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MTB news & racing round-up for August 8, 2007

Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking. Feel free to send feedback, news, & releases to mtb@cyclingnews.com and results, reports & photos to cyclingnews@cyclingnews.com.

Edited by Sue George

Scorching Wilderness 101 leads to three course records

By Zayne Braun

Jeremiah Bishop (Trek Volkswagen)
Photo ©: Chris Scott
(Click for larger image)

Hot weather conditions in the week prior to the Wilderness 101 resulted in a fast, dry, technical course, and racers took advantage of these conditions on the single loop course to set three course records in round five of the National Ultra Endurance Series (NUE) held in State College, Pennsylvania.

Jeremiah Bishop (Trek/Volkswagon), Harlan Price (Independent Fabrication), Tinker Juarez (Cannondale), Josh Tostado (Giant/Smith/Dakine/Redbull/Michelin), Sam Koerber (Pro Bikes), Brandon Draugelis (Bear Naked/Cannondale), and Shawn Adams (October Research/Lake Effect) battled for the top podium spot as part of an elite group that escaped in the first 20 miles (32.2km) and never looked back. Chris Eatough (Trek / VW) was expected to race, but changed his mind after not recovering fully from winning the US 24 hour solo championships the previous weekend.

Bishop and Price eventually escaped the rest. "This was a really tough race due to the caliber of riders present, and especially daunting knowing that Bishop was here," said Price, last year's winner of the Wilderness 101. "I knew I had good legs and felt Bishop and I were working pretty well together. I would move to the front of the group on the long climbs and set a hard tempo. When it got quiet, I figured that it was fast enough."

Bishop, who won the pro cross country at the NMBS last weekend in Sugar Mountain, North Carolina, and Price continued to push each other and extend their lead, until a minor mechanical caused Price to drop off the pace about 20 miles to the finish. "I just couldn't close the gap," said Price. "I kept him in sight after that, but when we hit the railbed I could see him getting smaller and smaller in the distance."

Betsy Shogren (WV F29er/Cannondale)
Photo ©: Chris Scott
(Click for larger image)

Bishop's attack launched him to the win and the course record in a time of six hours 52 minutes, beating the old course record of 6 hours 59 minutes set by Chris Eatough in 2005. Price crossed the line second five minutes back, with the second fastest course time. Rounding out the podium were Juarez, Draugelis, and Koerber.

Price's second moved him into second place overall ahead of Shawn Adams (October Research / Lake Effect) while Eatough retains his series lead. Wes Schempf (Visit PA.com) set the singlespeed record in 7:49:32.

Betsy Shogren (WV F29er/Cannondale) rode away with the win, but not until after a prolonged battle with Trish Stevenson (Pro Bikes). "I thought I got rid of her several times, but every time I looked back there she was," Shogren said of Stevenson. "Finally, I guess I was able to make one stick. I still was constantly looking back, but fortunately I didn't see her again."

Shogren's winning time of eight hours and 35 minutes set another course record. Rounding out the top five were Carey Lowery (Outdoor Store), Erica Tieszen (Giant/Smith/Dakine/Redbull/Michelin), and Michelle Schneider (VisitPA.com). Lowery leapfrogged over Musto into the women's series lead, while Tieszen jumped seven places into third.

The series will conclude at the Shenandoah Mountain 100 in Virginia on the first weekend in September, but the next stop is the Endurance 100 in Utah on August 25.

For full coverage of the Wilderness 101, click here.

Defending champions Prokop and Kintner continue streak at Jeep KOM opener

Michal Prokop
Photo ©: Jeep KOM
(Click for larger image)

Michal Prokop of the Czech Republic, and Jill Kintner of the US, both two-time defending champions in the Jeep King of the Mountain Series, continued their winning streak by earning titles at this year's first event of the three-race series in Park City, Utah.

The competitors were battling for a share of the record US$100,000 prize purse and the keys to a new 2008 Jeep Liberty. Points will be accrued throughout the series to determine the series champion.

In the men's competition, Prokop, the Czech Republic BMX and mountain bike national champion with multiple world cup podiums in 2007, battled it out with Australia's Jared Graves, a 2006 world cup titlist, two-time NMBS Champion and Australian national champion.

Jill Kintner
Photo ©: Jeep KOM
(Click for larger image)

In the championship heat, Graves shocked Prokop with a flawless run, just crossing the finish line ahead of the defending champion. In the second race, however, Prokop displayed his brilliance and charged hard to make up the time differential and grab the title. Eric Carter edged out Cody Warren in the consolation heat to capture third place in the standings.

