Queensland has secured two major international mountain bike events to be held in Cairns in 2014 and 2016.
Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games Minister Jann Stuckey congratulated Cycling Australia on its bid for the UCI Mountain Bike World Cups and said the events would leave an important tourism and events legacy for Tropical North Queensland.
“Today’s announcement represents a major coup for Cairns and Queensland, providing an opportunity to showcase a region renowned for being ‘Adventurous by Nature’ as well as bringing economic benefits to the State,” Ms Stuckey said.
“The World Cup events in 2014 and 2016 will see Cairns become the focus of the world’s mountain biking community.
“The events, bid for by Cycling Australia with the support of the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland, are expected to attract attendees from 45 countries around the world.
“In addition, a series of participatory Cross Country Marathon (XCM) mountain bike events will be held in the lead up to each World Cup encouraging cycling enthusiasts from across the country to bring their bikes to Cairns, test themselves on the trails and stay to watch the World Cup events.
“Investing in the events will also mean ongoing infrastructure, positioning Queensland as a great destination for hosting future World Championship Mountain Biking events.”
Ms Stuckey said mountain biking was a Commonwealth Games and Olympic sport and hosting the events would demonstrate to the international sporting fraternity Queensland’s ability to host world-class sporting events ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.
“Cairns is an ideal destination for hosting major sporting events providing enticing holiday options for participants, their families and friends, encouraging visitors to stay longer in the region,” she said.
“In 2012 the region welcomed more than two million visitors who spent $2.5 billion on visits both increases of four per cent increase on 2011.
“Today’s announcement is the latest addition to the growing calendar of major events, supported by the Government through Tourism and Events Queensland, for the region which also includes Great Barrier Reef Masters Games, Cairns Airport Adventure Festival as well as AFL and NRL Fixtures.
“The Newman Government recognises sports tourism as a major contributor to Queensland’s economy and supports the target of $30 billion in overnight visitor expenditure by 2020.”
UCI Board of Management Committee Member and President of Oceania Cycling Confederation Ms Tracey Gaudry congratulated Cycling Australia and Tourism Events Queensland for the bid to host the UCI MTB World Cup events. “Today’s announcement is a significant one for cycling in Australia. It marks the beginning of a new suite of major cycling events that the UCI and Cycling Australia have been working on together in partnership and the future is bright.” Cycling Australia’s Commercial Director Mr Michael Edgley highlighted the partnership between Tourism Events Queensland, Tourism Tropical North Queensland, James Cook University and Cairns Regional Council as being the determining factor in Cairns winning the right to host these mountain bike events. “The Cairns stakeholder group worked together seamlessly to secure these events and are to be congratulated for putting together a team that will ensure that Cairns will be ready to welcome the world’s mountain bike community in style.”
Australian MTB Cross Country Olympic (XCO) Champion Peta Mullens said that getting the opportunity to represent Australia in a UCI MTB World Cup on home soil was something to be cherished. “The Cairns courses will be unique and the tropical nature of the events will be a real highlight for all the international competitors. I’m so excited about the prospect of donning the green and gold bands here in Cairns”. The UCI is due to ratify the full suite of UCI MTB events contained in the Cycling Australia bid at the June UCI Board of Management meeting.
Image courtesy of Steve Bennett
Andy Blair left his rivals in the dust, winning the final Stage of the Ingkerreke Commercial Mountain Bike Enduro in Alice Springs today, cementing his yellow leader’s jersey for the third year in a row; whilst Rowena Fry continued her classy in-form week also taking the win at Stage 7 and sealing her general classification yellow jersey victory.
Stage 7 proved to be one of the best and most enjoyed stages of the five day, seven stage event, showcasing why Alice Springs is the hidden gem for mountain bikers around Australia.
The final Stage saw riders take to a 36km fast course with varying terrain of single and 4WD tracks, beginning at the Chifley Alice Springs Resort and finishing at the scenic Telegraph Station reserve.
