But in recent months, Dean has taken up another cause, throwing his support behind two of Australia’s most successful mountain bikers, Dan McConnell and Bec Henderson. Motion have developed a brand new line of kit, the Inspire #becanddan range, with all profits from the sale of every item going directly towards supporting our two leading XCO races to keep at it on the World stage.
If we don’t have local heroes at the top of the game, XCO in Australia will suffer, which will harm the growth of the sport.
Unbelievable as it sounds, Bec and Dan, Olympians and World Cup stars, have been battling it out as privateers this year. “Bec and Dan are at the pinnacle of the sport,” says Dean Clark, “it’s a massive injustice to see them without the support they deserve.” As anyone who has been involved in pro racing will attest, having the support of a factory team versus going it alone is like night and day – it’s far from a level playing field, and the expense of racing as a privateer is huge.
The Motion #becanddan range is high quality kit, the very same stuff that Bec and Dan have been racing on the World Cup stage. It’s race-oriented gear, with a slim fit and compression panels on the side and sleeves, so it’ll be equally at home on the cross country race track as the roadie or cyclocross bike too. Complementing the knicks and jersey are a vest and long-sleeve windstopper jersey too, all with the same eye catching theme that contrasts black and boldly coloured bands.
“If the support and money was there to keep these riders on the dirt, we’d be amongst the very lead nations for cross country, there’s no doubt.”
So why support Bec and Dan, and not put the profits elsewhere? For Dean Clark, the rationale is simple: we need heroes. If we don’t have local heroes at the top of the game, XCO in Australia will suffer, which will harm the growth of the sport. “Look at riders like new Junior World Champ Cameron Wright – would he be doing what he’s doing if he didn’t have some like Dan McConnell to inspire him, to challenge him?” asks Dean Clark.
The sport needs riders like Bec and Dan, battling at the pointy end of the World Cup, to motivate the next generation and to keep talented racers in the sport of mountain biking, rather than losing them to the road. “When you look at the talent we’ve had in the ranks of mountain biking in this country which we’ve lost to the road, it’s staggering,” says Clark, “if the support and money was there to keep these riders on the dirt, we’d be amongst the very lead nations for cross country, there’s no doubt.”
Coming off the back of a sensational World Champs, where the XCO was a huge highlight from our perspective, has led to some reflection on our part here at Flow too about the importance of this discipline. It’s bloody exciting to watch, it’s accessible, it’s relevant. As much as we talk about the decline of cross-country racing, it’s still the type of riding that actually gets the most people into the sport – it’s where we all began mountain biking, and so it’s vital that this discipline remains strong.
So if you’re passionate about the strength of Australian mountain biking, and you want to see XCO flourish, we’d definitely encourage you to take a look at Motion’s Inspire range. It’s great kit, and it’s a great cause. You can take look at the range right here.
A morning downpour just before the race start would add an extra element of difficulty for the riders during their six-lap race.
Henderson, who by her own admission has not been in the best form, contradicted herself as she produced a vintage performance in the muddy, slick conditions to finish more 1:17:58, than three minutes ahead of Holly Harris (NSW) and Katherine McInerney (NSW).
“I’m really happy to call them (green and gold jersey) mine for another 12 months.”
“It was a real mountain bike course and a climbers course and there was certainly no hiding out there today.”
Henderson put the hammer down on lap one, despite taking a hit on the infamous rock garden, which claimed a number of riders during the morning.
“I didn’t quite have the confidence on the first lap and I took the B line in the rock garden and managed to crash so after that I took the A Line,” Henderson remarked.
It was a similar story for Harris, who was riding in the elite category at a national championship for the first time.
“I came to the A line and you know what I’m riding elite I may as well risk it all.”
2017 has been the coming of age for Harris, who after wins in the National Series and silver at Oceania is now confident of the next step.
“It’s so exciting especially against someone like Bec one of the world’s best riders,” Harris said.
The big mover through the field was McInerney, who after getting away to a bad start which saw her fifth in the field after lap two, move up into third where she would hold until the finish.
“On the third lap I started to take different lines so I didn’t have to walk on that pinch section of the course and that helped me to stay smooth, and that’s where I ended up overtaking Peta and Tori.”
While in the Under 23 women Megan Williams (QLD) made it a one-woman show as she collected the green and gold jersey ahead of Charlotte Culver.
“I think everyone was having a tough day out there, and getting down the slippery slopes was challenging,” Williams admitted.
Katherine Hosking (NSW) was also fearless on a course which tested the very best, the Armidale rider completed her three laps in a time of 52:48 taking gold in the Junior Women ahead of Tegan Atherstone (VIC) and Sarah Tucknott (WA).
The duo were locked together heading into the last of the 5 laps around the 6 km course, before it came down to the final 50m.
“The outside line wasn’t ideal but I was able to carry that little bit of extra speed and thankfully it was a little quicker,” Henderson admitted.
“It’s been a couple of years since I’ve had a sprint finish.”
The Canberra rider got home by eight hundredths of a second with time of 1:37:08:24.
For Kwan, it was foreign territory out in front battling for the lead with the dual Olympian.
“I’ve never been in that position before, so this is a first for me and it’s given me a big confidence boost.”
“I thought I might try and get in front to try and control the pace, and I didn’t want her to get too far ahead so popping out into the open section I knew I might as well go,” said Kwan.
It was local favourite Holly Harris (NSW) who took up the challenge to Henderson early and tried to pull away on lap three before the reigning national series champion made her move.
“I just used that rock garden to get a little bit of a gap and got away again and then Eliza caught me through the pedally section.”
While in the elite men Jared Graves (QLD) was a late withdrawal from Round 4 through illness, which left it a battle between Dan McConnell (ACT), Cameron Ivory (NSW), and Brendan Johnston (ACT), and it was the Novocastrian Ivory who made it back to back victories in the New England.
“I wasn’t sure how I was going to pull up after yesterday but I was happy to find the form and managed to pull Trekky back,” Ivory said.
Ivory finished in a time of 1:21:59:85, with Johnston in second and Ben Oliver (NZ) holding out for third.
Riders were faced with only five laps on a fast and flowy course with only a few technical rock features, the section where Ivory proved his legs were up to speed.
“Just in that punchy section he’s at another level than me and I tried to hang on through the rocky section and get away but he mowed me down and he was just too strong for me in that part of the race,” said Johnston, who notched up his second runner-up place of the weekend.
There was no change in the junior men and women’s results, with Cameron Wright (QLD) showing his turn of pace to wrap up another top of the podium finish, ahead of Matt Dinham (NSW) and Kian Lerch-Mackinnon (VIC).
In the junior women’s race, Jessica Manchester (NZ) had to fight off Armidale favourite Katherine Hosking (NSW) in a sprint to the line earlier in the day.
McConnell makes history as Bowden gets first chance on Olympic stage
Daniel McConnell will make Australian Olympic history in Rio as he becomes the nation’s first athlete to compete at three Games in the mountain bike discipline.
He is joined in Rio by one of the nation’s brightest prospects in the sport in 21-year-old Scott Bowden, who will make his Olympic debut at the Deodoro Mountain Bike Centre.
“Of course I am excited to represent Australia at the Olympics in Rio,” said McConnell.
“It is the biggest event you can do so to be able to compete in my third Games it means a lot to me and something I can share with everyone who has helped me along the way.”
Since finishing 21st at the London 2012 Games McConnell has risen up the world rankings and currently sits just outside the top ten.
“I have progressed quite a lot since London. I had to train so hard to make those Games and I’ve continued to train just as hard and keep that focus up ever since.
“My main focus at the moment is getting back to the form that got me to the top end of the sport and I’m putting all my energy into that, if I can get there for Rio anything is possible.”
McConnell’s partner Rebecca Henderson was announced to the Rio 2016 Team last week and McConnell is again looking forward to competing alongside her.
“This will be our second Olympics together which is amazing.
“To be able to experience this together is something we will remember for a life time and because it means so much to both of us it definitely motivates us to keep pushing the limits.”
Bowden rounds out the three-member Mountain Bike team for Rio and gets his first shot at Olympic competition in Rio.
“Making an Olympics from quite a young age was something I definitely dreamed of after watching it on television every four years.”
“Witnessing the hype around the Olympics when they were in Sydney in 2000 really resonated with me and highlighted the enormity of the sporting event and how it is so much more than that alone. Since then to be a part of that had been a big dream.”
Bowden first thought he could make Rio in late 2014 when he stuck with McConnell until halfway through the final lap in the opening round of the national series before finishing in second.
While the Olympic year not been all smooth sailing as he builds for Rio the young gun has posted a number of solid results.
