Good Month / Bad Month: Exciting Racing, Payouts for Privateers, Injuries, Accidents, and Drug Testing - June 2019

Jul 2, 2019
by Mike Kazimer  

Jared Graves

Cancer Free After 10 Months of Treatment

The last 10 months were tough ones for Jared Graves, to say the least. Last September, after he suffered a seizure in Whistler and then another back home in Australia, a tumor was discovered in Graves' brain, one that was dangerously close to an area that can cause paralysis of the left side of the body. Thankfully that didn't happen, and surgery was performed to remove the tumor, followed by multiple rounds of chemotherapy.

The survival rate statistics for brain tumors are rather bleak, but Graves has never been one to back down from a challenge – all of his BMX, 4X, DH, and enduro victories are a testament to that.

On June 29th he announced, “Results in from yesterday’s MRI. Officially cancer free! Now it’s just fully getting over the side effects of chemo which linger a little bit. But energy levels get better every day. So glad to be past this chapter in my life. It truly puts things in perspective and makes the little things that sometimes stress you out seem so insignificant.”

Racing Fans

Action Packed World Cup, EWS & Crankworx Events

There was no shortage of exciting racing action during the month of June. DH fans were treated to back-to-back World Cup weekends, starting with Fort William, where Amaury Pierron took the win after performing one of the most impressive huck to nosedive maneuvers ever. Leogang was up next, with Loic Bruni and Tracey Hannah emerging victorious.

Prefer your mountain bike competition with a few more flips, whips, and spins? Crankworx Innsbruck took place in June as well, and Brett Rheeder snagged another slopestyle victory, narrowly beating Emil Johannson.
No amount of rain and wind can dampen the spirits of the Fort William fans.

The month ended with the fourth round of the Enduro World Series, a hot and dusty event that saw Richie Rude storming back onto the scene to take the top spot. Isabeau Courdurier continued her winning streak, this time aboard a 29” wheeled Intense.

Privateer DH and Enduro Racers

Wyn Masters' Fundraiser Yields Impressive Results

It's not easy being a privateer. Race entry fees, travel costs, food, lodging; those all add up, and can make it a lot more difficult to show up at the starting line ready to race compared to riders who have made it onto a fully-supported factory team.

To help out those underdogs, Wyn Masters started a fundraiser to help out the fastest privateer of the weekend during World Cup DH and select DH events. The fund currently sits at €15,111, and Nina Hoffman, Johannes Von Klebelsberg, and Louis Jeandel have all taken home a €1,000 prize to help them fund their racing endeavors.

An ecstatic Nina Hoffmann celebrating her first ever podium appearance at a World Cup.
Nina Hoffman was the first recipient of Wyn's Privateer of the Week award.

Martin Maes

Receives 90 Day Ban After Failing Anti-Doping Tests

Martin Maes' season was off to a spectacular start, but it all fell apart after tests performed at Rotorua and Tasmania returned with adverse analytical findings for Probenecid, a masking agent prohibited by WADA. Martin had been prescribed Probenecid to help treat a nasty cut, and subsequent infection, that occurred during the NZ Enduro. Due to a series of unfortunate circumstances, including a lack of cell service to check the WADA list, Martin and his team manager weren't aware that Probenecid was prohibited.

The GT team applied for a Therapeutic Use Exemption once the results arrived, but that request was denied. As a result, Maes' wins at Rotorua and Tasmania were both stricken from the record books, and he received a 90-day suspension that will see him out of action until after the Whistler EWS round.
Even a little rain on Saturday evening couldn t derail the Maes Train.

The only potential bright side, if you can even call it that, is that this situation will give Martin even more motivation to go all-out at the DH World Championships in Mont-Saint-Anne later this year. After watching from the sidelines for 90 days, there's no doubt that Maes is going to be a man on a mission.

