MTB news & racing round-up for October 24, 2008
Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking.
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Edited by Sue George
Crocodile Trophy: Czechs take over Australia
By John Flynn in Gunnawarra
Ondrej Fojtik and Ivan Rybarik
Photo ©: John Flynn
Tomas Trunschka took
his second stage win in three days at the Crocodile Trophy, running
from October 21 to 30 in Australia's Outback. The Czech racer isn't leading
the race, but his teammate Ondrej Fojtik is. In fact, the Czechs are presently
occupying all three top spots and six of the top ten places in the men's
general classification after stage three.
The attrition rate was understandably high on day three as the race's
protagonists fought the elements and their own internal demons. As expected,
the Czechs attacked early as the peloton ventured out from Koombooloomba
on a picturesque rainforest road, and team VIG's Martin Horak launched
the first major assault when the lead bunch entered the famed powerline
Horak was offered a little breathing space early as the remaining non-Czech
contenders in the race, most notably Belgian Nic Vermeulen (Team Lingier)
and Australian solo entrant Craig Gordon, kept a close eye on overall
leader Fojtik. But with so many options at their disposal, the Czechs
were holding all the aces.
After a technical, mountainous section of the powerline track, just four
riders were left in the hunt for the stage - Gordon, Vermeulen, Fojtik
and Trunschka, who led on the road. A series of attacks followed on the
dead straight, red dirt road on the way to the outback cattle station
at Gunnawarra Lagoon. Gordon fought to stay in contention, and Vermeulen
gave it everything as Fojtik and Trunschka took turns launching themselves
off the front.
"It was hot, very hot, but nice track, with the Czech team it is
difficult," admitted Vermeulen, who finished third. "On the
technical I'm maybe the best. Then for the finish, it was one against
three Czechs; the Australian was good but he could just follow."
Joanne Bennett (Merida - Flight
Centre 2) with Karen Steurs (Team Ride for Stars)
Photo ©: John Flynn
Gordon, whose form appears to be improving with each day, also came close.
"A hard day, a little bit disappointing, I got fourth, but the Czechs
look like they've got this race sewn up," the Australian solo entrant
conceded. "They've got a strong team, and there are quite a few guys
there working... very, very strong."
For the Czechs it was another case of mission accomplished. "There
were three of us and it was very fast at the end of the race," Trunschka
said. The question now is who will be officially appointed team captain
for VIG+ racing, with three riders (at least) in contention for the overall
On the other hand, the women's race has been anything but a Czech affair.
Australian Jo Bennett of Merida Flight Centre team enjoyed some help during
stage three from husband Tim on stage three after he came to the realisation
he couldn't match it with the Czechs in the men's event.
A husband and wife battle between Australian and Belgium is taking shape,
as Karen Steurs also brought her partner along for the ride. Bennett won
stage three, but the battle is expected to go down to the wire.
"We were together until the finish today and Tim was a big help,"
Jo Bennett said. "Karen and I had a sprint, and I managed to get
the win, which was great, but there's still a long way to go and she's
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for full coverage of the Crocodile
Colorado stage race going live in 2009
A new stage race, The Breck Epic, is hopping onto the crowded endurance
racing calendar for 2009. The six-stage event will be held in the backcountry
surrounding Breckenridge, Colorado, on July 5 – 10. The race's first edition
was originally planned
for the summer of 2008, but was
postponed until next year as organizers worked on land access and
The race is adopting a cloverleaf format, whereby each of five stages
and a prologue will begin and end in Breckenridge. The model means one
host campground and no between-stage transfers. Participants are being
told to expect little road riding and minimal stretches of gravel and
fireroads. The route, which will change each year, is still being finalized,
but racers can expect 235 to 250 miles total.
"The Breck Epic is intended to showcase the unilateral collaboration
of local, regional and federal land managers," read a press release
about the race. "The trail network here is almost impossible to understand
in terms of size and connectivity - it's a rider's paradise."
"All race profits will go to the Breckenridge Open Space and Trails
and the Dillon Ranger District of the US Forest Service in the form of
a restricted grant, which will dictate the funds be used for the addition
of one seasonal trail employee per organization."