“2016 hasn’t gone exactly to plan however I’d say the highs outweigh the lows, and the season obviously isn’t over yet.
“Defending my U23 National title, claiming 3rd in the Elite division at the Oceania Championships and 7th at the first World Cup in Cairns have been among the highlights so far.
“I’m still super motivated and really looking forward to putting in plenty more hard work leading into Rio, and feel as though I’ve still got my best performance to come.”
If that personal best is to be produced in Rio, Bowden knows he will have to have a strong final few weeks prior to the 2016 Games.
“Three weeks before the race in Rio I will travel to Quebec, Canada and race World Cup #5 there before the final leg down to Rio.
“This World Cup will serve as the perfect hit out before the final preparations for Rio and as an added bonus Quebec is on the same time zone as Rio so I should well and truly be over the jet lag.”
The men’s mountain bike competitors are among the final athletes to compete in Rio with the race taking place on the final day of competition in Rio.
Henderson proud to be back on mountain bike’s biggest stage
Rebecca Henderson is set to take to the rugged terrain of the Deodoro Mountain Bike Centre after she was announced as Australia’s women’s representative for the gruelling discipline at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
It will be Henderson’s second Games appearance after she made her Olympic debut in London where she finished 25th.
The 24-year-old from Canberra has had a steady rise up the rankings to her current place inside the world’s top 20, which was helped by a breakthrough bronze medal winning performance at the opening World Cup event of the 2016 season in Cairns.
The result paved the way for another shot at Olympic competition.
“The Olympics in London was amazing,” Henderson said.
“It blew my mind in every possible way and it is what has kept me pushing towards Rio.
“The experience it gives you and the exposure it gives to your sport can really help the sport to progress.”
With another four years of competition under her belt, Henderson will be more readily able to embrace the challenges an Olympic Games throws at you.
“Last time there was so much focus on just being selected that I didn’t have a plan in place for if I was selected.
“This time I have been working towards the Olympic Games as one of my main focuses of the season and not had to stress about the selection.
“I also have the experience of the London Games as well as the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow – so I feel pretty comfortable about how the ‘Games’ operates. It was a lot to take in the first time.”
The Rio course will throw up plenty of challenges for Henderson and her fellow competitors with a number of rocky jumps and a 40-degree descent down a staircase of wooden beams standing in the way of Olympic glory.
Henderson got the chance to head to Rio last October to get to know the course and believes it will be a fast and tactical affair.
“The test event gave me a good idea of the course, the climate and the lifestyle in Brazil.
“I think the course is great – it will make for great spectating and TV coverage which is a huge part of the Olympic Games – showing our sport to a wider audience.
“I don’t think it shows ‘raw’ mountain biking but definitely modern mountain biking with plenty of climbing and technical features. The course is fast so it should also be pretty tactical racing.”
With 50 of the world’s finest women’s Mountain Bike athletes set to hit Deodoro on the penultimate day of Olympic competition, on Saturday August 20, the racing doesn’t get any tougher for Henderson.
“I had the ride of my life at the Cairns World Cup and while I would not consider myself a medal contender in Rio but that doesn’t mean I won’t be giving 100% in my preparation and race in Rio.
“Who knows, I didn’t expect to podium in Cairns.”
Henderson kicked off the 2016 season with a number of wins in the national series before taking out the Oceania Championships.
After her World Cup podium in Cairns she secured anther top 10 finish against world class competition when she was eighth across the line at the La Bresse World Cup in France.
She finished 48th over the weekend at the Mountain Bike World Championships in the Czech Republic.
Australia have never won a medal before in Mountain Bike with Mary Grigson’s sixth place finish at the Sydney 2000 Games the best finish by an Australian in Olympic competition.
Australia has also qualified two men for the Mountain Bike competition in Rio, to be held on Sunday 21 August, but due to an appeal these athletes will be selected at a later date.
Henderson, along with the other 24 cycling athletes (Track, Mountain Bike, Road) selected today, take the overall 2016 Australian Olympic Team to 301 from 22 sports, with an expected final Team of over 400 athletes.
A mix of youth and experience will represent Australia at the UCI MTB XCO World Championships at Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic later this month.
Nine riders have been endorsed by Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA) to contest the elite men and women cross country as well as the Under 23 men and women.
Together with the Australian Juniors announced in April, this brings the total Australian team for the 2016 World Championships to 15.
World number nine and current national elite men’s champion Daniel McConnell (ACT) along with world number 18 and national women’s champion Rebecca Henderson (ACT) will spearhead the Australian contingent.
McConnell will be competing at his seventh world championship in the elite men’s category, with a 27th back in 2012 his best result.
While for Henderson, it will be her third time racing against the best elite women in the world at the championships, placing 15th two years ago.
Peta Mullens (VIC), a former national champion and current Australian marathon cross-country titleholder, makes her return to the world championship stage for a second time, the last back in 2014.
Australia’s second and third ranked elite males Cameron Ivory (NSW) and Brendan Johnston (ACT) will also don the green and gold kit in their second time competing at the elite level at a world championship.
Scott Bowden (TAS) has contested the world champs two times before in the under 23 category both times finishing within the top 40.
While Reece Tucknott (WA) makes his second appearance on the big stage in the U23 along with Holly Harris (NSW) racing in the under 23 women.
“It is a great honour for these riders to wear the green and gold and I congratulate them on their selection,” said Mountain Bike Australia president Russell Baker.
“The XCO world championships are brought forward in an Olympic year, bringing the event closer to our regular season and this team represents a good mix of youth and experience and I wish them all well for the world championships in Nove Mesto na Morave.”
Rebecca Henderson (ACT) couldn’t have produced a more stunning performance to win the 2016 Subaru Australian MTB Championships at Bright, Victoria on Saturday.
The now three time Australian Cross Country Champion blew her rivals away on the first lap to put no doubt in anyone’s mind that she would be Rio bound in September, and finish in a time of 1:34:33seconds.
“The green and gold is something you don’t want to let go of that easy.”
Lined up to try and spoil the Henderson party was 2013 champion Peta Mullens (VIC) and 2012 title holder Jenni King (VIC) in what was perfect riding condition.
But they would only see the back of the Trek sponsored rider as soon as the gun went for the four laps around the Mystic Mountain Bike Park course.
Henderson, who had wrapped up the National Series title at Toowoomba a fortnight earlier, went through her first lap in 25:05secs before ramping it up second time around and extending the lead.
“For me I race pretty similar and I like to go out pretty hard I was just able to get a lucky break from Peta on one of the early climbs, and I just took that advantage.”
Mullens, admitted she knew from the gun it would be hard to stay with the defending champion, and then had to stave off the battle of King who sat on her wheel stalking the fellow Victorian.
“I knew straight away on the start loop that my legs didn’t have it I think as a bike rider you kind of know early on and I tried to put that aside and just power on as much as I can but she just had the better of me by far.”
Mullens eventually shook King off her wheel on the final lap to sustain a 19 second gap to the finish line to claim silver.
“It was bloody hard I gave it everything to try and stick with Peta mid-way and she broke me on the second last lap,” King said.
With plenty left in the tank, the 24 year Henderson would complete the final two laps in a time just over 23minutes.
It’ll be a busy month for the 2016 Australian Champion who will have to back up for Oceania’s next week before heading to Cairns for the first World Cup of the cross-country season.
Not even the heat could stop Rebecca Henderson (ACT) from taking out the 2015-16 Subaru National MTB Series after another dominant victory in the Elite Women’s XCO race at Jubilee Park, Toowoomba on Saturday.
With the series title in the balance, Henderson needed a win and series leader Jenni King (VIC) to finish lower than fourth if she was to claim back-to-back National Series crowns.
The London Olympian had won three straight prior to Saturday’s race and started cautiously letting New Zealand’s Samara Sheppard take the lead wheel.
“Samara set a cracking pace at the start and I wasn’t that willing to go that fast so she probably got a 10 second gap on the first climb.”
“Descending is one of my strengths specially in these conditions so I was able to close the gap.”
And like she had done previously the Canberra rider continued to edge the gap before romping home in a time of 1:34:07secs.
There was plenty of interest in the minor placing’s with Sheppard and King battling away on the technical course.
But things went horribly wrong for King on the fourth when her chain broke forcing to her to pull-out of the race.
“I attacked on the second last lap and had a good gap on her before the chain broke and was feeling really good at that stage.”
“And was ready to give it a good go on the last lap.”
While disappointed to end the series on low, King was looking further ahead.
“Glad it happened now and not in a few weeks at National Champs.”
