25/07/2014 - Méribel and the Finals: a special moment... In 27 days!. A final is not just a race. It is one of the best bits of the season. A unique moment when all eyes are fixed on one athlete, one team.

A final represents recognition, confirmation, a season’s conclusion. During a final, feelings blur. For some, this last race represents a simple lap of honour, going through the motions to finish off a season of dominance. For others, the word ‘final’ symbolises one last chance.

Since 2010, Méribel has been working to nurture this spirit that surrounds a final. In 2010, then again in 2012 and 2013 the winners of the Coupe de France were decided at the Chaudanne finish line. National titles were handed out in this Olympic resort in the 2011 season with Julie Bresset and Julien Absalon making their mark in Cross-Country and earning their place as France’s best riders.

But Méribel wanted to guarantee its mountains a permanent place on the international circuit. For the first time in history a resort will hold two World Cup finals in the space of seven months: Mountain Bike (21st-24th August) and Alpine Skiing (18th -22nd March).

Two dates where feelings will stir to the rhythm of these finals.

* Julien Absalon, Maxime Marotte & Stéphane Tempier (BH SR Suntour KMC ) are waiting for you for the UCI MTB World Cup Finals in Méribel, from 21st to 24th August 2014 !

* Faustin Figaret, Emmeline Ragot, Loris Vergier, Myriam Nicole are waiting for you for the UCI MTB World Cup Finals in Méribel, from 21st to 24th August 2014 !

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22/04/2014 - A maiden World Cup win for impressive Carpenter.

Pietermaritzburg - Madison Saracen Factory Team star Manon Carpenter produced the run of the day as she powered her way to her first ever World Cup win in the women’s Downhill at the first UCI MTB World Cup, presented by Shimano, ahead of fellow Brit and current World Champion, Rachel Atherton at the Cascades MTB Park on Saturday, ending a week of total domination of the women’s downhill competition.

With a major challenger in Emmeline Ragot picking up a puncture during her run, effectively ruling her out of contention, it was always going to be a race between the two British riders and it was the young Welshwoman that was too fast for Atherton – who was battling with illness all week.

“I couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season because I was really stressed coming into this race so I am just really glad that I managed to pull it off today,” an elated Carpenter said.
"I was feeling good after practice yesterday and then it got really loose at the top and bits were getting blown out so I was nervous and I had a few moments so I said that I didn’t want to do that in my race run but I’m just glad I got a smooth run in.”

Having missed out on a chance at the World Championships at the same venue last year following an unfortunate crash Carpenter was determined to make up for that when she returned this week and she produced the performance of the weekend to claim the series leader’s jersey by four seconds.

"I really like this track, I crashed at the World Champs last year which I was gutted about because I thought that I had a chance so I was looking forward to coming back here and it is nice that it is the first race and a nice one to start on so I feel good for the rest of the season!” the Swansea resident added positively.

Having been on a drip a day before qualifying, GT Factory Racing’s Rachel Atherton bit the bullet and rode to a determined second in the women’s downhill final after she was a doubtful starter earlier in the week. 

“I was pretty sure that I wasn’t going to be able to race this weekend, the doctor here was amazing and he really sorted me out,” a satisfied Atherton explained.
“It has been a tough fight and a long weekend but I am absolutely stoked that I could come away with second place it is beyond what I imagined I could do and it completely blew my mind!”

Atherton proved her pedigree after she battled the flu during the week and only having one day of training again proved that she is a deserved World Champion after having to rely a lot on her memory of the course from the only other time she had ridden it seven months ago. 

“Having missed that first day of practice and then going into the qualifying yesterday just thinking that I have to ride the track that I know what I am doing and just kind of pretend a little bit and I remembered the course so well from World Champs last year so I just went out there and just had to do what I had to do!” she concluded proudly. 


Elite women

1. Manon Carpenter (Madison Saracen Factory Team) 4:34.923

2. Rachel Atherton (GT Factory Racing) 4:38.831

3. Jill Kintner 4:44.041

4. Myriam Nicole (Commencal/Riding Addiction) 4:44.651

5. Emmeline Ragot (Lapierre Gravity Republic) 4:44.662

6. Tracey Hannah (Hutchinson UR) 4:48.045

7. Tahnee Seagrave (FMD Racing) 4:52.285

8. Morgane Charre (Evil Vengeance Tour) 4:52.400

9. Emilie Siegenthaler (GSTAAD-Scott) 4:58.117

10. Fionn Griffiths 5:00.973

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22/04/2014 - Absalon reigns supreme at Maritzburg MTB World Cup.

