Welcome to The Dirt, the weekly news round-up on what is happening in the worlds of gravel, mountain biking, and all things rough and dirty.

Richie Rude and Jared Graves fail doping tests at Enduro World Series

The world of enduro mountain biking was rocked this week by a PinkBike report that Richie Rude and Jared Graves, two of the top riders in the Enduro World Series (EWS), had failed anti-doping controls earlier this season. Both men submitted samples that showed the presence of two banned substances: Higenamine and Oxilofrine.

EWS operates outside of the auspices of the UCI, so it is unaffiliated with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Anti-doping controls are uncommon within the series. When athletes are tested, the controls are carried out by national anti-doping agencies in the host country, as was the case May 13, 2018 in France where French Anti-Doping (AFLD) tested nine male riders, according to PinkBike.

Higenamine is a Beta-2 Antagonist, in WADA’s same category of asthma-treating substances as Salbutamol, which dogged Chris Froome‘s season due to an adverse analytical finding dating back to the 2017 Vuelta a España. Unlike Salbutamol, there is no acceptable threshold for Higenamine and it is prohibited at all times.

Oxilofrine, on the other hand, is only prohibited in competition. It is in the class of specified stimulants, which means WADA might allow for a reduction in sanctions, as opposed to a non-specified stimulant, such as cocaine.

At this point, AFLD has yet to release its full report on the tests. Rude finished second overall in the 2018 EWS and Graves is not racing, currently fighting brain cancer. According to PinkBike, neither rider will pursue a B-sample to challenge the test results. Since EWS is an independent race series, it will be up to those organizers to determine what sort of penalty or ban the two riders might face, based on AFLD’s report and WADA’s sanctions.

Read more on PinkBike >> 

Stybar to celebrate ‘cross-mas

Three-time world cyclocross champion Zdenek Stybar (Quick-Step Floors) will return to the dirt for the holidays, with four ‘cross races scheduled for late December during kerstperiode — the Christmas week bonanza of cyclocross in the Low Countries. Stybar will race the Zolder World Cup, December 26, Loenhout two days later, the Diegem night race on December 30, and finally the New Year’s Day race in Baal.

“I am really looking forward to my return to cyclocross, a beautiful discipline that I love taking part in”, Stybar said. “It will be some really hard and competitive racing and hopefully I can have some good form and try to have some fun.”

Leadville lottery opens December 1

The Leadville Trail 100 MTB registration lottery opens Saturday, December 1 at 10 a.m. MST. It’ll be open until 11:59 p.m. MST on December 31, and lucky winners will be notified mid-January. Registration costs $450. If you don’t make it in the lottery, you can earn an entry through one of the seven qualifier events held throughout the U.S. You can also get in by registering for the LT100 MTB Training Camp or registering with one of the official charity partners for a charity slot. The 2019 race is slated for August 10.

… And lots of other races open registration soon

All of you gravel fanatics should also start planning 2019 soon because a number of prominent races are opening up registration in the next week:

Barry-Roubaix registration opens 8 a.m. EDT December 1. If you are raring to ride some gravel early in 2019, you can get going on April 13 in Western Michigan. This year, Barry-Roubaix has a “psycho-killer” 100-mile route in addition to the traditional 62-mile route.

Gravel Worlds registration opens at 8 a.m. CDT December 1. This 150-mile, semi-official world championships of gravel racing takes place August 17 in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Rebecca’s Private Idaho registration opens December 3. The main event is the “Big Potato” 100-mile ride on September 1, but there is also a three-day stage race and shorter distances as well, all starting out of Sun Valley, Idaho.

SBT GRVL registration opens December 4. This new gravel race based out of Steamboat Springs, Colorado takes place August 18 and should attract a stout field of top riders with a $28,000 prize purse on offer, evenly split between the men’s and women’s races in the 150-mile event.

And if all of those races seem a little too short for you, registration opens on December 1 at 8 a.m. CDT for DKXL, the 350-mile race held at Dirty Kanza. This one is a little different, both in length and registration process. DKXL organizers will accept applications until 11:59 p.m. CST December 9, or until the first 200 applications have been received. Then it will be up to Dirty Kanza’s gravel gurus to select the riders who will take on this massive challenge.

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