Blair dominated the week, winning all but two stages to wear the famed yellow jersey for a third year in a row, throughout all Stages. His winning time today of 1:34.45 gives him another time-bonus, to finish the week on top of the general classifications with a cumulative time of 9:44.30; ahead of Swell-Specialized teammate Shaun Lewis in second with 9:46.39, and fast finishing Michael Crosbie in third place just over four minutes behind.
“I came here with a job to do and it’s really great to get a hat-trick!” Blair said.
“When you come to Alice Springs, there’s a lot of things that can go wrong throughout a week of racing, so I was lucky enough to only have 1 flat tyre (Tuesday’s stage) and was able to make up for that and stay in the lead all week.” Added Blair.
The humble winner was wrapped to go one-two with Lewis.
“Shaun has looked after me all week, and it’s been awesome going 1 and 2 together. I was in a good position through the stages, but you can never count your chickens until you cross the line on Friday.” Blair said.
Lewis finished second to Blair on general classification overall, and was also the winner of last nights’ spectacular night race; crossing just 0.04 seconds ahead of Blair.
“I’m stoked by my riding this week. We came here as a team, so to go one-two with Blair who is the stronger rider, I’m really happy to finish second behind him. Hopefully I’ll be back next year too!” Lewis said.
Third place overall, and winner of Stage 3 Michael Crosbie (who rides for Rush Racing), hit the trails of Alice Springs for the first time on Monday and along with being a top contender all week, he was blown away by the diversity of the terrain.
“Firstly, I could not believe how much single track there is up here; and the diversity! You go from rock to sand; there’s little pinch climbs everywhere, awesome little descents; and lots of double track and fire roads that are super clean.” Crosbie said.
“I’m very happy with third overall – I’ll definitely be back again.” Added Crosbie.
In the women’s field, Rowena Fry was all class, and despite being pushed non-stop through the week by Jenny Fay, she managed to win 5 Stages and stay in the yellow on top of the general classification. Fry’s total cumulative time was 10:46.33; Fay took second place overall with 11:12.04, and Alice Springs born Terri Rhodes took third with 11:27.32.
Fry finished her stellar week simulating ‘plank-man’ over the finish line today winning the final stage in 1:49.50, with Rhodes second in 1:57.25 & Kelly Bartlett taking third place with a time of 1:57.26.
“I’m stocked with the win today and to take out the yellow jersey here in Alice Springs!” Fry exclaimed.
“The trails are absolutely pristine! A fantastic way to finish a ‘top top’ event; and I think all the riders had a blast!” Continued Fry.
“Yesterday was a tough day losing time on the individual time trial, but last nights’ Stage race was crucial for me, and I had a ball mixing it up amongst the guys and riding through mud puddles.” Fry said.
Fry took her hat off to the determined Fay, who despite building some fantastic form through the week, suffered from a mechanical in last nights’ stage, and a flat tyre today.
“Hats off to Jenny Fay; she was absolutely smashing me on the fire roads, and I was hanging on by a thread. I couldn’t wait to get to the single track (my forte) and I was wrapped to really just enjoy the day. It’s been great racing all week with Jenny and I’ve had a blast; I’ll definitely be back again next year.” Fry said.
Stage 7 second place Terri Rhodes grew up in Adelaide, but was born in Alice Springs and was very exciting about her racing all week.
“I thoroughly enjoyed the first stage, the night race and then today’s stage. It’s the single track I really enjoy. I pretty much rode along with a smile on my face – it was a really nice day.” Rhodes said.
“This is my third time in the Enduro; but the first time I felt like I was in good form, so it’s really nice to come back to my home time and go well.” Added Rhodes.
The feeling amongst all riders in the 2013 Ingkerreke Commercial MTB Enduro was that of elation and sense of achievement in an iconic Australian location – the spectacular red centre.
One rider to add some flair to the exciting week of racing was John Groves of Victoria who crossed nearly every finish line doing the ‘plank’ on his bike, and was therefore known amongst riders as the infamous ‘plank man’ (with which Fry simulated today).
“It’s my first time to Alice Springs and this stage race is something I’ve wanted to do for a number of years.” Groves said.
