Cairns World Champs: 50 Days To Go

Today marks 50 days to go until the 2017 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Cairns, held at Smithfield Regional Park, James Cook University from the 5 – 10 September 2017.

With only two UCI World Cup events remaining before the world’s best mountain bike riders make their way to Australia’s iconic mountain biking destination in Cairns, Australians are dominating in the Downhill discipline, currently holding the male and female number one UCI ranking.

Troy Brosnan placed 2nd at last year’s Cairns World Cup. He’s a favourite for the top step at this year’s Worlds.

Cairns local Tracey Hannah and Troy Brosnan are both in career best form and will arrive in Cairns assured of a boisterous show of local support.

Fans will be relishing the looming battle between home town hero Hannah and legendary Downhill rider and current world number three, Britain’s Rachel Atherton, which is shaping up to be one of the sport’s biggest showdowns in Cairns this September. Atherton, undefeated since 2014 until a heavy crash four weeks ago, has previously had the edge over her Aussie rival, but Hannah will bring a new level of confidence after her recent World Cup win and top of the table ranking.

Cycling Australia CEO Nick Green said the form of the Australian riders would ramp up excitement levels for spectators travelling to Cairns for the World Championships.

“All Australian mountain bike fans should be booking their tickets to Cairns. The upgrades to fan routes and zones in the rainforest will make it easy to get out on the course and cheer on Tracey, Troy and the other Aussie riders.” – Nick Green

Minister for Tourism and Major Events Kate Jones said the 2017 UCI Mountain Bike (MTB) World Championships provided an incredible opportunity to showcase Tropical North Queensland globally.

“The appeal of Tropical North Queensland is another enticing factor with the destination offering an array of adventure tourism experiences like mountain biking, and also known as home to amazing natural assets from some of the world’s oldest rainforests to the Great Barrier Reef.” – Kate Jones

The most notable change to the schedule is the shift of the two disciplines from last year’s World Cup format. This year the Cross Country (XCO) competition will be contested on Saturday 9 September while the Downhill (DHI) event will take place on Sunday 10 September.

Prices for adult tickets start from $15 and $40 for families with children under 10 FREE to experience explosive action from the worlds best Mountain Bike athletes.

Tickets can be purchased via the 2017 UCI Mountain Bike Championships website, visit – mtbworldscairns.com.au

Cairns has so many fun trails to ride between races

Travel packages are now also on sale via Flight Centre for those looking to travel to Cairns for the event.

For further information visit mtbworldscairns.com.au, or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @UCIMTBAustralia or join in the conversation with #mtbworldscairns

Local support

This Is Peaty – Season 3, Episode 6

After a long season for Steve Peat and co, It all came down to the final round out in Meribel.

Could Rat take the overall or would nerves get the better? Could Peaty regain some end of season form and hit the podium?

After all was said and done out in France, there was no rest for the wicked as it was time to head to Hafjell once again for World Champs.

Ratboy was fully peaking, on the form of his life, whilst Peaty was quietly confident on a track he’s done well on in the past…

Find out how the story unfolded and more in Episode 6 of This Is Peaty!

Produced by Steel City Media

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Racing: Australian Junior Team nominations revealed

Mountain Bike Australia (MTBA) is pleased to announce nominations for the 2014 Junior National Mountain Bike Team. This team will have the honour of representing Australia at the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships being staged in Hafjell, Norway, 2nd to the 7th September 2014.

The 2014 juniors will follow in the steps of many successful athletes over the years, with current and former mountain bike Olympians Bec Henderson (ACT), Dan McConnell (ACT), Lisa Mathison (QLD) and Cadel Evans (NT) all being former National junior team members.

Athletes selected to the National team will have the chance to represent Australia at the sport’s highest level – the World Championships, and compete for the title of World Champion.

Athletes selected to the development team will have the chance to work with national level coaches and learn how to specifically prepare for major competition in the future, as well as be reserves for the National team.

