MTB news & racing round-up for May 23, 2008
Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking.
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Edited by Sue George
SoBe/Cannondale team back in action
By Sue George
Downhiller Darian Harvey and manager
Photo ©: Sue George
It's impossible to miss the bright orange-clad SoBe / Cannondale riders
and their bikes at races all over the US. The team is back in action for
2008 under its old name and sponsors.
Riders like Jenna Zander, Kathy Sherwin, Nina Baum, Wendy Reynolds, Darian
Harvey, Cody Adams, Jonathan Buckell, Damian Calvert and Great Divide
winner Matt Lee have been making their mark thus far this season. Altogether,
the team fields approximately 50 male and female racers in the disciplines
of gravity, cross country, ultra-endurance and adventure racing.
"We have a great group of people," said Matt Jewett, director
of partnership marketing for Cannondale to Cyclingnews. "Some
people measure success on the podium and yes, we pay attention to it,
but we look at success as having fun." Jewett described the team
as comprised of racers who are ambassadors for "a healthy lifestyle
and the outright fun of participatory sports."
first SoBe / Cannondale team ran from 1998 to 2003, and fielded top amateur
and pro riders nationwide. The grassroots team nurtured talent like Amber
Neben, Tom Danielson and Shonny Vanlandingham, all en route to successful
pro careers. "When SoBe stepped away, it was right after [parent
company] Pepsi was purchased. Our contract was set to expire and they
chose not to renew."
Coming up on
Cyclingnews will cover the 60th edition of
the Dauphiné Libéré live
as of stage 4 on Wednesday, June 10, at approximately 15:00 local Europe
time (CEST)/ 23:00 Australian time (CDT)/ 9:00 (USA East).
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The SoBe Cannondale team
Photo ©: Matt Jewett
Without the original title sponsor, the team continued on - for one year
with the sole support of Cannondale and for two years with Bear Naked,
yet the team's relationship with the original sponsor stayed strong. "All
the years we weren't sponsored by SoBe, we stayed in touch with them."
The team's emphasis on relationships extends beyond relations with sponsors
and beyond the period when any given racer is actively on the team. "For
example, we've had about six ex-team members become Cannondale reps,"
said Jewett thinking back.
The return of a non-cycling sponsor to mountain biking has Jewett optimistic
about the future - especially during a time when some non-cycling industry
sponsors have stepped away from the sport. "As excited as I am for
the team's program, I'm more excited for the sport," said Jewett.
The reincarnated team differs slightly from the original. "We've
trended younger, and 80% of our riders are either pro, semi-pro or expert
category riders." The pro-am team is comprised of riders ranging
from 17 to 40 years-old.
During its three-year contract term, which started this year, the team
will be highly visible at its national events. Mechanic Eric Saletel is
driving the team truck, with 36-foot trailer fully emblazoned with the
team's distinctive graphics.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Sue George / Cyclingnews
Mountain bikers and 'cross racers respond to Fumics
Sabine Spitz was the first to sign
Photo ©: Bjorn Haake
Thirty seven cyclo-cross and mountain bike riders and team officials
have issued an open letter addressing the anti-doping measures in the
sport, and distancing themselves from Lado and Manuel Fumic, who have
criticised the measures.
The Fumic brothers were
suspended by the Bund Deutsche Radfahrer (German cycling federation)
for failing to file their "whereabouts". They were later allowed
to continue riding after appealing the decision. The brothers had protested
against the "whereabouts" requirement, saying it was impossible
to say three months in advance where they would be, and that the National
Anti-Doping Agency violated their personal rights.
The athletes rejected the brothers' views, and noted that the anti-doping
program had its problems, but that it served the purpose and was not the
"total observation" that the brothers claimed.
The letter noted that while the brothers had a right to their opinion,
it was not shared by all others within the sport. The system is "a
sensible way to win back cycling's credibility and to present mountain
biking as a clean sport".
The riders said that they were willing to accept these measures "because
we are convinced that this is the only way to equalize things, to protect
our health, and to be good role models for younger riders."
While admitting that filling out the "whereabouts" forms was
a time-consuming activity, "we do not see it as a violation of our
personal rights. We certainly do not feel as if we are being treated as
"We are not forced to tell our location three months in advance.
It is always possible to send in a form not filled out. It is then assumed
that we are at home at this period. If that changes, it can be sent in
on the internet ADAMS system, or in an emergency, via a text-message,"
the letter went on to say.
Nor did they feel as if they were being observed by "Big Brother".
"The system makes intelligent controls possible. That increases the
chances of discovering cheaters and so protecting the clean athletes."
"The position and statements of the Fumic brothers have negative
consequences for us mountain bikers, as far as public opinion is concerned.
We vigorously defend ourselves from being associated with these views
of Ludo and Manuel Fumic," the latter concluded.
The letter was circulated by the management of European Champion Sabine
Spitz, who was the first to sign. Florian Vogel, Thomas Frischknecht,
Nino Schurter and Nina Wrobel were among the riders who signed.
Going long at the Anaconda
Alex Stone at the Anaconda MTB
Photo ©: Rapid Ascent
While many racers are enjoying a mid-week break between busy race weekends,
endurance mountain bikers down under are busy with the Anaconda
MTB Enduro, a stage race that started May 19 and runs through May
23, with some multiple stage days thrown in. After stage
four, an epic 95km marathon from Ross River Station back into the
Heavitree Gap Outback Lodge in Alice Springs, Australia, Adrian Jackson
and Naomi Hansen were leading the men's and women's categories respectively.