Carlin Dunne's Family, Friends, and Fans

Motorcycle Racer and Former Freerider Dies During Pike's Peak Hill Climb

Carlin Dunne was known for going huge during the heyday of the New World Disorder films, but in more recent years his focus had been on speed, specifically the kind delivered by motorcycles. With four Pikes Peak International Hill Climb wins to his name, he was defending his title when he crashed less than a quarter mile from the finish line, and died from the resulting injuries.

Jason Chinnock, the CEO of Ducati North America said, “There are no words to describe our shock and sadness. Carlin was part of our family and one of the most genuine and kind men we have ever known. His spirit for this event and love of motorcycling will be remembered forever as his passing leaves a hole in our hearts.”

Bones and Ligaments

More Riding and Racing Means More Injuries

Injuries can happen any time of the year, but June seemed to be a particularly rough month for some of the sport's fastest athletes. Vali Höll hurt her shoulder during dual slalom practice at Crankworx Innsbruck, although there's a good chance she'll be recovered in time for the Andorra World Cup. Unfortunately, Yoann Barelli's recovery isn't going to be as quick – an awkward get-off while climbing resulted in an ACL injury that'll keep him from riding the gnar for the next 6 months.

Jesse Melamed's season has been derailed as well due to a crash that left him with a broken leg, dislocated finger and fractured 5th metacarpal. Those ailments would put most people out of commission for a couple of months, but Melamed's not most people (he rode down the rest of the stage after the crash), and he seems to bounce back from injury with surprising rapidity – hopefully we'll see him back between the tape in time for the Zermatt EWS.
Brough day at the office for Jesse Melamed and a premature end to what had been an amazing season.


  • 359 13
 Bad month for PB's Design/Development team. These colored tags are amateur hour.
  • 79 1
 They also moved Trailforks from the main banner to the Places drop down. Not impressed.
  • 32 0
 @hugebiff: Agreed, Trailforks drop down is a big promotional fail
  • 5 0
 @hugebiff: Thanks for mentioning that. I was looking for the trailforks link the other day, and was like ???
  • 22 0
 Seriously PB, drop the colored tags, it's surprisingly distracting!!!
  • 18 11
 The tags are ugly but useful for searching for related articles. I hope they stick around, albeit with a re-design.
  • 16 1
 This. Unless PB are going retro with their page design, the tags make the page look like ass. This isn't Instagram.
  • 20 0
 They make me crave Skittles. So...good month for Skittles sales.
  • 6 0
 Please everyone upvote this so we can get the colors changed.
  • 85 12
 Broken bones, raptured ligaments, cancer, death, amputation preventing doping but show them colored tags on their God damn feed and they lose their fricking minds...
  • 3 1
 @WAKIdesigns: sign of the times!
  • 7 1
 @WAKIdesigns: I’m not often in agreement with you but you’ve nailed it this time.
  • 5 2
 They may be aesthetically polarizing but they’re certainly useful.
  • 13 2
 is someone from PB going to chime in about this one...not a single person asked for this. GET RID OF THE BARF BLOCKS!!!
  • 4 2
 I like the tags. Colour is very useful in interface elements, in this case presumably to distinguish categories at a glance. Perhaps they could be toned down to keep everyone happy but please keep the colour.
  • 6 3
 @WAKIdesigns: I hate up voting your comments....but deserved is deserved.
  • 5 0
 @JaredHarzan: I agree they're useful. Just put them on the full articles, no need to clutter the teasers.
  • 3 0
 @hugebiff: Trailforks is one of my most-clicked Pinkbike goto links. No, not impressed.
  • 3 1
 I just assumed it was a poorly implemented pride thing, mountain biking being an inclusive sport and all that, unless you ride an e-bike
  • 6 2
 i am waiting for Wakifree hashtag, marking comment sections where I am banned
  • 2 1
 Structured data is good, therefore tags are good! Not like they make it any harder to skim headlines.
  • 3 2
 It's what we call, "Designed by Committee.": When a large group of "Marketing Minds" comes up with a hugely bad idea such as this, no one has to take credit for it, and "Committee Pride" keeps it in place. That's how we wound up with the AMC Eagle and Pacers in the 1970's.
  • 1 0
 they remind me of all the lame tags you put at the bottom of a youtube video hoping it'll get noticed, that you don't want anyone to see...
  • 149 26
 I'm incredibly disappointed to see such ambivalence from the MTB media toward the recent drug testing failures of 3 very high profile athletes. Where is the questioning and examination of the circumstances surrounding these athletes, their infractions and suspensions.

