Home Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  

Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

 MTB index page for all MTB content

MTB news & racing round-up for July 23, 2008

Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking. Feel free to send feedback, news, & releases to mtb@cyclingnews.com and results, reports & photos to cyclingnews@cyclingnews.com.

Edited by Sue George

McConnneloug and Craig defend US National titles at Mount Snow

By Dave McElwaine in West Dover, Vermont

Sprint race: Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven Cycles) defended her title
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven) and Adam Craig (Giant) successfully defended their US national cross country titles last weekend in Mount Snow, Vermont.

McConneloug engaged in a hard fought battle with Georgia Gould (Luna Women's MTB) that ended in a sprint finish. Heather Irmiger (Gary Fisher) finished third while up-and-coming rider Lea Davison (Trek/VW) took fourth.

It appeared for most of the race that Gould would ride to victory as she held a lead as large as 20 seconds. "Actually, every climb I would pass her (Gould) and on every descent she would pass me," McConneloug said. "On the last descent I was finally familiar with all the lines I needed to be familiar with."

"I wouldn't give up," she added. "I just tried to keep the cadence up and not touch my brakes. I was cramping…and I just started to think of Mike (Broderick, team-mate and partner -ed.) and how he pushes through all kinds of cramping."

Both McConneloug and Gould will be headed to Beijing, China as team-mates on the US Olympic Mountain Biking Team.

"It was the same as the other two laps," said Gould of the final lap. "Mary would get a gap on the climbs and then I would close it down on the downhill. I just couldn't get by her on the last lap. She was pretty good at blocking."

Adam Craig (Giant MTB Team) took the time to celebrate
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

In the men's race, Adam Craig (Giant) led the entire race, with the exception of the first quarter lap, to win his second consecutive championship. Craig claimed a 1'41 victory over a surging Ryan Trebon (Kona) while Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski took third, followed by Carl Decker (Giant) and Sam Schultz (Gary Fisher/Subaru).

Craig consistently increased his lead throughout the race, particularly on the third lap where added one minute to his gap. Craig was clearly descending the steep trails at Mount Snow faster than his competition. He was riding a new prototype full-suspension Giant Anthem (named Alabama) with one 35 tooth chainring.

"I was trying to ride smooth and fast and have a good time," said Craig. "I just tried to ride a steady race and be Kabush-esque."

The newly re-designed cross country course at Mount Snow features more steep fire road climbs and less single-track, however the final technical section had been re-routed to a fire road. Despite heavy rains overnight, the course was still relatively dry compared to previous years at Mount Snow.

Todd Wells (GT/Pacific) trying to close
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

Trebon, who bolted off the front on the 'parade lap', appeared to be struggling during his first two laps. He began to move better on lap three and started picking off riders.

"The first lap was killing me," said Trebon. "I was going so slow. Then I just started riding a pretty good tempo. "I didn't ride fast, just the same speed the whole course," he added. "Sometimes that works."

Horgan-Kobelski also seemed to struggle early in the race, but improved dramatically towards the end to finish third. "I tried not to go out too hard because the climbs here are really steep and they would get harder towards the end of the race," he said.

Jeremiah Bishop (Trek/VW) and Todd Wells (GT/Pacific) were both having good races but flatted, ruining their chances at making the podium.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of US Nationals including the downhill, super D, short track and dual slalom events.

Fumic grabs German national championship while Spitz wins number seven

Sabine Spitz (Central Ghost Pro Team) wins
Photo ©: Armin M. Küstenbrück
(Click for larger image)

The three future Olympians fully occupied the German elite men's national cross country championship podium in St. Märgen while Sabine Spitz captured her seventh national elite women's title.

Manuel Fumic attacked early and got away from the rest of the men. Only Moritz Milatz was able to stay close to him but he couldn't catch Fumic, who won in a time of 1'36"38. Milatz was just 16 seconds behind.

Defending champion Wolfram Kurschat finished third. He had a bad start, but put out lots of energy to make a come back. He secured third place, but did not get to do battle with the top two for the title and finished almost two and a half minutes behind.

"Since my crash at the worlds I have problems with my broken small finger," said Fumic. "But yesterday I felt good and then I intended to try to put early pressure on my rivals. Now I showed that I'm the number one in Germany. It was Fumic's first national title in the elite category.

In the women's race, Sabine Spitz took her seventh national cross country title. Despite coming off a three week training camp at high altitude, she was able to beat Ivonne Kraft, who suffered problems with her back. After first lap of six, Spitz took the lead and held it until the end, finishing in a time of 1'31"58. Kraft was just 56 seconds back.

"I'm happy to win the title near to my home," said Spitz. "It's a special feeling. I missed the aggressive capability [I often have], but that's normal after this kind of training camp."

Adelheid Morath, who is from St. Märgen, was with Spitz in the training camp. She finished in third place, at 1'49.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the German National Championships.

