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MTB News and Notes: Bon Jovi in, Green out

With the mountain biking season all but done and the “silly” season yetto fully ramp up, things are pretty quiet in the fat-tire world. Of coursethere was last weekend’s Tour de Dewey here in Boulder, Colorado, but forthe most part I’ve been sworn to secrecy on that one, except to say thatwhen they put their minds to it, some of America’s top cross-country proscan sure throw down the beers. Things will get rolling again in earnest in two weeks when the cyclingworld descends on Las Vegas for the Interbike Trade Show. Expect lots ofteam/rider news and look for the unveiling of the 2003 NORBA

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By Jason Sumner, VeloNews associate editor

MTB News and Notes: Bon Jovi in, Green out

MTB News and Notes: Bon Jovi in, Green out

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With the mountain biking season all but done and the “silly” season yetto fully ramp up, things are pretty quiet in the fat-tire world. Of coursethere was last weekend’s Tour de Dewey here in Boulder, Colorado, but forthe most part I’ve been sworn to secrecy on that one, except to say thatwhen they put their minds to it, some of America’s top cross-country proscan sure throw down the beers.

Things will get rolling again in earnest in two weeks when the cyclingworld descends on Las Vegas for the Interbike Trade Show. Expect lots ofteam/rider news and look for the unveiling of the 2003 NORBA schedule.In the meantime here’s a few notes to chew on.

Rock and roll racing
Got an e-mail from a guy named Jacob Fetty the other day. Turns outFetty runs a small sport promotion/training outfit and he wanted to tellme about one of his clients. According to Fetty, he’s been charged withputting together a mountain bike racing team that’s to be funded by theworld’s most famous big-hair rocker — Jon Bon Jovi. Fetty said that lastseason Bon Jovi Inc. Management backed a smaller team in partnership withthe West Virginia tourism board, but this year he’s looking to ramp thingsup even more.

Fetty said that the team will include six riders — three or four whowill be pros — who focus on the NORBA circuit. There will also be a regionaldevelopment team that will focus on the mid-Atlantic region. As for BonJovi’s direct involvement with mountain biking, word is he likes to ridebut doesn’t see himself as a racer.

Green bags Hamilton
According to a news release from the Canadian Cycling Association officesearlier this week, former world cross-country champion Roland Green hasdecided not to contest the time trial at the road world’s after all. TheCCA said that Green’s doctors had advised against making the trip eastfrom Victoria to Hamilton, and that he should instead stay off the bikefor the next month in order to fully recuperate form a litany of ailmentsthat plagued him throughout the 2003 mountain bike campaign.

“I’m obviously very disappointed, but my health is my number one priority,”Green said. “I thought I would be ready to go. I was really looking forwardto world’s, especially with them being in Canada and all. That makes iteven harder to miss them.”

Jean-Francois Laroche, 23, of Magog, Quebec, will take the place vacatedby Green.

Canada throws in the towel
Ran into Canadian cross-country pro Geoff Kabush here in Boulder lastweek, and he told me at the time that after a few rest days (read Tourde Dewey), he was heading back over to Europe to hit a few late seasonraces in hopes of grabbing enough UCI points to put Canada back into thetop five of the nation rankings. The Canadian men fell out of the top fivein August, and that in turn cost them a start spot at next year’s Olympicsin Athens.

Four days later, though, Kabush said the plan had been scrapped.

“The Germans picked up some more points and it just got to the pointwhere it wasn’t going to happen for us,” lamented Kabush, referring toGermany, who is fifth in the nation rankings while Canada sits sixth.

That means that with just two start spots, the chase for a place onthe Canadian men’s cross-country team will be as tight as they come. Besides2000 Olympians Kabush and Roland Green, Ryder Hesjedal, Seamus McGrathand Chris Sheppard will all be in the mix for those two spots.

Kabush said that he didn’t know how the team would be selected yet,but expected it to be similar to 2000 when one spot was a coach’s selectionand the other was determined by a qualification race.

Here’s a look at those UCI nation rankings following the World Cup finalsin Kaprun. And while there are still a few races yet to be contested thisyear, don’t expect much to change. In the men’s cross-country, the topfive get three Olympic start spots, with the next 10 getting two each.For the women, it’s three for the top three, two for those ranked fourto nine, and one for 10 to 14.

Men’s UCI cross-country nation rankings:
1. France, 3349 points
2. Netherlands, 3256
3. Switzerland, 3226
4. Belgium , 2978
5. Germany, 2782
6. Canada, 2472
7. Spain, 2311
8. Austria, 1899
9. Italy, 1748
10. Poland, 1709
11. Great Britain, 1346
12. Australia, 1251
13. USA, 1215
14. Denmark, 1100
15. Czech Republic, 1085

Women’s UCI cross-country nation rankings:
1. Germany, 3467 points
2. Poland, 3107
3. Canada, 2821
4. Switzerland, 2773
5. Spain, 2233
6. France, 2184
7. USA, 1994
8. Netherlands, 1713
9. Norway, 1550
10. Australia, 1449
11. Austria, 1406
12. Italy, 1397
13. Russia, 1109
14. Brazil, 1027
15. Sweden, 772

Swisspower Cup final
Marathon world champion Thomas Frischknecht checked in with his finalmountain biking report of the season from the Swisspower Cup finals inVolketswil.

“The Swiss mountain bike season came to a happy end for the Swisspowerteam and myself. The short track race was dominated by the Swisspower team,with Florian Vogel and myself riding in the nine-man lead group. Florianattacked with two laps to go, while I controlled the chase group. He heldon to his gap and finished 5 seconds ahead of me, while I outsprinted NewZealand’s Kashi Leuchs for second place.
 
“The next day’s cross country race was fast as hell, mostly on gravelroads with no technical challenges. Italians Martino Fruet, Christoph Sauser,Leuchs and myself formed the lead group after lap one. First Kashi, thanSauser attacked hard, but except Martino who got dropped, the group stayedtogether until the last lap. After a last attack by Sauser, Leuchs felloff and it came down to a sprint for the victory between Sauser and myself.Like at the world championship in Lugano one month ago, I proved that Frischyis still dangerous in any race, beating him to the line.

“This one is a sweet victory, especially because the race was not onlywell attended, but also on my home turf organized by my cycling club.”

The ageless Frischknecht will now turn his attentions to cyclo-cross,which he said will get rolling for him at the end of October.

New trail finder
Looking for a new training ride, but don’t have a clue? Well, you mightwant to check out one of IMBA’s newest partners, Trails.com. Basic onlinetrail information is free, while a Trails.com subscription will cost you $5 for a month or $30 per year. The subscription provides full access to in-depth guidebook trail descriptions, topography maps, and eTrail downloads. Trails.com will donate 25 percent of proceeds to IMBA. The IMBA Trail Finder provides access to 1000 guidebooks and detailed information on 30,000 trails.