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

Recently on Cyclingnews.com

Mont Ventoux
Photo ©: Sirotti

 MTB index page for all MTB content

MTB news & racing round-up for October 17, 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

Jurekovic signs with Sho-Air

By Sue George

Sam Jurekovic
Photo ©: Scott Tedro
(Click for larger image)

Up and coming American racer Sam Jurekovic has signed with Team Sho-Air for the 2009 season. The 22 year-old Jurekovic is making the move from USA Cycling's U23 Developmental Team. He will team up with his new team-mates Australian cross country star Sid Taberlay and endurance racer Manuel Prado.

"I'm really excited. I'm looking forward to riding and racing with Sid Taberlay. I think I can learn a lot from him," said Jurekovic, who resides in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he is studying English and working on teaching certificate full-time at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs.

"I hope to qualify for Olympics in 2012," said Jurekovic, who also enjoys studying history. "For 2009, I'd like to consistently be in the top five in the National Series Races. I want to support Sid as much as I can and help him get the best results he can. I'd also like to be on the podium at the US National Championships."

Jurekovic logged some strong results in 2008. Racing with more established elites, he finished fourth in the cross country race at the National Mountain Bike Series (NMBS) events in Fontana, California and Windham, New York. He also placed second at the Cactus Cup, where he got a chance to compete with World Champion Christoph Sauser.

"I didn't expect to be up there. It was a good way to finish off the season," said Jurekovic of his Cactus Cup experience.

Team Manager Scott Tedro was delighted with the signing of Jurkovic. "We feel he is the finest young talent for the future in the US." Tedro added that as Taberlay's protégé, Jurekovic would have the chance to learn when to be aggressive and when to protect his position.

Absalon reflects on 2008

Julien Absalon (France)
Photo ©: AFP
(Click for larger image)

2008 Olympic Games gold medal winner Julien Absalon took a look back at his successful 2008 season. In Beijing, China, the Frenchman earned his second-ever Olympic Gold medal; he also won in Athens, Greece, in 2004.

"Each medal is different. In Athens, I was the revelation, while Beijing marked the climax of my achievements," said Absalon. "Maybe getting to the top is easier than keeping your place there. In any case, they've been the two greatest accomplishments in my career."

"Beijing was my sweetest victory, but winning [a round of the World Cup] in Houffalize, [Belgium], before thousands of fans and onlookers, was just great. It's not easy to keep your place at the top. You have to be self-critical if you want to make headway; otherwise, your rivals might take the lead."

Although he was not able to defend his World Championship cross country title, Absalon won several World Cups and the overall title. His Orbea team, which also included Ixio Barandiarán and Joseba Arízaga, took the World Cup team competition, too.

Absalon wrapped up his final race of the 2008 season with the Roc d'Azur last weekend in southern France. Looking ahead to 2009, Absalon said he would set new goals, but he hadn't decided on them yet.

"Now I want to enjoy this moment," he said.

O'Grady brother bolsters Shimano Dream Team for Crocodile Trophy

Darren OGrady
Photo ©: John Flynn
Click for larger image

Adelaide's Darren O'Grady, a 2006 Crocodile Trophy stage winner, is busy packing his bags for Tropical North Queensland after being named as a last-minute inclusion in the Coopers - Shimano Dream Team for this year's race running from October 21 to 30.

O'Grady, a 39 year-old fencing contractor, made the most of an opportunity on a pancake-flat corrugated dirt road from Chillagoe to Mount Mulgrave in the 2006 Crocodile Trophy, when he set off on a triumphant breakaway move.

Looking at his chances in the coming weeks, O'Grady said, "There's a lot more competition, there'll be less opportunities this year. The Merida Flight Centre team will be gunning for it, and Craig Gordon [2006 24 Hours of Adrenalin World Champion] has indicated in no uncertain terms why he's coming."

Although a little "underdone" by his own standards going into the race, O'Grady knows from experience not to push too hard too early in the 1,300km contest spanning 10 days.

Perhaps he will draw some inspiration from his younger brother Stuart's 2007 Paris-Roubaix victory as he tackles Australia's answer to the cobblestones, the corrugations of the legendary "Battle Camp Road" between Laura and Cooktown.

"The road to Cooktown is just mind-bogglingly hard at the end of a race like that," O'Grady said. "I remember the last time we did that we were in the front group, basically just hunting for the finish line."

O'Grady will join forces with team leader Kai Hundertmarck, a double stage winner in 2005 and former pro road cyclist turned Ironman triathlete.

"Realistically, the Coopers - Shimano Dream Team is an outside chance for the overall, but we'll definitely be gunning for stage wins," said Team Manager Christie Valentine. "It's great to have Darren onboard with the team as he knows the race, is comfortable being in the outback and doesn't complain when the conditions conspire against us."

Last year's race was won by Italy's former World Cup Champion Mauro Bettin.

La Ruta draws roadies, too

There is always plenty of climbing at La Ruta
Photo ©: Rob Jones
(Click for larger image)

The La Ruta de los Conquistadores, an epic stage race, has traditionally draw some of mountain biking's top athletes to the wilds of Costa Rica. Now the well-known event is drawing some roadies, too.