That left Sheppard alone in second, while Anna Beck ensured she’d get on the podium for the final time for the series in third.
For Henderson, the win will see her head into the 2016 Australian MTB Championships in Bright confident of keeping the green and yellow stripes.
“I’ve been lucky to have Aussie champs stripes in U23 and U19 actually every race I’ve done these ones are extra special when racing in the elite
The 2016 Australian MTB Championships will be held from the 17-20th March in Bright, Victoria.
Cameron Ivory (NSW) and Rebecca Henderson (ACT) have both recorded exciting race wins at Round 5 of the Subaru National Mountain Bike Series held in Thredbo, NSW.
Cross country mountain bike action took place on a challenging 5 kilometre course, with riders battling for supremacy in the penultimate round of the series presented by Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA). With dual Olympian, National Champion and series leader, Dan McConnell (ACT), absent while racing the Pioneer MTB stage race in New Zealand, the race was wide open for the Elite Men.
Today’s race started steadily, but was quickly broken open on the second of eight laps, when a trio comprised of Ivory, Scott Bowden (TAS) and Brendan Johnston (ACT) surged at the front. The group worked together during Lap 3 to increase their lead over Kyle Ward (NSW) and the field, building a gap that would never be bridged.
Ivory talked through the race pattern: “I took the lead on the second lap and led until the last lap, when Scott got past me, and then he attacked me a few times and I was able to just hold his wheel.” With the group of mates staying together for the duration, it looked like the Thredbo crowd would witness a classic sprint finish, and today the riders did not disappoint.
“Coming into the finish I knew I had quite a good kick”, said Ivory. “I was kind of confident that I could come past him (Bowden), but then he opened up a small gap into the finish and that scared me, but I think I got him by just under a bike length in the end.”
Timing data showed that Ivory secured the win by an incredibly narrow .12s. He was impressively confident post-race when discussing his biggest goal for the year: “To qualify for the Olympics, that’s what I’m focusing my season around.”
Bowden was gracious in second place. “I gave it everything on the last lap and tried to get a gap, and it came down to the last couple of metres. Hats off to Cam, he rode super-strong today and just got over me on the line.”
Johnston, who had been in the lead group all race, rounded out the podium with a well-earned Bronze medal.
Dan McConnell retains the series lead heading into the final round next month in Toowoomba, QLD.
In the Elite Women’s race, Olympian Bec Henderson (ACT) was the form rider coming into the round, having recorded wins in both races of the double-header just two weeks prior in Pemberton, WA.
After finishing the first lap in 3rd place in a tight bunch with Samara Sheppard (NZL) and Peta Mullens (VIC), Henderson was able to make a solo move during Lap 2.
“I got a bit of a lucky break. I was first, Samara second and Peta third, and then Samara dropped Mullens’ wheel and I took advantage of that, with this giving me a little gap over Peta.”
Henderson continued to build her lead through the middle of the race.
“I knew I had to get away with a good amount to spare. With 7 laps it was always going to be a hard last section of the race. I just tried to get a sustainable gap and then I would hopefully be able to hang on” reflected Henderson.
She would eventually win by 30s, making it three wins from three races for the reigning National Champion.
Peta Mullens came into summer as the defending National Road champion and has spent much of her season racing road, having only competed once in the Subaru National Mountain Bike series, earning Silver in Stromlo.
“Today wasn’t just ‘back to the series’ to me, it was back on a mountain bike. I was pretty surprised and happy to finish just 30s behind Bec” exclaimed a happy Mullens.
She rode a consistent race to 2nd place, Sheppard took 3rd, and Jenni King (VIC) finished 4th today to maintain her lead in the series.
Turning to junior racing, in the Under 19s Men’s race, Cameron Wright (QLD) once again “rode up” from the Under 17s and recorded another remarkable win, with Nick Pedler (QLD) and Michael Harris (NSW) rounding out the podium.
Katherine Hosking (NSW) was exceptionally strong in the Under 19 Women’s race, winning from Sarah I’ons (NSW) with Ruby Wilson (ACT) in third.
Olympian Rebecca Henderson claimed her first win in the Elite Womens XCO in Round 3 of the 2015-2016 Subaru National MTB Series at Pemberton, Western Australia on Saturday.
The Australian champion completed the five lap race in 1:44:18, ahead of New Zealand’s Samara Sheppard and current series leader Jenni King in third.
“Definitely great to get a win which was back to racing my style which I like to go pretty hard pretty early and find my place from there,” said Henderson who’s ranked 20 in the world.
Henderson who finished third in the last round at Mt Stromlo in December behind King, held the rest of the field captive around the 4.8km course.
“It’s a tough one there’s really not a lot of passing and I did try and use that to my advantage. It was very mentally draining and I had to be concentrating the whole time”
“I’ve been doing a lot of volume in my training at the moment and not so much speed work,” said Canberra based rider.
While the Commonwealth Games bronze medallist was untroubled up front, King was embroiled in a struggle against the Kiwi for the minor placings.
King, who had won the opening two rounds in the Elite Women, admitted Saturday’s race was a struggle.
“The girls really put on a hot pace and it takes me a little while to warm up which hurt me a bit,” said King.
It would tell on the final lap, as Sheppard made her move and claimed her first podium finish of the series.
There was plenty more up for grabs than a podium place, with international ranking points up for grabs in the UCI Category 1 event.
“My ride I couldn’t fault it. As for my form I’m still building and don’t plan to peak until March, April and of course August,” said Henderson who is vying for her second Olympic Games spot in Rio later this year.
Riders will now back up tomorrow for Round 4 of the Series.
A gut busting ride by Rebecca Henderson handed her a second straight win in the Elite Women XCO at the double header round of the 2015-2016 Subaru National MTB Series at Pemberton, Western Australia.
It was a decisive move on the fourth lap where the Olympian broke the hearts of Samara Sheppard and Jenni King who rounded out the minor placings, as she dropped a minute on her previous lap time to ride out the final lap around 4.5km course alone and record a 1:31:33 second victory.
“I had to work extremely hard for that one it was as much a test of my character as much as my legs,” the 24 year old remarked.
A shortened course greeted riders on Sunday morning and it looked as tho yesterday’s effort would take a toll on Henderson, as she found herself back in fifth early on.
“My legs were horrible on the early couple of laps, I tried to lead and I wasn’t foxing or bluffing that’s all I had. ”
“It definitely tested how much I love riding my bike,” Henderson said.
In a duel out front was current series leader King and New Zealand’s Sheppard, who resumed their battle from Round 3, as they put a 34 second gap into the Elite Women’s field.
But what-ever race plan the 2014 Commonwealth Games Bronze medallist was concocting it worked, the deficit was reduced to only 8 seconds.
“I caught them in a single track and and I just knew I had to attack at my first opportunity cause I was travelling a lot quicker and had to keep the momentum,” said the Trek rider.
On the fourth lap, Henderson, who is bidding to contest a second Olympics Cross Country at Rio in August, passed her weekend rivals with plenty of steam left in the tank.
“It’s a good show my form is definitely building to have that race speed especially in the later half of the race is a good sign.”
For Sheppard, the course at Pemberton was a big learning curve as she took on the local wooden berm.
“I never practice the wall cause we don’t have wall rides in Wellington, and I didn’t think how beneficial it would be so I went into it full gas and snake down the middle but it wasn’t very efficient,” the second place getter said.
“Bec wound up another gear and I tried to hold on for two seconds.”
With her two gold medal wins from the weekend, Henderson has crept up to be second behind King who retains the series leaders ranking heading into Round 5 at Thredbo in a fortnight.
Keen eyes may have spotted Aussie Trek Factory Racing riders Dan McConnell and Bec Henderson riding some prototype bikes early this season, but these were whisked away from sight too fast for us to confirm exactly what we saw.
Did we spy a new XC dually using the EVO/Full Floater suspension system? And was that a carbon hardtail using a decoupled seat tube junction like Trek’s Domane road bike? No way, that’d be too much awesome… Well, turns out it we saw BOTH, actually. They’re both coming for 2016, along with another bike for riders who mightn’t be quite so worried about going as fast as Dan McConnell.
Trek unveil three new bikes: the Top Fuel, Procaliber SL and completely revised Fuel 29
The Top Fuel is back! This incredible race bike disappeared from Trek’s range a few years ago, but for 2016 it’s making a return, replacing the ageing Superfly 100 platform (which we’ve tested extensively). The Top Fuel is entirely new beast with the sole purpose of tearing cross country race tracks apart and setting personal bests on trails all over the place.
