Canadian Cyclist


June 20/08 6:10 am - News & Notes from the Mountain Bike Worlds

Posted by Editor on 06/20/08

News & Notes from the Mountain Bike Worlds

Some bits and pieces from the Mountain Bike Worlds

- The downhill course is proving to be both a rider favourite and one that scares them a bit. Dan Atherton is out of competition after breaking his collarbone in training, on a course that his brother Gee (who qualified first yesterday afternoon) said is "fast and dangerous. It's very hard, but you can still go really fast. I think there are going to be more injuries."

The difficulty comes from the roots and rocks combined with extreme steepness. Earlier in the week, when it was still west and muddy, riders talked about just sliding down parts of the course with wheels locked.

Rachel Atherton, the third member of the British triumvirate, qualified fastest in the women's category, a full ten and a half seconds ahead of Emmeline Ragot (France), and 16.44 seconds in front of defending champion Sabrina Jonnier (France). The official release after the qualifiers amusingly referred to the Atherton 'Brothers'....

- Still on Downhill, Canada is missing two riders already from tomorrow's race. Steve Smith, Canada's best men's prospect in many years, is still out after a leg injury in training at Fort William. The initial thought was that he had hyper extended his knee, however, it appears that the injury is possibly more serious and Smith is seeing doctors back in Canada.

Marie-Eve Marcotte, one of Canada's elite women downhillers will also not be racing. According to national coach Chris Colbeck, Marcotte crashed a few weeks ago and hit her head, and did so again here. Neither was a serious injury but, in the interests of safety, she has been scratched.

- The UCI-ASO-FFC (that's the International Cycling Federation, Tour de France organizer and French Cycling Federation, in case you aren't up on your acronyms) battle has started to spill over into mountain biking. The UCI recently suspended the French federation for sanctioning the Tour at the national level (since the UCI and ASO can't work out their differences, and the UCI will not, therefore, provide a sanction). Part of the fallout of this suspension is that French members of various UCI committees are also suspended (since their memberships come through the now suspended FFC).

(Editor's Note: The French bid for the Track Worlds is also now dead)

One individual hit by this is Daniel Baal, the President of the Mountain Bike Commission. Baal told German journalist Erhard Gohler that he has not been officially informed of his removal, but that the statement put out by the UCI made it clear that he is no longer President. Baal is not here in Val di Sole.

This leads to an interesting question: who takes over the Presidency? Canadian Brian Jolly, Simon Burney (United Kingdom) and Thierry Marechal (Belgium) are also on the Commission, as are Rider Reps Greg Minnaar and Julien Absalon. And what about Absalon - is he suspended from the Commission also?

- UCI President Pat McQuaid is here, and will be making a special presentation later today after the U23 men's cross-country podium to Swiss legend Thomas Frischknecht. Frischknecht is the only active rider who raced the first Worlds in 1990 (he won silver behind Ned Overend). Frischknecht has already announced that this will be his last year as a mountain bike pro racer.

- And finally, the weather continues to shine, with everyone complaining that it is too hot now... However, some forecasts are calling for thundershowers tomorrow.


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