The Anaconda MTB Enduro replaces the former Central Australian Bike Challenge
(CABA) event. Time trials, cross country routes and night-time races over
corrugated roads, loose rocks, singletrack and sandy patches, are just
some of the interesting challenges thrown at racers to keep them on their
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Anaconda
Round four of the Swisspower Cup heads to Gränichen on Saturday,
May 24 and Sunday, May 25, after a pause of several weeks due to three
World Cups and the European Championships.
Favorites for the race would include last year's second place Lukas Flückiger,
newly crowned European champion Florian Vogel, Ralph Näf, Christoph Sauser,
Thomas Frischknecht, U23 racer Matthias Flückiger, and Silvio Bundi and
Jean-Christophe Peraud. In the women's race, European champion Sabine
Spitz of Germany is an obvious favorite. Her likely adversaries include
marathon world champion Petra Henzi, Maroussia Rusca, Renata Bucher and
However, some racers are choosing to take a break from competition. For
example, newly crowned European champion Florian Vogel and Swiss racers
Nino Schurter and Nathalie Schneitter will not compete in Aargau. They
will enjoy a race-free weekend as they prepare for the upcoming World
Cups and World Championships.
For more information on the Swisspower Cup round four, visit www.swisspowercup.ch
Trips for Kids workshop set for IMBA World Summit
Trips for Kids (TFK) will host a full-day conference for its chapter
leaders and those interested in starting a chapter prior to the IMBA World
Summit in Park City, Utah. The workshop is scheduled from 8:00 am to 5:00
pm on June 18 at the Park City Marriott.
"Trips for Kids is honored to partner with IMBA at its upcoming
World Summit," said Marilyn Price, founder and director of TFK. "Many
TFK chapters consist of IMBA members, and IMBA clubs are natural vehicles
to start TFK chapters, so it made sense to meet together before the conference
to share ideas and best practices."
The TFK Pre-Conference Workshop will address how to start and promote
a program, respond to challenges, use the bicycle as an education tool
and guarantee the long-term success of an individual chapter.
"The goal of adding youth topics to the IMBA Summit agenda and including
Trips for Kids in the session is to identify barriers, find solutions
and ultimately inspire more youth biking programs around the globe,"
said Mike Van Abel, director of IMBA. Some scholarships are available
to help chapter leaders attend.
The 2008 IMBA World Summit follows the TFK workshop and runs from June
18-21. To RSVP for the TFK Pre-Conference, call 415-458-2986 or send an
email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Memorial fundraiser for Mark A Reynolds
A fundraiser in honor of a rider who died
at Sea Otter is being held in conjunction with the CCCX Downhill Race
Series this season. Mark A. Reynolds crashed while competing in the downhill
race during the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California, in April. The
48 year-old was the owner of Wicked Racin and innovator of the Dualrailluer
Guide for which is in process of being patented as the first dual chain
Members of the Evomo Mountain Bike Team stepped forward to organize the
memorial fund raiser in Reynolds' name. "I feel it's the right thing
to do and I really feel for the family who had to hear such terrible news,"
said Tom Judy, Evomo Downhill Team Member.
Reynolds' family hopes to contribute to a freeride or jump park that
will be named after Mark - thereby continuing his legacy of supporting
the sport. A raffle will be held at the CCCX Downhill Race Series race
on Sunday, June 22 at Toro Park near Monterey. Products for the raffle
have been donated by Fox Racing Shox, Evomo, X-Fusion, Pactimo, Stan's
No Tubes, Cool Cycling Club, Calabazas Cyclery, Trailhead Cyclery, and
Auburn Bike Works.
To donate to the fund in Reynolds' name, visit www.wickedracin.com or
send a check to Memorial Fund for Mark Reynolds, 1295 Blewett Ave., San
Jose, CA 95125 USA.
Speedgoat bike supports breast cancer fight
Speedgoat Bicycles is offering another one-of-a-kind bicycle to be raffled
off to fight breast cancer. All proceeds from this year's event again
go to support Breast Cancer Fund, in their search for environmental links
to cancer, and their promotion of consumer awareness.
The bike includes a new Niner Jet 9 frame, a Fox F29 suspension fork,
Industry Nine & NoTubes.com wheels, Hope brakes, headset & seatpost
clamp, and Ritchey stem, carbon bar & post, Shimano XTR drivetrain,
WTB saddle, and Continental Mountain King tires.
To date, Speedgoat's custom pink bikes have raised over US$48,000 to
help Breast Cancer Fund's research into environmental contaminants, and
the preventable causes of cancer. Public auction begins on May 23. To
enter the raffle, visit www.speedgoat.com/raffle1.asp or to find more
out about the Breast Cancer Fund, visit www.breastcancerfund.org.
Rocky Mountain partners with IMBA
Rocky Mountain Bicycles stepped up its partnership with IMBA. The Canadian
bicycle company signed a deal with IMBA in which it will offer bikes to
members of the National Mountain Bike Patrol (NMBP) at a discount. The
program, which went into effect May 15, runs directly through local RMB
dealers, who will special order bicycles for patrollers with current NMBP
membership in good standing for at least six months.
For more information on the program, contact a local dealer. For more
information on the NMBP, contact Spencer Powlison, at email@example.com.
Hong Kong MTB series
Hong Kong has a new four-race mountain bike series which will begin June
1. HK$5,000 in cash will go to the series winner. Events are scheduled
for June 1, September 21, October 19 and November 23. Individuals and
teams of two are welcome. For more information, visit www.actionasia.com/aae.
The BURN 24 Hour Challenge
The Burn 24 hour Challenge will feature solo and team relay racing at
the Dark Mountain Trails in Wilkesboro, North Carolina, this weekend on
May 24-25. For more information, visit /www.burn24hour.com.
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