It has 100mm of rear travel, adjustable geometry via a Mino Link and weighs only 1900g for the top end carbon frame. It’ll be available in aluminium and a women’s version, too.
Two shots - both landscape
Three shots - Big on top
Four Shots - Big on Left
Two shots - landscape and square
Three shots - Big landscape, two small squares
Four Shots - All Same Size
Two shots - vertically stacked, both landscape
The frame design brings the new Top Fuel in line with the rest of the dual suspension range from Trek (and represents a clean departure from the original designs from the Gary Fisher Collection), using the Full Floater/EVO Link controlling the rear shock and the rear wheel pivoting around the concentric ABP Pivot at the rear axle. This suspension system is one of the leading platforms on the market and we welcome its arrival to shorter travel applications.
Both the new Top Fuel and Procaliber SL will use Trek’s ‘Smart Wheel Size’ fit system, assigning the best wheel size to the frame size. Larger frame sizes from 17.5 and up will have 29” wheels while the smaller 15.5 size bike uses more proportional 27.5” wheels. The 29″ Top Fuel will also use the new Boost hub standard – wider hub spacing front and back – creating stiffer 29″ wheels, and adding tyre and chainring clearance, too.
The adjustable geometry is a neat touch – we wish more short-travel bikes came with adjustable geometry to let you dial in the ride performance you want. The geometry numbers are definitely racy – even in the slacker setting, the Top Fuel has a head angle of 70 degrees for razor sharp handling. What’s also cool is that the frame’s designed to accept an internally routed dropper post, which is a nod to the increasing interest in short-travel droppers in this market segment.
Seen the Trek Domane? This impressive endurance road bike frame broke the internet a couple years ago with technology we’d never seen before, but the moment we saw it it had us thinking how well it would translate into a hardtail race bike.
Essentially the new Procaliber SL is a carbon hardtail with up to 11mm of compliance via the IsoSpeed decoupler.
The IsoSpeed decoupler allows the seat tube to pivot and flex independently of the seatstays, taking the sting out of the trail without losing any pedalling power to a rear shock or stiffness to multiple moving parts and pivots. Trek claim the new frame is 70% more compliant than the existing Superfly hardtail.
We can only imagine how much you’ll be able to hammer this bike without it skipping around uncontrollably like a classic race hardtail usually would on loose surfaces. Needless to say we’ll be getting our hands on a test bike as soon as they land in Oz.
The Procaliber SL frame weighs 1012g around 100g heavier than the outgoing Superfly SL. While that figure makes it notably heavier than some of the competition, we’d imagine the compliance benefits will be well and truly worth it. Once again, the Smart Wheelsize System is used, with little wheels for littler riders, and 29″ hoops on frame sizes 17.5″ and up.
Like the Top Fuel, the Procaliber also scores the new internal cable housing system dubbed ‘Control Freak’. It’s Di2 compatible if you’ve got the good stuff, and a large port under the downtube means you’ll able to access and tie the internal cables together inside the frame to reduce unwanted rattling. Clever!
The Procaliber SL will replace the carbon Superfly hardtails, with the aluminium Superfly 5, 6 (WSD), 7 and 8 remaining in the range.
[divider]Fuel EX 29[/divider]
A Flow favourite, but not without a few niggles in our opinion, the Fuel EX 29 scores some nice tweaks for 2016, too. We’ll see Boost hubs to add stiffness, chainstays shortened from 452 down to 437mm (hooray!), the new internal cable management system and Mino Link geometry adjustment.
Interesting to note is that we won’t see Trek’s DRCV on the new Fuel EX 29. With FOX’s new Float DPS / EVOL rear shock, Trek were able to achieve their desired spring curve that was previously only possible with their proprietary DRCV shock. So going forward we’ll see standard shocks on the Fuel EX 29 at least – we wonder if this will also be the case on the Fuel 27.5 and Remedy?
It certainly sounds like Trek have made improvements in the areas that we wanted them to. Mind readers!
Day three of the 2015 Subaru National Mountain Bike Championships, hosted by Mountain Bike Australia, saw spectacular action across Olympic Cross Country racing, Observed Trials and Downhill Seeding in the idyllic location of Bright, Victoria.
Day three of the 2015 Subaru National Mountain Bike Championships, hosted by Mountain Bike Australia, saw spectacular action across Olympic Cross Country racing, Observed Trials and Downhill Seeding in the idyllic location of Bright, Victoria.
Dan McConnell (ACT) and Rebecca Henderson (ACT) are true mountain bike champions, and today they delivered as champions do, defending their National Championships titles and once again earning themselves the green and gold jerseys.
In the Elite Men’s race, McConnell, Brendan Johnston (ACT) and Cameron Ivory (NSW) made a break from the get go, putting a small gap between themselves and the rest of the pack.
They led the other riders for the first half of the race, but on lap 3 teammates McConnell and Brendan Johnston (ACT) broke away from Ivory and the pair would race wheel-to-wheel until the very end.
The final lap was anyone’s game, but as McConnell is the third-ranked rider in the world and almost unbeatable at home, he found the extra energy to break away.
McConnell charged into the final straight, high fiving his fans as he crossed the finish line, to claim yet another National Championships jersey.
“Everything went really perfect,” said McConnell. “To be away with Trekky [Johnston] really early, we were able to just control the pace and dictate when we could put in the work and when we could recover a little bit. I’m really happy, not just for myself, but for Trekky to get second is awesome.
“I’ve never gone back to back before so this one is extra special,” McConnell explained. “I’ve really wanted this one for the last couple of months so to get a win and to be able to take the jersey overseas again is awesome.”
In the U23’s race, it was all about Tasmania’s Scott Bowden, who backed up his Oceania Championships title from just two weeks ago with National Championships glory.
A crash on lap 1 resulted in a gash on his right knee and removed the number plate from his bike, but Bowden was unstoppable, putting a 1m47s lead in front of the other U23 riders by the final lap, and in the process, completing an Australian season that is almost without peer in 2015.
Much like the Men’s, the Elite Women’s race turned into a challenge between top-ranked riders Henderson and Peta Mullens (VIC), who both went hard from the start, putting a 35.2 second gap between themselves and third and fourth placed riders Jenni King (VIC) and Jenny Fay (ACT).
Despite a small crash on the course, Henderson built this lead up to 50 seconds by the last lap, ensuring that she would once again be crowned the Elite Women’s National Champion.
“This one is really special,” said Henderson, speaking about retaining the title in her post-race interview. “Coming in as defending champion and Oceania champion, it was really important for me to have a good race.
“I came in with everything to lose and I was able to pull it together so I’m really happy.”
In third place was King, Fay finished fourth and Mountain Bike Australia’s Junior Development Coach Jodie Willett (QLD) rounded out the top five.
The most exciting finish of the day went to the U23 Women’s race, where Holly Harris (NSW) and Em Parkes (VIC) literally went head to head in a sprint finish for the title as they rounded Subaru corner on the third and final lap.
Riding in to what was an amazing photo finish, Parkes just edged out Harris on the line, finishing only centimetres in front to take the win.
The Bright Downhill course is renowned in the mountain bike world for being both technical and spectacular, and as we heard Connor Fearon (SA) say at the Oceania Championships in Toowoomba last month, it is “capable of hosting a World Cup”.
For the 2015 Subaru National Championships we are again lucky to be treated to a feast of Australian downhill royalty, with Tracey Hannah (QLD), Mick Hannah (QLD), Tegan Molloy (NSW), Troy Brosnan (SA) and Fearon all present and racing.
Downhill racing takes place over two days, with seeding held this afternoon and racing taking place tomorrow
Today’s action for the Elite Women saw defending national champion Tracey Hannah record the fastest time of 4:35.72, with Canadian Claire Buchar second in 4:59.10 and Oceania champion Molloy third in 5:15.13.
Brosnan is the hot favourite in the Elite Men’s race and today he did not disappoint fans, setting the fastest time for seeding, 3:56.22.
Fearon was a very close second, 0.21 seconds behind Brosnan, and Dean Lucas (VIC) was third in 4:03.46.
Observed Trials Finals
Today also saw the start of the spectator-favourite Observed Trials competition, with the valued 20 inch title up for grabs.
Taking out the title with exceptional riding was Nathan Mummery (VIC), and finishing runner up in the closest of competitions was Andrew Dickey (VIC), with Lachlan Sens (VIC) in third.
The Expert category was raced combined with women’s action, and it is no surprise that trials superstar Janine Jungfels (QLD) took the win.
Second place in expert went to Mitch Ho (NSW) and Kyle Rolands (QLD) finished third.
