MTB news & racing round-up for February 22, 2008
Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking.
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Edited by Sue George
Kenda Titus Hayes team takes first 2008 win at Old Pueblo
A Kenda racer
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
Members of the Kenda Titus Hayes women's mountain bike team took their
first podium of the 2008 season by winning the four person women's category
of the 24 Hours in the Old Pueblo this past weekend in Tucson, Arizona.
Team members Zephanie Blasi, Heather Holmes, Krista Park and Amanda Riley
covered 19 laps of the 16 mile course during the 24 hour event, finishing
two laps ahead of their closest competitors Menage A Quatro (Deborah Martin-
Wille, Linden Kimmerer, Sue Rawley, Jennifer Sica) in second and Swiss
Chix (Lisa Barnes, Nicole Eikenberry, Chrissy Saraceni, Karen Lewis) in
The Kenda team was clearly not slowed by the fire that broke out in the
welding area of the Titus factory last Friday. Fortunately, the team,
which was there assembling bikes, was able to relocate to a nearby hotel
for final bike assembly and new team kit testing.
The morning of the race brought dry skies but cold temperatures in the
low 30s (degrees Fahrenheit). Thanks to some pre-race rains, Team Kenda
was among those who visited a muddy ditch en route to the race on a weekend
that would just keep getting nicer with temperatures rising into the high
50s with clear skies on Sunday. The early season race, held in the desert
climate of Arizona, drew many big names to the race. Most were there to
have fun and test both their February legs and new equipment for 2008.
See complete race
coverage including full report, results & plenty of photos.
Sager and Smith crowned open champions in the Mas o Menos
By Sue George with assistance from Mike Gladu
Jason Sager, repeat Mas O Menos
Open Class Champion
Photo ©: Mike Gladu
After the traditional lead-out by the Mystery Man opened the annual Mas
O Menos race, Jason Sager (MonavieCannondale.com) won the Open Class Champion
in the 100km event held over President's Day weekend. Sager battled Bryan
Fawley (TX Tough San Jose) for much of the race while Even Plews (Capitol
Subaru) rode alone in third behind them until the end when riders changed
Sager led Fawley the first of two times up the Tres Cuevas climb, and
also claimed the cash bonus for first Open rider to the "Top of the
Hill" 1866. Armando Zacarias and Nat Ross came next behind them.
Fawley surrendered some ground before the finish and ended up third behind
Sager and Plews in 4:07:30. Sager finished with a time of 4:05:03, over
a minute ahead of Plews in second place with Fawley two and half minutes
back in third.
Christina Smith (Lonestarworks/Austin Bikes) took the Open Women 100k
winner at 4:51:08 and became a repeat winner in front of Jennifer Wilson
(Titus) and Alice Pennington (S&M/Desalvo Custom Cycles), while Julia
Kastner brought home the 19-29 100k win with a 6:16:53 and Zoe Nance took
the 30-39 100k win in 6:05:58.
The race served as simultaneous stops on the 2008 Texas Championships
Mountain Bike Series, the Hill Country Bicycle Works Championships Marathon
Series and the USA Cycling National Ultra Endurance Calendar.
See full coverage
of the Mas o Menos.
Paulissen to meet Kessiakoff at Sunshine Cup opener
Quartet of favourites in women's competition
Fredrik Kessiakoff leads Roel Paulissen
Photo ©: Bikin' Cyprus
Anticipation of the beginning of the international European race season
comes to end Saturday when Tochni starters fire the gun to kick off the
Cyprus Sunshine Cup 2008. In the first of five cross-country races, former
team-mates Fredrik Kessiakoff (Full Dynamix) and Roel Paulissen (Cannondale-Vredestein)
will go head to head while in the women's race Elisabeth Osl, Ivonne Kraft,
Petra Henzi and Heather Irmiger will fight for victory.