The publication of press releases is not journalism. Its lazy content creation for clicks.

If i were a clean athlete competing in DH or the EWS series i would be very concerned about the culture surrounding the gravity aspects of MTB. The excuses given by Graves, Rude and Maes echo those given by Hamilton, Landis, and Armstrong (saddle sores and TUEs anyone?). No athlete in the history of cycling has ever said "its a fair cop" when caught with banned substances in their system. None. Everyone had an excuse (Contador and clenbuterol in his beef?).

The welcoming back of Richie Rude as the victim or the "bad month" for Martyn Maes in this article demonstrates just how incapable the MTB media are of being anything like impartial or challenging. The victims of a reliance of ad revenue and positive brand relationships. It doesn't do much for credibility of PinkBike's "bike reviews", and reflects that PinkBike is essentially a hub for brand press releases and social media round ups.

Regardless of the excuses given, its ridiculous to think that UCI governed athletes performing in the elite category of their events dont even know what they are allowed to ingest to remain compliant with the sport's laws. At best its amateur hour, at worst its a cynical attempt at doping. What message do back dates bans and 90 day suspensions send to those considering or currently doping?

I'd like to see a much more serious tone taken with regard to doping, those failing drug tests should be treated harshly, because tolerating it simply diminishes the sport and punish those trying to compete clean. Cycling has been through this before, MTB needs to learn those lessons and not follow the well trodden path of omerta and denial.

Chris Ball has said very little on the subject, drawing parallels to the stance taken by various UCI presidents and CEOs of ASO (Owners of the TdF). Its vital that this subject is talked about, challenged, a culture of tolerance and acceptance cannot exist. Athletes coming into the sport in the future should not have to face a choice to go home, or dope to be competitive.
  • 11 39
flag adrennan (Jul 2, 2019 at 14:10) (Below Threshold)
 I totally agree where you are coming from. If we are going to play with a set of rules, then act as such. Now for my less popular opinion, just freaking let them dope (this goes for all sports). Like don't you want to see how freaking fast the hlk can be on a dh bike? or even better what ratboy can do when he is allowed the devil's lettuce and still race.
  • 7 3
 Up Vote. Agree with this.
  • 24 0
 @adrennan: Its a familiar argument, and if we want professional sports to be nothing more than a freak show then yeah, let everyone go crazy.

But in reality, the consequences would be catastrophic, sports wouldn't exist as a commercial entity like that for long, sponsors and media outlets wouldn't associate with sanctioned drug use. From an athlete's point of view, the health risks would be insane, it would become a battle of which athlete gave the least f**ks about living past 40.
  • 38 9
 I'm sorry I don't remember Lance getting treatment for a nasty infected injury in remote NZ by a volunteer race doctor. Yes in hindsight its obvious what Maes and his team should have done but no one is questioning his integrity.
  • 4 0
 Many athletes (mostly French I think),have expressed on this subject. They complained about the federation's ability to forget facts. Why ? Because these are start-ups that bring visibility to our sport. Some have parallelism with sports like tennis where some star (maria s) have had the right to replay while most of circuit no longer wanted to see it play.
  • 31 3
 @acali: Lance Armstrong in the 1999 TdF got a back dated TUE when he tested positive for a steroid. His excuse (widely accepted at the time) was that the steroid was in a cream for treating saddle sores he had. He later admitted this wasn't the case and it conveniently explained the positive test. He received no ban and won that Tour at the expense of clean athletes.

