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MTB News & Notes: Martinez Fired, Davison On Pavé And More

Frenchman Miguel Martinez, the 2000 Olympic cross-country champion, has been fired by his Felt international team just days before the 2009 World Cup opener in Pietermartizburg, South Africa.

According to Agence France Presse, Martinez, known as “Little Mig,” was recently handed a four-month suspended prison sentence for assaulting his wife. Martinez has had similar brushes with the law in the past two years.

Felt International released a statement saying it was ending its relationship with Martinez due to “unbridgeable differences.”

“(Martinez) behaved inexcusably and violated his contract,” the statement said. “He is dismissed effective immediately.”

Martinez won the UCI world cross-country championships in 2000, the same year he took gold at the Olympics in Sydney. He rode for the Sunn squad alongside countryman Christoph Depouey, another world champion, who committed suicide earlier this year.

Martinez left mountain biking for road racing and joined with the Mapei-Quickstep squad in 2002. He briefly retired in 2003 only to return to racing both on- and off-road. In 2008 he won the Sea Otter Classic cross-country race as well as a stage of the Tour de Beauce riding for the Italian Amore e Vita-McDonalds team.

The results helped earn Martinez a spot on the new Felt International team for 2009, and he was slated to ride beside Kiwi champion Kashi Leuchs, Irishman Connor McConvey, and Swiss riders Andreas Kugler and Joel and Jurg Graf.

Davison Rides Ronde

American cross-country racer Lea Davison of the new Rocky Mountain-Maxxis squad raced the women’s Ronde van Vlaanderen World Cup on April 5 for the U.S. national team. Davison, 25, finished with the peloton in 48th place, 2:01 down on winner Ina Teutenberg of Germany.

Davison was the only member of the national team to finish the race, which was the second World Cup of the 2009 season. It marked her second European road race.

“It was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had on a bike,” Davison said. “The race was like mountain biking — you pick a line and go.”

Davison will compete in two more road races with the national team before suiting up for the second UCI mountain bike World Cup of 2009, held April 26 in Offenburg, Germany.

Taberlay, Park Lead Kenda Cup West Standings

Sid Taberlay (Sho Air-Specialized) and Krista Park (Incycle-Magura-NoTubes) currently lead the Kenda Cup West standings, the western half of the new Sho Air-Specialized U.S. Cup. The Kenda Cup West has featured three races: the March 1 Bonelli Park cross-country race, the Fontana National on March 29 and the Sagebrush Safari on April 5.

Taberlay, who is a five-time Australian national cross-country champion, won the Bonnelli and Sagebrush races and finished sixth at Fontana. He currently leads the pro men’s category with 161 points (a win is worth 60 points). Andy Schultz (Kenda-Tomac-Hayes) is in second place with 133 points and Sam Jurekovic (Sho Air-Specialized) is in third with 106.

Park won the Bonnelli Park cross-country race, finished 14th at Fontana and was sixth at the Sagebrush Safari. Park leads the series with 124 points, just seven up on Natasha Hernday (Amgen) with Pua Sawicki (Ellsworth) in third with 95.

The Kenda Cup West continues with the Sea Otter Classic on April 19th.

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