company, now owned by Swix
Sport USA, is being acquired by Sports adVentures International S.A. (SaVI)
of Lausanne, Switzerland. SaVI is an investment group with a focus in
the active life, health and wellness sectors. Pedros makes bicycle tools,
care products and accessories and has long been a supporter of mountain
bike races and festivals.
"We're starting a new chapter," said Christopher Zigmont, the
new CEO at Pedro's from the company's booth in the Sea Otter expo area.
"We're excited to find folks that get it. They [SaVI] ride really
hard and also backcountry ski. But they also bring a business acumen that
we haven't really had before. They understand investment and product development."
"We have some product directions in mind. We want to focus on accessories
that are meaningful. We will do some pruning with our product line. We
are very aware of transportation and the bike utility market. You will
probably see more in that area from us," Zigmont hinted.
Current Pedro's staff will stay in place and no layoffs are planned.
The company will move about 100 feet to a new office in the short term
before finding a new, more permanent location still to be determined in
the Boston area next January.
Pedro's will emerge as a new US-based legal entity from May 1. The parties
have agreed to keep the terms of the agreement confidential.
Fumic brothers suspended over "whereabouts"
Lado and Manuel Fumic have been warned and suspended for three months
for not submitting their "whereabouts" forms, the Bund Deutsche
Radfahrer (BDR, German cycling federation) announced Thursday. They were
warned for not filing for the fourth quarter of 2007, and suspended for
not filing for the first quarter of 2008. The brothers have said that
they will contest the suspension in court.
The Missed Test Policy, which was introduced in 2007, requires members
of the national test pool to report their "whereabouts" on a
quarterly basis. Missing this requirement one time called for a warning,
which they received. As of January 1, 2008, the "whereabouts"
must be reported through the ADAMS system.
"Since the 'whereabouts information' for the first quarter of 2008
was also not properly reported, the Bundessportgericht has issued a second
sanction for violating the reporting requirement," the BDR press
release said, "and as is required in the NADA code for a second
reporting violation the riders Lado and Manuel Fumic have been
given a three-month ban." The brothers from Kircheim, Germany, now
have 14 days to appeal the decision.
MTBA announces preliminary schedule
After analyzing the six bids for five rounds of the Australian national
series, Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA) announced a preliminary schedule
for the 2007-2008 season.
Australian National Series
November 1-2: Round #1, Adelaide, XCO#1, XCC#1, DH#1
November 29-30: Round #2, Gold Coast XCO#2, XCC#2, DH#2, 4X#3
December 13-14: Round #3, Geelong XCO#3, XCC#3, DH#3
January 31 - February 1: Round #4, Mt Buller XCO#4, XCC#4, DH#4, 4X#4
February 28 - March 1: Round #5, Hobart XCO#5, XCC#5, DH#5, 4X#5
4X rounds one and two are expected to be hosted at the Sydney Olympic
Park in October, but more details will be published after an upcoming
promoter forum in Adelaide.
NPS 4X series to start in Chicksands
The British NPS 4X series will begin April 20 at Chicksands with the
opening round, which will see a battle between Scott Beaumont (Rocky Mountain),
Martin Ogden, Lewis Lacey (Charge Bikes), several neo-pros and locals
Tom Dowie (Spank) and Pat Campbell (Identiti)
The first race of the series is always the biggest and thanks to the
Beds Fat Trax club, will see a slightly longer track with an added flat
corner before the new finish line.
NPS 4X Series for 2008
April 20: Round 1, Chicksands
May 17: Round 2, Bridgnorth
May 18: National 4X Championships
June 15: Round 3, Location to be determined
July 12: Round 4, Redhill Extreme, Gloucester
July 13: Round 5
August 16: Round 6, UK Bike Park, Dorset
August 17: Round 7,
For more information on the series, visit www.nps4x.com.
Go211.com auction to benefit Llanes
Photo ©: Sue George
Beginning April 25, a new online action will raise funds toward Tara
Llanes' ever accumulating medical costs. Llanes was seriously injured
on September 1 of last year while racing at the Jeep KOM Finals. The four-time
US National Champion is presently paralyzed from the waist down, but still
hopes to walk and ride again.
"Recovery is going well," said Llanes to Cyclingnews
from her wheelchair at the Giant booth at the Sea Otter Classic Expo area.
"I'm getting stronger every day. All the emails I get just make me
stronger." After months of therapy following her accident, Llanes
showed she is handy in her wheelchair and was spotted catching up with
many of her supporters throughout the expo area. She also demonstrated
the motion she has regained in her upper left leg.
Hosted by Go211.com, a social networking and online video share site,
through May 9, the online auction will feature items such as Eric Carter's
2006 National Championship 4X bike, " Steve Peat's signed replica
Troy Lee Designs helmet, " Tracy Moseley's UCI leader's jersey, "
Adam Craig's signed XC jersey, and additional items from Shaun Palmer,
Leigh Donovan, Alison Dunlap, etc.
"We're very pleased to be partnering with Tara..." said Sean
M. Aruda, CEO of Go211.com. "The positive attitude and determination
she demonstrated while competing bodes well for her during her recovery,
and we look forward to hosting this auction."
"I am a fan of each and every one of these riders so these items
are a big deal to me," said Llanes.
All proceeds will go to the Tara Llanes Road to Recovery Fund (www.tarallanesroadtorecovery.com).
For more information on the auction, visit www.go211.com.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing Limited 2008)