Home Cyclingnews TV   News  Tech   Features   Road   MTB   BMX   Cyclo-cross   Track    Photos    Fitness    Letters   Search   Forum  

Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Giro finale
Photo ©: Bettini

 MTB index page for all MTB content

MTB news & racing round-up for April 13, 2008

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

Barel starts new downhill team

Fabien Barel (France) earned second at the 2007 World Championship Downhill
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

After arriving at a crossroads in his career, double World Champion (2004 and 2005) and last year's runner-up Fabien Barel decided to establish his own downhill team with the goal of continuing his career on his own terms and selecting the people he needs to help him perform best.

The four-time French National Champion and 2005 European champion said he will put no pressure on his hand-picked young riders to perform in 2008, but he still expects their talent will carry them through to top 10 finishes at the World Cup level. Barel, himself, will focus on regaining the rainbow jersey and staying injury-free.

The former Kona rider had the idea for a team since 2001, but the opportunity to execute it did not arrive until he partnered with Subaru France, which committed to a three-year contract to help develop young, French riders like Florent Payet and Damien Spagnolo.

Payet, 22 years-old, finished eighth at the 2007 World Championships. The Reunion Island native is now studying on the French mainland (Montpellier). His background of motorcycle trials has given him a smooth style. In 2008, he will work on his physical condition and preparation skills.

Spagnolo finished 19th at the 2007 World Championships and resides in Saint de Maurienne, Savoie. Third at the 2007 French National Championships, he will work on improving his skill for dealing with pressure this season.

The team was officially presented on March 29-30 at the French ski resort of Roubion. Paul Walton will serve as team manager and be supported by mechanic Christain Tabart.

Cape Epic shopping list impresses

The peloton at the Cape Epic
Photo ©: Sven Martin
(Click for larger image)

To manage a nine-day international stage race like the recently completed Cape Epic takes an incredible amount of planning, including a lengthy pre-race shopping expedition.

The race involves over 140 event registered vehicles, including two superlink taunt-liners, three superlink hardbodies, four superlink flat-beds, two foodgrade tankers for single source water transport (34,000 litres), six transport vehicles, seven refrigerated vehicles, five sprinters, 20 kombis, 10 ATV's, and 24 motorbikes, amongst others.

On a daily basis, approximately 225 tons of goods are transported, including 1,700 chairs, 170 tables, 2,400 tents, 1,400 mattresses, 22,000 square meters of marquees, 700m of fencing, the start/finish set-up, 33 individual luxury showers, 125 portable flush toilets, 500,000 litres of liquids (including 100,00 litres of purified drinking water).

In terms of food, 13,500 muffins were consumed, as well as 27,000 pastries, 3,500 loafs of bread, 79,800 fresh fruit, 2,100 kg pasta, 3,800kg of rice, potatoes and other starches, 1,400 kg of cereals, 21,200 portions of butter, 18,000 juice packs and 11,000 litres of milk.

Trek / VW Cape Epic Diary: The bigger picture

All strung out, two by two
Photo ©: Sven Martin
(Click for larger image)

It's been six days now since the Cape Epic stage race wrapped up in Cape Town, South Africa. I've heard from the riders and staff that they are finally back home, lost luggage has been reclaimed, and they are gradually adjusting to normal life. It's fair to say that everyone is flat out exhausted and happy to be done.

Shortly after the finish of the final stage, I got the happy report that Chris [Eatough] and Jeremiah [Bishop] were eighth on the final stage, and Sue [Haywood] and Jenny [Smith] were second. Each team solidified its hold on their overall positions. From a racing standpoint, things went as well as we could have hoped. I think the level on the men's side was higher even than we anticipated, and Chris especially was stunned by the level of the World Cup riders in attendance. On the women's side, we put up the best fight we could and made a great race out of it. Two stage wins plus the prologue is really good!