Olympic team members excel at Swiss nationals

Olympic team members won three of the four elite and U23 races at the Swiss National Championships last weekend in Seon. Florian Vogel, Nino Schurter and Nathalie Schneitter won their elite men's, U23 men's and U23 women's Swiss National titles while Katrin Leumann, won the elite women's race. Leumann was the only non-Olympic team member to win a Swiss U23 or elite national.

The weather held out until the last race with the elite men. For the men, Swisspower's Thomas Frischknecht, Jürg Graf, Florian Vogel and Till Marx and Athleticum's Lukas Flückiger and Martin Gujan were fast from the start. Then, from lap three on, Vogel, Graf and Gujan were at the front and just before the half-way point, Vogel made his move and got away. He enlarged his lead for the rest of the race and collected his first elite national title.

"The tactic worked. I'm overjoyed and of course that gives me extra motivation for Beijing," said Vogel. Dethroned champion Jürg Graf was happy with his performance and third place. Flückiger, who finished second, recognized Vogel's superiority for the day.

In the elite women's race, 26 year-old Kathrin Baslerin Leumann rode a decisive first lap and went on to win a championship ahead of Marielle Saner and Maroussia Rusca. Favorite Petra Henzi struggled on the technically challenging course and finished a disappointing fourth.

"I started with dry tires and when the rain started, I had to switch to rain tires and needed almost a lap again until I was away from Mathias," said Schurter of his fourth-U23 championship.

U23 woman Nathalie Schneitter won her race, even after her plane was delayed in Paris and landed just one hour before the race in Basel. She was delivered to the start by helicopter with just minutes to spare. Kathrin Stirnemann, last year's junior European champion, would have to settle for second, and Corina Gantenbein finished third.

Vivienne Meyer collected her third junior title this year while the junior men and masters saw tight races. Mirko Widmer won the junior men's race in a sprint while defending master's champion Roland Abächerli narrowly beat local Roland Häfeli

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Swiss National Championships.

UCI confirms marathon worlds results

On Tuesdsay, the UCI confirmed the results of the Commissaires' Panel at the UCI Mountain Bike Marathon World Championships in Villabassa, Italy. The panel had relegated Christoph Sauser (Switzerland) to second place, despite the fact that he crossed the finish line in first position, thus awarding the victory to the Belgian rider Roel Paulissen. According to the panel, Christoph Sauser had sprinted in an unauthorized manner.

Sauser's team, Specialized Factory Racing, and his National Federation had appealed the decision to the UCI.

With the decision, Paulissen keeps his title as 2008 Mountain Bike Marathon World Champion. The Swiss riders Sauser and Urs Hubert are officially second and third respectively.

Scott-Swisspower Mountainbike-Team created for 2009

A new team, the Scott-Swisspower Mountainbike-Team, is forming for 2009 by merging the support of the Swisspower Mountainbike-Team, headed by Andi Seeli and Thomas Frischknecht, and Scott Bicycles. The team will focus on working with young riders.

In 2009, the team will be known as Scott-Swisspower Mountainbike-Team and will still be led by Andi Seeli. Long-time racer Thomas Frischknecht will become team manager.

Seven years ago, Seeli and Frischknecht (Pro Sport Racing GmbH) founded Swisspower Mountainbike-Team, together with the publicly traded Swisspower company. The team's goal is to develop young athletes under the watchful eye of team leader "Frischi" Frischknecht and help them toward greater international success.

Two racers, U23 World Champion Nino Schurter and Florian Vogel have already signed contracts to ride for the team. Schurter won his second U23 world championship title (he also won the junior world title in 2004 - ed.) in June in Val di Sole, Italy, while Vogel finished second in the elite men's race behind team-mate Christoph Sauser. Both are also current European Champions in their categories. Both riders are now focused on preparing for the Olympics in Beijing.

The team will add more young riders and sponsors to its roster.

Tostado wins fourth Breckenridge 100

By Rachel Barbara

Riders Mark Thompson, Evan Plews and Josh Tostado roll through the streets
Photo ©: Liam Doran
(Click for larger image)

Josh Tostado (Bach Builders) won his fourth consecutive Breckenridge 100, which doubled as round four in the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) series. He smashed his old course record by nearly 50 minutes. The Breckenridge local exceeded his goal of beating a time of 8.5 hours and won the race with a time of 8:14:37.95.

"I was definitely surprised how fast it turned out, but I feel a lot stronger this year and I'm feeling like I'm at the peak of my season right now," said Tostado.

Race promoters expected a showdown between Tostado and Evan Plews, who was ranked second in the National Ultra Endurance (NUE) Series going into the race.

"I was thinking maybe this was the year that I was going to lose the title," said Tostado. "Evan is a super-strong rider and I was expecting to battle with him, but I felt great and it turned out good."

Tostado beat Plews by just over 20 minutes. The race may have been closer if Plews hadn't wandered off course for some ten minutes, but Tostado was already in the lead when Plews missed a turn.