“Now that time permits, I’ve made it up here and it couldn’t be much better! I love the loose trails, it makes it more exciting and my favourite stage was today for sure; I was taking in the views and really enjoyed riding along the fun single track and down all the rock faces.” Groves said.
Whilst the pointy end of the field had some fast finishing Stage races, each category also showcased some fierce competition. Michael Brill won the veterans (40-49) age group today, and took out the general classification to finish off a great week of mountain biking.
“The riding through Alice Springs is just amazing; the tracks are just awesome and I’ve had such a great time. I’m absolutely spent, but I’ve loved it.” Brill said.
STAGE SEVEN MEN
1. Andy Blair 01:34.45
2. Shaun Lewis 01:34.45
3. Michael Crosbie 01:35.19
STAGE SEVEN WOMEN
1. Rowena Fry 01:49.50
2. Terri Rhodes 01:57.25
3. Kelly Bartlett 01:57.26
OVERALL STANDINGS MEN (Total Cumulative Time –All Stages)
1. Andy Blair 9:44.30
2. Shaun Lewis 9:46.39
3. Michael Crosbie 9:51.03
OVERALL STANDINGS WOMEN (Total Cumulative Time –All Stages)
1. Rowena Fry 10:46.33
2. Jenny Fay 11:12.04
3. Terri Rhodes 11:27.32
Andy Blair showed his dominance today taking out the 22.2km individual time trial (ITT) at Stage 5 of the Ingkerreke Commercial Mountain Bike Enduro with a blistering 48.29; and Jenny Fay’s new skin-suit proved the goods, flying home in a time of 56.43.
The stage began at the Alice Springs Golf Course, with riders going off every 30 seconds in their individual time trial to attack an epic course full of flowing single track, smooth riding and interspersed with sections of 4WD track.
Jenny Fay, a National Time Trial Champion (on the road!), was surprised and very happy with her win, just 40 seconds faster than current yellow jersey holder Rowena Fry.
“I am surprised! I woke up this morning thinking I did way too much work yesterday.” Fay said.
“I believed that I had to go in hard today as it was my last opportunity before another mass start tonight and tomorrow; so I just went out as hard as I could.
“Obviously my technical skills during the week have improved and I am starting to believe that I’m able to, if I put my mind to it.” Fay added.
However it is Fry who goes into the final two stages leading the general classification by 2 minutes and 18 seconds ahead of Fay and local girl Terri Rhodes sitting a further 25 minutes back.
It was Andy Blair’s blitzing time over the 22.2km time-trial Stage that showed his peaking form, confirming his place as the yellow jersey holder going into the final two stages, ahead of Swell-Specialized team mate Shaun Lewis, and emerging talent Michael Crosbie.
“It was a different time trial course to last year so it mucked up my strategy a little bit as I thought it would be a bit more technical whilst allowing me to recover in the middle section.” Blair said.
“Today was a bit more ‘pedally’, but I set out to try and chase Shaun (Lewis) who started 30 seconds ahead; and once I’d caught him, the next carrot was (Michael) Crosbie and we managed to catch him as well. So for me the stage was successful and it was good to take the win.” Continued Blair.
Regarding tonight’s night Stage over the same course with a mass start, Blair believes it could be on from the get-go.
“Tonight could be more tactical as there are plenty of passing opportunities. It’ll definitely be a more dynamic race and quite likely a sprint finish.” Blair said.
Kyle Ward set a bench mark earlier in the stage, being the first rider to break the 50 second barrier with 49.18. Despite Ward’s short lived lead this morning, and being plagued with bike malfunctions and illness through the week, the GIANT sponsored rider was really happy with his form.
“It was nice to get out a decent ride today after losing my seat on Stage 3 and now with a blood infection, I just wanted to give it everything and not only show everyone what I’ve got, but to have a positive finish to the Stage race as I may not be able to continue.” Ward said.
“It was by far the best stage so far! It was great to be able to have a free flowing ride and not the pressure of someone else attacking. So it was all about going as hard as you can for as long as you can. All the technical single track was really flowing. The rain made it tacky and smooth – really awesome out there.” Ward added.
