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Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

MTB news & racing round-up for February 8, 2006

Edited by Steve Medcroft, Jeff Jones & John Stevenson

Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in MTB and Cyclo-cross. Feel free to send feedback, news and gossip to

Cannondale-Maxxis-SRAM 2006 team launch

By Mikkeli Godfree,

The Cannondale-Maxxis-SRAM lads:
Photo ©: Mikkeli Godfree
(Click for larger image)

The Australian domestic cross-country racing scene has seen many changes in the past couple of years, including the introduction of a professionally-run series of events and a highly competitive National Series. With this, events have seen an increase in brand representation from a wide range of companies. The increase in the number of semi-pro race teams has been a positive step in contributing to the growth of the local racing scene, and with companies like Cannondale leading the trend, the attendance numbers at races has steadily grown.

Cannondale launched its cross-country race team at the beginning of 2005 with the intention of assisting its athletes in their goals and objectives as well as to gain more brand recognition at events ranging from local through to international levels. Exceeding all expectations, the Cannondale-Maxxis team managed to secure two national titles in both XC and Enduro 24hr disciplines, several podium places at national series level. As a result, the Cannondale-Maxxis team has become one of the most recognised teams in the country.

For 2006, the Cannondale-Maxxis-SRAM XC-race team has formed a strong contingent of riders representing in the junior, U23 and the elite ranks, covering NSW and Victoria. With all 2005 members back on board and the addition of a young fast junior, Cannondale hopes that its team can continue to grow the brand's market awareness, and promote a fun, yet professional racing team outfit.

The 2006 roster includes - 2005 junior national champion Lachlan Norris (VIC), solo 24hr National Champion and all-round madman Craig Gordon (NSW), multiple national team/podium place getter Aiden Lefmann (NSW), U23 enduro/XC specialist Hamish Elliot (NSW), 2005 U19 runner up Garry Millburn, and Junior speed-demon Glenn Stewart (NSW).

An impressive list of sponsors for 2006 round out a very professionally-presented race team, and they include: SRAM, Maxxis, Avid, Cateye, Park, Finishline, Giro, Scud, Crank brothers and Enervit food products.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Mikkeli Godfree/

Aaron Chase breaks leg at X-Games Aspen

Aaron Chase
Photo ©: Cannondale
(Click for larger image)

While vacationing from mountain biking at the winter X-Games stop in Aspen, Colorado, Cannondale freerider Aaron Chase suffered a broken leg in a Snowboard accident.

"Apparently he was riding trees at Aspen Highlands, caught an edge on a cat-track and slid into a tree, breaking his femur," says Kara Chase. "He underwent a successful surgery immediately where he received a titanium rod and screws."

"I usually prefer riding hardware as opposed to wearing it," said Aaron, whose spirits were up, not surprisingly, and already giving the nurses and doctors a hard time.

Chase has already undergone two sessions of physical therapy and is already walking upstairs with crutches. Doctors expect a full recovery within eight weeks, after which he'll be doing some light riding.

Cannondale signs Chris Van Dine

Chris van Dine
Photo ©: Cannondale
(Click for larger image)

Cannondale announced the signing of Downhiller Chris Van Dine this week. Known for being the first rider to stick a barrel roll, Van Dine placed 2nd in the U.S. National Championships last year and was the top North American at the '04 World Championships.

Starting in 2006 he will be joining a new team of Cannondale riders that appears to be stocking talent on a weekly basis: Mick Hannah, Carlo Dieckmann, Wayne Goss and long-time Cannondale veteran Aaron Chase. Don Hampton of DH productions, who also helps manage Cannondale's freeride team said, "CVD is one of those rare guys that is both 'jack and master of all trades' when it comes to the sport."

When asked what influences his riding style the most? "I get a lot of influence from my snowboard brethren and a little from Bruce Lee," said Van Dine with a grin.

Van Dine is also sponsored by FOX Suspension, G3, Bolle, Troy Lee Designs, Ogio, FSA, Lake Shoes, e.13, AtomLab, Crank Brothers, 661, SportLegs, Cytomax, Maxxis, SRAM and Mavic.

Plenty of action at home; the Gunn-Rita Dahle diary

It was a cold and uncomfortable transition, coming home to a Norwegian winter after three weeks on Lanzarote. Even so, we've had full days both inside and outside since we came home, and naturally with a somewhat different focus from that which is usual for a heavy period of concerted training.

Sunday evening has arrived here at home and we're enjoying a quiet break in our little house at Tjensvoll. We've had a visit from our manager, Roar, to go through a few things before we leave the country again. There are many things to organise, deal with, talk about and plan before these next weeks start. We're leaving for Mallorca this coming Thursday, and we won't be back on Norwegian soil again before April 12.