Donna Dall, MTBA Cross-Country National Coach, said “It’s fantastic to have a promising and dedicated group of athletes selected to the 2014 Junior National Team and Development Squad. Both Jared Rando, the DownHill coach and myself are looking forward to working with the stars of tomorrow”.

Details of athletes nominated are below. For more information on the team, selection criteria and more, see www.mtba.asn.au .

MTBA – Junior National Team – 2014

Junior Men – National Team (Cross Country Olympic – XCO)

Reece Tucknott (WA)

Mitchell Greenway (VIC)

Michael Potter (NSW)

Felix Smalley (VIC)

Jayden Ward (NSW)

 

Junior Women – National Team (XCO)

Megan Williams (QLD)

Elle Wale (VIC)

 

Junior Men – National Team (DownHill – DHI)

Andrew Crimmins (NSW)

Ben Hill (TAS)

Aiden Varley (VIC)

Max Warshawsky (QLD)

Matthew McCorkell (ACT)

Jackson Davies (VIC)

Ben Dengate (ACT)

 

 

Junior Women – National Team (DHI)

Tegan Molloy (NSW)

MTBA – Junior Development Squad – 2014 

Development Squad (XCO)

Sara Mills (NSW)

Luke Brame (NSW)

Foley Lachal (VIC)

Guy Frail (NSW)

Callum Carson (NSW)

 

Development Squad (DHI)

Ellie Wale (VIC)

Dan Booker (TAS)

Joel Willis (NSW)

Dru Berryman (VIC)

Video: Specialized, Santa Cruz and Lapierre DH Team Vids from the World Champs

Here’s a collection of videos from the World Champs

Specialized:

The lads headed to South Africa fully pumped for DH Worlds. Recognizing that the season has not gone according to plan and each only had one run at the rainbow stripes, Aaron, Troy, and Mitch hung it all out there. Maybe two of them hung it out there a little too far.

Props to Troy Brosnan for a top ten performance on a track not exactly tailored to his tastes. The World Cup still has two rounds left. We’re bound to see him on top of the box soon.

Santa Cruz:

On September 1st 2013, Greg Minnaar achieved his dream of winning the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in his hometown of Pietermaritzburg, South Africa.
Greg’s victory marks his third World Championship gold, and the fourth World Championship title for the Santa Cruz Syndicate team:

SANTA CRUZ SYNDICATE STRIKE GOLD IN SOUTH AFRICA :: World Championships 2013 from santa cruz bikes on Vimeo.

Lapierre:

Racing: Three Downhill Medals on Final Day of World Championships

Australia has capped a tremendous UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships with three medals in the elite downhill event to take the team tally in South Africa to seven medals, including one gold, two silver and four bronze.

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In the Championship’s final event held on Sunday evening, Cairns’ Mick Hannah and Toowoomba’s Jared Graves secured the elite downhill silver and bronze medals respectively in a nail-biting men’s final won by defending champion and hometown hero Greg Minnaar.

Tracey Hannah showed no signs of a recent broken collar-bone as she won the bronze medal following a fantastic ride in the women’s event won in convincing fashion by Great Britain’s Rachel Atherton.

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How it unfolded

At Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg, riders rocketed down the three kilometre track in front of thousands, negotiating a series of obstacles, jumps and drops with the final sprint to the finish featuring a 15-metre jump which wowed the crowd of thousands gathered at the finish line.

Men’s

One of the first riders to complete the course, 2009 4X world champion Graves sat in the hot seat for much of the event following a scorching 4mins 01.391secs ride.  However on a course well suited to reigning national champion Hannah, the fellow Queenslander blitzed the track in 3mins 58.454secs to knock Graves off top spot.

But it was shortlived with Pitermaritzburg’s Minnaaar (3:58.058) wowing the adoring home crowd by eclipsing the Australian by less than half a second to win a nail biting third world title.

“It’s great, although second is not my favourite place in the world, but I had a really good run and Greg was just quicker.  To beat Greg here would have been an unbelievable ride,” said Hannah.