"If I was coming from somewhere else and doing this race I would probably be a little slower just from looking around so much," said Tostado. "There are incredible views. It's an epic race."

The scenery didn't slow down Kelley Cullen, the women's winner who finished eighth overall in a time of 10:08:20, or Matt Turgeon, a singlespeeder who finished seventh overall in 10:06:19.

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Breckenridge 100.

Kenda Bikefest gearing up for the weekend

The 2008 Kenda Bikefest, formerly known as the Pedro's Bike fest in previous years, will kick off this weekend from July 25-27 in the Berkshire Mountains near Hancock, Massachssetts. Top among the list of attendees for the 14th annual festival are legends Eric Carter, Brian Lopes and Hans Rey.

Eric Carter, a world champion, multi-time World Cup medallist and former national champion, heads to the BikeFest for the first time. He will do a downhill ride at Jiminy Peak Mountain Resort. On Saturday and Sunday, Carter will join Fest-goers out on the trails - leading an Intermediate ride before returning to the slopes Sunday afternoon to take one last downhill trip before the festival closes.

Brian Lopes, a four-time world champion, winner of six World Cups and nine-time national champion, will be both showcasing and sharing his skills with the festival faithful across disciplines - leading a dirt jumping clinic and pump track clinic along with leading downhill rides and cross country rides. Lopes' appearances begin on Friday afternoon with a 1:00 pm dirt jumping clinic followed by a 4:00 pm pump track exhibition and continue throughout the weekend.

Alongside Carter and Lopes, Hans Rey will lead one of the first rides of the weekend, the expert ride at intermediate pace on Friday morning at 10:30 am. Rey, a Trials World Champion, Mountain Bike Hall of Fame inductee and Freeriding and Extreme Mountain Biking pioneer, will share a presentation featuring highlights from his recent trip to Tanzania and his Wheels 4 Life charitable work. Rey will continue to lead rides throughout the weekend with his final ride on Sunday- an intermediate level ride at 11:30 am.

On the women's side the Luna team will send several representatives including multi-time World Champion Marla Streb, former World Champion Alison Dunlap and Jimena Florit.

For more information on the festival, visit www.bicyclefest.com.

Gearjammer course changes before weekend's race

Gearjammer race director Curtis Roberts announced a change to the end of the race's course that increases the amount of singletrack for a better finish to the point-to-point 47km event from Alice Lake to Rose Park near Squamish in British Columbia. The race will take place Saturday, July 26 at 11:00 am.

The new course drops riders from Plateau Drive behind the Valleycliffe General Store and back up to Hospital Hill, through the gully, and around the Blind Channel.

"We want to make the final kilometre as good as the rest of the race," Roberts said. "We haven't really been happy with the end of the race through the Smoke Bluffs Park and along Loggers' Lane."

The new finishing stretch runs through private land, and Roberts expressed gratitude to the landowners who have allowed the race to run through their property. "I think they appreciate the importance of mountain biking to the community, and all these people are community minded," he said.

The Gearjammer route follows the first half of stage six of the 2008 BC Bike Race.

For more information, visit www.gearjammer.ca.

Registration opens for Cactus Cup

Organizers announced that registration is open for the Mountain's Edge Cactus Cup, a three-day stage race in Las Vegas from September 19-21. The race will include a time trial, super D, fat tire crit and cross country race.

Early registration, including reduced fees, runs through August 15. Pros and semi-pros are required to register for the complete race although beginner, sport and expert riders may do individual races or compete in an omnium overall. The race will feature an entry fee payback program through which a percentage of entry fees will be awarded back to registered racers, creating a prize pool so that larger more competitive categories have larger cash purses. Each category has a guaranteed prize list, with a varying percentage of entry fees added to this guarantee.

The race will raise funds for the HERA Women's Cancer Foundation and the Animal Foundation located in Las Vegas. For more information or to register, visit www.cactuscuplasvegas.com.

Opening Jeep 48Straight round schedule released

Vernon, New Jersey will host the first Jeep 48Straight round on August 22-23 at the Diablo Freeride Park at Mountain Creek. Organizers released the full schedule this week, and it will include racing, music and entertainment. Their objective is to empower people to celebrate and connect with the outdoor lifestyle.

Competitors such as World Champions Brian Lopes and Eric Carter, as well as former and current national champions Rich Houseman and Melissa Buhl, are a few of the elite athletes who have signed on to make a run for the title. Local professionals and semi-pros will also have a chance to grab one of the spots in the competition through an open qualifier which will be capped at 75 men and 25 women.

Other highlights include the Rookie Rally, where non-elite amateurs and club riders can test their mettle and earn prizes by trying to beat a blistering pace on the Indy Cross track set by one of the top riders in the sport. Plenty of other activities are also planned, like a Dirt Derby and concerts.

For a detailed schedule, visit www.48straight.com.

In addition to the first stop, others include The Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah, on September 19-21, and The Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, California, on October 23-25.

Previous News     Next News

(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing Limited 2008)