The Mediterranean Island draws annually an interesting, high-level field
for some early season training and racing in good weather. Adding to the
talent in the men's race will be American Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and two
German Cape Epic winners Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm. Swiss rider Andreas
Kugler, who last year grabbed one victory Sunshine Cup victory, could
also help mix it up along with Swede Emil Lindgren, Ukrainian Sergey Rysenko,
and Austrian Karl Markt. Local Team Bikin' Cyprus rider Christof Bischof
of Switzerland wants to be present in the front group, too.
"We are ready for take off. The weather forecast says dry and warm
conditions," said chief organizer Mike Hadjioannou. For more info,
On Saturday at the same time and on the same course, the Kärcher
German Bike Masters series will open its season with a sort of away game.
The marathon riders have to go one more small lap before reaching the
finish line. For more info, visit www.germanbikemasters.de.
Sunshine Cup 2008
February 23: Tochni Village (XCM)
February 29: Mantra-Kionia-Mantra (XCM) (also Afxentia stage #1)
March 2: Mantra tou kampiou (XC) (also Afxentia stage #3)
March 9: Voroklini (XCM)
March 16: Limassol-Yermasogia (XC)
German Bike Masters 2008
February 23: Sunshine Cup
May 25: Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Then follows
June 29: Frammersbach
July 13: Bad Wildbad
August 17: Neustadt a.d.W.
October 5: Münsingen
Otway Odyssey draws top racers to marathon event
Sid Taberlay and Murry Spink are
Photo ©: Otway Odyssey
Nestled deep within the Otway ranges, the small township of Forrest is
getting ready to turn mountain bike mad with the Lowan Otway Odyssey Mountain
Bike Marathon this weekend on February 23.
In only its second year, the Lowan Otway Odyssey has quickly grown to
a major event on the Australian Mountain Bike Calendar after selling out
to 1,400 riders in the 100km and 50km races plus an extra 150 riders in
the junior 15km race.
The start list reads like a who's who of Australian mountain biking with
seven of the top 10 finishers from the recent cross country nationals
all ready and rearing to go including Sid Taberlay, Chris Jongeward, Daniel
McConnell, Shaun Lewis, Dylan Cooper, Aidan Leffman and last year's winner
Murray Spink. They'll have to go fast because they'll be up against reigning
24 hours of Adrenalin Solo World Champion and Mountain Bike Hall of Famer
Tinker Juarez (Cannondale).
In the women's race, last year's winner Tory Thomas will take on Commonwealth
Games representative Emma Colson, current hot shot Rowena Fry, Katrin
Van der Spiegel, Jenni King, and Jessica Douglas.
Offenburg prepares World Cup course
The Dual Speed section of the Offenburg
Photo ©: Offenburg World Cup
Work has begun on preparing the course for the opening round of the UCI
Mountain Bike World Cup for cross country in Offenburg-Rammersweier, Germany.
The mild winter has given the course constructors plenty of time to prepare
the 5.1 km long track, and a few changes have been made to the Dual Speed
section in order to make it safer for the riders and spectators. The Offenburg
round is scheduled for April 26-27.
In 2007 there were a number of crashes on this steep section. "This
is something we would like to prohibit, for the safety of the riders and
spectators," said a concerned Event Manager Jörg Scheiderbauer.
Special attention is also being paid to widening the course to give racers
the best possible chance of getting a top result - especially with the
race serving as an Olympic qualifier for some. With a great majority of
the course being singletrack, chances to pass are limited. The section
known as Wolfsdrop will now allow two riders side by side to battle it
out on the technical downhill.
Cannondale-Vredestein sets sights on Beijing
By Marcel Slagman
Three Olympic hopefuls from Cannondale-Vredestein
Photo ©: Marcel Slagman/Wieler Magazine
The Cannondale-Vredestein has got its eye on all three podium spots at
the Olympic Games in Beijing, China. At the recent team presentation in
Enschede, The Netherlands, three top riders said they hope to win a medal
in Beijing. Roel Paulissen will be a member of the Belgian team, Jakob
Fuglsang will be wearing the Danish tricot and Kashi Leuchs will represent
"In Athens I ended up fourth, now I want a medal," said Paulissen,
who has won ten Belgian championships and is going this year for titles
in the cross country and the marathon.
