MTB news & racing round-up for February 11, 2009
Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking.
Feel free to send feedback, news, & releases to firstname.lastname@example.org
and results, reports & photos to email@example.com.
Edited by Sue George
US 24-Hour national championships get a new host
By Sue George
The Moab landscape
Photo ©: Drew & Garrett Geer
The US 24-Hour National Championships has found a new home. For
2009, Granny Gear Productions will host the nationals in conjunction with its 24 Hours of Moab
on October 10-11 in Moab, Utah. Schedule and logistical conflicts forced the change in venue according to USA Cycling.
"It gives us the kind of course that will sort out a national champion.
Moab's course has an ideal mix of both technical and high speed sections," said Granny Gear Productions' Laird Knight to Cyclingnews.
"It's definitely a fitness course, but it's also a course where you have
to have good technical skills to make a good lap time. That's something
I've always tried to do since I put on my first mountain bike race in
1993. To me, mountain biking is not just putting your nose to the bar
and pedalling as hard as you can," said Knight.
"The response that I've had has been 100% positive. People are really
excited about it," said Knight of his company's plans for the popular Moab event.
The 24 Hours of Moab, which attracts more than 4,000 racers, support
members and spectators, will double as the finale in Granny Gear's National
Points Series (NPS). The Granny Gear-organized series, reduced in scope
for 2009, will kick off with the 24 Hours of Big Bear in West Virginia
on June 13-14 and then head to the 24 Hours of Nine Mile in Wisconsin
on July 25-26.
Granny Gear Productions will also host next year's USA Cycling 24-hour
National Championships, but it will move to another venue the 24
Hours of Big Bear on June 12-13, 2010.
"Our West Virginia venue represents the roots of 24-hour racing
and for the first time the 24-Hour National Championships will be held
at an East-coast venue," said Knight. "Just as the Moab course
represents the quintessential western course, Big Bear represents the
ultimate east-coast course with mile after mile of wooded singletrack,
moss-covered rock gardens, birch and hickory forests and beautiful mountain
laurel just be coming into bloom."
Granny Gear recently bought the 24 Hours of Nine Mile, which hosted the
2007and 2008 24-Hour National Championship in Wisconsin. The company will be bidding
to host it again at Nine Mile in 2011.
The 2009 Championships had been previously scheduled for Payson and then
The national championship competition in Moab will be open to American
riders only. The 24-Hours of Moab event, however, will offer more than 20
divisions open to various age groups, skill, levels, team sizes and nationalities.
Australian mountain bike clubs race for fire relief
Mountain bike clubs in the fire-ravaged
Australian state of Victoria have banded together to run a fund-raising
race day on Sunday, February 15 at the You Yangs Mountain Bike Park. All
entry fees and donations from the six-hour enduro and Super D downhill
will go to the Bush Fire Relief Fund.
In the last several days uncontrollable bushfires have destroyed entire
towns in Victoria, leaving over 180 dead, 750 homes razed and causing
thousands to be evacuated. The affected areas include some of Victoria's
best riding and the Victorian mountain bike community has strong links
with the people who live in the region.
A round of the Hard Day At The Office eight-hour series was scheduled
for this weekend, but has been cancelled because of fire damage to the
Eildon venue. The fund-raiser replaces that race and is a chance for riders
to "give back to all the communities who have helped us run races," says
Jodie Clausen of the Geelong Mountain bike Club.
As well as the Geelong club, the fund-raising race is being promoted
by Victoria's Fat Tyre Flyers, Rocky Riders, Bendigo Mountain Bike Club,
Team Mount Beauty, Beechworth Chain Gang, Dirt Riders and Club Mud.
For more information and entry details, see the
Big Hill Events website.
Shoe problems pose an extra challenge for Stander in Mankele
Burry Stander crosses the finish
line at Mankele to secure his second consecutive win
Photo ©: MTN National Series
Not even an unexpected head-start helped his rivals as Burry Stander
(Mr Price Specialized) overcame an unusual early setback to claim his
second major win of 2009 at the second round of the MTN National Cup cross-country
race held at Mankele in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa on Saturday.
