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Racing Month In Review
Fri Nov 7, 2003
Source: MB Action

CONGRATULATIONS!
Six and eighth overall NORBA NCS XC and ST series rider and 2000 Olympian Travis Brown and wife Mary Monroe are the proud parents of their first child, Zara Rose. Monroe is a former Marketing Director of Trek. Brown, who rode for Trek-VW in 2003, hasn't yet announced if he's going to race professionally next year.

LIST OF MTB STARS WHO ARE ON TOP OF THE CYCLOCROSS GAME
Altogether there are 25 UCI-sanctioned cyclocross events on the U.S. calendar. Starting from the final weekend in September and stretching from coast to coast, there has and will continue to be an elite CX race every week and until the first weekend of 2004. Former national cyclocross champion and top NORBA pro Marc Gullickson (Redline) currently leads the latest USA Cycling overall CX results standings. Mongoose-Hyundai's Todd Wells--9th and 7th overall in the NORBA XC and ST series, and 2001 Cyclocross National Champion--sits second. In fourth and eighth are World's Under-23 riders Ryan Trebor (Kona) and Adam Craig (Giant-Pearl Izumi). While Balance Bar-Devo rider Alan Obye sits "only" tenth in the elite division, the World MTB Championships espoir competitor also leads the Under-23 CX standings. Rad Racing's Tucker Thomas, a member of the Junior NORBA National 24-Hour Championship team, is leading the junior ranking. Finally, leading the elite women is former Volvo-Cannondale pro Carmen d'Aluisio (Clif Bar). Prior Luna Chix World Cup and NORBA competitor Gina Hall, also riding for Clif Bar, sits second. Current Luna Chix rider and five-time National Cyclocross and 2001 World XC Champion Alison Dunlap is third. Other mountain bike names in the women's top ten include Kona-Kenwood's Ann Grande, Seven Cycles' National XC Champion Mary McConneloug, Ritchey-Redline's Rachel Lloyd and Redline's Josie Beggs. Since USA Cycling posted the rankings Trebone has won two more events (Blue Bell, PA & Worcester MA), Wells has won two (Wilmington, DE) and Dunlap has won two (Gloucester and Worcester, MA). Expect them all to move up on the standings in the next set of CX rankings.

UCI BANS DISCS
First Mavic introduced a 700c disc wheel. Then a Euro team showed up with a bevy of disc road bikes at the Pomona Valley Stage Race earlier this year. Disc road bikes are always seen at trade shows worldwide. From all indications it looked like road discs would be the very next big thing. But in one fell swoop the UCI has quashed the technology. The International Cycling Federation's governing body voted last month to ban disc brakes in UCI-sanctioned cyclocross events.

RYDER GOES POSTAL
Although NORBA NCS Series number one and almost World Champion Ryder Hesjedal rides for Subaru-Gary Fisher, it's a company that is owned by Trek. Trek is the bike sponsor of the U.S. Postal Service road team. Postal operations director Dan Osipow is saying that they are actively pursuing Ryder as "a great addition to the team." If it does happen, Ryder is said to only compete in select road events next year. He will concentrate his attention to finishing out the full 2004 MTB schedule and compete in the MTB portion of the Athens Olympics. But people are saying that Ryder could make the full-on switch to road in 2005. The last MTBer to race for Postal went on to perform a spectacular face plant at the Tour de Georgia. That rider was Roland Green, and the crash spiraled his off-road career into the gutter.

JUST WHAT THE DOCTOR ORDERED
Here is some more on ex-World Champion Roland Green. It seems that doctors advised the battle-bruised star against competing in the individual time trail at last month's road world's hosted by his home country in Canada. His replacement, Jean-Francois Laroche placed 37th.

BON JOVI INTO MTBing
As I write this it pleases me to no end that I can't think of one Bon Jovi song. He seems like nice enough of a fellow, though. Bon Jovi Inc. Management wants to sponsor a six rider NORBA team for 2004, as well as a mid-Atlantic regional team. That begs the question, why can't Henry Rollins sponsor a mountain bike team? He can bench 300 pounds and likes to ride mountain bikes as much as that sappy Bon Jovi. Plus his music and haircut are way, way better.

PEZZO TO RACE OLYMPICS
Two-time Olympic, two-time World and World Cup Champion Paolo Pezzo is coming out of retirement just to race the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece next year. If Pezzo wins, she will be the only woman to ever win a gold medal. (She won the first two Olympic mountain bike events--1996 in Atlanta, GA and 2000 in Sydney, Aus)

GETTING REVVED UP FOR THE OLYMPICS
Olympic Champion Bart Brentjens is already getting ready for the double. He just placed second at an E1 Category "major" event at the Evathlon International XC held on the Mt. Parnitha Olympic course near Athens, Greece. Britian's Liam Killeen won and New Zealand's Kashi Leuchs place third. The riders said that although the Olympic course is rather flat, it is technical enough to be considered difficult.

U.S. RIDERS IN THE OLYMPICS
The number of entrants each country gets in the Olympic cross-country event is determined by the nation's overall ranking at the end of the year prior to the year of the games. The nations are ranked individually for men and women. Overall nation rankings are calculated off the three top riders from each nation ranked among the first 100 men and first 60 women. The top five nations get three rider and the top three nations in the women's XC results get three. After that the countries ranked down to 15th get to enter two riders. Below 15th and you only get one. There are still two points paying events left on the UCI schedule--Hanoi, Vietnam and Soham, Israel--but this late in the game the latest UCI nation rankings can pretty much be considered the final listing. The United States is ranked 13th in the men's division and seventh in the women's division. The top three UCI ranked American men are National Champion Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski in 33rd, fourth overall NCS rider Jeremiah Bishop in 58th, and cyclocross star Todd Wells in 64th. Netherlands' Bart Brentjens leads the men's standings. For the women, the top three are eighth overall NCS rider Susan Haywood in 18th, fourth overall NCS rider Willow Koerber in 28th, and National Champion Mary McConneloug in 37th. World Cup Champion Gunn-Rita Dahle from Norway leads the women's points.

