MTB news & racing round-up for August 8, 2008
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Edited by Sue George
Pendrel wins her first World Cup in Bromont
By Sue George in Bromont, Québec
Catherine Pendrel (Luna Women's
Photo ©: FJ Hughes
Catherine Pendrel (Luna Women's MTB Team) won her first-ever World Cup
in Bromont, Québec on Sunday in extremely muddy and treacherous conditions
due to rain the night before and throughout the elite women's race. Finishing
in front of friends and family just weeks before the Olympic Games, the
win was extra special for the Canadian Pendrel.
"I woke up this morning and felt really good, so I knew I had to go for
it," said Pendrel. "It was muddy but it was lots of fun."
What was on the minds of most of the top women was preventing injury
prior to competing in Beijing, China, this month. Many made references
to riding conservatively and having to catch a plane in the next few days.
The women raced four laps on a 4.85km course which was shortened by 700m
due to the day's conditions.
Pendrel and her compatriot Marie Helene Premont swapped places from the
previous weekend's World Cup in Mont-Sainte-Anne.
"It was very wet, and I was very careful - especially on the downhills,"
said Premont. "Before the start, I asked myself if I would race or not.
I just want to enjoy myself before the Olympics."
Premont is now enjoying a two-week a rest at home before the Olympics.
"I'm going to Beijing with confidence," she said.
Marie-Helene Premont (Rocky Mountain)
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
Behind Premont was Katerina Nash (Luna Women's MTB Team), Lene Byberg
(Specialized Factory Racing) and Georgia Gould (Luna MTB Women's Team).
"I love this kind of challenge - these conditions," said Nash, who ran
a few uphills because it was faster than riding. "I tried not to make
too many mistakes. It was a great ride for me."
Byberg and Gould battled between themselves behind Nash. They stayed
together for awhile, but then Byberg steadily pulled away.
"This race was not a priority for me right now," said Gould, with an
eye toward the Olympic Games. "I was conservative. I took it easy in the
trees. I didn't want to get hurt. I was going pretty slowly on the first
few laps, but overall I was feeling strong and working hard on the climbs."
Although she was listed on the start list, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa did
not take the start due to a stomach ailment.
Julien Absalon (Orbea) won the elite men's cross country race ahead of
Lukas Flückiger (Athleticum) and Adam Craig (Team Giant).
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the elite
men's and elite
women's Bromont World Cup cross country races.
Hill returns to top podium step
By Sue George in Bromont, Quebec
Sam Hill (Monster Energy) won
Photo ©: FJ Hughes
On a slippery, technical downhill track at the UCI World Cup in Bromont,
Quebec, Australian Sam Hill showed he was the man to beat with the best
time in qualifying and finals. He backed that up in an exciting final,
when as the last man down the hill, he ousted Greg Minnaar from the hot
"It's been a bit of a dry spell since Maribor," said an elated
Hill after his win. "Since winning there, I've been concentrating
on trying to keep my points lead [in the UCI World Cup series] instead
of trying to focus on winning. I feel like that's kind of why I haven't
been riding as good."
Monster Energy racer Hill won the season's opening World Cup in Maribor,
Slovenia, but hasn't been able to make it back to the top of the World
Cup podium until Saturday evening. He came close with second place at
the Andorra World Cup and finished fifth in Fort William this spring.
Then at the World Championships in Italy in June, Hill was on his way
to a win with a six-second margin, when he washed out and crashed spectacularly
in the final turn, just before the finish. Despite hopping back on his
bike to finish, the crash cost him some time and another year in the rainbow-striped
jersey; he finished third.
"After last weekend [at Mont-Sainte-Anne], I came in with the mindset
that I just gotta go there and win," he said.
Hill said the spectators at Bromont were inspirational, too. "The
crowd here is just insane. It's huge from the first big drop all the way
down. Someone lit off a big firework next to me and people were just going
The Australian finished ahead of Greg Minnaar and Steve Peat (both Santa
Cruz Syndicate). He is looking forward to the next round of the World
Cup on home soil in Canberra, Australia, at the end of the month.
In the women's downhill race, despite several mistakes during her final
run, Rachel Atherton (Animal Commencal) defeated Sabrina Jonnier (Team
Maxxis) and Tracy Moseley (Kona).
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the UCI World Cup in Bromont
including the elite
men's downhill, elite
women's downhill, elite
men's 4X and the elite
Buchanan debuts in World Cup big final
By Sue George in Bromont, Quebec, Canada
Caroline Buchanan gets 4th.
