MTB news & racing round-up for March 23, 2007
Welcome to our regular roundup of what's happening in mountain biking.
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Edited by Sue George
UCI points game explained
The Elite Men's field takes off.
Photo ©: MTB World Cup
Go to almost any elite mountain bike race and you will hear talk of the
Olympics and UCI Points. The points chase to get to Beijing in 2008 is
on. Look for racers to go to great lengths to travel far and often to
satisfy the quest to accumulate the valuable points.
A recent example is Canada sending only its top elite men to the Continental
Championships in Argentina to collect needed points to boost its standings.
The team accomplished its mission perfectly--taking one-two in the elite
men's race. On the other hand, Canada's women's team has generally faired
better in the rankings lately, so they were spared the time and expense
of traveling to the southern hemisphere.
Although the Olympics aren't until next year, 2007 is an important year
for every nation with an internationally-focused mountain bike program.
Throughout the season, top racers will compete for points for their respective
countries. On December 31, 2007, the countries will be awarded start positions
for the 2008 Games based on the official nations' rankings per the UCI.
For men, each country may earn up to one, two, or three starting positions;
but for women, only one or two slots are available.
Nations ranked in the top five can send a maximum of three men to the
Games, while a top-four ranking in the women's standings results in the
maximum of two starts. A nation's final ranking will be determined by
a combination of 2006 and 2007 rankings.
Then the important competition will shift to filling those hard-earned
spots within each team. While riders from each country may work together
to secure points in the interest of having more possible spots open to
them, look for competition between them, too. Although each country has
a different procedure, many are using those same UCI points as an important
factor in selecting individual racers for their Olympic team.
Canada and US lead UCI rankings
While on the subject of rankings, the UCI Mountain Bike cross country
rankings were released on March 20, 2007. Thanks in large part to strong
performances at the recent Pan
American Continental Championships, Canada and the US now lead the
men's and women's rankings respectively while Italian Jader Zoli sits
30 and 80 points ahead of Canadians Geoff Kabush and Seamus McGrath.
For the women, American Georgia Gould leads compatriot Mary McConneloug
and Pole Maja Wloszczowska by 50 and 60 points respectively.
Men elite individual
1 Jader Zoli (Ita) 230 pts
2 Geoff Kabush (Can) 200
3 Seamus McGrath (Can) 150
4 Todd Wells (USA) 130
5 Tony Longo (Ita) 123
6 Max Plaxton (Can) 120
7 Roel Paulissen (Bel) 118
8 Chris Jongewaard (Aus) 110
9 Jaroslav Kulhavy (Cze) 110
10 John Jairo Botero Salazar (Col) 105
Men elite nations
1 Canada 470 pts
2 Italy 414
3 United States Of America 330
4 Australia 280
5 New Zealand 254
6 Brazil 250
7 Colombia 234
8 Argentina 171
9 Sweden 158
10 Costa Rica 143
Men elite teams
1 ASD KTM International Team 302 pts
2 Rocky Mountain Haywood 270
3 Subaru-Gary Fisher 240
4 Cannondale-Vredestein 222
5 Dolphin Bike Team 190
6 Macosta - Leecougan 170
7 Giant Mountain Bike Team 100
8 Team Etto Hoydahl 97
9 Orbea 95
10 Gewiss Bianchi 79
Women elite individual
1 Georgia Gould (USA) 200 pts
2 Mary Mc Conneloug (USA) 150
3 Maja Wloszczowska (Pol) 140
4 Anja Mcdonald (NZl) 131
5 Francisca Campos (Chi) 125
6 Sabine Spitz (Ger) 120
7 Chloe Forsman (USA) 120
8 Willow Koerber (USA) 120
9 Tory Thomas (Aus) 110
10 Brenda Clapp (NZl) 110
Women elite nations
1 United States Of America 470 pts
2 New Zealand 321
3 Chile 285
4 Australia 280
5 Brazil 230
6 Poland 224
7 Ecuador 180
8 Italy 177
9 Argentina 175
10 Germany 168
Women elite teams
1 Luna Womens Mtb Team 320 pts
2 Halls Professional Mtb Team 224
3 Subaru-Gary Fisher 220
4 Ghost International Racing Team 120
5 Ceska Sporitelna Mtb 105
6 Bh-Sr. Suntour 101
7 Beone Mountainbiketeam 90
8 Pintatim Full-Dynamix 80
9 Tonis Pro Team Kirchberg 70
10 Spiuk-Tau Ceramica 70
Cape Epic countdown
Christoph Sauser (Swizterland)
Photo ©: Mikkeli Godfree
The Cape Epic off road stage race will kick off its fourth edition this
weekend. Racers from 42 nations will contest the 886km course from Knysna
on Saturday, March 24 to Lourensford Wine Estate in Somerset West on March
31. They will compete in teams of two in one of four categories -- Men,
Ladies, Mixed, and Masters -- and will climb 15,045 meters. A new route
is designated every year.
