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The Dirt: Neff and Schurter win MTB World Cup

Nino Schurter and Jolanda Neff win the final World Cup XC of the season and take overall titles. Plus, Epic Rides and gravel news.

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.

The mountain bike World Cup’s two dominant players came out on top as the seven-race XC series wrapped up in La Bresse, France. Nino Schurter (Scott-SRAM), a five-time World Cup overall winner took home the title in the men’s cross-country series, and Jolanda Neff (Kross) bested the women’s field for her third career World Cup jersey.

Neff won the final round by only five seconds after a pitched battle with Emily Batty (Trek) in the cross-country. It was an impressive win, considering she had two flat tires early in the race.

Schurter, the Olympic and world champion won the men’s XC race by 12 seconds.

The American women continued their run of fine results at the international level in La Bresse. Erin Huck (Construction Zone) was the top finisher in Friday’s short track at sixth behind winner Annika Langvad (Specialized). Chloe Woodruff (Pivot-Stan’s No Tubes) also made the top-10 in eighth. In the Sunday cross-country event, Kate Courtney (Specialized) rode to seventh.

Apart from an off-day at the Stellenbosch World Cup in March, Courtney has always finished in the top-10 in her debut World Cup season in the elite division. With those results, she ended the year ninth overall.

In the elite women’s division, the U.S. was second in the 2018 World Cup nations’ standings, which bodes well for the country’s chances to secure more start spots at the Tokyo Olympics in two years’ time.

Also of note, Howard Grotts (Specialized) was ninth in the elite men’s short track, and Haley Batten (Clif Bar) was fifth in the U23 women’s XC.

Inaugural Oz Trails Off-Road dedicated to advocate Tim Scott

The final round of the four-race Epic Rides series is coming up, October 5-7 in Bentonville, Arkansas. As is the case with each of these races, organizers will dedicate the event to an important figure in mountain biking to educate riders about the sport’s heritage. For this first-time event, Epic Rides went local to dedicate the race to Tim Scott, a 38-year veteran of Arkansas State Parks and one of the state’s first mountain bike advocates.

Scott is assistant superintendent at Devil’s Den State Park, which is about 50 miles south of Bentonville. Devil’s Den was the first of 52 Arkansas state parks to build trails specifically for mountain bikes.

“In 1986 we started seeing mountain bikes popping up in our park, and my boss at the time thought the hilly, rocky topography of Devil’s Den would be perfect for mountain biking, so he put me in charge of doing research,” said Scott.

Thinking of checking out this inaugural event? Registration is still open for the Oz Trails Off-Road >>

Blowin’ up my feed: Vermont Overland

Most of the gravel races that get headlines seem to be in the Midwest, or perhaps California, but there is a growing gravel scene in New England, and Vermont Overland is one of the key events. It was held at a new venue this year in Reading, Vermont — literally in the yard of race promoter Peter Vollers. Fortunately, it was a big yard to accommodate the 600 riders that turned out to take on the steep hills and rugged class 4 roads.

… Yes they use a sweet off-road-ready Range Rover as a pace car.

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(Sigh) Monday’s post @vermontoverland doldrums have set in. The best events start with a good dose of ass kicking among some of your best friends both old and new, and end with a beer to the face and a fully dressed soak in the stream. Riding with legends of the sport like @tinker.juarez, seeing my wife @lauracameronking have an amazing race, having the full suite of vehicles all up for the challenge — 2 wheeler, 4 wheeled, 6 wheeled — showing off the terrain that Vermont has around every bend, and winning the custom, “broken in” plaid threads by Peter Vollers himself. Hey folks, I think this gravel thing is really taking off! Thanks #theOverland for a great 800 person house party, tip of the hat to @ridecannondale for my lean and mean machine plus stacking 5 out of 6 podium spots, men and women, and everyone who’s making our move back east such an incredible one. // Mighty fine 📷 work by @sia_nordic 👏

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