MTB news & racing round-up for August 14, 2008
Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking.
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Edited by Sue George
New Essex venue confirmed for the London 2012 Games
Olympic racing at the 2004 Games
in Athens, Greece.
Photo ©: Rob Jones
The 2008 Olympic mountain bike race hasn't happened yet, but more details
were revealed Monday about the venue for the 2012 Olympic mountain bike
course in Great Britain. The London Organising Committee confirmed that
subject to final contract negotiations, the venue for the Mountain Biking
events will be at Hadleigh Farm, Essex.
The alternative site was chosen following the decision in January 2008
to move the competition away from The Weald Country Park in Essex after
a change in requirements for the sport that resulted in the need to identify
a more technical and challenging course.
This venue change for the Games has been approved by the International
Cycling Union (UCI), British Cycling (BC), the International Olympic Committee,
and the British Olympic Association.
The new venue covers a 550 acre site situated close to the village of
Hadleigh, near Benfleet in Essex. The site encompasses grassland and woodland
of Hadleigh Farm, land owned by the Salvation Army, and the surrounding
countryside of Hadleigh Castle Country Park.
There are two major hill areas, separated by a valley which will create
the technical climbs for the course to challenge the competitors from
around the world in less than four years' time. The course will be set
against the stunning backdrop of the 700 year-old ruins of Hadleigh Castle.
"It is testament to the hard work of everyone in involved that we
have been able to confirm an alternative venue for the mountain biking
competition only seven months after the venue change was announced,"
said Sebastian Coe, Chair of the Organizing Committee.
"In Hadleigh Farm we have a world class venue for Games time with
the potential for an excellent facility for elite and community use post
"The UCI is delighted with Hadleigh Farm and believe it will be
a spectacular mountain biking venue for London 2012," said UCI President
Pat McQuaid, who complimented the terrain and spectator opportunities.
"Our technical experts believe it meets all the requirements of
an Olympic course with a range of elevations that will provide a challenging
course for competitors."
Peter King, British Cycling CEO, pointed out another advantage, saying
that the venue will be just 45 minutes from the Olympic Park.
Next steps for the London 2012 Organising Committee and Essex County
Council include a four month period of detailed planning on the course
layout and the temporary facilities required to host the event; securing
contractual agreements between all parties; working with the local community
on an engagement programme and the announcement in the autumn of the Cycling
Trek & 23 Degrees partner for new team in 2009
Trek Bicycles, which now sponsors World Cup-level cross country racers
through the Trek / VW team, will partner with 23 Degrees Sports Management
to sponsor a World Cup level gravity and cross country racing team for
"We're extremely excited to be part of Trek's ambitions for top
level World Cup racing and results in 2009 onwards, and we're doubly excited
to be returning to the race scene, one that has served our company well
over the past 8 years," said 23 Degrees Founder and CEO Martin Whiteley.
23 Degrees has won previous World Cup titles through its teams: Global
Racing and more recent Team G Cross Honda.
The new team plans to release further details, including a rider line-up,
after they are confirmed.
Lakata and Starr win French Tour VTT
Alban Lakata and Dellys Starr won the L'Hexagonal VTT, the Tour de France
VTT on Tuesday. Several Olympic contenders including Moritz Milatz, Jean
Christophe Peraud, Christoph Sauser and Laurence Leboucher made appearances
at the race to fine-tune their form in the final two weeks before the
big day in Beijing.
Milatz, Peraud, Catriel Soto, Sauser, Leboucher and Starr all won stages,
but in the end Lakata and Starr triumphed. Leboucher was leading the women's
race, but a mechanical on the final stage five cost her 15 minutes and
Soto took the best young rider's classification.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the L'Hexagonal
Beer & Pugin successful in Châtel
Nick Beer won
Photo ©: Christian Lubosch
At the iXS European Downhill Cup's third stop in Châtel,
France, Nick Beer and Floriane Pugin rode to not entirely surprising victories.