MORE EURO NEWS
Swiss Siemens-Cannondale star and second place World Cup XC rider Christoph Sauser broke his collarbone in a training ride early last month. Christoph is almost fully healed and back training on the bike.

TEAM ANNOUNCEMENTS
Here are the just released team announcements for 2004:
ROCKY MOUNTAIN-CRYSTAL DECISIONS: Alison Sydor--three-time World XC Champion.
MERIDA: Gunn-Rita Dahle--2003 World Cup XC Champion, Sabine Spitz--World XC Champion, Ralph Naf--European Champion, Jose Antonio Hermida--third in the European XC Championships, fourth overall in World Cup XC.
IRON HORSE-MADCATZ: Sam Hill--Two-time Junior DH World Champion
BIANCHI: Kashi Leuchs--Swiss Cup Champion, Julien Absalon--World Cup Champion, Thomas Dietsch--ninth overall in the MTB Marathon World Championships.

WHY SAM HILL IS A GOOD PICK
After signing with Iron Horse-Madcatz Sam went right out and won the Australian National Downhill Championships. Helping him out was that Chris Kovarik didn't compete due to injury. Haro-Oakley's Mick Hannah placed second at :06.62 and Giant-Pearl Izumi's Jarod Rando crashed himself back to 13th. Oakley's Tai Lee Muxlow won the women's race.

SOBE SACKS CANNONDALE
In an unpopular trend that began with Shroeder Iron, 7UP, Diet Rite, Saturn, and ended with Prime Alliance pulling their domestic road team sponsorships, the disease has now struck MTBing. Due to "a change in budgetary priorities" SoBe Beverages will not be sponsoring the ever-present Cannondale team next year. Team SoBe-Cannondale consisted of a mix of a few pros and a large contingent of nationwide amateur racers. The yellow and green SoBe outfits were seen everywhere. The Connecticut-based SoBe isn't only singling out mountain bikers. SoBe also pulled the plug on their 2004 Suzuki motocross sponsorship.

CYCLING BUREAUCRACY
Don't think that I've overlooked that the director of field operations has been forced out of his post at the U.S. Cycling Federation. I'm not making much of a fuss about it because it has no effect on pro or grassroots racers alike. Actually, it means so little that the person hasn't even been replaced. Next year's racing will be fully run by Team Big Bear and Blue Wolf Productions. The membership fee that we must pay to our do-nothing federation is just a necessary evil of doing business.

THE TONIGHT SHOW
Although I marked it on my calendar I still missed Lance Armstrong's appearances on The Tonight Show, The Today Show and the Late Show with David Letterman. Bummer. The five-time Tour de France Champion is an excellent spokesman and always entertaining. In-between all this, the 32-year old Texan took part in the Tour of Hope, a 3200 mile trek from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. The ride is to raise awareness about fighting cancer. Lance, a survivor of testicular cancer, fully supports the search to find an end-all cure.

TOUR ROUTE ANNOUNCED
I talk about the Tour because the training techniques and technology unveiled in France quickly trickle down into mountain biking. In 2004 the 2110 mile course follows a non-traditional counter-clockwise direction. Many consider the reverse direction to be more difficult. Dubbed by being one of the most complicated routes ever, race director Jean-Marie Leblanc says it will guarantee a most suspenseful race. There are nine flat stages, six mountain stages and two climbing stages. Altogether that amounts to 21 Category 1, Category 2, and two-hard-to-classify "hors-categorie" climbs. Also included are two individual time trials and a team TT. The 23-day long race has two rest days and two long transfers, one by plane and one by train. Twenty-two nine rider teams--198 riders--compete in the Tour. The Tour starts on Saturday, July 3 of next year. The 2004 race becomes tough early on when it hits the mountains of the Massif Central region. Tougher yet is that all in the last week is a time trial up the feared L'Alpe d'Huez, crossing the Alps and then another time trial at Besancon on the second to last day. There are $3,428,330 up for grabs, $457,127 of which go to the winner.

ULLRICH'S BID TO TAKE OVER
The biggest threat to Lance's bid for his unprecedented, sixth straight Tour victory is German party boy and Olympic Champion Jan Ullrich. Ullrich didn't feel Bianchi had what it took to beat Armstrong, so he split and resigned with his old powerhouse Telekom team. It's said that the 29-year old Ullrich is guaranteed an annual salary of 2.9 million dollars. Telekom, now called T-Mobile in 2004, was the team Ullrich rode for when he won the '97 Tour.

NEW ONE HOUR WORLD RECORD
This is a fascinating event. Last month Olympic, World and Women's Tour de France Champion Leontien Zijlaard-Van Moorsel broke Jeannie Longo's hour record. The Dutchwoman covered 28.62 miles in one hour. She set it on the Olympic Velodrome in Mexico City. The reason that site is picked is because the climate is cool and it's at 7,350 feet. Whatever the human power that is lost at altitude is more than made up for by the thinner air's reduced drag on the bike. The men's record of 30.72 miles was set in 2000 by Olympic Pursuit Champion Chris Boardman of England. There is still an even faster hour record. In 1996 Boardman covered 35.03 miles in one hour aboard a lightweight aero bike. The UCI decided not to recognize that record and then disallowed streamlined bikes and gear. It's a good ruling, because otherwise it would have been impossible to compare how good today's riders are compared to the greats of past. (It took 28 years for someone to finally best the "Athletes" Hour Record set by five time Tour de France Champion Eddy Merckx.)

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