Kiwi Leuchs wants to keep the momentum going from his 2007 season. "I
finished in the top 10 regularly, and in 2008 I want to do the same in
the top five of big international races.''
Fuglsang made a move in January from Varese to Cola, near Lake Garda
in Italy. "First I am riding some road races before starting the
World Cup mountain bike series. I'd like to finish in the top five at
the Olympics and maybe better...'', said the talented Dane. "And
after Beijing I will think about my future - on the mountain bike or on
the road. It is not clear for me, yet.''
The new leader of the squad is experienced trainer and coach Simon Burney
from Great Britain. "This team is one of the best in the mountain
bike scene. My goal is to help the riders [be] as good as possible. Our
goals are the World Cup, the World Championships in Italy and, of course,
the Olympic race in Beijing.'' Jan ten Tusscher and Ruud Poels will serve
as the team's managers.
Sydor and Prémont to lead Rocky Mountain XC team
Olympic silver medallists Marie-Hélène Prémont (Athens,
2004) and Alison Sydor (Atlanta, 1996) will head up the Rocky Mountain
Bicycles team. Also returning to the team are third place Cape Epic racer
Jean Anne McKirdy, 2006 bronze medallist at the World Championship Max
Plaxton, and Raphael Gagne.
Andreas Hestler, three time winner of the Trans Rockies will be back
for select events and along with Plaxton, has planned to attack the BC
On the epic front Sydor and team-mates Carsten Bresser and Pia Sundsted
from the German squad Bike Action-Rocky Mountain Bicycles will share duties
on the Trans Germany and the Trans Alps and the World Cup Marathon series.
The team also welcomes Peter Vallance as the new manager.
TIS to host Cycling Australia's National Mountain Bike Program
The Tasmanian Institute of Sport (TIS) has been selected by Cycling Australia
to host Australia's National Mountain Bike Program at the TIS Silverdome
complex in Launceston during 2008. TIS becomes the first Cycling National
Training Centre to support a National Olympic discipline program.
"The program will provide an excellent opportunity to help Tasmanian
athletes currently striving for selection in the Australian Olympic team
to compete in Beijing, in particular, Sid Taberlay and Rowena Fry, as
well as the next generation of mountain bike athletes," said Minister
for Sport and Recreation Michelle O'Byrne.
"The program will be coached by Neil Ross, an experienced, well
credentialed coach, who was the Head Coach and Director of the National
Cycling Centre and coach of the Canadian National Team. John Gregory,
the TIS Sports Performance Manager and a former National Mountain Bike
Cross Country Champion, will provide key sports science support to the
"We believe the program will produce the next generation of mountain
bike athletes, rivalling some of the top Tasmanian mountain bike athletes
produced in the past, such John Gregory, Eleanor Patterson and Sid Taberlay.
Tasmania has an ideal training environment for mountain biking as the
TIS is located next to the Kate Reid Reserve."
Tasmania is already known as the host of the Wildside mountain bike race,
held on the west coast. Training camps will be held in Tasmania using
the TIS in Launceston as a base over summer 2008, prior to the athletes
heading overseas for competition from May onwards.
iXS European Downhill Cup 2008
After a successful 2007 season, the iXS Downhill Series is back bigger
and better. iXS Sports Division will organize, in addition to the iXS
German Downhill Cup and the iXS Swiss Downhill Cup, a new international
series. The iXS European Downhill Cup will fill the gap between national
events and the UCI World Cup.
iXS Series 2008
July 5-6: Scuol, Switzerland
August 9-10: Châtel, France
August 23-24: Ilmenau, Germany
September 20-21: Leogang, Austria
For more information, in three languages, visit www.ixsdownhillcup.com.