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
Australian Caroline Buchanan made it to the 4X big finals in only her
second-ever World Cup appearance in Bromont, Quebec. The 17 year-old finished
fourth of four riders. Her first World Cup appearance was last weekend
in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec.
"Last weekend, I got two flats so I was hoping to have a better
run this weekend. I managed to do that, so I'm very happy," said
a smiling Buchanan just before the awards ceremony. "Today was awesome.
It was very different than anything I've ever ridden. To make a final,
I'm over the moon."
Her results bode well for her chances at the next World Cup at the end
of August. Conveniently, it will be in her hometown of Canberra, Australia.
"I live about five minutes from the track," she said. "It's
coming together really well and I think it'll be a really good race."
Buchanan offered some insight into the 4X racing expected there. "It'll
be a little different than the rest of the World Cups. The downhill is
not as big and we're not in Europe or any of these other countries. I
think it will be really dusty.
"The 4X track is more similar to a BMX track," added Buchanan.
"There are not many jumps and logs and those kinds of things, but
I think it'll be really good. [Designer] Glen Jacobs has put a lot of
thought into the track."
Buchanan isn't put off by racing senior and elite women, yet it is not
easy for her either. "It's tough, but I come from a BMX background
so I normally do race older girls. These (4X) girls are awesome and hopefully
in a few years I'll be up there on the top of the podium."
Absalon heads south to prepare for Beijing
Julien Absalon (Orbea), still clean
at the start of the Bromont World Cup
Photo ©: FJ Hughes
French National Champion Julien Absalon (Team Orbea) has made up his
mind about his final preparations for the Olympic mountain bike race coming
up on August 23.
Absalon, who won gold in the cross country mountain bike race at the
Olympics in Athens in 2004, will head to the south of France. He will
contest the first two stages of L'Hexagonale VTT, August 8 in Vittel and
August 11 in Ferté-Gaucher, as well as a road race in La Motte
next Sunday according to AFP.
Absalon told Cyclingnews on Sunday at the UCI
World Cup in Bromont that he would decide between staying home in
the north of France or heading south. "I think it will be important
to train in high temperatures," he had said. "It could be really
hot in Beijing."
Absalon is coming off two confidence-building victories at the World
Cups in Mont-Sainte-Anne and Bromont, Quebec, Canada.
Sauser hopeful despite knee injury
By Sue George in Bromont, Quebec, Canada
Christoph Sauser (Switzerland)
Photo ©: Rob Jones
After a few worrisome days, Christoph Sauser's Olympic dream appears
to be back on track. The Swiss mountain biker, who is the current cross
country world champion, crashed one day before the cross country World
Cup two Saturdays ago in Mont-Sainte-Anne. After a trip to the hospital
and five stitches, his knee swelled up, threatening to derail his remaining
"On Tuesday, he got home and he had quite a bad knee infection...
to the point where we thought his season was over," said Specialized
Factory Team Manager Bobby Behan. "My heart sank when I heard and
I think he got a bit worried, too.
"On Wednesday, his knee was still swollen. He went back to the doctor
to get the wound cleaned out again, and the doctor said he could ride
for 30 minutes," said Behan. "So he rode the roller and it wasn't
Doctors even warned Sauser that they might have to operate on his knee.
By last Friday, however, things were looking up. Sauser did a two-hour
ride which went well except for some ego bruising. "Two girls passed
him and he wasn't too impressed by that, but he was happy he rode,"
said Behan, who also reported that as of Saturday, Sauser's knee was only
slightly bigger than normal.
The injury caused Sauser to sit out the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup despite
travelling across the Atlantic to attend. He tried getting on his bike
the morning of the cross country race, but soon figured out racing was
not an option. "I did not watch the race," said Sauser on his
blog. "Instead I spent my time in a coffee shop, frustrated, drinking
coffee, eating croissants."
Sauser had never planned to race the Bromont World Cup; instead he has
intended to race the L'Hexagonal Tour de France VTT starting Thursday,
August 7, in France. Barring any further complications affecting his knee,
Sauser still intends to race the French event before heading directly
from Paris to the Olympics in Beijing, China.
Sauser wasn't having a very good week. He reported on his blog that a
lightning strike also damaged his phone, phone line, TV, DVD and surround
"In spite of his crash at the marathon worlds and this knee injury,
we have our fingers crossed that he will go well at the Olympics,"
Fuglsang signs with CSC-Saxo Bank
Overall winner Jakob Fuglsang (Team
Photo ©: CyclingWorld.dk
Mountain biker Jakob Fuglsang, winner of the Post Danmark Tour, has signed
a two-year road contract with CSC-Saxo Bank. The 23 year-old Dane was
the 2007 U23 world mountain bike champion, and currently rides for Team
Designa Kitchen. He will also represent Denmark at the Beijing Olympics.