Our final week on Lanzarote at Club La Santa went as planned regarding training, and our legs were good and stiff as expected when we left for Norway. We had a direct flight from Lanzarote via Bergen to Stavanger. I jumped off in Bergen to take part in a promo stint for Coop for a few days, and I also had an interesting day in Gothenburg at the bike-expo "On 2 Wheels" where I got to know more members of our Merida family in our neighbouring country amongst Swedish bike-fans.

Here at home I've been involved in various fashion work and meetings, a lot of exercise, many hours in my office, and a little haircut at FrisørSenteret at Bryne. I feel very privileged to have my own hairdresser who takes care of me every time I'm home for a spell. We've even been out to eat at a restaurant in Stavanger together with friends.

Read the entire Gunn-Rita Dahle diary here.

Whistler expands Crankworx schedule

The third annual Crankworx Mountain Bike Festival, one of the world's largest freeriding events, is set to go off July 22 – 30 in Whistler this summer. Expanding to nine days of serious excitement both on and off the hill, the festival will be bigger and better then ever with a lineup of freeride events and Canada Cup cross-country and downhill races.

"The who's who of mountain biking will be here in July," says Rob McSkimming, VP of Business Development at Whistler Blackcomb. "Four more days were added to the festival in response to the talented riders who demand more each year from the Park and the competitions we host."

Events and competitions at this year's Crankworx include everything from the Slopestyle Expression Sessions to the classic Air Downhill. "We are really excited to feature a Canada Cup cross country and downhill race on opening weekend," continues McSkimming. "The Whistler Super D, a hybrid of all the best cross country and downhill racing has to offer, will also be added to the festival line-up."

The third annual Crankworx, July 22-30, 2006, is presented in partnership by Tourism Whistler, Whistler Blackcomb and the Resort Municipality of Whistler.

Australia's Working Week Series in third year

Lithgow, NSW, Australia this weekend hosts the opening round of the third Working Week Series of eight-hour mountain bike races. The five-race series (forty hours of racing, hence the name) has a new title sponsor this year in component company Racetech, and organiser Stu Plant is promising lots of the sponsor's goodies as prizes, plus a Cannondale F400 will be up for grabs at every round.

The Working Week Series has been an integral part of the growth of participation/endurance racing in New South Wales. Back in early 2004 the first event attracted about 200 riders, but by the middle of 2005 over 450 turned up for the event at the famously fun Killingworth course near Newcastle.

Operational difficulties meant the on-line entry system for this years series was a little late opening, but it's now possible to enter online at

The dates and venues for the series are:

Round 1: Lithgow, February 12, 2006
Round 2: Southern Highlands, March 19, 2006
Round 3: Newcastle, June 4, 2006
Round 4: Yarramundi, July 2, 2006
Round 5: Canberra, August 6, 2006

Aussie MTB Nationals to be featured on TV

Crews from the weekly television program Cycling Central were on hand at the Mount Beauty and Thredbo Aussie National Championship races, and will feature the events in an upcoming one-hour championships special; scheduled for February 19 at 11am (on SBS). Also, their regular show about all things cycling screens at 5.30pm Sunday evening.

The television program Totally Wild (on Australia's channel 10) will also have a feature segment about National's on February 21 at 4pm. The Totally Wild crew catch up with James Maltman and Erica Oldfield, both rising stars in DH and XC respectively, and find out about youth and mountain biking. And if you didn't already know, Totally Wild is a half hour lively and informative program featuring stories on sport and recreation, animals, wildlife and the environment largely directed to youth.

Please support them by viewing and perhaps send them a thank you email: SBS - or Totally Wild -

USA Cycling partners with SponsorHouse

USA Cycling and SponsorHouse have announced a newly formed strategic partnership: SponsorHouse, an on online community where athletes and teams can go to connect with sponsors, promote themselves, and communicate with others, will be offering all new and renewing USAC members a free online profile and discounted services. This profile will appear on both and

Since 2001, more than 225,000 sponsorship deals have been made at the online community. "For our members to have the ability to build a personal profile and then actively seek and be exposed to potential sponsorship is of tremendous value," commented USA Cycling CEO, Gerard Bisceglia. "Whether just beginning in this sport or at the highest level, the act of soliciting and obtaining sponsorship can be a lot of work. SponsorHouse has streamlined the process making the sponsorship connection easier and more effective."

All new and renewing 2006 USAC members can expect to receive communication from SponsorHouse and USAC detailing steps on how to get started.

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