Minaar welcomed to Santa Cruz
New Santa Cruz Syndicate member Greg Minnaar had a chance to check out
his new digs with a trip to Santa Cruz, California, in February when he
was welcomed to the Syndicate family.
Minnaar arrived fresh off a holiday ocean cruise, and with a bit of a
rough adjustment to the wintry weather, the tanned South African got his
first chance to ride a Santa Cruz with Jamie Goldman. At day's end, somehow
Goldman ended up with a cup of hot chocolate as Minnaar washed Goldman's
Minnaar later visited the factory and checked out his new V-10 and Blur
LT before hours of photos shoots for ads and catalogs. Afterward, he said,
"Things were pretty much as I expected for my visit, but I just didn't
think I'd be doing as many photo shoots."
The South African got to do one of his first cross country rides since
his shoulder surgery in November. He was very cautious and tentative,
but said it felt great to get out on the bike. Of course, being on the
road didn't stop him from visiting the local gym to do his shoulder re-hab.
Cycling BC happy with call for riders
Twenty-one keen riders responded to the call for riders by Cycling BC's
Provincial Head Coach Richard Wooles. Sixteen young downhillers came from
Vancouver Island, the Sunshine Coast, Fort Langley, Whistler, Vancouver
and Squamish to attend a camp for some assessment and discussion. Riders
were divided into three groups rotating through stations set up to assess
their power, endurance, balance, agility and mental preparation.
They ranged in age from those just starting out to those who had some
national and international experiences under their belt. They were treated
to a full star line up of coaches including Wooles, who has coached to
Olympic level and came to British Columbia following several years with
the UCI; Aleisha Cline, a legend in the world of skiing and a certified
conditioning coach; and Shaums March, an inspiring downhill rider and
current World Masters Champion.
Wooles told the riders of the inspiration he has found locally for his
passion of team development. He said he has been blown away by the extraordinary
wealth of raw talent. He hopes to build the best cycling team in Canada
covering every discipline and is hard at work trying to fundraise to cover
the costs for all the disciplines, including downhill.
"This kind of opportunity is what it's all about," said Wooles.
"Everyone - professionals, parents, volunteers, businesses like this
club - coming together for the good of the kids and the future of the
sport. It is very encouraging."
The next step is a bike skills training camp and some selection races.
One of the most important outcomes of the day, for both the young athletes
and the coaches was the chance to meet and get to know one another. "Now,
when we are at races, we will not just be faces under the helmets and
times on a result sheet," said one rider. "I really appreciated
this chance. Not just to meet these coaches and try all this stuff, but
to be able to recognize some of the other riders at races and have them
to talk to."
Pioneers tip glasses for Trips for Kids
A group of mountain bike legends
Local mountain bike legends and Marin community members gathered to celebrate
Trips for Kids and raised US$3,000 at the 10th Annual Brews, Bikes and Bucks
fundraiser. Among those present at the February 10 event were Gary Fisher,
Joe Breeze, Charles Kelly, Mert Lawwill, Jacquie Phelan, Ross Shafer, Michael
Kelley and Chris Lang.
Photo ©: Trips for Kids
"Each year, Broken Drum owner Noah Berry not only opens his doors
for the cause, but donates proceeds from the food and drink sales,"
said Marilyn Price, founder of Trips for Kids. "We are so fortunate
and grateful for Noah's continued generosity. This would not be possible
Outside the Broken Drum, admirers gawked at the rows of tricked-out mountain
bikes lining the sidewalk; inside, pints in hand, the owners of these
bikes tell tall tales of traveling on two wheels. TFK supporters had the
opportunity to meet and socialize with the pioneers of the mountain bike
Benefit Jam to help Llanes
This Saturday's Tara Benefit Jam on February 23, hosted at Rye Airfield
in Rye, New Hampshire, will feature a poster signing by Trek free-rider
Cam McCaul. With the purchase of each US$3 signed poster, Trek will donate
an additional $12. That means that for every poster purchased, Trek will
donate $15 to the Tara Llanes Road to Recovery Fund.