Canadian, Svein Tuft, who won a silver medal the UCI Time Trial World Championships in Italy, will line up at the start on November 12 along with three time Vuelta a España winner Roberto Heras, who recently showed his mountain bike skills and won the Titan Desert in Morocco. The race runs four stages through November 15.

As for the top mountain bikers, French Thomas Diestch (Gewiss-Bianchi) has confirmed his intention to try one more time to win La Ruta. He has recently finished second overall at the UCI's Marathon Wold Cup, just behind his teammate and former La Ruta champion, Colombian Leonardo Páez. Diestch was third in last year's La Ruta.

After winning the 2008 Trans Rockies in Canada, Italians Marzio Deho and Johnny Cattaneo will tackle the Tropical conditions in Costa Rica in an attempt to conquer La Ruta. Deho first came to La Ruta in 2006, finishing fifth in the open men's category.

Defending champion Federico Ramírez (BCR-Pizza Hut) will represent the locals and try for a fifth La Ruta trophy. Other Costa Ricans at the start will include Paolo Montoya, Manuel Prado and Deiber Esquivel.

On the women's side, last year's winner Sue Haywood will not be on hand to defend after breaking her tibia and fibula in late July. However, 2007 runner up Louise Kobin will be back along with Sara Bresnick-Zocchi as favorites.

The course for the 2008 will have a few changes. On day one, a gravel road will replace muddy, gravel section near Bijagual from the previous two years and near the end of the stage, racers will finish in a new location in Santa Ana, adding 15km to the stage. On day two, a new start location, also in Santa Ana, will mean a more rideable opening climb. A final hike to Terramall Shopping Centre will also be eliminated. Days three and four will remain practically unchanged.

La Ruta de los Conquistadores 2008
November 12 - Stage 1:Jacó to Ciudad Colón, 110km
November 13 - Stage 2: Ciudad Colón to Tres Ríos, 76km
November 14 - Stage 3: Tres Rios to Turrialba, 66.7km
November 15 - Stage 4: Turrialba to Bonita Beach, 125km

US National Parks push regulation change benefitting mountain bikers

The US National Park Service (NPS) is looking at a change in regulations that will empower park superintendents to better manage trails for bicycles, without sacrificing environmental review or public comment opportunities.

The current policy governing bicycling on NPS trails dates from 1986, and does not account for more than 20 years of research and experience managing bicycling on trails on public lands. One outdated rule is directed at motorized users such as personal watercraft, motorboats, snowmobiles, ORVs and commercial trucking, mining and aircraft. Proposed regulation changes will streamline an overly cumbersome process, while maintaining all reviews and comments required under the National Environmental Policy Act.

"[The International Mountain Bike Association] IMBA first began asking the agency to clarify and streamline this rule in 1992, when IMBA Executive Director Tim Blumenthal met with [then] NPS Director James Ridenour on the subject," said IMBA Director Mike Van Abel. "We hope to see that the process for recognizing mountain bike trails will now become more clear and efficient."

"Bicycling is a good fit for many national parks. It's a quiet, low-impact, family-friendly activity that provides a great way to get adults and kids excited about exploring America's most scenic places," says IMBA Executive Director Mike Van Abel. "We're very pleased that the NPS intends to update its regulations to better serve visitors."

IMBA signed a formal partnership agreement with the NPS in 2005 and the two organizations have been working together ever since to create and enhance appropriate opportunities for mountain bicycling in national parks. Currently, more than 40 NPS properties host mountain bicycling, on both dirt roads and narrow trails.

A public comment period is expected to follow the pending regulation change.

Inaugural Bike Buller Festival set for Victorian Alps

The inaugural Bike Buller MTB Festival will take place on March 21-22, 2009 at Mt Buller in Victoria, Australia. It will include three different races over two days and feature the resort's new trail network.

Events on Saturday, March 21 will include a 25km XC at Mt Buller, a 10km kids' event, 7km Super D and party. On Sunday, a 55km cross country marathon race around Mount Stirling will highlight the day along with a BBQ and awards presentations. Attendees will be able to participate in any single event or all events.

The festival is being organized by Rapid Ascent, which also runs the Otway Odyssey 100km MTB Marathon and Anaconda Adventure Race National Series. The Mt Buller resort is known for its skiing and winter activities, but has recently set about establishing itself as a summer mountain bike park. It has recruited Glen Jacobs, who built the Mt Stromlo World Cup course, to design a trail network.

"The first stage of this network will be ready for use in its entirety this summer, with the Bike Buller MTB Festival being the first competition to race on these trails," said Amber Gardner of the Mt Buller and Mt Stirling Alpine Resort Management Board

For more information, visit the event website at www.bikebullermtbfestival.com (to be launched at the end of October).

Sand Creek Fall Classic

The Sand Creek Fall Classic mountain bike race will be held on October 18 in the shadow at the base of Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado Springs, Colorado. With 8.5 miles per lap and 1500 feet of climbing per lap, this tough course will bring an end to the Colorado mountain bike racing season for man. For more information, visit www.sandcreeksports.com.

Previous News     Next News

(All rights reserved/Copyright Future Publishing Limited 2008)