This year's edition will see the participation of Olympic gold medallists,
world champions, and reigning UCI World Cup champions, in part because
this stage race awards UCI points and in part because of its timing, three
weeks before the first cross country World Cup. The pros can race, but
still squeeze in a rest period before the World Cup.
Every one of the previous six winners has entered again this year. Pros
Christoph Sauser, Ralph Naef, Bart Brentjens, Greg Minnaar and Thomas
Frischknecht will be competing. Sauser is back to defend his 2006 win.
Seventeen-time World Cup winner and Olympic medalist Thomas Frischknecht
will be partnering with mountain biking legend Tom Ritchey, founder of
Ritchey Logic. Frischknecht will not be competing to win, but is partnering
with Ritchey to promote Project Rwanda, Ritchey's own initiative which
is structured to benefit the coffee growers in Rwanda by providing them
with specially modified bikes for the transportation of their goods.
Bart Brentjens, the 2005 winner of the Absa Cape Epic, Olympic gold medalist
with four World Cup wins and the title of Overall World Cup Winner in
1994 will partner with fellow Dutch rider Rudy van Houts. Ralph Naef,
reigning UCI world marathon champion will ride with Spaniard and Multivan
Meridan teammate Jose Hermida.
An unexpected entry is Greg Minnaar, South Africa's own downhill star.
Minnaar will be competing in the Mixed classification with Hannele Steyn-Kotze,
one of South Africa's top female racers.
Cyclingnews' diarist Myriam
Saugy will also be competing. Stay tuned to Cyclingnews for
complete daily race updates and regular diary entries chronicling her
experience in the race.
Firecracker 50 designated US marathon national
USA Cycling has designated the Firecracker 50 on July 4 as the US National
Marathon Championships for 2007 and 2008. Entering its seventh year, the
Firecracker 50 will also host several other non-National Championship
mountain bike races for junior, beginner, sport, and expert divisions
for individuals and teams.
Competitors will ride two laps of a 25-mile loop and the event's neutral
start will once again be incorporated into the town's Fourth of July parade
on Main Street before venturing off road.
The marathon discipline will be held apart from the 2007-08 USA Cycling
Mountain Bike National Championships at Mount Snow Resort in Vermont due
to limited land access around the resort.
Marathon national titles will be awarded in the following categories:
Men Pro/Open 19+, 19-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-49 and 50+ and Women Pro/Open
19+, 19-29, 30-39, and 40+ categories.
Kona announces 2007 roster
Barel and Moseley start season with podium finishes
World Champion Fabien Barel (Kona
Photo ©: Rob Jones
Kona boosts its 2007 roster with the full-time addition of Wendy Simms.
The team hopes to build on last year's success which netted five national
championships and an overall world cup victory.
Simms makes the move full-time to the Kona factory team after splitting
time with Velo Bella-Kona. Last year, she took fourth in the cross country
at Sea Otter and 16th at two World Cups. For 2007, Simms will focus on
the NMBS races and select World Cups in hopes of boosting her chances
to attain a spot on the Canadian Olympic team roster for the 2008 games.
Two-time world champion and current French downhill champion Fabien Barel
will return to the team along with Tracy Moseley. Barel comes off an injury-plagued
2006, much of which was spent rehabbing a broken foot, but Moseley won
three World Cups and never finished off the podium on her way to the overall
World Cup victory in 2006. Along the way she took home a British National
Championship, too. Her focus this year is on winning the World Championship
title on what she considers her home track in Fort William, Scotland.
Both Barel and Moseley started off 2007 well with podium finishes at
the 2007 Maxxis Cup Round #1 in Gouveia, Portugal, even after both sustained
injuries during practice runs prior to competition. Moseley won the women's
semi-final round; likewise Barel did the same by beating Cedric Gracia
by two seconds. Moseley dropped to third in the final run, but Barel held
his advantage and took the win.
Current US Cross Country Champion Ryan Trebon leads the men's endurance
team. He also won the cyclo-cross national title, becoming the first rider
in over 20 years to hold both elite men's jerseys in the same year. When
not riding for Kona, Trebon will make guest rider appearances with the
Kodak Gallery-Sierra Nevada road team. Otherwise, he will focus his energy
on the North American NMBS series and defending his national titles. Barry
Wicks, reigning US National Short Track champion, will join Trebon on
the cross country circuit.
Other racers include Canadian Kris Sneddon, American Erik Tonkin, Canadian
U-23/Espoir National Champion Neal Kindree, and 4X'er Kamil Tatarkovic,
who finished third in last year's World Cup. The team will be managed
by Mark Peterson.