Solo categories will be offered, but organizers will review resumes prior
to accepting entries. A field limit of approximately 400 riders will be
in effect. Racers will compete for US$10,000 in cash plus merchandise.
Although not technically overlapping, the close proximity of the Breck
Epic on the calendar to the BC Bike's dates of June 28 to July 4 could
force some endurance racers to make a tough decision about which race
they will contest.
For more information visit breckepic.blogspot.com.
Olympian Madill & Buchanan make it two in a row at Aussie 4X opener
Luke Madill just holds off a fast
finishing Tom Hubert
BMX Olympian Luke Madill reaffirmed his position as one of Australia's leading
four cross riders after winning the first two rounds of the Red Ass National
Series in Sydney over the weekend. The 28 year-old raced BMX at the sport's
Olympic Games debut in Beijing, China, in August and is looking to compete
in many of the 4X World Cup events next season.
Photo ©: Evan Jeffery
Reigning national champion, Caroline Buchanan, was in top form to win
the first two women's rounds and gained the series lead. Celebrating her
18th birthday next weekend did not deter the World Cup winner from Canberra
in displaying strong first straights in every race.
In the first national round on Saturday, Madill won over last season's
overall winner Leigh Darrell. In the second national round on Sunday,
the win was hotly contested with 21 year-old Thomas Hubert from Newcastle
clearly hot on the heels of Madill from the start. Madill led at the gate
only to slip just before the third corner.
"The final was a bit messy," admitted Madill of Sunday's race.
"I felt pretty safe and knew I had a good lead then I slid and clipped
out. I had to go to the outside and that took a bit more time."
In the women's race, Sarsha Huntington from Brisbane ended up second
in the series after an unlucky fourth place in the first round on Saturday.
The third round of the four cross series will be held on the Gold Coast
at the end of November while the first round of downhill and cross country
series will be in Adelaide in two weeks' time.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage for round
one and round
two of the Australian National Four Cross Series.
New faces hop onto Copa Chile Jeep podiums
Elite men's cross country podium
Photo ©: Cristóbal Sahr
round of the Copa Chile Jeep 2008 series was held at Cajón
del Maipo last weekend. The category one UCI event was one of just three
such categorized races in South America. Javier Püschel proved triumphant
in the men's cross country over established favorite Cristóbal
Silva, and Juan Cartoni was the surprise winner of the downhill. For the
women, Francisca Campos and Verónica Miranda proved victorious
in the cross country and downhill.
The cross country circuit featured technical climbs and
descents. In the men's race, Püschel (Scott) brought an end to the
supremacy of the Pan-American champion Silva (Cannondale), beating him
by more than two minutes.
"This victory was the morale boost that I was missing,"
said Püschel. Silva appeared exhausted in the early laps, showing
fatigue after so much racing in recent months.
In the women's cross country, Francisca Campos (Scott) proved
why she's one of the best on the continent, after obtaining a solid first
place finish more than five minutes ahead of her closest follower, Daniela
Downhill racers faced a steep and rough track. National
champion Antonio Leiva, who suffered a broken femur in the last Copa Chile
Jeep race, was, of course, still absent from competition. Juan Cartoni
didn't let the opportunity pass and won a hard-fought final by only four
seconds over Pedro Ferreira.
"This podium is the fruit of my consistency and proves
that I am a candidate for the overall ranking," he said from the
In the women's downhill, Verónica Miranda proved
her bike handling skills and secured the win as well as leadership of
the overall rankings.
The next round will be held on November 8-9 in Concepción,
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Copa
Chile Jeep round in Santiago.
American collegiate MTBers return to North Carolina for nationals
Adam Snyder of Ft. Lewis College
led start of the 2007 men's national cross country Division I race
Photo ©: Went Knipe
Providing the proving ground for many rising American fat tire stars,
Lees-McRae College will again host the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain
Bike National Championships on October 24-26 in Banner Elk, North Carolina.