“I really enjoy it here, I have great support from the crowd, I feel like second to Greg here, which is really nice.

“It was also nice to see Trace do so well after the tough time she has had in the last eighteen months, that was really encouraging,” he added.

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In other results, three-time world champion Sam Hill (WA) crashed during his run, while two-time junior word champion Troy Brosnan (SA) was tenth.

Women’s

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Despite suffering a broken collar-bone less than two months ago which put doubts on her appearance at the Championships, a resilient Hannah took the bronze medal in an exciting women’s final.

Hannah’s familiarity with the course paid dividends, with the 2012 Pietermaritzburg World Cup winner putting in a superb ride of 4mins 40.438secs, twelve seconds behind Atherton and eight behind France’s Emmeline Ragot.

“This is pretty awesome, my goal was top five, so to get on the podium it is really amazing. Definitely will take me through the rest of the season and through off season training.  It is really good motivation,” said Hannah, the reigning national champion.

“We like this track because it is dry and dusty and reminds us of home, we send so much time riding all the wet tracks in Europe, so it is about time we got to ride something we are used to.

“I thought it (broken collar bone) would put a downer on it, but I learnt a lot in the last seven weeks and training kind of came into this race with not too high expectations, but just wanted to go for it,” she added.

Former 4X world title holder Caroline Buchanan (ACT) finished fifth.

The Cairns’ natives are also looking forward to the Cairns World Cup in April 2014.

“We are super excited about Cairns, it is a ten minute ride from mum and dad’s house, so for this race to come to our home town it is really exciting,” said Mick.

Racing: Victoria’s Van der Ploeg Powers to Eliminator World Title

Paul Van Der Ploeg has powered to an emphatic victory at the 2013 UCI MTB & Trials World Championships in South Africa on Sunday, claiming the elite men’s eliminator world crown.

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In an exciting final of the fast and furious format of mountain biking, the 23-year-old wowed the crowd as he unleashed his signature move ‘suicide inside’ to catapult into the lead.

The gamble paid off, with Van Der Ploeg maintaining his lead over the remainder of the race to power home to an emotional victory in front of a crowd of thousands gathered at Cascades Park. Daniel Federspiel (Austria) and  Catriel Andres Soto (Argentina) filled the podium.

“I don’t even know, yeah, that happened and it’s sinking in. It’s just one of those things you dream of happening and to have it all come off, is amazing,” said Mount Beauty’s Van Der Ploeg who became just the fourth Australian male in history to win an elite mountain bike world title, joining Sam Hill (Downhill 2006, 07, 09) Jared Graves (4X – 2009) and Wade Bootes (Dual – 2000).

“Considering I was on the sick bed for a while before coming to South Africa and not sure I would compete here,  I’m really happy with the win,” added Van Der Ploeg, who had entered the Championships off the back of contesting the UCI road event, the Tour of Borneo, where he suffered a bout of food poisoning, the affects of which were still being felt when he arrived in South Africa earlier in the week.

It is just the second year a world championships has been decided in the Eliminator, a fast paced exciting event which pits four riders against each other in a race to the line lasting just a few minutes in a much shortened version of the Cross Country track.

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The top 32 after time seeding compete in heats of four, with two eliminated each race until only four remain for the Championship race.

Easily one of the biggest riders in the field, the rider dubbed the “Aussie giraffe” by ground announcers posted the fourth fastest time in seeding, before progressing through to the final by winning the quarter and semi finals.

Despite already showing his hand in the semi final, his competitors had no answer for the nifty tactics of Van Der Ploeg in the final, as he once again took the exact same inside line on the first climb to take the lead.

“I know that with cross country eliminator the start is super important. Dan (Federspiel) is superfast off the start so I just got into his slipstream up the first hill,” Van der Ploeg said.

“To get into the final, that was what I was trying to do so I could put it all on the line, and as it turned out there was an inside line I found in the semi final which enabled me to take the lead and get a bit of a gap,” he explained.