"I am very pleased indeed with this new challenge and am very pleased
that the contract has fallen into place with Team CSC-Saxo Bank,"
he said. "There have been several teams inside the picture, but it
was here that I wanted to go. I still have much to learn and I think that
it is here that I can get the best conditions to be better. First and
foremost, I am glad to join the world's best team."
CSC-Saxo Bank team manager Bjarne Riis added, "I started to keep
an eye on him last year when he made a strong showing in the Post Danmark
Tour. He has fantastic potential and is a genuine all-round rider who
has many different qualities. I think he has a great future ahead of him,
and it will be exciting to see him develop with us."
Fuglsang moved into second place overall on the third
stage of the Post Danmark Tour and took over the lead with a strong
showing in the fifth
stage time trial. He also won the best young rider award. Like Cadel
Evans, he joins the ranks of mountain bikers to make the switch to racing
for major road teams.
Eatough and Sawicki defend American 24 hour titles
Chris Eatough (Trek / VW) and Pua Sawicki (Ellsworth) successfully defended
their national titles in the men's and women's 24 hour solo division at
the USA Cycling National 24 Hour Championships in Wausau, Wisconsin. Starting
at 10am Saturday, the two raced 14-mile laps for nearly 24 hours. It was
the third consecutive year that the 24 hours of Nine Mile hosted the championship
Eatough defeated Josh Tostado (Bach Builders) in a close race that came
down to the last lap, with both finishing at 20 laps. Nat Ross (Subaru
/ Gary Fisher) completed 19 laps for third.
"He really put me into difficulty, he and I were very evenly matched,"
said Eatough of Tostado. "But my pit crew has our routine dialled,
and the new bike let me race even faster." Eatough was riding the
newly released Top Fuel.
Eatough was down by three minutes at the 12 hour mark, but he could still
see Tostado on the winding trails through the northern Wisconsin woods.
"My vision started to freeze up, and I hit the wall that I always
hit at the 12-hour mark. But I know how to handle those conditions. I
just ride consistently through the night and save enough for the daylight,"
said the experienced Eatough of his winning strategy.
Eatough caught back up to Tostado by lap 17, and the pair agreed lap
20 would be the final one. Some were expecting a sprint, but Eatough pulled
away on the final half-lap.
"I felt awesome. I felt twice as fast as I did earlier in the day,"
said Eatough. He crossed the line 16 minutes ahead of Tostado to collect
his fourth national title.
In the women's race, Sawicki ended up with 18 laps (255.6 miles ridden),
two laps ahead of second placed Danielle Musto (Kenda-Titus-Hayes) and
third placed Sarah Kaufmann (Titus/Roaring Mouse).
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the USA
Cycling 24 hour mountain bike national championships.
Speedy sent off to Olympics with new title
Evans makes it three in a row
Photo ©: Theo Grobler
Yolande Speedy and Kevin Evans won the 2008 South African marathon mountain
bike championships in Stellenbosch last weekend in Stellensbosch.
For Speedy (IMC Racing Activeworx), it was a timely confidence boost
ahead of the Beijing Olympic Games where she will represent South Africa.
Speedy didn't just win the title; she dominated the 66km race, which
doubled as round four of the 2008 Mazda MTN National Series. She clocked
a 3:13:10, a full 12 minutes faster than her nearest rival, Hanlie Booyens
(Jeep), who finished second. Tania Raats (Fox) rounded out the podium
"I went hard on the first climb which was soon after the start and
managed to get a gap which I just worked on extending for the rest of
the race," said an elated Speedy. "It's a pity the race wasn't
closer among the women but it still feels good for me to retain my title."
Speedy decided to push the climbs and flats and ease up on the downhills,
despite being a skilled descender.
"With a big lead it wasn't worth taking any high-speed risks with
the Olympics so close by, so I just took the descents cautiously,"
said the 32 year-old Speedy, who said that despite the lack of rain, the
course was still slippery and wet.
Evans confirmed his status as the country's marathon mountain bike racing
king when he won his third successive title. He took the lead from the
very first climb and went on to lead two of his MTN Energade team-mates
Melt Swanepoel and Mannie Heymans to a podium sweep.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the South
African marathon national championships.
Eising to Revor
Young mountain bike talent Tijmen Eising has made the leap from the Dolphin-Trek
satellite team Bejan-Dolphin to the newly formed Belgian team of Revor.
The up and coming rider will race cyclo-cross with his new team-mate,
former world cyclo-cross champion Erwin Vervecken.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing Limited 2008)