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2001 US CX Nat's

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Bayern Rundfahrt
Photo ©: Schaaf

2002 US Cyclo-cross Nationals - CN

Domaine Chandon, Yountville, California, USA, December 14-15, 2002

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Elite women

Ann Grande takes title after shaky start

Isn't life Grande?
Photo: © Jeff Tse
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Despite a slightly shaky start, Ann Grande (Kona) became the 2002 Women's US National Cyclo-cross Champion after a sprited struggle with Rachel Lloyd (Team Spine Santa Cruz) and Gina Hall (Cliff Bar).

The second day of the US Cyclo-cross National Championships dawned even wetter than the first as the rain continued to fall - over 11 inches since Friday making conditions suited for North-Western and Euro-experienced mud-pluggers.

Having scored five straight Super Cup series victories (though sans the national crown), Grande is known as the "Queen of 'Cross". This season, however, Grande suffered with back pain and struggled to reach the podium for even regional races.

"It's only been two months that I've been riding my bike," said Grande, who sat out racing for all of August and September this year.

After one lap, Gina Hall (Clif Bar) of Richmond, CA, plowed to the front, driving into the lead with Rachel Lloyd (Team Spine) in second. Grande, meanwhile, fought through traffic.

While struggling to ride through sections known as as the "Pudding Bowl" and the "Soup Kitchen", Hall and Lloyd swapped the lead. Grande valiantly worked her way back up through the field, and joined the lead pair about ten minutes into the race, with Carmen d'Aluisio (Clif Bar) and Mary McConneloug (Seven Cycles) in hot pursuit.

With half the race gone, it was clear that barring disaster, Grande, Hall and Lloyd were going to take the top three spots, and the three swapped blows for ten minutes until Grande gave Lloyd one of "those looks" on the climb, riding away to grab a 15 second gap.

Fifteen seconds isn't a long time in cyclo-cross and for a moment, and with two laps to go Grande faltered, dabbing and losing a little momentum as she passed through the vineyards. But she recovered to fight on and kept Lloyd and Hall at bay to the finish.

"I had one flat tire, but it was in a perfect spot, right next to the pit - so I just rode in and got my bike and took off," said Grande, who scored the victory with just enough time to celebrate.

Lloyd just kept ahead of Hall to take the silver, with Mary McConneloug fourth and Melissa Thomas (Rocky Mounts/Ritchey) fifth.


1 Ann Grande (Kona/Kenwood)                        0.45.38
2 Rachel Lloyd (Team Spiney / Santa Cruz)             0.17
3 Gina Hall (Clif Bar)                                0.29
4 Mary McConneloug (Seven Cycles)                     1.06
5 Melissa Thomas (Rocky Mounts/Ritchey)               1.28
6 Carmen D'Aluisio (Clifbar)                          2.06
7 Christine Vardraros (Sallyspicer.Com)               2.53
8 Gretchen Reeves (Rocky Mountain)                    4.01
9 Josie Beggs (Bolla Bianchi)                         4.21
10 Kerry Barnholt (Sobe Cannondale)                   4.30
11 Shari Kain (RLX Ralph Lauren)                      4.44
12 Rhonda Mazza                                       5.16
13 Jodi Groesbeck (Putney/West Hill)                  5.28
14 Shelly Whisenhant (Veloibella)                     5.44
15 Stella Carey (Kelly Bike Company)                  5.54
16 Hillary Daniels                                    6.21
17 Kathryn Roszko (Ncc/Bikereg.Com)                   7.30