Final day action
Action on the final day of the of the Subaru Mountain Bike National Championships will be headlined as always by the downhill finals – with Group B racing at 1.30pm and Group A at 3.30pm.
Excitingly, the Group A finals will also be live streamed via the Mountain Bike Australia website at mtba.asn.au/livestream, allowing fans around the world to follow along.
Spectators in Bright will also be treated to a feast of Cross Country Short Course, Cross Country Eliminator and Observed Trials 26 inch action.
Anyone is welcome free of charge to watch and cheer along here at Mystic MTB Park in Bright, Victoria.
All information about the event can be found online at:
Molloy & Mudd Crowned Series Winners at the the Subaru National Mountain Bike Series in Toowoomba Queensland
The Series, hosted by Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA), started in December 2014 and spanned five states, finishing up today with a classic Downhill race that saw Toowoomba local legend and 2014 Enduro World Champion Jared Graves (QLD) battle America’s Richie Rude Jr for gold.
Graves was ranked first after yesterday’s seeding run – a run which saw him as the first rider to post a time below 2m40s on the tough ‘McKenzie Frenzy’ trail all week – and today, Graves didn’t disappoint.
Racing as the last rider down the hill, Graves not only beat out his own seeding time, but he also sped into first place, taking the win from second placed Richie Rude Jr, who just a few days ago usurped him at the Oceania Championships.
“I was a bit gutted the other day,” said Graves. “To get one back today feels good”.
While 2014 World Championships Bronze medallist Troy Brosnan (SA) was undefeated in the first two rounds of the series, his rare absence due to a team training camp in America meant the series winner crown was up for grabs in Queensland.
Graeme Mudd (NSW) today added a bronze medal to a series of top three results, securing himself the Subaru National Series crown in the process.
In Under 19 action, Max Warshawsky (QLD) had a great run, finishing 2.11 seconds in front of Jackson Frew (ACT) and Andrew Crimmins (NSW). Crimmins earned the overall Junior Series title.
In the Elite Women’s race, it was all about 2015 Junior World Champion Tegan Molloy (NSW) who finished her run in 3m11s, 8.63 seconds in front of second placed rider Sarah Booth (NSW).
Molloy has taken gold in two out of three downhill races this Series, adding the National Series overall winner title to her Oceania Champion medal, in what was a highly successful Toowoomba trip.
On her first series win in the Elite category, Molloy said:
“It’s pretty cool stepping up from juniors and then taking the Elite series – I had solid races this year”.
Ellie Wale took out the U19 Women’s race today and was also crowned the Junior Series Winner.
Special mention goes to Coleen Boyes (NSW) who rode to gold in the Women’s Masters 5/6 Category, posting a time that would have seen her take sixth among the Elite females.
Short Course Cross Country
In this morning’s short course, it was Rebecca Henderson (ACT) who took the win in the Elite Women’s race, securing herself the overall Series winner crown for the year, with Em Parkes (VIC) and Holly Harris (NSW) rounding out the podium.
In the Elite Men’s category, racing was fast and furious with bunches at the front forming, breaking and re-forming throughout the race.
Initially it was Paul van der Ploeg (VIC) that led the men as they sped around the course, but it wasn’t long before the Toowoomba crowd was treated to another battle between Dan McConnell (ACT) and Anton Cooper (NZ).
Unfortunately today Cooper dropped his chain on the final lap, allowing McConnell to ride comfortably to his third gold medal this week
The win also gave the overall series title to McConnell, the third-ranked Cross Country rider in the world.
This afternoon also saw the National Series prize pack drawn, with all riders who entered the 2014-15 Subaru National Series provided with an entry in the draw for each race entered.
The prize, which includes airfares, accommodation, car hire and tickets for two to the 2015 MTB World Championships in Andorra, was awarded by a lucky draw to 2013-14 National Series winner Cameron Ivory (NSW).
Racing continues in just 12 days with the Subaru Australian Mountain Bike Championships in Bright, Victoria, where riders will go head to head in a fight for the National Champion title.
The 2015 Championships will offer a feast of mountain biking disciplines for riders, with Cross Country, Downhill, Observed Trials and Cross-Country Eliminator all running, and competition will be fierce across both elites and age-groupers alike.
The festival that is the championships will feature the innaugural MTBA Achievement Awards dinner, as well workshops and courses, many of which are free to attend.
The first day of the final round of mountain bike racing in the Subaru National Series for 2014-15 was contested under the hot Queensland sun in Toowoomba on Saturday, with the event presented by Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA).
The series has travelled Australia, starting in December 2014, and racing took place in both Cross Country and Downhill disciplines.
Elite Men’s Cross Country
Dan McConnell (ACT) is the third-ranked cross country rider in the world, and as such starts any race he enters across the world as one of the favourites – and on home turf, McConnell is almost unstoppable.
The Elite Men’s race started smoothly in the midday heat, with a lead bunch of five riders, including McConnell and New Zealand National Champion Anton Cooper.
McConnell, crowned this week as the Oceania Champion, is renowned for starting steadily and then maintaining a pace that other riders cannot sustain over the duration of the race.
Today’s race ran to this familiar plan, with McConnell breaking away from the bunch on lap four to create a lead that would never be challenged.
“In the middle of the race I was able to get to the front at the start of the climb, open the legs a little bit and get a gap,” said McConnell.
“From there I was able to ride comfortably to the finish”.
Second behind McConnell was again Cooper, with third place going to 2013-14 National Series winner Cameron Ivory (NSW).
Scott Bowden (TAS) landed in Toowoomba as the National Series leader, and with a strong ride to fourth place, he will be leaving Queensland as the overall Elite Men’s Subaru National Series winner.
“I was hoping that I could get on the podium fairly consistently and be in the top five but I wouldn’t have even dreamt of taking out the series this year,” said Bowden.
“It exceeded all my expectations and I’m just over the moon”.
Ivory and Brendan Johnston (ACT) rounded out the top three overall series winners.
Both men finished the series on level points, but second was awarded to Ivory on countback.
Under 19 action saw Liam Jeffries (VIC) win both today’s race and the overall National Series crown in a dominant fashion, with four wins from five races, and today he incredibly rode without a seat-post and saddle for most of the final lap.
Elite Women’s Cross Country
The women’s race was a star-studded affair, with the very best riders from Australia and New Zealand stacked across the front row of the startline.
Kiwi young gun Amber Johnston (NZ) rode hard from the start to lead the riders into the forest, where proceedings were broken open early by the experienced New Zealand power duo of Kate Fluker and Karen Hanlen.
Fluker has form this week after riding to a strong silver behind Henderson on Thursday in the Oceania Championships, and was again strong today surging to the lead at the end of lap two.
On lap three she further accelerated and established a lead that would ultimately be insurmountable.
“I was maybe four or five deep on the single track but I really utilised that grassy climb,” said Fluker. “I have to use my strengths the best I can and I love climbing so I made sure I went hard where I could.
“Amber Johnston, the New Zealand U23 Champion, was out in front and I said to her ‘Amber I’m behind you’ and she pulled over for me and let me pass. Kiwi’s are pretty good at working together”.
The Subaru National Series title was on the line today and fittingly it was our two best athletes of recent years in contention, Rebecca Henderson (ACT) and Peta Mullens (VIC).
Henderson, the 2014 Commonwealth Games Bronze medallist, walked away with the spoils, adding the overall National Series title to the Oceania title she won 48 hours earlier at the same venue.
“I’m really happy to win my first National Series – it’s really cool,” said an ecstatic Henderson.
In under 19 action, New Zealand’s Jemma Manchester capped off a successful trip, adding today’s Subaru National Series round win to Thursday’s Oceania Champion title.
Worthy of note in the youngest category is the prodigious Zoe Cuthbert, who today completed a whitewash of the Under 15 series with performances that often saw her battling with Elite riders.
Downhill racing will take place with riders today participating in a seeding event to both earn points towards their Subaru National Series rankings and also decide the start order for Sunday.
In the Men’s event, Jared Graves (QLD) was fastest with a time of 2m39.60s, while Richie Rude Jr (USA) and Connor Fearon (SA) rounded out the top three.
For the Women, Tegan Molloy (NSW) seeded quickest in 3m12.79s, with Michelle Crisp (NSW) in second and Kellie Weinert (NSW) in third.
Spectators are welcome free of charge here at Jubilee Mountain Bike Park, with Sunday’s racing to include both Short Course Cross Country and Downhill racing.
Australia’s two best cross-country mountain bike riders, Rebecca Henderson (ACT) and Dan McConnell (ACT), rode dominantly to Oceania titles in Toowoomba, Queensland, today at the 2015 Oceania Mountain Bike Championships, hosted by Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA).
