SOURCE: Al Sommers/PINKBIKE
After four years of high intensity action, spirited competition and aerial dynamics at breakneck speeds, cycling fans have come to expect the highest caliber of mountain bike racing from the JeepÂ® King of the Mountain Series (www.jeepsports.com). With the announcement of its most decorated field of athletes in event history, the 2007 Mountain Biking World Professional Championship will no doubt maintain its status as one of the most highly sought after crowns on the mountain biking circuit.
The Jeep King of the Mountain Series features 16 of the worldâ€™s top riders competing head-to-head to capture the coveted title of World Professional Champion. In addition, the athletes will be battling for a share of the richest cash payout in the sport, topping $100,000, and the keys to a new 2008 Jeep Liberty.
Headlining the group of contenders for 2007 are Michal Prokop of the Czech Republic and Jill Kintner of Seattle, Wash., unquestionably two of the hottest athletes in both BMX and mountain bike racing. Both racers are attempting to earn unprecedented third consecutive World Professional Championships, following titles in the 2005 and 2006 seasons. Outside of the series, Prokop has stood apart from the rest, earning a World Cup Championship, European Championship and Czech National Championships in 2006. Already this year he has captured the Czech National Championship in both BMX and mountain bike racing. Kintner has been just as dynamic. She won the overall World Cup Championship, UCI World Championship and USA National Championship in 2006, and this year has a World Cup and NORBA title to go along with the Australian National Championship.
Jeep King of the Mountain Series Announces Athletes for 2007 Mountain Biking World Professional Championships, Page 2-3
There will be no shortage of top challengers waiting to dethrone the champions. Leading the group are two archrivals, Brian Lopes and Tara Llanes, who have consistently earned podium finishes since their arrival on the Jeep King of the Mountain scene. Lopes, from Laguna Beach, Calif., is an 18-year veteran with three World Championships with 17 World Cup titles under his belt. Llanes, from Corona, Calif., is the 2006 USA Cycling Downhill National Champion and two-time national four-cross champion. The entire 2007 line-up includes:
â€¢Michal Prokop | Czech Republic | Two-time defending World Professional Champion, two-time World Champion, two-time UCI World Cup titlist and two-time European Champion.
â€¢Brian Lopes | Laguna Beach, Calif. | Three-time World Champion, five-time UCI World Cup titlist, nine-time National Champion.
â€¢Wade Bootes | Australia | Two-time World Professional Champion, 2006 Australian National Champion, 2001 World Champion and two-time UCI World Cup titlist.
â€¢Rich Houseman | Temecula, Calif. | 2006 NORBA 4x Champion
â€¢Eric Carter | Temecula, Calif. | Three-time NORBA National Champion, three-time World Cup titlist, two-time USA Cycling National Champion and 2004 World Champion.
â€¢Jared Graves | Australia | 2006 World Cup titlist, 2005 Sea Otter Classic Champion, Australian National Champion and 2-time NORBA Champion.
â€¢Jill Kintner | Seattle, Wash. | Two-time defending World Professional Champion, 2006 World Cup Overall Champion, Australian National Series and Sea Otter Classic Champion.
â€¢Melissa Buhl | Chandler, Ariz. | Two-time USA Cycling National Champion, 2006 NORBA Series Champion and six-time member of World Championship US National Team.
â€¢Tara Llanes | Corona, Calif. | Two-time National 4x Champion, 2006 National Downhill Champion and USA Cycling National Champion.
â€¢Anneke Beerten | Denmark | Two-time BMX World Champion, six-time BMX National Champion, 2006 Sea Otter Classic Champion and currently ranked No. 1 in the world.
â€¢Joanna Petterson | South Africa | 2006 NORBA 4x Champion
â€¢Fionn Griffiths | UK | Five-time British National Champion, NORBA Series Champ and 19 career World Cup podium finishes.
â€œThe line-up of athletes weâ€™ve assembled for 2007 is second to none, and reflects the best of the best from the Unites States and across the globe,â€ said Henry Schneidman, president of Vail, Colo.-based Eclipse Television & Sports Marketing, producers of the series. â€œCombined with our outstanding host sites, generous prize purse and broadcast coverage on CBS Sports, the Jeep King of the Mountain Series continues to elevate professional mountain biking racing and the sport itself.â€
Jeep King of the Mountain Series Announces Athletes for 2007 Mountain Biking World Professional Championships, Page 3-3
In addition to an elite field of pre-qualified national and international professional racers, each event will add two local racers as well as two wildcard participants based on UCI and NORBA standings. Information regarding local and wild-card entry into the Jeep King of the Mountain Series will be available at www.jeepsports.com prior to each race.
World Professional Champions are crowned based on a system of cumulative points earned throughout the three-race Jeep King of the Mountain Series. This yearâ€™s schedule includes stops at some of the most highly regarded scenic outdoor havens in the Rocky Mountains and Western U.S., including:
â€¢Saturday, Aug. 4 at the Canyons Resort in Park City, Utah
â€¢Saturday, Aug. 18 at the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
â€¢Saturday, Sept. 1 at Beaver Creek Resort in Beaver Creek, Colo.
This yearâ€™s event will again be staged on the innovative Y-Cross racecourse, which combines the two most dramatic and popular forms of mountain bike racing into one unique discipline. Competitors begin the race on separate sides of the course (the prongs of the Y) before converging midway into a single course (the crux of the Y). In the bottom section, racers must navigate a series of banked turns, tabletops, step-down jumps and rollers before the track climaxes with an all-out sprint to the finish. The daredevil racecourse has been described as the ultimate format for mountain bike racing, as the overall winners must have a diverse set of skills to win the coveted title of World Professional Champion. Select athletes participating in the Jeep King of the Mountain Series will be selected to offer their expertise in the design of the racecourses in Utah, California and Colorado. The â€œathlete inspiredâ€ racecourse design concept proved to be a tremendous success in 2006, with legendary racers Mike King and Brian Lopes helping create some of the most demanding and exciting layouts in event history.
Each race of the 2007 Mountain Biking World Professional Championships will be televised to a national broadcast audience on CBS Sports, representing the most expansive coverage of professional mountain bike racing in recent history.
About the Jeep King of the Mountain Series
The Jeep King of the Mountain was established in 1993. Jeep is the title sponsor for the Jeep King of the Mountain Series. The Mountain Biking World Professional Championships are the sister competition to wintertimeâ€™s Skiing & Snowboarding World Professional Championships, now celebrating its 15th season. Other marketing partners for the Jeep King of the Mountain include Bike Magazine, Columbia Sportswear Company, Edge Advanced Shave Gel, John Paul Mitchell Systems, Madonna Inn, Nalgene, San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce, San Luis Obispo County Visitors Bureau, Utah Sports Commission and Voler. During each race of the World Professional Championships, the athletes will be competing for the right to don the coveted John Paul Mitchell Systems black leaderâ€™s jersey, while also accruing points toward a cash bonus at seasonâ€™s end.