In the women's competition, Kintner, with two world cup wins and an NMBS title in hand, came out of the gates on fire and would end up matched up against Melissa Buhl, the recently crowned US National Champion and former NMBS champion. Kinter won over Buhl with Annette Beerten holding on for third and an injured Tara Llanes in fourth. The crowed saluted Llanes' effort with a standing ovation.

For full coverage of the Jeep KOM #1, click here. The series heads next to the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, California, on Saturday, August 18.

Canberra makes plans for 2008 World Cup round

Canberra Off Road Cyclists (CORC) President Anthony Burton and ACT Minister for Tourism Sport and Recreation Andrew Barr
Photo ©: Apis Consulting
(Click for larger image)

Earlier this year, Canberra was selected to host the 2009 UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships, and just a few weeks ago, Canberra found out it also won a bid to host a round of the 2008 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup on August 30-31.

Both events will be held at the new purpose-built Stromlo Forest Park, which features courses designed by renowned international course designer expert Glen Jacobs. The one stop- shop sporting facility has internationally-accredited mountain bike tracks including a downhill track, 4X facility, a permanent trials home, and over 60km of cross country trails with plans for more in the future. The park caters for all levels of riders from beginners to mountain bike experts.

Spread across 1,000 hectares and located 10 minutes by vehicle from the heart of Canberra, the AUS$7.5 million multi-use, purpose-built park was constructed following the 2003 Canberra bushfires that destroyed Mount Stromlo Forest. The World Cup will be held in conjunction with a festival, displays, and typically Australian attractions.

The timing is perfect to showcase new Olympic champions as they finish off their competitive season. "For the 10 days post the Olympic Games in Beijing Canberra, Australia will be the focus of world cycling. To add to the excitement of the World Cup round spectators will be treated to the thrill of seeing Olympic gold medallists in action" said President of Canberra Off Road Cyclists (CORC) President, Anthony Burton. The Olympic Games are scheduled for August 20-21, 2008.

CORC has joined forces with Apis Events to host both events. Their joint venture company is MTB World Events.

"Australia has a proven track record of hosting world class events and we are confident Canberra will deliver an outstanding World Cup," said Graham Fredericks, CEO of Cycling Australia. "Canberra's Stromlo Forest Park is a fabulous venue and we applaud the initiative of the ACT government and its support of the sport."

The 2008 World Cup at Stromlo Forest Park will be a crucial dress rehearsal for the 2009 UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships, but city officials are excited about how the event will showcase the area to the world which may attract other top sporting events. The World Cup will serve as round eight for the cross country series and round six for the downhill series.

ACT Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation Andrew Barr said, "Bringing the world cup to Canberra will lead to more people around Australia and the world recognising what we have here in Canberra, a world class city with world class facilities."

Great Britain MTB Worlds team selection stirs controversy

Four time British national cross country champion
Photo ©: Jenny Copnall
(Click for larger image)

The announcement of Great Britain's line-up for the World Championships on home turf in Fort William, Scotland, September 3-9 stirred controversy within the British mountain biking community. Notably missing from the list of cross country riders were any elite women.

The list of team members did come with the caveat that more selections could be added following results of last weekend's Swiss Cup cross country round, the 4X national championships, and the national downhill series, but as the home nation, Great Britain is allowed to field up to seven elite women in Fort William, and none were on the initial list.

The consequence of not fielding any elite women for the cross country could be lost spots for Britain at the Olympics in Beijing, a move that could affect existing top and emerging young talent.

One rider upset by the team selection was four-time (and current) national champion Jenny Copnall, who issued a lengthy statement in response to her omission.

"British Cycling has released their selection for the World Mountain Bike Championships, due to be held in the UK for the first time ever in September. Having won the British Championship for the fourth time last weekend, I was certain that I had earned my right to represent the nation at our home World Champs...," said Copnall in a statement.

"I have been the top British finisher in practically every World Cup event that I have raced in the past five years. I am a seasoned professional and have represented my sponsors and country impeccably throughout my 15 year career. I am a well known and respected racer and deserve the right to represent my country once again this September. By failing to send their finest racers to the World Championships British Cycling are also preventing us from gaining Britain a women's place at the Olympics in Beijing. This affects experienced and developing racers alike and is a complete travesty," finished the statement, in which she pointed out that all the other British National champions would have the chance to represent Britain at Worlds.

British Cycling did not respond to Cyclingnews' request for comments. However, the organization indicated a change in its approach to the team selection after many members of the British mountain bike community complained.