McConnell was the hot favourite for the Elite Men’s title, being the third ranked cross-country mountain bike rider in the world and holding an impressive five Oceania Elite titles before today’s race even started. But competition was always going to be tight, with the Men’s field starring New Zealand National Champion and 2014 Commonwealth Games gold medallist Anton Cooper and Cairns World Cup Cross-Country Eliminator winner Sam Gaze (NZ).
For the first two laps the three men were neck and neck, as they were at last year’s Commonwealth Games, but this time McConnell was the first to make his move, going early and pushing hard on lap three. “It was always going to be really fast off the start with Sam and Anton,” explained McConnell. “I was able to settle in with them and the pace was fairly inconsistent and fast, it was fairly cat and mouse. “I think at the third lap I was able to get to the front at the start of the climb and put a bit of pace on. Once I was away by myself it was a lot easier to get away and just ride my pace and settle in.”
McConnell rode to a very convincing championship win from Cooper, acknowledging the day’s weather was tough on all riders, as evidenced by both Paul van der Ploeg (VIC) and Gaze withdrawing mid-race. “It was super hard conditions, there’s not really any breeze once you get into the trees – I’m not sure you could get much tougher than this,” said McConnell.
Third place in the Elite Men went to Cameron Ivory (NSW). Scott Bowden (TAS) took the Oceania title for Australia in the U23 Men’s race, after the initial leader Harrison Ersnt (NZ) fell away with a flat tyre early in the race.
In the Elite Women’s cross-country race, it was the battle of the National Champions, with Australia’s own Henderson (ACT) going head to head with New Zealand Champion Kate Fluker.
The two female cross-country stars led the field for the entire race, with 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Henderson sitting just in front of Fluker. For the first half of the race there were only 13 seconds between the two, but Henderson extended this gap to 43 seconds by lap three, creating a lead which Fluker was unable to close. Despite extreme Queensland heat, Henderson, who has four Oceania titles at the Under 23 level, appeared to cruise to her first Elite gold medal.
“I’m very relieved to take the win today and obviously take my first Oceania Elite title,” said Henderson. “I was able to beat the girls a couple of years ago when I was in U23s but last year it just slipped away from me and Karen rode away on the last lap so I was watching my back for the whole day today and really working hard.” Fluker took home the silver medal for New Zealand, while three-time consecutive Oceania title winner Karen Hanlen (NZ) secured bronze.
In the U23 Women’s race it was New Zealand’s Amber Johnston who took out the Oceania title, moving steadily through the field.
The wins by Henderson and McConnell gain additional significance with each win securing an invaluable position for Australia on the mountain bike startline at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The best mountain bike riders from the Oceania region will continue to do battle in Toowoomba over the next three days, before the action heads to Bright, Victoria for the 2014/15 Subaru Oceania Mountain Bike Championships.
For all Oceania and Series information, please visit:
Off the back of yet another successful year of racing for Trek Racing Australia we are excited to announce a financial commitment of $300,000 over the next three years to the Team from our founding and long term supporters, the Peil Family.
2014 saw Trek Racing Australia rider’s claim 7 National titles across XCO, XCM and 24hr Solo categories, representation at UCI MTB World Cups, UCI MTB World Champs, and the Commonwealth Games. Coupled with dominant performances like those achieved at the Kowalski Classic and the Highland Fling by Brendan Johnston & Dylan Cooper the Team is in a very strong position to keep moving forward.
Combined with the unrivalled support from industry leading companies like Trek Bicycle Corp Australia, Shimano Australia, Anytime Fitness, FOX, GU Energy Labs, Finish Line Lube and Aussie Butt, contrary to rumors, the Team is now very well funded until 2019.
Our absolute focus is to continue supporting Australian Mountain bikers. Our plan is to run frequent Junior Skills Development camps and use our Elite riders to mentor junior mountain bikers throughout the country. Our number one goal is to keep our riders on mountain bikes, give them a pathway to the world stage and decrease the bleeding of so much of this country’s mountain biking talent to the road.
Cameron Ivory (NSW) and Peta Mullens (VIC) have secured the gold at Round 3 of the Subaru National Mountain Bike Series in Pemberton, Western Australia, presented by Mountain Bike Australia.
Sunday’s race was the second leg of a double-header in the idyllic location in the South Western corner of Australia, with riders having to contend with tired legs and a brand new challenging course.In the Elite Men’s category, Ivory and Brendan Johnston (ACT) had an entertaining battle, with Johnston holding a small lead for the majority of the race.
The riders came together on the final lap, with Ivory making the definitive move as they crossed the finish line for the second-last time. “That was so hard trying to chase down Trekky [Johnston],” said Ivory. “I kept getting him, then losing him, coming back, and with a few laps to go I just left it all out there. Luckily I caught him at the start of the last lap and just went for home from there.”
The 2013/14 National Series Champion is happy to return to the top step of the podium, and is looking forward to the challenge of keeping the position. “I had my European season last year and learned a lot so I’m trying to put it to use this year,” he explained. “Hopefully when Dan McConnell comes back I can see how I compare to him.”
In second place was Johnston, who set the initial pace for the race and held on to the lead until the very final lap. “I had pretty good legs so I wanted to make it as hard as I could,” said Johnston. “I thought I could hold Cam [Ivory] off but he never really got out of sight and with one lap to go he showed why he’s the rider he is. “I’m happy with a second place, for me today it wasn’t so much about the position but having a solid race, the course is a credit to the course designers and event hosts, it made for good racing both days.”
Third place went to 2013 Cross Country Eliminator World Champion Paul van der Ploeg (ACT) who pushed hard on the final laps to move through the field.
For the second day in a row, Liam Jeffries (VIC) took out the U19 Men’s title and now wears the Subaru Series Leader’s jersey.
Second place went to Luke Brame (NSW), with Bryan Dunkin (NSW) finishing third.
In an exciting Elite Women’s race, Peta Mullens (VIC) took the win and in the process claimed a rare victory in front of 2014 Commonwealth Games Bronze medallist Bec Henderson (ACT). In early running, both riders went hard to have a 36 second gap on the field after only the first lap. The two women would stay together until the end of lap three, when Mullens crossed the finish line 4 seconds in front of Henderson. “I was feeling pretty sick out there,” explained Henderson. “I was giving it everything on the first few laps but Peta marked me and she could tell I wasn’t on it. She probably didn’t even know that I was trying to attack, but I was and she rode amazingly.” On lap four, Mullens made the race her own, creating an unassailable lead of over two minutes, which she extended to almost five minutes on the way to the win.
“I think yesterday I left it all out there and today I wanted to do the same and I think I can be content with that,” said Mullens. “On the third lap she [Henderson] gave it a bit of stick and then didn’t really get the gap she wanted and started to suffer a bit. I thought that on the fourth lap it was my time to go when she was probably at her weakest and feeling yesterday’s race in her legs.”
Second place went to an ecstatic Jodie Willett (QLD) who again rode through the field to a result that surprised even herself. “Obviously Bec wasn’t having a good day and she really showed her class yesterday so don’t believe she’s down at my level,” said Willett. “Jenni and I had a great battle again and she kept me honest. We were both cramping for the last half of the race, which made it tough but I am stoked with second place.”
Jenni King (VIC) rode strongly to round out the top three.
The Under 19 Women were again in action today mixing it with the Elites, with West Australian local Sarah Tucknott (WA) taking both wins for the weekend and Megan Williams (QLD) scoring her second silver medal.
A special mention goes to Under 15 rider Zoe Cuthbert (ACT) who again won her category, remarkably finishing as the seventh rider on course at the time, with only Elite riders ahead.
The Subaru National Series continues in two weeks from 6 – 8 February with Cross Country Round 4 and Short Course Cross Country Round 2 in Stromlo, ACT and Downhill Round 2 in Thredbo, NSW.
For all Series information, please visit:
For full race results, please visit:
Olympian Bec Henderson (ACT) and Scott Bowden (TAS) have powered to Cross Country wins at Round 2 of the 2014/15 Subaru National Mountain Bike Series, run by Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA).
Bowden signalled his arrival in this year’s Series with a second place in You Yangs, and today he confirmed this with his maiden National Series win. He led the field from Lap 1, with Cameron Ivory (NSW) and Brendan Johnston (ACT) hot on his heels.
Many riders mounted a challenge but Bowden was untouchable today, increasing his lead every lap for the first four. “After You Yangs I had fairly high expectations of myself but I also didn’t really know what to expect, but I’m over the moon,” said Bowden. “I just tried to push the descents and keep the legs as fresh as I could – it was such a hard course, fair bit of a climbing but I just tried to ride to my strengths.”