Pietermaritzburg – The 2014 UCI MTB World Cup, presented by Shimano, at Cascades MTB Park in Pietermaritzburg came to a thrilling end with the elite men’s cross country final that saw Julien Absalon claim his maiden victory in South Africa.

BMC MTB Racing’s Absalon started slowly but soon found himself locked in a titanic tussle with Pietermaritzburg favourite and three time winner at the venue, Nino Schurter of SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing, and the expected fascinating final two laps had the large crowd abuzz with excitement.

The contest was however dashed shortly after the midway point of the penultimate lap when Schurter punctured his rear wheel, opening the doorway for Absalon to power home unchallenged to claim the win.

“I’m really happy. It’s great to win the first World Cup, especially with it being here in South Africa where I crashed twice and broke ribs at last year’s World Champs,” Absalon after his 27th World Cup race victory.
“I wasn’t the fastest downhill and I arrived a little bit stressed after my two crashes last year. I wasn’t really feeling comfortable in the Tree House rock garden but I did a safe line, maybe not the fastest but a safe one, and the feeling and shape was good so I was happy.

"I used a lot of energy during the first lap to overtake about fifteen guys. Once I got up to Nino it was a nice fight though. He was very fast in some of the technical sections but then he got a flat tyre."

Smelling blood, Absalon took full advantage of the opportunity and charged ahead, knowing all too well that then third placed Manuel Fumic of Cannondale Factory Racing would soon discover Schurter’s misfortune as well.

“When I saw his flat I knew I had to go full gas. I also knew Manuel (Fumic) was not far behind and pushing hard so I only thought about going full gas to the finish line!

Schurter will miss the second leg of the World Cup series in Cairns, Australia due to a rare appears in a major road race and so Absalon’s Pietermaritzburg victory gives him a notable advantage in the race for the overall World Cup title.

"I will return to France tomorrow for one week’s training at home, then I go back to Australia and hopefully I can arrive back in Europe after that still with the leaders jersey!


After surging past a helpless Schurter, Fumic gave it his all to reel in the leader however risking losing his second place, and its all-important respective UCI points, wasn’t something the German star was willing to do.

“I thought I could win at least once here in Pietermaritzburg but there was no shame finishing behind Julien today and today I proved again that I can ride really well on the Pietermaritzburg course,” said the bubbly character.

“My tactics were to always try be more or less in the front, especially through the technical sections, because then you have the freedom of choosing your own lines."

“In the end Nino was a bit unlucky with his puncture and so I managed to get past him and then I just fought as hard as I could for my second place.

"I love South Africa, I spend the European winter here. I love the country and Pietermaritzburg and it was just another really a good day here for me again,” he added.

Marco Fontana of BH-Suntour-KMC put in a consistent effort throughout the contest and deservedly claimed third place while a gutsy Schurter eventually crossed the line in sixth position.

“It’s obviously disappointing, I was in a good position and I was just trying to put Julien in the hurt box after I’d recognized he was starting to have a few troubles,” said Schurter.

“Unfortunately I flatted and in quite a bad place too so I had to ride quite a far way with the flat, but that’s racing.

"I had quite a lot of good luck here in the last three years, this one was unfortunately the one with the bad luck!

"When you see guys flying past you it’s always a bad feeling but it’s happened to everyone and you have to accept it. Hopefully next time I will have better luck and be back for more podiums,” added the World Champion.

The world class course laid out by course designer Nick Floros received rave reviews from the vast majority of the riders.

There were however an unfortunate few who came unstuck, particularly in the elite men’s cross country race, with South Africa’s Tyron Bird (Quattro) being one of the casualties as he went over the handlebars and his teeth pierced his bottom lip, ironically in the newly built Red Lipped Herald stretch.

The elite men’s cross country event marked the end of the global showcase and the seven-leg circuit now shifts to Cairns, Australia in two weeks’ time.


Elite Men

1.Julien Absalon (BMC MTB Racing) 1:38.05

2.Manuel Fumic (Cannondale Factory Racing) 1:38.39

3.Maxime Marotte (BH-Suntour-KMC) 1:38.59

4.Ondrek Cink (Multivan Merida Biking Team) 1:39.37

5.José Hermida Ramos (Multivan Merida Biking Team) 1:39.44

6.Nino Schurter (SCOTT-Odlo MTB Racing) 1:40.21

7.Thomas Litscher (Multivan Merida Biking Team) 1:40.24

8.Mathias Fluickiger (Stockli Pro Team) 1:40.29

9.Daniel McConnell (Trek Factory Racing) 1:40.42

10.Sergio Mantecon Gutierrez (Trek Factory Racing) 1:40.56

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