Plus, from a team and brand perspective, we gained a great deal of exposure. Interviews and TV on Eurosport, photos in London Times, plus all the endemic cycling press covering the race. While I personally was in the US working the first two NMBS events, it seemed like EVERY DAY people were coming up to me and asking how our team was doing in the Cape. I think it's fair to say that the eyes of the mountain bike world were focused on the Cape Epic as a class-leading global event. It's good for our team to participate at that level when we can.

In chatting with riders and staff, it's interesting to hear more about the race and the effort required. Chris for one said that he's confident that the training benefit will persist through the whole season. Jeremiah is likely to be on par with his World Cup competitors, going into the first three rounds of the World Cup. On the other hand, the staff is just flat out exhausted. Steve our mechanic said that he's never worked so hard in his life, and he's a really hard worker! I'm glad that our first-year soigneur Laura hasn't quit yet ...

Read the complete diary entry or see Cyclingnews' full coverage of the Cape Epic.

Gispert assumes Spanish series lead for ECP-TAU Cerámica

Marti Gispert (ECP-TAU Ceramica)
Photo ©: Eduard Aguilera
(Click for larger image)

At the Spanish Cup round two held last Sunday in Sant Gregori, Girona, Spain, the ECP-TAU Cerámica team assumed overall leadership of the series after a strong performance by Martí Gispert, who finished second behind Juan Pedro Trujillo (Cemelorca-Seguros10.Com).

The week previous at the Swisspower Cup in Buchs, Gispert didn't fare so well, but he wanted to show his form was heading in the right direction. At Sant Gregori, he managed to keep the pace with the fastest riders and went to the front for the final two laps. It was not enough to win the race, but he finished second and jumped into the leadership role for the national series.

"I didn't have a good start. It took me some kilometers to get the pace and it was already late to close the gap that Trujillo had over me," said Gispert. "But, as kilometers went by, I started feeling better and my legs started to work. Alejandro Díaz [De La Peña López (C.C.Tierra De Barros-Specialized)] and myself could leave the rest of the riders and tried to catch Trujillo, but it was not possible. I was able to open a gap in one of the downhill sections of the last lap and arrive alone to the finish line."

"I am happy to be leading the series, but also happy for the sensation I have had in the second part of the race."

One Gispert's team-mates struggled in the Spanish race, but still ended up fifth. On the final lap, Marc Trayter suffered a problem with his eye. "I don't know what happened but I lost the vision in one of my eyes. I was a little bit worried, as I got surgery a couple of years ago. But it seems that luckily it has nothing to do with that."

Margarita Fullana Riera (Massi-Illes Balears) won the women's race ahead of Anna Villar Argente (Massi) and Ruth Moll Marques (Toscaf BH Suntour).

See Cyclingnews' full coverage of Open de España - Maxxis Cup round two.

Gunn-Rita diary: First off-road race

Gunn-Rita next to the support vehicle
Photo ©: Kenneth and Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjå
(Click for larger image)

My first confrontation with rough terrain this year was very demanding. A few slips and falls, plus cramping in fingers and lower arms, really gave me an authentic sensation of being back in my element. Fantastic to be on the go again!

My first mountain bike race of the year took place yesterday [Sunday, April 6 - ed.] and it was a fantastic experience in more ways than one. My nerves were already playing up the evening before, with a touch of loose stomach and butterflies, and not quite as many hours of sleep as usual. So it was a terribly nervous and excited Gunn-Rita eating her breakfast on Sunday morning. In other words, nothing out of the norm!

Marlene Sunshine Race is part of the Italian Cup and this year was the eighth year it was being run. The race has a high number of international riders, both men and women, and includes a very tough race track, both up and down. Long and steep climbs and technically demanding, steep descents. An exciting and fun track to race on for the well-trained and experienced mountain biker.