The 2008 Under 23 World Cup champion, who convincingly won round one
in Stellenbosch last month, broke the cleat on his left shoe when he hit
a rock on the first of six laps. He rode the remainder of the lap with
the damaged shoe and had to borrow a pair of shoes for the second lap.
By the time he reached the Tech Zone for the start of his third lap, his
spare shoes had been located and he was able to tackle the second half
of the race without incident.
The setback saw Stander rejoin the race in seventh place, but by the
end of lap four, he was already back in the lead with a 45-second advantage
over his rivals and went on to clock a winning time of two hours and 18
Second place went to current South African national cross-country champion
Brandon Stewart with Max Knox (both DCM Chrome) rounding out the podium
Vicky Phillips on her way to victory
Photo ©: MTN National Series
"I usually have my spare shoes in the Tech Zone, but had forgotten
them today. Luckily one of the women who had just finished racing had
Specialized shoes with Crank Brothers cleats so I rode a lap with her
shoes to limit my losses while my dad rushed off to fetch my spare shoes,"
In the women's race, Stellenbosch winner Sara Muhl (Jeep) captured her
second consecutive victory ahead of Under 23 rider, Heletjie van Staden
(Schwinn) with Janneke Laesk taking third place. One of the pre-race favourites,
Tania Raats (Bell Equipment) suffered mechanical problems when her rear
derailleur broke, forcing her out of the race after just one lap.
Andrew Neethling (Trek) and Vicky Phillips (Fox) won the downhill. Neethling
was the favorite going into the race, but Phillips saw the door open after
the winner of round one, Rika Olivier, crashed in a practice session and
had to sit out the racing action.
Round three of the MTN National Cup Series will take place in George
on March 14-15, and it will double as the national championships.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the second
round of the MTN National Cup.
Sharratt and Hamer win in Timaru
Brendon Sharratt and Cathy Hamer took top honors at round two of the
New Zealand South Island Cup cross country in Timaru last weekend.
Sharratt put up a strong fight as the lead swapped several times throughout
the race. Brad Tilby placed second, stepping up to the podium after his
fourth place last week. After leading early on, Ash Hough faded slightly
to finish third, keeping a fast-finishing Oliver Whalley at bay in fourth.
In the elite women's race, Cathy Hamer looked assertive from the start,
taking a commanding lead early in the race. Erin Greene raced to second
while Karen Collins placed third.
Young Anton Cooper, aged 14, proved that the previous week's performance
of fifth overall was no coincidence, again crossing the finish line alongside
the elite men. Cooper placed first in the Under 17 Men category and an
astounding seventh overall.
Cooper races with Team PushBikes led by Richard Allin - PushBikes has
two bike shops in Canterbury and supports promising local riders. The
shop takes riders around the cross country race series, providing maintenance,
coaching and covering costs. "It gives these up and coming riders
a chance to excel, and it's great fun," said Allin.
The third and final round in the NZCT South Island Cross Country Cup
will be held on Coronet Peak in Queenstown next weekend.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the second
round of the South Island Cross Country Cup in Timaru.
Olympic champion Spitz confirmed for Sunshine Cup
A rider checks out the new course
Photo ©: Bikin' Cyprus
Olympic champion Sabine Spitz confirmed her participation in Cyprus Sunshine
Cup. The German will lead a contingent of riders from nations such as
Sweden, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. Spitz traditionally uses the Mediterranean
island as a place for early-season preparations. Last year, she won two
races as she readied for her eventual gold medal ride in Beijing, China,
at the Olympic Games.
"We are used to having Sabine Spitz in our competitions, but we
are not used to having the Olympic champion," said Sunshine Cup organizer
Michalis Hadjioannou. "This puts us on a higher level. Spitz will
race at least two races of the Sunshine Cup series."
She will be joined at the races by fellow German Olympian Adelheid Morath
and Junior World Championship runner-up Barbara Benkó.
The German national team will again visit Cyprus as in previous years,
and joining the already confirmed Karl Platt and Stefan Sahm at the races
will be top riders from several countries: Tim Böhme, Thomas Dietsch,
German U23 champion Andy Eyring, Christoph Bischof, Marco Pirrazoli, Alexander
Wetterhall and Karl Markt.