Tonight’s Stage 6 sees riders return to the Alice Springs Golf Course for a 6:30pm mass start; whilst tomorrow’s final Stage of the week is a 40km course over varying terrain. Both stages are set to see some ‘action’ racing, in the pursuit of the famed Ingkerreke Commercial MTB Enduro yellow jersey in both the men and women’s field.
Stage 6 results will be posted online and through our social media tonight.
STAGE FIVE MEN
1. Andy Blair 00:48.29
2. Shaun Lewis 00:48.57
3. Ben Hogarth 00:49.13
STAGE FIVE WOMEN
1. Jenny Fay 00:56.43
2. Rowena Fry 00:57.32
3. Kelly Bartlett 01:00.57
OVERALL STANDINGS MEN (Total Time: Stages 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5)
1. Andrew (Andy) Blair 7:21.04
2. Shaun Lewis 7:23.13
3. Michael Crosbie 7:25.23
OVERALL STANDINGS WOMEN (Total Time: Stages 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5)
1. Rowena Fry 8:00.56
2. Jenny Fay 8:03.14
3. Terri Rhodes 8:30.45
Click Here to view LIVE Stage Results throughout the week
HIGH RES IMAGES
High Res Images can be downloaded daily from our Online Media Page – Click Here
· Media Log-in Password: rapidascent
· 13-17 May, 2013 - Alice Springs, Northern Territory
· Full Course Description and Detailed Maps
o Cyclecover Stage 6 (Thursday 6:30pm): 23km Night Race
o Chifley Alice Springs Resort Stage 7 (Friday): 40km
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o Hashtag: #ICME
Northern Territory Major Events Stage 4 of the Ingkerreke Commercial Mountain Bike Enduro began in the remote community of Santa Teresa where riders were cheered off by the friendly locals to attack an 88km point to point outback course.
Riders traversed a variety of beautiful and rarely accessible desert terrains, to finish at the Alice Springs Desert Knowledge Centre.
In the chase for general classification points at the pointy end of the field, groups were formed and finish strategies were falling into place.
Michael Crosbie, winner of Stage 3 gave us an account of the Stage panning out today.
“There were attacks within our lead group right from the start. But the group chased everything down keeping us all together. Then at the 15km mark, a selection of about 15 riders were working together on the front bunch – watching each other.” Crosbie said.
“The bunch got smaller and smaller until there were about 7-8 of us at the end, then basically that was the race… setting up for a sprint finish – Blair and Lewis were launching attacks; but everyone was chasing back on.” Added Crosbie.
There was however, unfortunate tampering of a course marker heading into the final sections of the Stage which caused the first two lead groups to miss a turn.
Results have therefore been adjusted so as to neutralise the effect of the altered route taken by some 30 riders.
Rapid Ascent has endeavoured to reflect results consistent with the time gaps and standings at approximately the 80km mark of the course.
Rapid Ascent appreciates that riders will share our frustrations and regrets the disappointing finish to what was otherwise a spectacular, epic stage including a steeple chase fence jump, and showcasing the wonders of the Australian outback through the eyes of a mountain biker.
Tomorrow sees riders take on Stage 5 and 6 at the Alice Springs Golf Course – on a 23km course. Beginning in the morning with an individual time trial over the 23km course, followed by an evening group stage of the same 23km course! It is expected to be a highlight of the week.
o Schwalbe Stage 5 (Thursday AM): 23km Individual Time Trial + Cyclecover Stage 6 (Thursday PM): 23km Night Race
Images courtesy of Rapid Ascent
Rowena Fry makes it three from three so far at Stage 3 of the Ingkerreke Commercial Mountain Bike Enduro – a 49km single track sweetener; whilst Michael Crosbie takes his first win ahead of the Specialized-Swell duo Shaun Lewis and Andy Blair.
The stage began at Alice Springs Telegraph Station heading out on 4WD tracks before becoming an almost continual trail of single track through some of the region’s best trails, and finishing up at Lasseters Hotel Casino.
the half way point at the front end of the field, Lewis, Crosbie and Ben Hogarth were fanging hard together on the sweeping single tracks as Andy Blair played catch-up after being stuck with a flat tyre early on in the piece.