The action will begin Friday morning with the battle for supremacy in
the cross country event on a five-mile loop through the Appalachian Mountains.
Both Division I and II men and women will compete for the crown in the
Olympic-style race over the varying, 50 percent singletrack course, which
is a permanent fixture on the Lees-McRae campus.
Later that afternoon, gravity riders will attempt to qualify for the
finals on the technical downhill course at Sugar Mountain Resort that
has tested the country's top professionals during other events.
Also on Friday, professional Decline Team America gravity racer and 2007
USA Cycling Dual Slalom National champion Chris Herndon will lead a complimentary
course inspection clinic open to all collegiate attendees. The clinic,
set for 10:00 am to 2:30 pm on Friday, will cover line choice and form
on Sugar Mountain's downhill course. A former collegiate racer at nearby
Lindsey Wilson College, Herndon gives back to collegiate cycling in the
form of coaching gravity and skills with the Brevard College cycling team,
course design and production, and leading a variety of skills clinics.
Saturday the action will return to the Lees-McRae campus where the short
track cross country races and will provide an opportunity for spectators
to witness bar to bar racing as riders battle it out for the title of
national champion. That afternoon at approximately 2:00 pm, the finals
of the downhill competition will take place on what is largely the same
course as was used in the 2007 event, featuring 1,200 feet of vertical
drop over the 1.5-mile course.
In the spirit of collegiate cycling, the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain
Bike National Championship Banquet will take place at 7:00 pm on Saturday,
at the Ski Sugar Mountain Lodge where USA Cycling National Development
Team graduate and multiple-time collegiate national champion Brent Bookwalter
will serve as guest speaker.
Sunday's finale will begin at 8:00 am and will feature a pure dual slalom
competition on Lees-McRae's own course complete with four-foot high starting
deck. Immediately thereafter, the event will conclude with the coronation
of the overall team and individual omnium national champions in both Division
I and II as defending champs, Fort Lewis College and the Colorado School
of Mines, will seek to regain the glory of last year's team victory.
Warren & Buhl to defend lead at Jeep 48Straight finale
Melissa Buhl leads in Utah
Photo ©: Jeep 48Straight Mountain Bike Series
American riders are in control of the Jeep 48Straight Series standings,
holding five of the six men's and women's podium spots toward the season-ending
championship. The final dual slalom event is set for October 24-25 in
San Luis Obispo, California, where Cody Warren and Melissa Buhl are expected
to defend their leads.
Atop the men's standings is US National Champion Warren who won the first
race of the season in New Jersey and finished fourth place in Utah at
round two. Tied for second behind him are 18-year racing veteran Eric
Carter, a former World Champion and three-time World Cup titlist, and
Czech Republic transplant Petr Hanak, a former NORBA series champion.
A number of exceptional American and foreign athletes would be happy
to break their way into contention, led by Greg Minnaar, who won in his
first-ever Jeep mountain bike competition in Utah. The South African has
earned an astounding 35 World Cup titles, a World Championship and two
World Cup Championships, yet he's just one of many outside contenders.
Other big gravity names expected to compete are Brian Lopes, Jared Rando,
Rich Houseman, Cam Zink, J.D. Swanguen, Cam McCaul, Kyle Strait, Duncan
Riffle, Chris Van Dine and snowboarder Shaun Palmer.
New to the world of Jeep gravity competitions will be Adam Craig. The
reigning US National Champion in cross country and super D will be testing
himself in the world of gravity racing after a season-long cross country
campaign that culminated at the Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
In the women's standings, reigning World Champion and US National Champion
Melissa Buhl earned a second place finish in New Jersey and a win in Utah
to earn the top spot. Despite her brilliance on the dirt, she holds only
a slim lead over former US National Champion Kathy Pruitt, who won in
New Jersey and placed third in Utah. Griffiths, thanks to her impressive
second place finish in Utah, rounds out the bunch, with US Open Champion
Lisa Myklak right on her heels.
Fionn Griffiths of Great Britain is the lone international athlete expected
in the overall mix, but no less than a half dozen of the world's elite
gravity racers have the opportunity to shake up the standings with an
upset in this cycling haven.
