MTB news & racing round-up for June 5, 2009
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Edited by Sue George
Felt ends team sponsorship
Emil Lindgren (Felt International Team) sprinted to a win for Team Felt earlier this spring in Cyprus
Felt GmbH ended its sponsorship, effective immediately, of the Felt International Mountain Bike Team, which is owned and operated by AB ProCycling and managed by Dr. Antonio Brozzu. Felt cited "recent financial problems between AB ProCycling and the team" which "left riders only partially paid and the program in operational distress."
Photo ©: Jan Nemec
"We regret this early cancellation, but under the circumstances it was unavoidable. Once it was clear that AB ProCycling had stopped contributing to the team, every attempt was made between Felt and other industry sponsors to salvage the program and make up the difference," said Michael Muellmann, CEO of Felt. "However, despite our best efforts we simply could not make it happen. We wish all of the team members the very best for the future."
The Felt team most recently included the following riders: Joel Graf, Blaza Klemencic, Kashi Leuchs, Emil Lindgren, Connor McConvey, Daniele Mensi and Juri Ragnoli.
World Cups draw many thousands
Ever wonder how many people come out and watch the UCI World Cups? Wonder no more... the UCI released the following numbers of spectators at each of this year's World Cups:
Photo ©: Gary Perkin
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa (XC/DH/4X): 17,000
Offenburg, Germany (XC): 16,000
Houffalize, Belgium (XC/4X): 20,000
La Bresse, France (DH/4X): 22,000
Vallnord, Andorra (DH/4X): 10,000 Madrid, Spain: 12,000
Massanutten hosting next eastern US Cup
By Sue George in Harrisonburg
Racers didn't waste any time getting to singletrack in last year's HooHa!
The Massanutten HooHa! in McGaheysville, Virginia, will serve as stop number three on the US Cup's Eastern series this weekend. The race is in its 21st year and will offer a super D on Saturday, June 6 and regular-length and double-length cross country options on Sunday, June 7.
Photo ©: Ian McAlexander
Local pro racer Jeremiah Bishop (MonaVie/Cannondale) is the favorite in the men's cross country race. "It's cool that this race is part of the Kenda Cup East. It's a longstanding classic mid-Atlantic event," said Bishop to Cyclingnews.
Bishop, the current US national short track and marathon champion, is anticipating a field featuring the top East Coast pros including racers like Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication), Jeff Schalk and Chris Eatough (Trek Co-op) and perhaps also Sam Koerber (Gary Fisher 29er crew).
On the women's side, retired pro Sue Haywood, also a local, will be dusting off her racing shoes and returning to competition in the women's XXC field. Kristy Lanier is also expected to race.
The pros and experts will race two 12.5-mile laps. The new lap features a brand new one-mile uphill, singletrack section of trail built by the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition's mountain bikers.
"It's a rather technical singletrack climb that is 100% ride-able and replaces about a mile of tough fireroad that's always hot and in the sun," said Thomas Jenkins, who worked on the new trail and course development. "The club has put 1,600 hours of volunteer time into the trail since it began construction in March 2008."
The new trail takes racers up to the famous Kaylor's Knob section of the course, a very rocky, mountain laurel-lined ridge-top trail.
The race doubles as the fourth stop of the eight-race Team IMBA series. Thanks to SRAM and GT Bicycles, a select group of racers for local-IMBA affiliated clubs will raise money for both IMBA and their local club.
Sport-level cross country racers will tackle one 12.5-mile lap and beginners will get to compete on their own 9.5-mile, abbreviated lap. Double cross country racers will do 34 miles including the 12.5-mile lap and a section of the George Washington National Forest.
The race is also serving as stop number four in the GT Golden Bike series.
Racer Bikes cup heads to Granichen
Florian Vogel and Nino Schurter are two men to watch this weekend
Round four of the Racer Bikes Cup will head to Gränichen, Switzerland, this weekend. As a member of the organizing club, Swiss National Champion Florian Vogel is one of the favorites - he'll be looking for a win at his home race. The women will be keeping their eye on Sabine Spitz, who won last year's event.
Photo ©: Scott-Swisspower MTB-Racing
Racers will compete on a 5.5km course on the Moortal territory. In recent years, the course has seen few changes, but it features singletrack, steep climbs, fast descents and technical sections.