Second place went to Cameron Ivory (NSW) who recovered from an early incident to have an outstanding second half of the race, moving up from fourth place to give himself a genuine winning chance. “I had a little bit of bad luck on the second lap, I hit something pretty hard on one of the descents and I think I might have burped my tyre,” said Ivory. “I got to the top of the descent and I thought it was still ok but over the doubles it was just all over the place so I thought I better pull in and fix it, I tried to settle back in and not go out too hard but on that last lap I was just corked, especially up the climb.”
Brendan Johnston (ACT) rode strongly into third place and is already looking forward to tomorrow’s race. “I’m really happy with third – I knew second was out of reach so I tried to shut it down for the last lap and save a bit for tomorrow which I’m looking forward to. “There’s strong guys that turn up to every round and it’s good to see a lot of them travelled over here to Pemberton. It’s a long way but as I think everyone today would say, it’s worth it.”
Winner of the Under 19 Men’s, Liam Jeffries (VIC) rode an epic race setting a pace equal to the Elite men early on.
Luke Brame (NSW) and Guy Frail (NSW) went head to head in a fight for second place, with Brame edging out Frail in a sprint finish to retain the Series Leader’s jersey.
In the Elite Women’s race, Henderson took an early lead, accelerating to be clear of the field by Woodcutters Climb half-way around Lap 2, which turned out to be the decisive move. “I didn’t have a race plan today which is kind of unusual for me,” said Henderson who is undefeated in the series. “I got a little gap on the first lap and Peta closed it down. I could hear her puffing behind me starting the climb so I thought I better pounce and I was just able to open it up from there.”
Recently crowned 2015 Subaru National Road Series Champion Peta Mullens (VIC) had a great race to secure the silver medal, pushing Henderson early. “I wanted a hard race today,” said Mullens. “At You Yangs we all went out a little slower because it was hot and we knew it would be a long race. But today I felt a little bit fitter and I wanted to go out and have a hard race. “Bec went from the gun and put the pressure on and I was trying to chase her on that second lap and she just kept getting out of the saddle on those little pinch climbs”.
MTBA Junior Development Coach Jodie Willett (QLD) closed the gap to Jenni King on Lap four, riding into third place. “I did a triathlon last weekend and I’ve just been doing random stuff, lots of endurance but nothing hard,” said Willett. “I knew if I went out too quick I would just blow up so I sat behind Em [Parkes] for a while and just worked my way through the field”.
In the Under 19 women’s race, local Sarah Tucknott (WA) rode strongly to take the win ahead of Queensland’s Megan Williams.
Tomorrow will see the men and women take to the tracks in Pemberton once again for Round three of the series.
Bec Henderson spoke of the challenges that await: “There’s even more single track and not that long, gruelling climb – it should be fun and hopefully we will have a little bit left in the legs!”
Pemberton Mountain Bike Park is a new location for the 2014/15 series, with Perth Mountain Bike Club combining some of Australia’s most challenging and enjoyable mountain bike trails with some fantastic leisure facilities including a natural swimming pool.
Bec Henderson (ACT) raced to an outstanding 15th place in the Elite Women’s Cross Country World Mountain Bike Championships, while her partner and season team-mate Dan McConnell (ACT) suffered the heartbreak of two flat tyres in the Men’s race.
Racing took place in Hafjell, Norway on day five of the 25th UCI Mountain Bike & Trials World Championships.
Elite Women Cross Country
In the Elite Women’s race, Henderson (ACT) and Peta Mullens (VIC) were Australia’s two representatives.
2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medallist and 2012 Olympian Henderson (ACT) moved up from the Under 23 ranks this year after a standout 2013 in which she won the Under 23 UCI World Cup Series.
Today Henderson started from second row of the grid, and she consolidated a position in the early twenties for much of the first half of the race.
A steady start would prove to be a smart strategy with the tough Hafjell course taking a toll on riders over the 6 lap race.
On lap 4, Henderson cracked the top 20 for the first time since the start of the race, and from there she would power from strength to strength, picking up multiple places each lap.
She would ultimately finish in an excellent 15th place in her maiden Elite Women’s World Championship race, leaving the solid impression that the future of the sport for Australian Women is in sound hands.
Teammate and Australian Cross Country Eliminator National Champion Peta Mullens finished in 61st place.
Catharine Pendrel of Canada won the World Championship title for her second time, completing an amazing 2014 that included a Commonwealth Games gold medal.
Second place went to ‘07 & ‘09 World Champion Irina Kalentieva (Russian Federation), with Lea Davison (USA) rounding out the Elite Women’s podium.
Elite Men Cross Country
In the Elite Men’s Championship race, Australia’s representatives were Dan McConnell (ACT) and 2013 Cross Country Eliminator World Champion Paul van der Ploeg.
McConnell, a dual Olympian, has excelled in the past two seasons, winning a round of the World Cup in 2013 and finishing on the podium for the UCI World Cup series in consecutive years.
Traditionally a slow race starter, McConnell today accelerated hard from the line to be in second place in early running and settled comfortably into the top 5 early on the second lap.
Unfortunately it would be all bad news from here for the Australian.
He suffered a flat tyre towards the end of Lap 2, and despite excellent mechanical assistance in the technical zone he lost 6 places and 58s from the incident.
After restarting racing and settling into his new 11th position, the truly unthinkable occurred and McConnell had a second flat tyre towards the end of Lap 3.
He lost 34 places this time around and would withdraw from the race late on Lap 4.
This marks consecutive years of bad luck for McConnell – in 2013 he was injured pre-race in training and finished 42nd.
Team mate van der Ploeg finished in 94th place.
On more than one occasion in 2014 McConnell has battled head-to-head with the two legends of the sport – Julien Absalon (France) and Nino Schurter (Switzerland).
Today they would own the World Championships race to themselves, and after a brutal battle Absalon was victories, recording a record fifth World Championship win.
Schurter, himself a triple world champion, placed second after surviving a challenging crash just moments from the finish, and Marco Aurelio Fontana (Italy) placed third.
2014 Cross Country Mountain Bike World Championship Results
1. Julien Absalon (FRA) 1:27:06
2. Nino Schurter (SUI) +1:51
3. Marco Aurelio Fontana (ITA) +3:28
94. Paul van der Ploeg (VIC) – 4 Laps down
DNF Dan McConnell (ACT)
Downhill Timed Session
The 2014 World Championships culminate on Sunday with Downhill racing for Junior and Elite riders.
An official timed-session was held today for the Elite categories, and while results do not contribute to the start order for Sunday they do allow riders to gauge their performance level against the field and to tackle a clear track at race pace.
Six-time National Champion Tracey Hannah (QLD) is Australia’s sole Elite Female entrant, and she set the 7th-fastest time of the day despite crashing during her run.
In the men’s session, Troy Brosnan (SA) continued his outstanding 2014 form, placing 5th and setting the fastest Australian time.
Hot on Brosnan’s tail was triple Elite World Champion Sam Hill (WA), recording 6th place just a quarter of a second behind Brosnan.
Bryn Atkinson (NSW) had a great run to finish 11th and Connor Fearon (SA) recorded 15th position.
Mick Hannah (QLD), Jack Moir (NSW) and Graeme Mudd (NSW) claim 23rd, 25th and 27th positions respectively.
2014 Downhill Official Timed Session – Mountain Bike World Championship Results
The seventh and final round of the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup wrapped up the overall series in Meribel, France this weekend after a fierce weekend of racing where Australia’s top riders featured heavily on the round and series podiums.
The UCI World Cup Series included events in seven countries, across four continents, with riders contesting rounds in the Olympic Cross Country, Downhill and Cross Country Eliminator disciplines.
On a very fast and rocky track that descended 550m in 2100m length, it was Sam Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles.com/Nukeproof) who shone on the weekend, winning the round and proving to the world that he is back to his best.
Hill is a dual World Cup Series winner (2007, 2009) and broke an almost four year World Cup race win drought earlier this month by taking first place in Mont-Sainte-Anne in Canada.
Following close behind was Adelaide-born Troy Brosnan (Specialized Racing DH), who rounded out a stellar 2014 by recording a career-best Word Cup Series performance of third overall, one point in front of friend and former teammate Hill.
Brosnan took the podium in five of the seven World Cup races on the way to his third place, winning in Fort William, UK and recording a third place in Leogang, Austria and Windham, USA.
The overall winner of the men’s downhill series was Josh Bryceland (Santa Cruz Syndicate).