The only riders from Multivan Merida Biking Team taking part at Nals were Robert Gebauer and myself, with our mechanic Marco. (The rest of the team had taken part in a mountain bike race in Switzerland the day before.) We also received good support from the Italian Merida team which has a good number of riders and an excellent support team (in addition to their super-cool RV - see the pictures). They're a friendly bunch, one big family, and it's good fun being together with them.

I sat on the rollers warming up before the race at the Merida Italy stand and got to do my normal routine as always. I had a good feeling before starting the race and was totally euphoric about getting to race again. My goal for the day was to keep up with the riders at the front for as long as possible, and work on specific points through the race.

Read the complete diary entry.

Kobold Watch Company & Cannondale co-sponsor team

Cannondale teamed up with another Pennsylvania-based company, Kobold Watch Company, to sponsor for 2008 the mountain bike team formerly known as the Rover/Cannondale Team in 2006 and 2007.

The team, directed by Charles Stanley, will be focusing on National series, Southeast regional and North Carolina events as well as hitting up some 12 and 24 hour races. The team boasts its strongest roster to date, with Travis Livermon and Alex Ryan, two of the top U23 riders in the US. Both are targeting a spot on the U23 worlds team.

Kobold Watch Company / Cannondale for 2008: Andy Applegate, Ross Bowden, Daniel Corum, Aaron Hoag, Travis Livermon, Alex Ryan, Charles Stanley.

Steamboat Springs race shortens format

Instead of a full 24 hours, The Rio Stampede will offer racers the chance to compete for 6 or 12 hours solo or as part of a team at the Steamboat Ski area in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, on June 7.

Now in its fifth year, the new format replaces the established Rio 24 hours of Steamboat. "We are looking for ways to get more people involved," said veteran event promoter Katie Lindquist. "We believe the format change will attract a great field of competitors creating an experience to be remembered."

"The only change from the 24 hour race is the clock," said co-director Brad Cusenbary. Racer will compete on a course with legendary climbs and aspen-lined singletrack. For more information, visit www.rockypeakproductions.com

Endurance racers to descend on Alice Springs

The Anaconda Mountain Bike Enduro is set to run seven stages over five days in and around Alice Springs from May 18-23. Stages will range in length from a 45 second sprint up Anzac Hill in town to a 90km trek from Ross River Station back to Alice Springs.

Formally known as "The Bullroarer" and then "The Bullrider", the event has now changed its name one last time to be the Anaconda MTB Enduro after outdoor retailer Anaconda signed a three year naming rights agreement to sponsor the event.

"We've tried to include a lot of diversity in the riding" said race director John Jacoby, "and are very happy with the tracks the locals have put forward and appreciative of the assistance they have given us. There will be some epic lengths of flowing single track broken up with plenty of flowing 4WD tracks all set within the majestic MacDonnell ranges. In two words, I think the racing will be 'fast and fun' so once you're locked into the terrain the competitors will really enjoy the riding that follows."

The event boasts 200 riders already signed up from all over Australian and New Zealand. Among them is three-time Australian cross country champion and previous winner Chris Jongewaard from South Australia. As recent winner of the Lowan Otway Odyssey Mountain Bike Marathon in Victoria, he is the race favourite. Expected to challenge for victory are 2006 winner and Commonwealth Games representative Matthew Fleming; and national representatives Shaun Lewis , Aiden Lefmann, Tim Bennett and James Williamson.

Anaconda Adventure Race winner Deanna Blegg, Queensland mountain biking specialist Naomi Hansen and 2006 runner up Kimberley Fleming are all expected to push for a spot on the podium in the women's event.

For more information, visit www.anacondamtbenduro.com.

Rocky Mountain Bicycles goes on US tour

Rocky Mountain Bicycles is going on the road for its first official US Demo Tour which will visit events like the MTBR Spring Fling, Sea Otter, Fruita Fat Tires Festival, Downieville, and Crankworx Colorado as well as local trailheads and independent bike shops throughout the Western US. Look out for a Dodge Sprinter full of bikes and driven by driver / mechanic Thane Hall.