Vogel's competition will come primarily from his compatriots such as Olympic medallist Nino Schurter won the Solothurn round, last year's third-place finisher Lukas Flückiger, and last year's series winner Martin Gujan. Others on hand will include Fabian Giger, Mathias Flückiger, Marco Arnold, Patrick Gallati and Alexandre Moos. Giuseppe Lamastra will be making the journey from Italy.
Petra Henzi and Swiss champion Kathrin Leumann will do their best to upset Spitz in the women's race, and Marielle Saner-Guinchard and Hanna Klein, Caroline Mani will also head to Swizterland for the race.
In the junior race, local Matthias Stirnemann, the son of junior national coach Beat Stirnemann, was just beaten last year by Matthias Rupp, who this year is racing in the amateurs and masters class.
Meet ten former mountain bikers who've switched to the road
By Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor
What do Floyd Landis, Amber Neben, Jakob Fuglsang and Cadel Evans have in common? They all used to be mountain bike racers. Find out about them and others who have made the switch from singletrack to pavement. Cyclingnews' Sue George looks at some of cycling's most famous former mountain bikers and what they've been up to on the road.
Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto
The 32-year-old Cadel Evans may be the best-known mountain-biker-turned-road-racer. Evans has drawn plenty of attention in the road world with a second place at the 2007 and 2008 Tours de France. He also won the UCI's ProTour competition in 2007. The Australian is again one of the favorites going into this summer's Tour de France.
Photo ©: AFP
In 1995, Evans won bronze in the junior World Championship cross country mountain bike race and also in the junior World Championship time trial. The next year, he finished ninth at the Olympic Games in Atlanta, which hosted the first-ever Olympic mountain bike race. In 1997 and 1999, he finished second at the World Championships in the Under 23 category.
Evans used to race pro as a mountain biker for Volvo-Cannondale. In 1998 and 1999, he won the overall mountain bike World Cup. He was also seventh at the Olympic Games in 2000.
He now races on the road for Silence-Lotto, but he's previously been contracted by Saeco, Mapei, Team Telekom and Davitamon-Lotto.
Since moving to the road, Evans has won stages in races such as Paris-Nice, Ruta del Sol, Coppi e Bartali, Tour de Romandie and the Tour of Austria. At the Olympic Games in Beijing last year, he finished fifth in the time trial and 16th in the road race.
Jakob Fuglsang (Den) Team Saxo Bank
Jakob Fuglsang spent three years as a pro mountain biker for Cannondale Vredestein. He started riding with friends at age 12 and in 1998, he competed in his first mountain bike race. By 2002, he'd made the selection for the Danish national team as a first-year junior.
Photo ©: Rob Jones
After a few years of bad luck at the World Championships, Fuglsang became the Under 23 World Champion in 2007.
In 2008, the Olympic Games did not go as he hoped, and his prospects were starting to look good on the road.
Fuglsang started training on the road to help his mountain biking. In 2006, he began a three-year part-time stint with Team Designa Kokken. In 2007, he turned a few heads with a seventh at the Tour of Denmark and a third at the GP Tell. Plus he raced the road World Championships. He's also won stages at the Cape Epic mountain bike race.
In 2008, he won the Tour of Denmark and did two races as a stagiare with Team CSC – Saxo Bank. In total that year, he logged 18 days of road racing and when the offer came from Saxo Bank to become full time with Bjarne Riis' team, Fuglsang said "yes".
"I'm happy to leave (mountain biking) now, but I still have scores to settle. I'd like to be the senior World Champion, but I can't see that happening in the next two years, so it's time to move on. On the road there is a new challenge for me," said Fuglsang in a Cyclingnews' interview at the end of 2008.
So far in 2009, Fuglsang, in his first of a two-year contract, has raced Paris-Nice, Vuelta a Pais Vasco and Volta a Catalunya.
Read the complete feature.
Schurter goes long
Marathoners beware. There's a new potential competitor out there to test the favorites. In his first competition lasting over six hours, Swiss Nino Schurter won the Transvesubienne, a classic event with 3,000m of climbing and 4,500m of descending in France. The race was part of the Mega Avalanche series.
It drew some top riders including Olympic champion Julien Absalon. However, Schurter crossed the line for the win in six hours and 12 minutes. Teammate Francoise Bailly finished second within two minutes, Vincent Julliot was third, and Absalon finished 48 minutes later, in eighth place.
Despite his win, Schurter said not to worry, he is not going to change disciplines. "Marathon racing is way too tough," he said.