In the women’s downhill, Australia’s Tracey Hannah (Hutchinson UR) finished fourth after an exciting World Cup season, which included podium places in five of the seven races, as well as winning the Canadian Open DH at Crankworx this year.
In the overall rankings, it was Manon Carpenter (Madison Saracen Factory Team) who held on for the win.
In the junior women’s, fellow Australian Tegan Molloy was the stand out star, earning the Junior World Cup Series winner crown.
Molloy recorded five wins from the seven races, riding to her best finish in the Series in Canada to finish 11th in the Elite field with a time of 5:32.750, an exceptional result from the young NSW rider.
In the cross-country, Australia’s Dan McConnell (Trek Factory Racing) secured back-to-back UCI World Cup Series podiums finishing third overall for 2014, after taking the podium four times across the Series.
McConnell had a best finish of 3rd place in Mont-Saint-Anne in Canada and only narrowly missed out on making the podium in the last round, coming in at sixth place.
World Cup series leader Julien Absalon (BMC) and World Champion Nino Schurter (Scott Odlo) remarkably won all seven events between them this year.
Absalon held on for the win, securing his sixth overall World Cup Series title.
In the Under 23 men, Australia’s Cam Ivory placed 22nd overall in a series including some challenges, a great result.
Australia’s Bec Henderson (Trek Factory Racing) had her debut year at Elite level and had an excellent year to finish inside the top 20. The highlight of her World Cup year was on home soil during the third round in Cairns, crossing the line in 10th place.
Jolanda Neff (Liv Pro XC) was the overall winner for the women’s Cross Country.
Starting on the Friday, and kicking off the final round of races in Meribel, was the Cross Country Eliminator, a 725m course that saw riders taking a gondola to the start line.
In the men’s overall standings, it was Australia’s Paul Van der Ploeg, the reigning World Champion, who would shine with a fourth place in the overall series.
Van der Ploeg had a solid World Cup season, medalling in each of the first three rounds and making the podium in four.
Fabrice Mels (Salcano Alanya) was crowned the elite men’s champion and Kathrin Stirnemann (Sabine Spitz Haibike) was victorious in the elite women’s series.
The trials UCI World Cup Series is currently at the midpoint, and Australia’s Janine Jungfels took the honours with an outstanding win in Meribel, taking the honours in the third round of the five race series.
The mountain bike world’s attention now switches to the World Championships, which starts in Norway on September 2nd.
McConnell and Henderson clinch bronze medals in exciting day at Cathkin Braes MTB Park in Glasgow.
Australian mountain biking duo Daniel McConnell and Bec Henderson found the podium in a thrilling day of cross country mountain biking at Cathkin Braes MTB Trails overlooking Glasgow.
Victoria’s McConnell clinched Australia’s first ever men’s Commonwealth Games mountain bike medal with bronze in the men’s event, while Canberra’s Henderson also claimed bronze in the women’s race, just the second medal for women in the discipline.
The men completed seven, and the women six, laps of a five-kilometre course of the Cathkin Braes Country Park, with thousands of fans flocking to watch races, despite dark clouds, periodic rain and blustery winds. The riders had to negotiate a tricky course that featured the Brig O’Doom, Broken Biscuits, and Clyde Climbs— all named by local schoolchildren.
In a nail-biting climax to a sensational men’s race, McConnell, 28, was out-kicked in the dying few hundred metres by the New Zealand pair of Anton Cooper and Samuel Gaze.
“Obviously I’m happy to walk away with a bronze medal, it wasn’t quite the colour I was after but I was just out-matched today by the Kiwi boys who rode really smart and tactical and I didn’t quite have the power to go with them,” McConnell said.
Earlier in the 35km battle which featured 33 riders from 18 nations, McConnell was forced to bridge a small gap created by a small group of leading riders a lap and a half into the seven-lap race. For much of the remaining five laps, McConnell went toe-to-toe with the lead group of four which included the Kiwi duo and Canadian Max Plaxton. The quartet became three inside the final lap, with the teenage Cooper attacking Gaze and McConnell with just 500 hundred metres remaining.
McConnell had no answer, with Copper crossing the line in a time of 1hour 38:26secs, three seconds ahead of Gaze with McConnell a further seven seconds back.
“It was a hard race, a fast course and I put all my eggs in that basket and it didn’t quite pan out, but I walk away with bronze so it’s not too bad,” McConnell said. “I had to put in a pretty big effort to bridge the gap, but I was still feeling pretty good and that was only the first lap-and-a-half. “It was a build up over the day, I really tried in the middle part of the race to break it up, but (with) the speed of the course there’s a lot of drafting and I couldn’t use where I’m strongest on the climbs to get the gap.
“(But) There’s not really an excuse today I just didn’t quite have the legs to go with them at the end,” added McConnell.
In other great results for Australia, Newcastle’s Cam Ivory finished in eighth, and Canberra’s Andy Blair in twelfth to finish a great day for Australian mountain biking.
Similarly to the men’s race, an Australian was faced with a battle against team mates, with Canberra’s Henderson, 22, outgunned by the Canadian duo of Catherine Pendrel and Emily Batty. 21 riders from eleven countries set out on the women’s race, with Pendrel, the 2011 world champion quickly establishing a lead of half a minute by the end of the first of six laps.
Together, Henderson and her Trek-Factory teammate Batty worked hard to pursue Pendrel but were unable reel her in. Pendrel cruised to cross in 1hr 39:29secs, just over a minuted ahead of Emily Batty who got over Henderson by twelve seconds.
“I’m so excited, this is my first Commonwealth Games and first medal and it’s such a privilege to be here and an amazing experience and I’m so happy, “ said Henderson who equalled Australia’s only medal in the Commonwealth Games mountain bike prior to day – Mary Grigson’s bronze at the 2002 event in Manchester.
“Catharine took off at the start and I was going to go with her and I thought ‘I don’t want to get caught in no man’s land’ but I kind of did,” she explained. “But I backed off and Emily caught up and we started working together to try to catch her.
“In the last two laps it was definitely on and I was there to defend the third place, I wasn’t going to let that go.”
Victoria’s Peta Mullens finished twelfth and Tory Thomas 14th.
Dual mountain bike Olympian Daniel McConnell, currently ranked number one in the Commonwealth and fourth in the world, and Rebecca Henderson who has flourished in the MTB World Cup Series over the past few seasons, head a six-member cross-country mountain bike team.
Peta Mullens, Tory Thomas, Andrew Blair and Cameron Ivory have also been selected.
A gutsy effort from current World Cup leader Rebecca Henderson has seen her claim tenth place in the under 23 women’s cross country race at the UCI MTB & Trials World Championships on Friday afternoon.
On Thursday evening it looked as though Henderson would not make it to the start line following a fall during the official afternoon training session which left her with a large cut above her eye and a severely bruised right wrist.
To further hamper the London Olympian’s efforts, Henderson was knocked off her bike by a fellow competitor attempting to pass on a narrow single track inside the first lap of Friday’s race.
“It definitely wasn’t my day today, but I did everything I could do to get the best possible result,” said Henderson, 22, who has not finished lower than second in any of the five 2013 UCI World Cups.
“It wasn’t just a physical, but also a mental battle today. When you are used to fighting for podium positions at World Cups, it is very hard to be fighting in tenth to fifteenth at the World Championships.
“But I did what I could do and I am very happy with my efforts, but obviously not the result I was after.”
The field of 37 riders met with completely different weather to the hot, dry and windy conditions experienced over the first few days of competition, with a drop in temperatures, slight wind and the threat of rain at the Pietermaritzburg track.
Reigning under 23 world champion Jolanda Neff (SUI) made her intentions clear from the start as she established an early break on the field which she never relinquished.
It was a clinical display over the remaining five laps from Neff as she rode away a confortable winner from France’s Pauline Ferrand Prevot and Yana Belomoyna (UKR). Henderson finished just a tick over ten minutes in arrears.
“Usually I am the one setting the pace on the descents and then trying to hang on during the climbs, but today I was losing all my time on the descents,” said Henderson.
“I would put ten seconds into someone on the climb, but they would catch straight back up on the descent. It was getting really frustrating.
“I was definitely aiming for a podium today. Anything outside of a top five I was going to be disappointed with, I mean that’s just how it goes when you finish no lower than second during the season.
“It certainly is a very difficult result to take on the chin, but I am just happy there is another World Cup event to go.
“Hopefully I can put all this behind me there and still hold onto the leader’s jersey,” added Henderson, who has two weeks to prepare for the final World Cup round in Norway.
In the under 23 men’s race, Victoria’s Mick Crosbie finished 39th in a rain affected affair.