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    Californians Set To Defend Turf & Stake Claim


    Golden State’s Best Racers to Face Off Against Rivals
    from Across the U.S., as well as Australia, the Netherlands and UK

    SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Aug. 16, 2007 - The Golden State has long been a hotbed for mountain bike racing, with ideal conditions for year-round training, endless trails, countless multi-discipline competitions and a line-up of homegrown talent that has brought home World Championships, World Cup Championships and National Championships in droves. One crown that has eluded California’s professional racers since its inception five years ago is that of World Professional Champion, resulting from mastery of the Jeep® King of the Mountain Series.

    The drought may soon end as the Mountain Biking World Professional Championships storm into the Madonna Inn in San Luis Obispo, Calif., on Saturday, August 18, featuring a line-up with no fewer than seven in-state standouts battling for a share of the record $100,000 cash purse and the keys to a new 2008 Jeep Liberty.

    This marks the third consecutive year that the Jeep King of the Mountain has hosted a leg of the World Professional Championships in this race-friendly city. For the past two seasons, crowds in the thousands lined the Y-Cross racecourse to watch firsthand as the world’s best go shoulder-to-shoulder while navigating banked turns, tabletops, step-down jumps and rollers, among other elements incorporated by the course design team. The California contingent may count on these energetic race fans to ensure an added home court advantage.

    With the Czech Republic’s Michal Prokop and Australia’s Jared Graves competing in the UCI BMX World Cup in Beijing, China, Temecula’s Eric Carter, the 2007 National Series Champion, 2006 U.S. National Champion and 2004 World Champion, has the opportunity to gain control of the standings with only one race remaining in the 2007 season. Blocking his path will be fellow Californians Cody Warren of Alpine, a former U.S. National Champion and multiple NORBA titlist, Rich Houseman of Temecula, a 2006 NORBA Champion, and the incomparable Brian Lopes of Laguna Beach, currently the world’s number one ranked racer with three World Championships, five World Cup Championships and nine National Championships under his belt. Not to be forgotten is veteran Wade Bootes of Australia, the 2004 Jeep King of the Mountain World Professional Champion,
    2006 Australian National Champion and former World Champion. Open qualifiers for the men’s bracket include hometown favorite Travis Collins of San Luis Obispo, Chris Del Bosco of Vail, Colo., a former USA Cycling National Champion and professional ski racer, as well as Dale Holmes of Murrieta, Calif., a two-time World Champion, two-time European Champion and UCI World Cup Champion.

    One the women’s side, current leader Jill Kintner of Seattle will be racing in Beijing with Prokop and Graves, thus opening the door for a talent laden field led by Melissa Buhl of Chandler, Ariz., a two-time U.S. National Champion and 2006 NORBA Champion. Right on her heels is Anneke Beerten of the Netherlands, who has two World Cup titles already in 2007 and Tara Llanes of Los Alamitos, Calif., the 2006 USA Cycling Downhill National Champion and two-time national four-cross champion. Rounding out the line-up include Fionn Griffiths of the U.K, a five-time British National Champion and former NORBA Champion, and Joanna Petterson of South Africa, the 2006 NORBA Four-Cross Champion. Open qualifiers for the women’s bracket include Leana Gerrard of Bellingham, Wash., a collegiate National Champion and NORBA titlist who has raced for the U.S. National Team, and Neven Steinmetz of Boulder, Colo., a member of the University of Colorado cycling team who has been named to the USA Cycling team for the upcoming 2007 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships.

    World Professional Champions are crowned based on a system of cumulative points earned throughout the Jeep King of the Mountain Series, which includes three races from August to September 2007. The season kicked off at The Canyons in Park City Utah on August 4, and following the event in San Luis Obispo, the series will head to Beaver Creek, Colo., for the grand finale on September 1.

    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. The race from San Luis Obispo will air on CBS Sports on September 23 from 5:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. EST (check local listings).

    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 wintertime’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, Mopar, 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 leader’s jersey, while also accruing points toward a cash bonus at season’s end.

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    source: Al Sommers
    Sommers Public Relations
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