Geoff Kabush diary: Reflections on the spring campaign
Geoff Kabush got his official World Cup accreditation
Photo ©: Geoff Kabush
The first stretch of World Cup racing mayhem is in the books. I have travelled far and wide and my body is still asking me what the hell am I doing. After the smashing the first US ProXCT race in Fontana, I headed to South Africa, Belgium, Germany, Belgium, back to US, weekend in Madrid, and now I am just got back from a weekend in Alabama.
Going to South Africa was a strange experience. It was a weird combination of other places I have visited; a bit of Cuba, Mexico, and Australia all rolled into one. I set a personal best for longest single flight with a 16-hr pull Dulles-Johannessburg on the way there; I wasn't too thrilled about that. Another new experience was at our B&B where I had a crazy monkey trying to scratch through my ceiling while I slept. I also got to go out on a game reserve after the race and saw some giraffes, rhinos, hippos, etc. I did not, however, go very fast in the race which made the long trip seem like a bit of a blow-out. It does sound like I might get to go back again next year for another World Cup. Maybe I will try for an upgrade on the flight over.
Locals check out the downhill finish.
Photo ©: Geoff Kabush
I was very glad to have a weekend off before Germany, and I went to hang out with my good friend Gab to recuperate in Gent, Belgium. He cheered me up on arrival with a most elusive and highly rated Westvleteren beer. During my stay in Gent I finally got a win on the weekend Schelde Canal "training" ride, did one of two sweet rides out in the Flemish Ardennes, and also had some awesome traditional beer stew made by Gab's girlfriend Sylvie...mmmm beer and stew. A poor showing at the Irish Pub trivia night couldn't even dampen my spirits after a fun week hanging out.
My most memorable event in Gent however happened during a training ride on the canal. I was cruising down the canal, minding my own business, when I passed a "fruit booter" in full spandex going the opposite direction. As I was thinking about the big wheels he had on his "fruit boots" I heard the unmistakable "whoosh, whoosh" and the said "fruit booter" was jumping on my draft. He didn't say anything; just thought I would be a good candidate to motor-pace him. So mildly annoyed I had a "fruit booter" on my wheel, I sped up and tried to put him in the gutter...subtly. This however didn't work and even worse, as people stared, he decided to come out of my draft every once in a while to do an effort. He decided I was his buddy and after a painful 10km of silence with the "fruit booter" he decided his work was done. Glad I could be of service.
Read complete diary entry.
Gravity East Speedweek starts at WISP
Gravity East's Southern Speedweek begins this weekend, June 5-7, with the Chumba Racing Capital Cup at Maryland's Wisp Resort. The weekend is highlighted by the second round of the 2009 Gravity East Downhill Series and the opening stop of the Gravity East e.thirteen Dual Slalom Series. In combination with the following weekend's Gravity East downhill at nearby Seven Springs Resort, gravity riders from throughout North America will have the opportunity to race and train for six days in just a ten day span, including three competitive downhill runs and the season's first dual slalom, as well as pre-race practice runs and a bonus post-race practice day at Wisp on Monday June 8 following the race.
In a departure from the normal downhill program, the Chumba Capital Cup will be run as a combined-time event as racers tackle two different courses over two days, plus a dual slalom, for over US$10,000 in cash and prizes.
"We'll have practice all day on Friday. Then on Saturday, we'll start with dual slalom qualifying before moving up the big hill for the first downhill," said Race promoter Mike Hartlove of The Racer's Edge. "After the downhill we'll have the dual eliminations and a party, though I'm not sure there's much of a distinction between the two, before moving on to the post-race party at Mountain State Brewing Company. Then on Sunday, we'll have the second downhill on a different course. The winner of the Chumba Capital Cup will have the best combined total time from the two downhill runs."
For more information, visit www.RacersEdgeOnline.com.
Race Face supports Dirt Series Scholarships with custom crank auction
Race Face is auctioning customized cranks as a fundraiser for the Dirt Series Scholarship Program. The company will be auctioning off six sets of Atlas FR cranks in rainbow colors on eBay - two at a time throughout the summer. The winner of each auction will have the back pocket of the left crank arm custom laser etched with the message of his or her choice.
The scholarships which benefit from the auction go to Dirt Series camp attendees who can't afford the entry fees. Dirt Series is hosting 17 camps this year, including five co-ed events from Southern California to Alberta.
Each new auction will be announced on the Race Face and Dirt Series websites. First up are the Rum Red and Agent Orange Atlas FR Cranks. Bidding opened May 29 and closes June 6.
For more information, visit www.raceface.com.
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