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By Fred Dreier
USA Cycling mountain bikers shine in Europe
The USA Cycling mountain bike development team scored its first European win of 2009 at the Wittnauer mountain bike race in Rennen, Germany, on May 10. Reigning U23 national champ Tad Elliott, who hails from Durango, Colorado, finished ahead of his teammate Robby Squire of Utah, with Ethan Gilmour of Vermont finishing ninth.
The development team is based in Kirchzarten, Germany, and is spending the summer months racing the UCI World Cups as well as Swisspower Cups, Germany’s Bundesliga series and local European races. Looking after the team is Marc Gullickson, USA Cycling’s mountain bike director.
The team contested the third round of the Swiss national series in Solothurn, Switzerland, where Elliott finished 27th and Squire 30th.
Finishing off the U23 team are Mitchell Hoke, Tristan Cowie, Kein Cane, Stephen Ettinger, Trevor Downing and Colin Osborn.
Breck Epic singlespeed winners get Spot frames
The Breck Epic mountain bike race will award a Spot mountain bike frame to the winners of the Singlespeed Open and Singlespeed Duo categories. The frame, will be available to accommodate either 26- or 29-inch wheels and will include the rider’s name emblazoned on the top tube.
“I asked Spot to make me a bike that looked like the socks my grandpa used to wear,” said Breck Epic director Mike McCormack. “After a bit of back and forth, I think you’ll agree that they nailed it.”
Race director Mike McCormack says he’d also like to award a frame to the top female singlespeeder, but as of press time, none have registered.
Spot Brand bicycles is located in Golden, Colorado, and sponsors the local Dale’s Pale Ale mountain bike team.
The six-day mountain bike stage race runs July 5-10 and traces a 200-mile cloverleaf-style course that starts and ends in the Colorado mountain town of Breckenridge. The race will award $10,000 in prize cash split between the Open men and women categories.
The Breck Epic features competition in 11 different categories: Open Men and Women; Open Men and Women Duo; Open Mixed Duo; Duo 80-plus; Duo 100-plus; Singlespeed Duo; Singlespeed Open; Solo Men 40-plus; Solo Men 50-plus.
Pendrel wins in Poland
Canadian Catherine Pendrel (Luna) came away with the victory at the inaugural Maja Wloszczowska mountain bike race, named after Poland’s silver medalist from the Beijing Olympics. Pendrel, who finished second at the previous weekend’s Houffalize round of the UCI World Cup, finished 4:35 up on Wloszczowska.
American national champion Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven-NoTubes) finished fourth at the race, which is part of Poland’s Jelenia Gora Trophy series.
Taking the men’s victory was Czech rider Jiri Friedl (Meria). Frenchman Miguel Martinez, the 2000 Olympic champion, was third.
Kenda Cup East kicks off
The Kenda Cup East kicked off May 3 in Ducktown, Tennessee, with the South Eastern Regional Conference cross-country race. The race was held at the Ocoee Whitewater Park, site of the 1996 Olympic paddling competition. Heavy rains turned the cross-country course into a series of puddles and rivers, and organizers eventually removed a three-mile section of the course.
The men’s race saw Samuel Koerber (little brother of Willow) of the Gary Fisher 29er team fight a battle with Trek’s Jeff Schalk and Thomas Turner (Outspokin/Specialized). Schalk appeared to have a winning gap, however a flat tire derailed his chances at the win, and Koerber took home the victory with Turner, Schalk, Robert Marion (Kenda) and Ryan Woodall (Dedicated Athlete) rounding out the top five.
In the women’s race, former U23 national team member Jamie Dinkins (Motor Mile Racing) rode away from the field to take her first big win of the year.
Dinkins and Koerber now lead the Kenda Cup East series, the East Coast wing of the Sho Air-Specialized U.S. Cup. The Kenda Cup East continues May 31 with the Bump N’ Grind cross-country race in Birmingham, Alabama. That race is also part of USA Cycling’s Pro Cross-country Tour.
California High School Championships this weekend
The Northern and Southern California high school mountain bike leagues will meet this weekend for the California State high school championships, held March 17 at Boggs Mountain State Park outside of Calistoga, California.
The 2009 race carries extra importance, as USA Cycling has sanctioned the state championships as a qualifier for the 2009 USA Cycling national championships, held July 16-19 in Sol Vista, California. Riders who finish inside the top 15 of each category will automatically earn a qualification for the national championship event.
“We are very excited about USA Cycling’s decision to make the State Champs a national qualifying race,” said Matt Fritzinger, the league director. “This puts our race on a short list of other races that qualify riders for Nationals. I’m particularly happy that riders from every category will be qualifying for Nationals, which signals that USA Cycling has recognized the depth of talent in the NorCal and SoCal Leagues.”
The state championship race will feature a showdown between the best riders from Southern and Northern California. For more information see www.norcalmtb.org or www.socaldirt.org.