Stewart cleared to race
Brandon Stewart will be able to
defend his national elite men's cross country title
Photo ©: Gary Perkin
National champion Brandown Stewart has been cleared to race by the South
Africa Mountain Bike (SA-MTB), a division of Cycling South Africa, following
an incident between Stewart and Kevin Evans.
Stewart, the South African national cross-country champion and Evans,
the South African national marathon champion, became involved in a heated
on-the-bike incident during the MTN
National Marathon Series race in Barberton last month.
As a result, Evans, who races for the MTN Energade team, crashed during
the race and then later lodged a complaint against Stewart, who races
for the DCM Chrome team.
Stewart finished the race third with Evans in fourth. Stewart was subsequently
disqualified from the race results and risked being given a lengthy suspension
for bringing the sport into disrepute following post race comments made
to media about the incident.
However, SA-MTB, under the chairmanship of Mike Bradley, made a decision
calling for a public apology from Stewart and suspending his three-month
sentence. Stewart can continue racing on a probationary status for the
next three months, which will enable him to compete in, among other events,
the South African cross-country championships and the Cape Epic stage
"What happened with Kevin was a racing incident which is usually
the kind of thing that gets left behind once the race is over," said
Stewart. "I reacted aggressively to a dangerous move made by Kevin.
However, I now realise that it wasn't the right thing to do and apologise
to Kevin and everyone else involved for my behaviour both during the race
Evans and Stewart were teammates in 2007, pairing up to win the high
profile Subaru Sani2C stage race and then finishing seventh overall at
that year's Cape Epic. They also became the first South Africans ever
to win a stage at the TransAlp, Europe's most prestigious mountain bike
stage race, where they finished third overall.
Coenen diagnosed with serious health problem
Team Saeco's Davy Coenen is suffering from a serious health condition.
Coenen was diagnosed with a brain tumor after seeking medical attention
for a continuous headache. A biopsy was performed, with results pending.
"There are three possible outcomes," said Ben Van Woinsel to
MTB-live.com. "One, the tumor is benign and surgery is not
needed, or it's not benign but surgery is needed to avoid pressure on
the brain. Or in worst case scenario, the tumor is malignant. However,
the tumor is discovered in an early stage so there is a good chance of
The team promised continued support its Belgian rider no matter what
Chilean team wins TransAndes Challenge
A Chilean team including Javier Puschel and Carlos Cardemil (Scott que
Pacho?) captured overall victory at the first TransAndes Challenge. Puschel
and Cardemil won all six stages en route to the overall victory. Second
place overall went to Team Cikla-Specialized's Daniel Espinoza and Galo
Tamayo from Ecuador. The Fratelli team from Argentina, including Federico
Mallo and Francisco Pérez, finished third overall.
Sixteen teams of racers from Argentina, Canada, South Africa, Mexico,
Ecuador, and Germany travelled 480km over six days near Pucon in Southern
"It was a succesful race; we are focusing on Transandeschallenge
2010 edition," said race director Juan Pablo Santiagos. Next year's
event will take place again in February.
See Cyclingnews' full coverage of the TransAndes
Wildhaber wins Urge Kenya downhill
Rene Wildhaber was the fastest man at the Downhill Mount Kenya, run on
February 9. After three days travelling up the African mountain, the race
started at an altitude of 4,850 meters for a 24km run.
Wildhaber finished in 1:17:53, ahead of former World Champion Nicolas
Vouilloz (1:24:08) and organizer Fabien Barrel (1:26:30). It was Vouilloz's
first race after a one-year break while Barel was competing with a shoulder
injury sustained during a recent photo shoot.
Marathon Challenge Offenburg nearly sold out
The World Class Marathon in Offenburg,
Photo ©: Scheiderbauer Sports
With 1,400 of the available 1,600 starting spots reserved for the World
Class Mountain Bike Marathon Challenge in Offenburg on May 16-17, registration
is almost full. Racers will have the option of 84km, 63km, 48km and 32km
For more information, visit www.womc.de
(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing Limited 2009)