In a press release dated August 3, British Cycling's Performance Director, Dave Brailsford, said, "We have listened to the many members who have got in touch with us over this issue, plus mountain bike race organisers and the trade. The groundswell of opinion from them was that the Fort William World Championships is a unique event, a unique opportunity to cheer on the leading home riders and that they would like to see a broader participation-based selection than our strict performance-based policy would allow."

British Cycling cited UK Sports strict performance goals for all lottery funded sports which link directly to their funding as an influencing factor in the team's selection. "Following negotiations with UK Sport, British Cycling's Performance Director, Dave Brailsford, has agreed a special one-off dispensation for British Cycling to select additional riders for this 'home' world championships," read the press release, which recognized the unique opportunity of a 'home' World Championships.

The team already announced (listed below) will not be affected; however, a special meeting of a sub-group of British Cycling's Mountain Bike Commission will take place this week with news about additional selections to follow. The federation has not provided any hint whether Copnall or other elite women will be added to the team.

Elite Men XC
Oli Beckingsale, Ian Wilkinson

U23 Men XC
Ian Bibby, Ross Creber

U23 Women XC
Amy Hunt

Junior Men XC
Hamish Creber, David Fletcher, Alex Paton

Junior Women XC
Annie Last, Annabel Simpson, Amy Thompson

Team to be announced pending confirmation from riders

Elite Men DH
Dan Atherton, Gee Atherton, Marc Beaumont, Neil Donaghue, Brendan Fairclough, Steve Peat, Dan Stanbridge

Elite Women DH
Rachel Atherton, Helen Gaskell, Fionn Griffiths, Tracy Moseley

Junior Men DH
Josh Bryceland, Ruaridh Cunningham, Sam Dale, Chris Hutchens, Scott Mears, Joe Smith

Junior Women DH
Katy Curd

Elite Men 4X
Dan Atherton, Gee Atherton, Scott Beaumont, Dale Holmes, Will Longden

Elite Women 4X
Joey Gough, Fionn Griffiths

Chris Boyes, Andrei Burton, Daniel Butler, Alastair Clarkson, Chris Doney, James Hyland, Wayne Mahomet, Lois Morgan, Joe Oakley, Robert Poyser, Ben Savage, Duncan Shaw, Ben Slinger, Scott Wilson

US announces worlds team nominations

Adam Craig (Giant)
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

USA Cycling announced 61 athletes nominated to represent the US at the upcoming 2007 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Fort William, Scotland, Sept. 3-9, where American cross country athletes will square off against fellow 2008 Olympic hopefuls from across the globe in the only Olympic discipline of off-road cycling. Seven men and eight women were nominated to the elite cross country squad.

Adam Craig (Giant) received the only automatic nomination to the men's team after winning the 2007 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships last month. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Gary Fisher), Todd Wells (GT-Hyundai) and Jeremiah Bishop (Trek-VW), were nominated via coaches' selection, and Michael Broderick (Kenda-Seven), Barry Wicks (Kona) and Carl Decker (Giant), received discretionary nominations.

On the women's side, Willow Koerber (Subaru-Gary Fisher) and Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven) were automatically nominated - Koerber by virtue of her two podium performances at UCI World Cup events this year in Switzerland and Canada and McConneloug as the National Champion. Heather Irmiger (Subaru-Gary Fisher) and Georgia Gould (Luna) were coaches' selections. Sue Haywood (/Trek-VW), Lea Davison (Trek-VW) and Shonny Vanlandingham (Luna) received discretionary nominations, but Vanlandingham and Haywood both declined their nominations and will be replaced by Kelli Emmett (Giant).

In the gravity events, Cole Bangert (Morewood-Utopia), Duncan Riffle (Honda-Iron Horse), Luke Strobel (Maxxis), Gerritt Beytagh (Morewood), T.J. Sharp (Yeti-Fox), Chris Van Dine (Cannondale The Cut) and Christopher Herndon (Specialized-Cane Creek) received nominations to the elite men's downhill team.

Kathy Pruitt (Jamis), Melissa Buhl (KHS), Lisa Myklak (Leelikesbikes.com), Amelia Colosurdo (Bear Naked-Cannonadale) and Darian Harvey (Durango Roughriders) all received nominations to the elite women's downhill squad.