Rocky Mountain organized the Tour in response to demand from customers, shops and reps. "We firmly believe that this is the best marketing approach in today’s competitive market," said John Olden, Rocky Mountain Bicycles US Sales Manager. For more information, visit www.RockyDemoTour.com.

Registration opens for US 24 Hour Mountain Bike Nationals

For the third consecutive year, the USA Cycling National Championships in the 24 hour discipline will be held in conjunction with Wausau, Wisconsin's 24 hours of Nine Mile race on August 2-3.

This year's race will mark the 10th edition of the 24-9. In addition to the six national championship categories, twenty non-national championship categories will be contested by the more than 1,000 mountain bikers. These include team and solo events in the 12-hour and 24-hour categories.

Organizers announced that registration has opened. To get more information, register or volunteer, visit www.24-9.com.

Record entries for No Fuss endurance series

With less than two months to go until 10 Under The Ben, the first event in the Scottish Three Tens Series of endurance cross country events, Fort William-based No Fuss Events said it expected record entries.

"We are delighted to announce that over 800 people had registered for the 2008 Three Tens Series so far. This is a 10% rise on 2007 figures at this stage," said Frazer Coupland of No Fuss Events. "We are optimistic that this year's 10 Under The Ben will attract in excess of 800 riders with Kirroughtree and Moray expected to top 500 riders."

The three events – 10 Under The Ben, 10 More In Moray and 10 At Kirroughtree – are run with participants riding for ten hours solo or in relay teams of two, three or four.

In its fourth year, the 10 Under The Ben, the original 10-hour mountain bike festival of fun and the flagship of the series, will be staged on May 31, a week before the worlds best riders take on some of the same trails in Fort William at the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.

The course will run on trails within Forestry Commission Scotland's Leanachan Forest just outside Fort William. Incorporating sections of the UCI World Championships cross country course, the route will include some sections of singletrack and fire roads, together with some new natural sections, all in the shadow of the north face of Ben Nevis, the UK's highest mountain.

Three Tens Series for 2008
May 31: Under the Ben, Fort William
July 12: 10 at Kirroughtree, Newton Stewart, Dumfries and Galloway
August 23: 10 More in Moray, Fochabers

For more information, visit www.nofussevents.co.uk.

Collective's Seasons film to premiere in Boston

In celebration of Bike Week, The Cycle Loft will be hosting the Boston-area premiere of Seasons, the new mountain bike film by the Collective, at the Regent Theatre in Arlington Center on Thursday, May 15 at 7:00 pm.

Seasons follows seven of the world's top mountain bikers through the four seasons of one year. The film explores what it means to be a full time rider as told through the lives of downhill racers, slopestyle competitors, and big mountain freeriders. It stars mountain bike greats - Thomas Vanderham, Matt Hunter, Andrew Shandro, Steve Peat, Steve Smith, Cam McCaul, and Darren Berrecloth. The premiere will benefit the New England Mountain Bike Association and World Bicycle Relief.

For more information or tickets, visit www.regenttheatre.com.

NorCal League hosts new race

The NorCal High School Mountain Bike Racing League will host a new event on Sunday, April 27 at the newly opened Lynch Canyon Park (near Vallejo) in California. The hill climb time trial will meander up a 2.5 mile course, first on fireroad and then finishing on singletrack that includes oak knolls and a rock garden. From the top, finishers will be able to see (if it's a clear day) Mt. Diablo, Mt. Tam and the Sierras. Proceeds will benefit the NorCal High School Mountain Bike Racing League. Come test your fitness against some of the League's best riders.

Twelve categories are being offered including High School Boys/Girls, Varsity Boys/Girls, Open Men, Open Women, Masters 35+ Men/Women, Masters 55+ Men/Women, and First Race Ever. For more information and/or to register, visit www.norcalmtb.org

Previous News     Next News

(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing Limited 2008)