For Saturday's seeding run, the conditions were almost perfect. The course
that had been wet in the morning was drying quickly in most places, which
promised times around three minutes. Once again German Andreas Sieber
(Solid A-Class Factory Team) proved his class, being the sole rider to
slip under the three minutes barrier. Nick Beer crashed and decided to
roll to the finish. His brother Marcel (both from Switzerland and competing
for the iXS Sports Division team) on the other hand placed second, closely
followed by Swiss Samuel Zbinden (Argentina Bike). Being considered as
a pre-race favorite by many, New Zealand's Nathan Rankin (Iron Horse)
did not take many risks and finished in eighth.
On Sunday, the weather was splendid and sunny for the final. Due to his
crash in the seeding run, Beer was one of the first elite men's riders
on the course. Nevertheless he posted a blazingly fast time with 2:53.297,
thus occupying the hot seat for a long time. It was not until Rankin missed
the fastest time by two seconds that Beer's ride showed its true quality.
All the riders that followed could not touch the fastest time either,
and even Sieber who had posted the fastest seeding run had to admit defeat,
finishing in third behind Rankin.
The women's race was won by Frenchwoman Pugin (Playbiker/Ironhorse),
who put more than seven seconds on Switzerland's Miriam Ruchti (Sport
Promotion), who still felt the effects of surgery on a wisdom tooth, and
France's Caroline Sax (Sport Promotion).
After three of the five rounds, Marcel Beer leads the men's overall by
a margin of twenty points over his brother Nick, who has only competed
in two races thus far due to his participation at the World Cup races
in Canada. In the women's standings, Miriam Ruchti kept her lead, followed
by Sax and Harriet Rücknagel.
The next round is scheduled for August 23-24, 2008 in Ilmenau, Germany.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the iXS
Downhill in Châtel, France.
Armstrong shows fitness in Leadville
By Gary Boulanger, BikeRadar.com
Photo ©: Rob O'Dea
Former mountain bike cross country pro Dave Wiens won his sixth consecutive
Leadville 100 off road race in Colorado Saturday, setting a new course
record of 6:45.47, with seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong
finishing second in 6:47.41.
With more than 1,000 racers participating in the annual event, the pressure
was on from the beginning. Wiens, 43, took his place in the first row
of the start line minutes before the race began. Wiens and Armstrong broke
away from a lead group of 10 at the halfway point, and worked like roadie
team-mates to increase their lead.
Armstrong, who splits his saddle time 50/50 with road and dirt, was yo-yoing
with Wiens on the climbs and descents before acquiescing victory with
10 miles remaining. Wiens is married to Susan DeMattei, bronze medalist
in the women's cross country at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games.
Floyd Landis pushed Wiens to set a course record in 2007, finishing second.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Leadville
Näf extends with the Multivan Merida
Before stepping on the plane to Beijing's Olympic games, Ralph Näf
renewed his contract with the Multivan Merida Biking Team for two additional
years. Therefore, Näf, who hails from Switzerland's Thurgau region
will compete in the familiar colors of his race team until at least 2010.
He joined the team in 2003, and has played a role in developing the fully-suspended
96 racing model. Besides making his country's very competitive Olympic
squad, Näf recently won stage two of the Transschwarzwald, a stage
race for mountain bikers in Germany's Schwarzwald region, on his way to
taking over the overall lead. However, he will withdraw from the race
as he is scheduled to depart for Beijing before the race's end.
American President previews Olympic MTB Course
During his visit to Beijing, China, for the 2008 Olympic Games, US President
George Bush managed to get in some riding in between watching some non-cycling
events. Known as an avid mountain biker, Bush took a spin around the Olympic
course in Laoshan.
"Biking was really, really difficult," Bush said according
to the New York Times. "That's why they call it an Olympic
course." His ride on the race course was his second after he previously
rode it with the Chinese team in 2005.
The Olympic Mountain Bike races are scheduled for August 22 (women) and
August 23 (men). Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for complete coverage.
Magic potion: Avid Elixir CR
By James Huang
According to Avid, Elixir is lighter,
The new Avid Elixir hydraulic disc brake platform incorporates some novel
technologies and promises some compelling performance but is it the real
Avid's engineers and designers certainly had a daunting challenge in
front of them when developing a new brake line to supplement its popular
Juicy. At least on paper, they certainly succeeded: according to Avid,
Elixir is more powerful yet easier to control, plus 20-30g lighter as
compared to a similarly configured Juicy 7. Moreover, its intended usage
now spans the full range from cross-country all the way to downhill.