Rocky Mountain gravity team selected
Thomas Vanderham, aka "The Kid," has resigned for a seventh
year with Rocky Mountain. He joins Freeride star Wade Simmons, referred
to as "The Godfather," and Germany's Rob Jauch to form the 2007
Vanderham represented Canada at the Junior World Downhill championships
in 2002, and since then he's consistently placed in the top ten in all
major Freeride and Slopestyle Competitions. In 2006 he finished sixth
at Monster Park and seventh at Whistlers Crankworks competition,
after returning from a broken leg that kept him out of competition for
four months of the season. Some will know Vanderham from his roles in
the movies "New World Disorder" and "Roam."
A fixture at Rocky Mountain, Simmons has turned his attention and focus
to mentoring young riders and sharing his love for the sport while Jauch
has been stacking up the slopestyle results.
For 2007, the team also includes younger riders Slopestyle and Dirt Jumpers
Alex Pro and Kyle McDonald from Whistler, and two-time Junior Downhill
World Championship medal winner, Micayla Gatto.
MASS signs new title sponsor
The Mid-Atlantic Super Series (MASS) announced a new sponsor. DelmarvaJobs.Com
will assume a title sponsor role for what organizers call the "organizations
most ambitious season ever." The MASS is the biggest mountain bike
racing organization in the Eastern US, with no less than 20 days of racing
planned for 2007. The series covers Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, and
Pennsylvania -- a region roughly equivalent in size to the countries of
England and Scotland combined.
DelmarvaJobs.Com is an online interactive recruitment service based
in Delaware that matches employers and employees in what is effectively
a never-ending virtual job fair. They signed on as sponsor because "Our
'sphere of influence' meshes perfectly with MASS as we target the area
from Southeastern PA right down the peninsula to the Eastern Shore of
Maryland." They also cited the "well-targeted demographics and
family-friendly nature of bike racing" as other reasons.
The MASS actually consists of four series. They are listed below. For
a complete schedule, visit www.masuperseries.com.
DelmarvaJobs.Com Cross Country Super Series: a nine-race series
for traditional Olympic-Length mountain bike races.
The Hammer Nutrition Endurance Super Series: a six-race distance
series for racers who want more of the mountain-bike experience; this
series features single-lap marathons, multi-lap enduros and a 24 hour
Funk Remover Short Track Super Series: High speed races on short
The Cannondale Cup Teams Super Series: A season-long team omnium
that includes every race on the above three series plus a couple of special
"team only" events
Gunn-Rita diary: A satisfying start in Sardinia
Photo ©: Rob Jones
My first off-road race for this year was a brutal encounter with the
terrain here in Italy. A total of two punctures would suggest that I was
riding a little harder than necessary over the technical sections today.
I finally ended on a second place, which I feel is an acceptable opening
for the season.
Italian Annebella Atropparo won the race, seven minutes ahead of me.
She rode well and seemed very strong up the climbs. We struggled against
each other leaving the start, and rode together through the first round
after the opening loop. And then I punctured on the first descent, not
even ten minutes into the race! I quickly changed inner tubes, as I was
a long distance from the nearest technical assistance, but I was unable
to get the gas canister to work, so ended up having to run a fair distance
to get a new wheel anyway.
When I finally mounted my bike again, I had countless women ahead of
me, plus loads of junior male riders. Kenneth told me we might as well
consider this a good training session without lactic acid since the opening
had turned out as it did.
One by one I caught up with the other riders, but wasn't even considering
a podium finish before I had started the final lap and received word from
Kenneth that I was only one minute and 20 seconds behind the rider in
To read the complete diary entry, click
Saugy's Cape Epic diary: Packing up
That's it. I am on the move. All my gear is packed, and I am flying tomorrow.
Gosh, you can't imagine all you need to think of when you have to leave
for such a race. For Transalp, it was kind of easier as we travelled by
car to the race start so we had no weight restrictions. When you fly,
things are very different. The pressure will be on until I unpack my bike
and make sure that it's all in one piece.
To give you an idea here is a short list of what you would need to bring
for such a race:
The bike and all you need to keep it running for an eight day stage race.
For me, it includes two sets of tires (dry and mud), a spare chain, spare
break pads, a mini repair kit, tire sealer, etc.
To read the complete diary entry, click
East Coasters to host pair of races
East Coasters Bike Shops in Blacksburg and Roanoke, Virginia, announced
two races for 2007. The Dirty Dawg will kick off the season on Sunday,
April 1 at Mountain Lake Resort across some of the highest trails in the
East at over 4,000' of elevation. This brand new race brings back mountain
bike racing to a once popular-race venue.
On the other end of the season, the 19th Annual Rowdy Dawg race will
wrap up the year on October 21, 2007. It runs from the Pandapas Pond Recreation
Area in the Jefferson National Forest.
For more information, visit www.eastcoasters.com
(All rights reserved/Copyright Knapp Communications Pty Limited 2007)