"Tara's injury struck a chord with me personally," said Michael
Browne, Trek's MTB Brand Manager, "and I've been looking for a way
to offer support. When Kyle Ebbett announced his efforts to organize the
Tara Benefit Jam, Cam jumped on board. And when Cam told me about it,
I knew Trek had to get behind it. This is just a great way to help out
a fallen rider who needs every bit of support our community can offer."
"After so many years racing and competing, I just feel it's my
responsibility to organize this event," said Ebbett, reflecting on
why he decided to get riders together for the competition. "And I
love Tara she's a super incredible person who's respected everywhere.
I hope for a ton of awareness, and I hope to raise a ton of money. And
I know it will succeed, because who doesn't like to watch Cam McCaul ride?"
Visit www.ryeairfield.com for more details.
Gunn-Rita diary: Sunshine in Mallorca
Gunn-Rita Dahle FlesjŚ
Photo ©: Multivan Merida Biking Team
From winter and freezing cold in Boulder to hot sun and summer clothing
on Mallorca - the contrasts are striking in our every day lives, and that's
exactly the appeal of being a professional mountain-biker. It's fantastic
feeling the sun warm my white winter skin, even if it's only for a few
We've moved from friendly Boulder in Colorado, via Stavanger, Oslo, Venice
/ Montebelluna, to sunny Mallorca in Spain. We're gradually growing accustomed
to the European time zone again, but we usually use about a fortnight
to get completely in tune again when travelling from west to east. It's
easier to travel to USA or home from Asia. Still, we've managed quite
well. We've stayed awake for as long as possible at night, refused to
sleep in the afternoons, and gotten up at the normal time in the mornings.
The past two weeks in Boulder were busy with exercise, and we had a day
of snow and a good 15 degrees below freezing. It's awfully cold cycling
in those kinds of temperatures, but it was a low-paced day anyway, so
we didn't miss out on too much. The following day the sun was out and
the snow disappeared from the roads as quickly as it had appeared.
Multivan Merida Team
Photo ©: Multivan Merida Biking Team
The last two evenings we went out to eat with our friendly couple, Cari
and Greg, and we just love these kinds of reunions. The final evening
was spent with our landlord, Mark (a very important ally through the past
five seasons) and his family. We probably won't be back to Boulder again
before next summer, but we know how time flies, so we're already starting
to look forward again...
The days at home in Stavanger were busy as usual, with everything from
spinning classes and meetings with sponsors, to hair cuts and treatments.
It was "pedal to the metal" for three days before leaving for
Oslo for various errands, and then on to Italy the following day. We did
have a few moments to wash clothes and exchange the clothes we had been
wearing for four weeks in Boulder for new ones. One ends up wearing much
the same thing every day when one only has one suitcase to fill. Most
of what is able to fit in is exercise clothing anyway.
Read the complete
Presenting Team BH SR Suntour
Last Saturday, Team BH SR - Suntour presented its squad of 16 cyclists
include 13 men and three women. The team includes 2007 French women's
champion in the elite marathon, Hélène Marcouyre and French
marathon men's champion Jérôme Chevallier.
BH SR - Suntour for 2008: Hélène Marcouyre, Séverine
Hansen and Laura Metzler (women), Jérôme Chevallier, Nicolas
Bazin, Pierre Lebreton, Sébastien Hansen, Vincent Lombarda, Norman
Crochet Colin, Arnaud Grosjea, Maxime Marotte, Freddy Betremieux, Brice
Faugeron, Steven Garcin, Thomas Hartstern (men), Kart Poirier (junior
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing Limited 2008)