Blair said he didn’t panic, but just kept working it. When he came towards the end of the course at the water tower, he could see Crosbie and Lewis just one minute ahead, and was hoping to retain his yellow jersey for the overall lead; which he still holds by 1 minute and 31 seconds.
However it was Crosbie’s fine form which held off the fast finishing Lewis in second place, and Blair taking third, to cross the line first in 2:03.41.
“The plan early on in the race was to see what everyone else was doing. I was riding with my mate Kyle Ward before he had a mechanical at the 30km mark; then there was me Lewis, Hogarth and Blair just behind us.” Crosbie recounts.
“We started to tempo through the single track and Lewis and I got a gap at about the 40km mark and just kept riding away. I was lucky enough at the end to time trial through to the finish and unfortunately Lewis got a flat right near the finish.
“I’m feeling a lot better than yesterday though as I was just finding my legs; and today I was able to open it up a bit so I’m stoked,” Crosbie said.
Swell-Specialized rider Shaun Lewis is making a habit of second place, but was on the defensive today for team-mate Andy Blair due to his flat during the early stages of the race.
“The start was pretty quick with a big bunch all fighting for position. But my team mate (Blair) flatted so from there I took the more defensive role and followed everyone for a while.” Lewis said.
“When Andy wasn’t in the front group, my role is to not push the pace; giving him as much of a chance to get back in the front bunch.
“Crosbie was doing really well and took the lead so I was able to follow him; but I hit a gutter at the end resulting in a flat. But I’m happy we both got up for 2nd and 3rd and Blair retains the yellow.” Added Lewis.
In the women’s field, it was at the halfway point where in-form Rowena Fry was spotted screaming in front and having a great race, sitting 2 minutes ahead of Jenny Fay, before finishing convincingly in her third 1st place of the stage race in a time of 2:19.36.
“It was a great day today, lots and lots of single track, but pretty tough to back up after the Hill Climb and Stage 1 yesterday.” Fry said.
“Today I’m a bit better suited to the conditions on the single track than Fay, and at about a third of the way through I put the hammer down a bit to try and get a bit of a gap; whilst still looking after my legs with tomorrows big stage looming. I just kept working to the finish. It was tough!” Added Fry.
Jenny Fay felt like she chased Fry from the get-go.
“I knew I had to stay up with Row right from the beginning. We rode with each other and fought for position going into the single tracks.” Recounts Fay.
“I got a bit of a jab on one of the rocks and she (Fry) got a bit of a gap; I kept chasing and chasing her. It’s not over until the finish line so I just buried myself and raced to chase her the whole way.
“The course is a lot more technical than yesterday – it’s my nemesis. I’m much better on smoother surfaces. But I’m learning so much already this week as I want to improve technically so this stage race is where I need to be.” Fay said.
Unfortunately Target-Trek rider and yellow jersey contender Jenni King has had to pull out of the stage race due to medical reasons.
Tomorrow sees riders take on the biggest stage of the week, a point to point iconic outback 88km course from remote community Santa Teresa, through to Alice Springs. Riders will traverse a variety of beautiful and rarely accessible desert terrains and is set to test everyone’s legs.
STAGE THREE MEN
1. Michael Crosbie 2:03.41
2. Shaun Lewis 2:04.32
3. Andrew (Andy) Blair 2:04.51
STAGE THREE WOMEN
1. Rowena Fry 2:19.16
2. Jenny Fay 2:21.37
3. Terri Rhodes 2:30.20
OVERALL STANDINGS MEN (Total Time: Stages 1, 2 & 3)
1. Andrew (Andy) Blair 3:32.25
2. Shaun Lewis 3:33.56
3. Michael Crosbie 3:34.38
OVERALL STANDINGS WOMEN (Total Time: Stages 1, 2 & 3)
1. Rowena Fry 3:59.13
2. Jenny Fay 4:02.21
3. Terri Rhodes 4:17.36
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