The point being is that you cannot allow a culture of workarounds for positive tests. It allows dishonesty to prevail. Martyn Maes seems like a nice guy, his explanation maybe true, but it's entirely correct a ban be enforced. The cynic in me can't quite believe he and his team didn't have a local copy of the UCI's banned substance list. It's UCI sanctioned athlete 101.
  • 2 1
 @ganicuk: I mean considering the risk of CTE in American football, for example, I don't see a huge difference.
  • 6 0
 @ganicuk: Hmm. I think I see your point. I'm still pissed off about the situation but you may have changed my mind. thanks.
  • 5 0
 People familiar with history of road racing have almost no tolerance for this. Big money in road biking means it's all been done before. If caught, innocent or guilty, learn from this and move on a clean racer. I was pretty naive about all this until I had a long chat with a long time roadie friend. Could not agree more that no one has EVER said, "Oh well they caught me."
  • 3 0
 Well put, but I am afraid a lot of fans follow suit with PB, UCI, and EWS I am amazed at the down votes I have gotten for pointing out a contradiction here or there in the stories.
  • 1 0
 Luckily they leave BTL largely unmoderated. It's user moderated really, so this allows the riding community to express what they see as right/wrong, even if many of the comments are reactionary.

Pinkbike do see this and therefore have to tread a fine line between what the industry wants and what the riding public see and they generally seem impartial (with leanings towards the industry who pays them understandably).

Frankly, it was only a matter of time before performance-enhancing drugs entered into the world of mountain biking. It's popularity and competitive nature means some will push the boundaries of what is legal. That is just the reality of humankind.

It's good some high-profile names have been banned for infringements as it wakes the industry up and all the riders up.
  • 38 0
 @ganicuk: (Bias disclaimer: I really like Maes, Graves, and Rude. I ride a Yeti.) So, you are going to get panned for this but from a scientific and medical standpoint you are totally right. I have treated many laceration infections and never once used probeniced. In addition, worrysome wound infections declare themselves 7-10days after injury, the "He was going to lose his leg!" argument is total bull puckey on day 2. Also, I ride and race with buddies when it's hot, a lot, and never once have said, "can I have a suck on your bottle in the middle of this professional competition, who cares what's in it, it's going to make all the difference for me in this enduro competition until I get to the next water stop 500m away?" The problem is the athletes are charismatic and we love to root for them. The arguments in defense are emotional and potentially plausible. The facts, however, are circumspect when dispassionately reviewed, and the cheaters have proven themselves extremely sophisticated which requires an extreme level of vigilance. Sometimes the most charismatic end up in review being the most vile, insert your favorite fallen hero here. Okay, said my peace.
  • 4 0
 Ganicuk, HOW DARE YOU MAKE SENSE AND LAY OUT A WELL THOUGHT OUT COMMENT! You do remember where you’re posting, right? These types of things don’t always go over too well here.
  • 13 0
 This is probably one of the best written submissions I have read on pinkbike. It is a real shame quality writing like this does not come from any of pinkbikes journalists.
  • 7 0
 Best string of paragraphs I've read on this website.
  • 11 0
 @GOrtho: You and the original poster f*cking nailed it man. The folks jumping to the defense of these athletes without taking a moment to be truly skeptical about their claimed excuses are doing themselves a real disservice. “I drank out of somebody’s water bottle” is stupid, worse though is the lack of respect it shows everyone he’s trying to absolve himself too.
  • 2 0
 @ballersays nothing
  • 2 0
 Well, we've had one example of a rider openly admitting he used after getting caught. In our own mtb sport, none the less. Filip Meirhaeghe, in 2004. Wanted to win the Olympics, could not deal with the pressure of a possible loss, got caught, admitted the whole thing and wrote a book about it. Pretty interesting read, that. Carreer was pretty much over, however. He got so famous locally, that he's now into politics.
  • 4 0
 Good analysis in most respects.
PB has always been this way, as far back as I can remember.. It's a content pig. whatever from where ever. And it subservience to the advertiser. MBA was the same back in the day.. reviews were paid for, so PB is just continuing this tradition. If you don't like it? go elsewhere. Vital is a great source BTW.

Gravity culture is a weird one to figure out. On one hand it has a 'balls to the wall' carefree image it wants to present, but on the other is as conservative as I've seen. Go figure.