“Then at the top of the hill before the run to the finish line, Bec Henderson yelled out to me ‘Paul, you’ve got this’ and I thought ‘Do I actually have this?’ But I didn’t look back and I just went for the line.”

The victory was Van Der Ploeg’s biggest of his career since he claimed a victory in the UCI World Cup Eliminator series in 2011.  Over the past two seasons, the versatile rider has been switching between all forms cycling including mountain biking, road and cyclo-cross racing.

“Last year racing I was World Cups in the cross country, but I didn’t really get the results I was looking for, and expecting to get.  So I reassessed after World Champs as to what format best suited me,” he explained.

“Cross country eliminator really suits me better than cross country because the short and powerful style of racing is better for me only being 90kg.

“I rode the eliminator for the whole last year, but then I chose to ride a road bike for a while so I had to relearn how to ride a mountain bike this week.”

A shoulder reconstruction sidelined Van Der Ploeg late in 2012, before he returned to the bike for the start of the Australian domestic season only to break his collar-bone in his first race back, the Tour of Perth in April. Since then he has juggled international and domestic based racing in all disciplines.

“2013 in particular has been a mixed bag for me all year, I have done UCI and Australian road, cyclocross, cross country, everything.

“But I have enjoyed trying different things and learning new disciplines.  It has really been a crazy fun year.

“In two weeks I head to Beijing, China for the first ever UCI cyclo-cross held in that country, so I guess the madness will continue.

“I guess at this point I need to say a massive thank you to everyone who has looked after, my family supporting my random decisions.

“But now I have the rainbow jersey, I get to wear with pride for the next year.  It is just one of those moments I will remember forever.  It is unbelievable.”

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Racing: McConnell Switches Focus to World Cup After Disappointing World Champs

Victoria’s Daniel McConnell has finished in 42nd place in the elite men’s cross country race at the 2013 UCI MTB and Trials World Championships held in in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa on Saturday.

The race was won in emphatic fashion by Switzerland’s Nino Schurter over Germany’s Manuel Fumic and Spain’s José Antonio Hermida Ramos.

“I think I didn’t have the legs all day, I sort of went into some lactic early and never recovered,” said the dual-Olympian McConnell, who finished almost ten minutes off the pace of leaders. “Even when I backed off and forgot about the race and just tried to get around, I just didn’t have it.

“It’s a good course you just need to be on it. The pace was obviously full on at the front, not that I really could see it.

“Certainly not how I planned my weekend, so it’s pretty disappointing,” the 28-year-old added.

A field of 76 riders set out for seven laps of the three kilometre course held in perfect conditions around the Cascades MTB Park.

As expected, Schurter announced his rainbow jersey intentions from the start, with the Swiss rider bolting from the gates to take an early lead on the field before powering to the finish unchallenged.

“The course was good, it was running pretty fast, probably the best it’s been all week,” explained McConnell, who entered the Championships slightly battered after coming to ground during a training ride late last week, caused by a group of monkeys on the road.

“(My body) It hasn’t been smooth since then (the crash), but I guess now I have to regroup in two weeks for Norway, that has to be the goal from now.”

McConnell is referring to the final round of the 2013 UCI World Cup season to be held in Norway in two weeks.

The Victorian currently sits third on the overall standings after his win in the opening round in Albstadt, Germany, and a recent fifth place in Mont Saint Anne in Canada earlier this month.

“The training has throughout the year has been good and I think I have proved that, so I just have to keep my head on until Norway,” he said.

“I have been around the top ten more than half the time, so obviously I can regroup and get another solid result and finish 2013 on a high.”

Australia’s Paul Van Der Ploeg finished in 61st place after withdrawing on lap four. The Victorian was caught behind a crash on the opening straight and was unable to recover ground on the leading bunch.
Van Der Ploeg will now refocus ahead of tomorrow’s Eliminator Championships in which he will be the lone representative for Australia.

The UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships takes place at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg from 26 August to 1 September 2013.