THE HISTORY OF MONGOLIA BIKE CHALLENGE
Though we believed the exceptional weather and great atmosphere amongst the participants of last year's Mongolia Bike Challenge would be just about impossible to match ever again, it has to be said that the 2015 MBC not only matched it but in fact exceeded the 2014 edition.
Brilliant blue skies filled with those classic postcard-perfect clouds left the riders with great suntans and big smiles, whilst a convivial atmosphere during and post-race saw many new friendships forged and once in a lifetime memories planted, here in the land of Genghis Kahn.
"I wouldn't give up a single kilometer of this beautiful race," said Luc Van Aelbroeck of Belgium. "It is an experience I'll never forget. The organisation has also been first-class," he said.
Not only was this the warmest MBC to date but it was also the fastest, with the GC winner Nicholas Pettina of the Italian national squad commenting on this after the final seventh stage, the day he won his fifth stage in total.
"Yes, this year was faster than last year," said Pettina. "The Mongolian riders really forced the pace early on in each stage."
The local riders showed up in depth, with several having come straight from racing in UCI road races at altitude in China.
What some lacked in technical skills they more than made up for in fighting spirit, with Bolor Endene Enthaivan in particular impressing. At just 21, This was Enthaivan's first ever MTB race of any kind, so to take a stage showed immense promise.
Another rider who shone was Ryan Sherlock, the current Irish National MTB XC champion. Coming home in 2nd, Ryan put in a great ride to secure that Team 3 award for his Selle SMP Team. "It's a great race, nowhere near as scary or hard as I thought it would be," said Ryan. "When you're racing along at 29km/hr for the average, as we did on this last stage, you soon cover the distance. Really enjoyable race and an unforgettable experience."
Others expressed similar sentiments, commenting on the great food, weather, accommodation and in particular the scenery. "This is like no other place I've ever been," one of the rider's companions said after the closing ceremony at the 13th Century Ger Camp, a traditional Mongolian camp set amongst startling rocky outcrops and endless green hills.
"I've never experienced a place so vast, so open. You feel anything in possible out here."
Even an epic MTB race!
The top three riders in the race were:
1. Nicholas Pettina
2. Ryan Sherlock
3. Miguel Silvestre Iniesta
Whilst we say chapeau wholeheartedly to these great riders, it is true that every single finisher deserves a winner's jersey, for each fought and was determined to finish their very own amazing journey.
Each day the riders who had finished the Stage already would drop whatever they were doing to come cheer in the final rider.
"It's the only race I've been to where the results don't really matter. After the race, you can see the first placed rider and last placed person sit and talk about their experience. This is special."
This, indeed, is the Mongolia Bike Challenge.
To all who finished the 2015 MBC, we salute you!
The 2014 edition of Genco Mongolia Bike Challenge has come to an end. 61 racers rode 7 stages through dust, mud, extreme cold and heat to earn the coveted Finisher jersey after 900 km and 14.000 mt of climbing.
Two-time Canadian XC champion Cory Wallace won the overall for the third consecutive time over Italian standout Nicholas Pettinà after a hard-fought battle, with young Czech Jiri Krivanek completing the podium.
All the riders and staff put their heart and soul to make this, according to Race Director Willy Mulonía, the most exciting and overall best edition of the Challenge.
The 2013 Genco Mongolia Bike Challenge presented by Orbea concluded with Stage Seven today. The route was 86 kilometres with 1400 metres of climbing and brought the athletes to the 13th Century National Park Historical Ger Camp.
In the Men’s Elite Category, Pau Zamora (Buff-Niner) attacked on the first GPM and brought Wallace (Kona), Ortiz (Selle SMP) and Sager (Jamis) with him. The four GC leaders battled it out for the rest of the stage with Wallace riding away from the group to take the final stage by 50 seconds over Sager. The Final GC standings remained unchanged with Wallace retaining the Pink Jersey for the second straight year.