Elixir isn't an evolution of Juicy as much as it is a wholly new design.
The master cylinder boasts a radical new TaperBore internal architecture
that should ultimately yield better long-term durability plus the integrated
concentric fluid reservoir makes for a tidy appearance. In addition to
the tool-free reach adjustment introduced on the Elixir R, the upscale
CR comes with an inline pad contact adjustment at the end of the body.
Aluminum lever blades are standard but carbon levered versions are on
tap as well.
The top-end Elixir CR also adds
The two-piece caliper is all-new as well and the upsized pistons (roughly
between Juicy and Code) provide more clamping force. The pads are now
top-loaded for easier replacement and the correspondingly bigger caliper
window works in conjunction with the grooved piston faces to dissipate
more heat. Unlike the standard Elixir R's inline hose attachment, the
CR caliper gets a rotatable banjo for more customizable hose routing.
Naturally, Avid has retained its superb CPS arrangement of concave and
convex washers for easy installation and adjustments. In answer to some
user complaints, Avid has also increased the hardness of the washers to
prevent them taking a set.
All told, total claimed weight for the new Elixir CR is a competitive
385g for a complete assembly including a 160mm rotor. Carbon lever blades
shed 10g per wheel and sacrificing the adjustable pad contact saves another
10g. Avid will offer 185mm and 203mm-diameter rotors, too, and retail
price for the CR is a surprisingly reasonable US$204-212 per wheel, depending
Read the complete
Eddie & Namrita O'Dea Diary: Busy as ever
The LeMans start
Photo ©: M. Fowler
It's been awhile since we wrote, but that doesn't mean we haven't been
busy! We directed a very successful Burn 24 Hour with a record attendance
in May and then traveled to Michigan for the Lumberjack 100. The Lumberjack
100 was a huge disappointment to say the least. I crashed badly two days
before the race while doing an easy spin with Danielle Musto.
I wasn't wearing gloves and my hands slipped off the bars while descending
the last trail of the day. I thought I fractured my femur. Fortunately
I didn't, but it took a trip to the emergency room to figure that out.
Either way, I couldn't even make it to the starting line!
The race and the afterparty were still a ton of fun as the National Ultra
Endurance (NUE) races always draw a good crowd. Since then I have been
finishing up my dietetic internship this summer while Eddie has been very
busy with the Wobble Naught fittings in his new location at AVX Bikes
More recently we traveled back to Michigan to visit my parents, then
headed over to New York to visit Eddie's parents. We even had a chance
to ride over to Niagara Falls.
We just returned from racing the 24 hour Solo US National Championship
Race at 24-9 in Wisconsin. We were both hoping for a top five finish.
Eddie has placed fourth the last two years, and I was eighth last year
due to technical difficulties with my lights. Alas, the stars were not
aligned for either of us this year and we were both plagued with other
We all have bad days, but the day of the National Championship race is
not the day you want to have it!
Read the complete diary
24 Hours of Landahl cancelled
Organizers have cancelled the 24 hours of Landahl for 2008. The event,
organized by Granny Gear Productions, was originally scheduled for September
20-21 in Blue Springs, Missouri. The event was previously run in 2006
"The 24 Hours of Landahl has been cancelled due low turn out for
early registration," said a statement on the organizer's website.
The next event in Granny Gear's 24 hour National Points Series is the
24 hours of Moab on October 11-12 in Utah.
Charlottesville to host omnium
The Charlottesville, Virginia, area will host a three-stage, off-road
omnium September 19-20. The mainstay event will be the long-running O'Hill
Meltdown, a cross country race which will serve as the final stage.
Saturday, September 20 - Stage 1: Super U time trial, Blue Ridge School,
St. George, Virginia, 3 miles (mostly uphill)
Saturday, September 20 - Stage 2: Short track cross country, Tevendale
Farm, Earlysville, Virginia, 1.8 mile laps
Sunday, September 21 - Stage 3: O'Hill Meltdown cross country, Charlottesville,
Virginia, 6 mile laps with 1400 feet climbing per lap
The event will benefit the Blue Ridge School Junior Mountain Bike team.
For more information, visit www.offroadomnium.com.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing Limited 2008)