Local professionals and semi-pros will also have a chance to earn a spot
in the dual slalom by participating in the open qualifier on Friday, October
24. Finals happen on October 25, with a maximum of 75 men and 25 women.
For more information, visit www.Jeep48Straight.com.
UCI updates MTB regulations for 2009
The UCI Management Committee recently approved some new regulations governing
next year's off-road racing.
World Cup riders will continue to require 20 UCI points in order to participate,
except for those in the junior cross country races. Those same junior
riders will compete as part of national teams and be required to wear
national team clothing.
The rules clearly dictate details like who must attend the World Cup
award ceremonies for each category, start orders and numbering for various
disciplines and what kind of clothing gravity riders must wear during
training and in competition. Specifically, the UCI has banned the wearing
of skin suits for downhill and 4X racing and required a full face helmet
to be worn not only in competition, but also in training.
The UCI is also soliciting team registrations, which much be received
by February 1, 2009. Complete rosters must be finalized by February 15
for each registered team.
A full listing of 2009 season regulations will be published on the UCI
website in December.
New film to highlight Irish downhillers
Ever wonder what it's like to be a downhill mountain biker in Ireland?
Sharon Kennedy and Andy Yoong from Northern Ireland Production Company
Honcho Designs, have teamed up on a film project with 10 of the best Irish
downhill riders including National Champion Colin Ross, Masters world
silver medallist Meave Baxter, and Irish pro Ben Reid.
The new movie, Break the Cycle, aims to give insight into the
lives of the riders while also showcasing Irish landscapes. It will capture
the extent to which the downhill riders' lives revolve around their bikes.
By shooting them at the places they ride, train, work and live, the film
will look into how these riders have used their bikes to "break the
cycle" of everyday life.
For more information, visit www.breakthecyclefilm.com.
IMBA looking for next World Summit host
IMBA is requesting proposals to host the 2010 World Summit. Its biennial
summits attract mountain bike enthusiasts, companies and land managing
agencies from North America and around the globe. The most recent edition
was held in Park City, Utah, in June although others have been held in
locales such as Moab, Utah, Whistler, British Columbia and Park City,
Requirements for hosting are A major airport within 1.5 hours of driving
time; trail access within a short distance of conference facilities and
lodging; a main conference center, capable of handling at least 500 people
in one room for keynotes and plenary sessions, as well as seven concurrent
sessions of 100 people or more; a variety of conveniently located lodging
options, such as hotels, rental houses and dormitories; access to an "outdoor
classroom" appropriate for teaching trailbuilding techniques; and
a strong local organization that would be willing to act as a local host
and fundraising partner.
Dates are flexible to accommodate good weather in the selected locale.
Interested hosts should complete IMBA's online survey by December 1. For
additional information, contact Events Manager Patti Bonnet at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Swiss Power Cup signs new title sponsor
Organizers of the Swiss Power Cup have secured its future with the involvement
of a new main sponsor, Athleticum. The two parties signed a three-year
agreement, with an extension option, on Thursday. In 2009, the Swiss Power
Cup will go by the new name Racer Bike Cup, after "Racer" an
exclusive brand of Athleticum bikes. Athleticum is already known in mountain
biking as major team's title sponsor.
USA Cycling Calendars wrapping up this weekend
USA Cycling will conclude two of its three annual calendars this weekend.
The final Ultra-Endurance event will be the National Mountain Bike Oktoberfest,
an eight-hour race in Davidson, North Carolina, on October 25. For more
information, visit www.nationalmtboktoberfest.org.
The cross country calendar will conclude with the Piney Hills Fall Classic,
a stage race in Ruston, Louisiana, on October 25-26. See www.DLTmultisport.com
for more information.
Planning for 2009 with Cyclingnews' MTB Calendar
Cyclingnews has been hard at work on the Mountain Bike Calendar
for the upcoming 2009 season. Our calendar is as usual a work in progress,
but check out the dates of major UCI and other international events here.
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing Limited 2008)