The doping thing is indeed case in hand. EVERY road athlete has to know the rules. Yes it is a culture that has a lot of doping, but you ask any roadie what legal and illegal, they know . The officials and organizers too. Saying "I didn't know" is well amateur hour, and most of the riders come from the World Cup circuit and are knowlegable about doping. "Better to ask forgiveness than permission" is no way to run EWS if it wants respect from the UCI , IOC and federal bodies (cycling sports getting into Olympics going forward take note). Chris Ball indeed, where are you. You came from the UCI and know the rules. Hanging the riders out to dry is not a way to run an organization. AND it was bound to happen. The event organizers should have stepped up and made sure the rider was looked after in all ways.. not just provide a doctor who didn't know his way around the UCI list of prohibited substances.

So EWS needs to get out in front of this going forward, that is if it wants to be considered more than a place retired DHers go to when they are not longer competitive on the World Cup circuit.
  • 1 0
 Sorry for the repeat
  • 2 0
 Agreed on all points but, good luck with that. There are still plenty of people in cycling for which Lance Armstrong is still their hero. That right there should tell you all you need to know about what's truly valued in the cycling community.
  • 3 1
 @acali: It appears to be the case that Maes applied for a TUE only after an AAF was registered. As others have said, Armstrong did the same thing by applying for a TUE for corticosteroid cream after registering an AAF. As a direct result of cheats abusing TUEs to cover for AAFs you can no longer get a TUE after an AAF. If it were the case that Maes applied for a TUE at the soonest reasonable possibility for the substance he took before registering an AAF it is highly likely it would’ve been granted. However it seems like it was more a case of taking the substance, forgetting about taking said substance, and only applying for a TUE after an AAF reminded you of that substance.
  • 43 0
 Bike parks are open. This is a win for everyone
  • 45 10
 True. In fact, I’m going to head out for a lap right now instead of responding to comments about how drug test failures are somehow related to bike reviews.
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: I’m cool with that as long as you include the post ride cerveza
  • 1 0
 @mikekazimer: All dem drugs make the bikes ride good.
  • 6 1
 @mikekazimer: This one about week bike media completely dependent on bike industry? You make great things like Trailforks and coverage from events, but your "media" courage is null. Non-existent. I understand this completely because in your business you have everything to loose an nothing to win really, people will click anyway.
  • 15 1
 Can't believe there isn't a single comment paying respect to Carlin Dunne. This man was an icon in MTB during the freeride era then later Motorcycle racing. RIP Carlin, you pushed the limits in not one but two sports in your time. A grave reminder of the dangers of our favorite activities. So sad to hear this, was just watching the video of him and his dad racing the salt flats together not too long ago.
  • 2 0
 @onemind123: Thank you, my apologies I did not see the original.
  • 20 5
 Good month for Ritchie Rude
  • 5 2
 So 'rude' that you didn't spell Richie right! lol
  • 1 1
 Yup, great month for him as the picograms dropped under the permissible level and he regained his podium spot....oh wait, it’s his first podium since being found guilty of doping? Hmmm, that almost seems unfair.
  • 10 0
 do you guys need a web designer? I'd be happy to help out!
  • 6 0
 I'm sorry but broken bones are broken bones, they just don't heal faster because you are Jesse Melamed. And we've all seen what happens when athletes come back from injury too early, they get re injured, normally worse than initially. Healing vibes to Jesse and anyone else out there injured. If he does have some super healing powers just don't let the authorities know or else he'll end up in a lab being studied
  • 1 0
 I don't know if I'm the only one, but I never got the point of these ”good month/bad month” articles. They seem super gratuitous. In my mind it's simple: any month you ride is a good month and pretty much any month you are healthy is a good one too. So how about we fuss less, put some First World Problems™ aside and start being grateful for what we have. Really.

