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NORBA National Series #3 - NE

Mount Snow, VT, USA, June 17-June 18, 2006

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Race 2 - June 17: Cross Country

McConneloug, Sauser Come Stateside to Take Top Honors in Cross-country

By Wendy Booher in Mount Snow

Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven Cycles) came home this week after a racing stint in Europe that conditioned her to the high intensity of European racing. From the start McConneloug built a lead that just kept growing throughout three laps on the 5+-mile course that is regarded as “the most technical course in the series.”

“This course suits me and I knew I just wanted to go from the start and get as much of a gap on the climbs as I could and be smooth on the descents,” said McConneloug. “It's really treacherous and you hit one wrong root or rock and you can really do yourself in or have a mechanical.”

Sue Haywood (Trek/VW)
Photo ©: Mike Pinewski
(Click for larger image)

Mostly single-track with some fire-road, the course favored racers with keen technical talents and lots of power. Moisture from rain and runoff clung to tires and demanded even more technique when trying to clear roots, rocks and the occasional metal pipe that interfered with the course. McConneloug focused on riding a smooth, efficient, powerful race in order to prepare for next weekend's World Cup event at Mont Sainte Anne. McConneloug will sit out tomorrow's Short Track event and will instead look forward to a podium finish next weekend.

In an unfortunate reversal of fortune from this morning's second place in the Super D, Vermont native Lea Davison (Trek/VW) lost her balance when she slipped on a metal pipe, fell and dislocated her arm during her second lap.

After suffering through an early season plagued by a sprain in his leg, Christoph Sauser (Specialized), came forward today with a win for the pro men's cross-country. Despite a crash in the first lap, which sent him to the neutral support 10x10 and allowed his teammate, Liam Killeen, to take the lead for a while, Sauser realized that, not only could he catch up to Killeen, he could even pass him. The crash and mechanical put about four minutes into his race and Sauser fought mightily to regain his position at the front. By the end, only a matter of meters separated first from second and today's 1-2 win equaled a double victory for Specialized.

“Today we got brand new Epic bikes with integrated cranks and the bike is so light again - it's under nine kilos,” said Sauser. “It's still very stiff, lots of suspension and I think getting first and second today are good victories for Specialized.”

In yet another about-face to a Super D success, Barry Wicks (Kona/Les Gets) thought he'd flatted during the middle of lap three but even worse, all the bounce had drained out of his fork. Wicks sharpened his bike handling skills with a rigid fork (without crashing, he noted) twice on the rugged, rocky, twisting descent that finished off the cross-country course.

Sunday's Short Track event could bring the regulars like Katerina Nash and Shonny Vanlandingham (Luna Women's MTB Team), Dara Marks-Marino (Titus/Kenda), Geoff Kabush (Maxxis), Adam Craig (Giant), Todd Wells (GT Bikes) or Ryan Trebon (Kona/Les Gets) to the top of the podium or someone new could rise up from the ranks. Check back on Cyclingnews.com for a full report.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Mike Pinewski

  • Sue Haywood (Trek/VW) leads Jimena Florit (Luna Chix) though the cross-country course
  • Jeff Lenosky put on a trials demonstration for the crowds between events
  • Jeff Lenosky demonstrates point-to-point scaffold jumps


Pro Men:

1 Christoph Sauser (Specialized)
2 Liam Killeen (Specialized)
3 Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru/Gary Fisher)
4 Adam Craig (Giant)
5 Kris Sneddon (Kona/Les Gets)
Pro Women:

1 Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven Cycles)
2 Shonny Vanlandingham (Luna Women's MTB Team)  
3 Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain Business Objects)
4 Willow Koerber (Subaru/Gary Fisher)
5 Heather Irmiger (Subaru/Gary Fisher)