Ortiz finishes second overall followed by Pau Zamora in third. In the Women’s Category, Sonya Looney (Topeak-Ergon) made a charge midway through the race to take the second GPM and was able to hold on for the stage victory. In the GC, Catherine Williamson (Bizhub-Energas) took the Pink Jersey followed by Looney (Topeak-Ergon) and Erin Greene (Endura NZ), respectively. Maral-erdene Batmunkh, Altansukh Altanzul and Munkhtulga Erdensuren (Genco Tour Team) took the Yellow Jersey for the Team of Three GC Category.
Note: final team results will be updated to reflect this. The remaining GC category winners include Thomas Vandendaele (Sportsman), Tom Smets (Master 1), Timothy Goulding (Master 2) and Robert Bleeker (Veteran).
It was a beautiful and dramatic finish to the 2012 Mongolia Bike Challenge presented by Orbea. After weather problems earlier in the week, the ninth and tenth stages were completely redesigned by the organizers - athletes stated that the final stages were two of the best of the whole race.
It was a battle from the start of stage ten as riders fought for final positions in the overall classification. At the finish line it was Wicks (Kona), Wallace (Kona) and Zamora (Buff). Cory Wallace won the overall classification and is the new 2012 Champion. In the women’s race, Elisabeth Adamson (Australia) won the stage and took back the pink jersey, becoming the 2012 Champion. Full results below.
The final stage of the 2011 MBC started at 7:30am with emotions running high. 59 riders took the start line and headed toward Karakorum, home to the most important Buddhist Monastery in Mongolia. 104 fast but difficult kilometres lay ahead of racers with a tough hill climb bonus at 9.5 km.
Canadian Tom Skinner (NOP System/BC Bike Race) made it to the top first, with nice gap on the lead group. The pack reeled him in though and shrunk in size after another tough climb. They flew threw the Mongolian countryside on a fast and flowy track for the middle part of the race. At the second refill station at 80km, Dutch rider, Roel Van Shalen (Orbea) attacked and gained more than a minute on the field. The chase pack consisting of Marzio Deho (Olympia), and the Canadians, Cory Wallace (Kona) and Craig Richey (NOP System/BC Bike Race) pursued and passed him on the last climb.
At the finish it Marzio Deho winning stage 9, with Richey second and Wallace third. Deho claimed the overall win for the second year in a row. In the women´s race, Melinda Jackson won stage 9, followed by fellow Australian, Turi Berg, with Rafaella Canonico taking third. Spaniard Albert Casadevall won in the Sportman category.
Final show for the 92 bikers of the Mongolia Bike Challenge’s first edition. The overall leader, after the bad experience of the yesterday’s stage, doesn’t want take risks and tries to get an important gap on the competitors. Taking the opportunity of GPM, located just after the start, sprints in climbing and begins his solitary stage, as he has usually done in this race in Mongolia.
The stage is really fast, with ground compact and fluent. You cross green grassland, with herds of horses and yak pasturing. In some points it seems to be protagonists in a western movie. The official finish line is on top of the hill that leads the city of Karakorum. From here the bikers of the Mongolia Bike Challenge are collected in a single group to cross the streets of the old capital during the Gengis Khaan empire. They arrive in front of the spectacular monastery of Erdene Zuu, the first Buddhist centre in the history of Mongolia, surrounded by 108 magnificent “stupa”.
A magical place that contains the mystical and deep sense of this unforgettable adventure in Mongolia. The classifications don’t change. Marzio Deho wins the first edition of the Mongolia Bike Challenge, being the winner in 6 of the 8 stages of the race and winning 7 of 8 mounting awards. In the women category triumph for Stefania Valsecchi, from Italy. Tears of happy and moments of strong emotions fill the shots of the photographers for a momentum worth to be framed, that most of the bikers will keep in their heart for a long period. A rough, majestic and austere Mongolia has been the background in 10 days of adventure and sport.