  • 1 0
 "Bones and ligaments" - don't forget cartilage. Dislocated my shoulder this weekend and tore up my labrum -_-

There goes my summer too. Has anyone done the labrum scope surgery?
  • 1 0
 I have done it, right labrum tear from years of dislocations
  • 1 0
 @krashDH85: How's the recovery? And how's the shoulder now?
  • 2 0
 @Jvhowube: Also had this. After open surgery and around 6 months off sport I could do most things again. Although you'll need a fair bit of physio to get back up to strength. 10 years later and it feels great, although a little stiff every now and then and slightly reduced range motion. Never adversely affected me in day to day riding / gym / general life though!
  • 1 0
 @G-SpotDavid: Basically the same experience for me, I'm not quite 10 years out
  • 1 0
 I feel you brother. Messed up my shoulder in a stupid crash (slipped in a banked turn and caught the top of the berm with my shoulder while trying to tuck&roll). Broke my clavicula, tore a ligament in there and semi-tore a muscle. Thankfully, the shoulder joint itself is OK. Decided to have surgery, which was the best decision ever. It's been ten days since, and it feels like the joint is in a good spot. Forget about a single summer, if you don't fix it, you'll have trouble for a long time.
  • 1 0
 I'm with these guys. Same surgery. Take the rehab seriously and give yourself a year to be back doing most things 3 - 5 years to be pain free and solid
  • 3 0
 A bad month for reading comprehension.
  • 1 1
 Bad month, because trailforks app crashed when saving my ride. So all hopes gone for winning the bike I needed that much. Shit happens. At least I didn't crash yesterday evening.
  • 1 0
 I tore ankle ligaments at beginning of June, I am going to claim that this having this in bad month is partly due to myself. thanks for the shout out PB!
  • 30 27
 Maes was robbed
  • 6 20
flag jhtopilko (Jul 2, 2019 at 13:13) (Below Threshold)
 He certainly was. It seems more political than anything else.
  • 59 9
 Robbed by his and his team's ability to either have the banned list available or at the very least check it once they could. If they had, they would have seen the drug on the banned list, got the TUE pre-test and been perfectly fine. Allowing a TUE post test is crazy and opens up the potential for serious issues. UCI / WADA rules HAVE to be rock solid or why bother doing it.

For a world class rider and team competing at the level of EWS, this was a huge mistake and Maes has admitted as such. Yes it was unfortunate, but given the circumstances, perfectly acceptable.

The bright side is that it was hopefully a wake up call to all EWS riders and teams. Get your shit together, you're racing in a world class professional race series... act like it.
  • 3 8
flag pinhead907 (Jul 2, 2019 at 13:28) (Below Threshold)
 @jhtopilko: waiting for EWS to post about how he didn't get the prescription at an EWS event in 3 .... 2....
  • 18 2
 @islandforlife: don't be coming round here with your rational and logical explanations. You do remember where you are posting?
  • 4 2
 @islandforlife: I’m just not sure the pre-test TUE would’ve helped. The official argument by the UCI apparently was that there were unlisted alternatives available. Hence, he would not have gotten a TUE, and should not have raced at all. But I do agree that the team needs to be on top of it.
  • 5 0
 @islandforlife: Spot on. The post test TUE is sketchy at best. Not slamming Martin, but...
  • 4 0
 @mitochris: Nope, that argument was only made because he didn't get a pre-test TUE. He got a post test TUE which was not accepted... as in not even read because they just don't accept them... so basically it's like he didn't even have a TUE. So the decision was made based on a positive test and his explanation of what happened. Since there was no TUE it was ruled that there are other means available and no TUE to explain when it was given and why. Had there been a pre-test TUE... it wouldn't have gone any further.
  • 2 0
 @islandforlife: ah. Ok. That makes sense.
  • 3 0
 @islandforlife: This. Contrary to what many people believe, Armstrong had positive drug tests. He evaded four of them in 1999 by using a TUE backdated to before the AAFs for corticosteroid saddle cream. TUEs after AAFs disappeared very quickly once the potential for abuse was fully understood and illustrated in the road world.
  • 1 0
 that Shimano AD you had up on instagram was pretty bad
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