Representing the United States in 4X competition will be Buhl, Jill Kintner (GT), Jessica Vogt (Dianese-Gamut-Fox), Tara Llanes (Giant) and Neven Steinmetz (TM Totally Wired) for the women, while Brian Lopes (GT), Ross Milan (Yeti-Fox), Eric Carter (Mongoose), Tommy Tokarczyk (Jamis) and Jeremiah Work (Bicycle Sport Shop) will represent the men's 4X contingent. Rich Houseman (Yeti-Fox) received a discretionary selection, but declined his nomination

Elite Men XC
Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, Todd Wells, Jeremiah Bishop, Michael Broderick, Barry Wicks, Adam Craig, Carl Decker

Elite Women XC
Willow Koerber, Heather Irmiger, Mary McConneloug, Georgia Gould, Sue Haywood*, Lea Davison, Kelli Emmett, Shonny Vanlandingham*

U23 Men XC
Sam Schultz, Colin Cares, Tad Elliott, Mitchell Peterson, Sam Jurekovic

U23 Women XC
Chloe Forsman, Caitlyn Tuel

Junior Men XC
Ethan Gilmour, Gregory Carpenter, Stephen Ettinger, Chris Peterson, Tristan Cowie

Junior Women XC
Stephanie White, Amy Cox

Elite Men DH
Cole Bangert, Duncan Riffle, Luke Strobel, Gerritt Beytagh, T.J. Sharp, Chris Van Dine, Christopher Herndon

Elite Women DH
Kathy Pruitt, Melissa Buhl, Lisa Myklak, Amelia Colosurdo, Darian Harvey

unior Men DH
JD Swanguen, Logan Binggeli, Brad Oien, Tim Price, Tyler McCaul

Junior Women DH
Chrissie Pinney

Elite Men 4X
Brian Lopes, Ross Milan, Eric Carter, Rich Houseman*, Tommy Tokarczyk, Jeremiah Work

Elite Women 4X
Jill Kintner (Seattle, Wash.), Melissa Buhl (Chandler, Ariz.), Jessica Vogt (Boulder, Colo.), Tara Llanes (Los Alamitos, Calif.), Neven Steinmetz (Boulder, Colo.)

Observed Trials
Cameron Kowall, Neil Wiley, Brian Yezierski, Dave Campbell

* Declined nomination

Nat Ross diary: 24 hour nationals not getting easier

Nat Ross (Subaru / Gary Fisher)
Photo ©: Mark Cole
(Click for larger image)

Solo Race #34 for Nat Ross is in the books. One would think that the more you do--the easier they get. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

I knew going into the race this year that it was going to be extremely tough. It was my second 24 hour race of the summer, but my first race against Chris Eatough since last year's National Championships. Although the field was stacked with the best endurance racers in the nation, I figured that Chris, last year's champion, was the man to beat. If you have not seen the movie by Gripped Films called 24 Solo, then you should! Do yourself a favor and check out www.grippedfilms.com.

If you've watched it then, you know why Chris consistently wins races. One major key to his fitness this year was winning the BC Bike Race. His preparation for nationals included a six-day mountain bike stage race in Canada. I, too, did a stage race before this event. It was RAAM-Race Across America, where our four-man team (Beaver Creek-Catlin) defended our title.

Nat Ross (Subaru / Gary Fisher) runs with his bike
Photo ©: Mark Cole
(Click for larger image)

For the second year in a row, the USA Cycling 24 hour national championship was in Wausau, Wisconsin, located just up the road from the offices of Gary Fisher. Earlier in the week, I stopped by the mothership to pick up my new carbon 29' hardtail appropriately named "SuperFly" for the event. I spent the better part of an afternoon dialing in the new race bike. I worked on configuring my saddle fore/aft, saddle angle, and height as well as my effective body extension. I am super anal when it comes to my race bikes. They are all set up with identical saddle characteristics so that every time I hop on to a different bike, my legs can't tell the difference. I have used the WobbleNaught fit for the past four years. Lately, I even started doing fits in Golden, Colorado, out of the www.ProBikeCenter.com.

As a key part of my preparation for the race, I survey the course and find locations on the course to feed, attack, ease up, and conserve energy. It pays to know the course inside and out. Typically, I pre-ride one lap on the course two days before the race, however this year I pre-rode two laps full-throttle two days before as well as one lap around the course the day before. On race day, I arrived at the venue three hours before the start to make sure that everything was dialed. I was ready for the throw-down that was about to take place.

To read the complete diary entry, click here.

NPS Round 3 to Moelfre

This weekend sees round three of the Chain Reaction Cycles British Downhill Series at Moelfre near Oswestry in Shrewsbury on August 11-12.

The Moelfre track is one of Great Britain's best tracks for spectating as it is on an open hillside with no trees which means the riders are visible for most parts of the course. A super-fast rolling track with many high speed corners and fast straights will see speeds of 40 mph (64.4 km/h) plus achieved. Add the dangerous off camber sections where the riders will be fighting to stay online and beat the clock and the other competitors. Seeding is scheduled for Saturday, with finals for Sunday.

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