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MTB World Cup XC #4 & DH #3 - CDM
Mont Sainte Anne, Quebec, Canada, June 22-24, 2007
Race 2 - June 23: Elite Women Cross Country
Kalentyeva wins crash marred race
By Mike Badyk and Rob Jones
After riding at the head of the field with three other women for the entire race, Irina Kalentyeva (Topeak Ergon) left trio behind on the final lap to take her second win of the season by 10 seconds over Ren Chengyuan (China). Recovering after a nasty crash on the second lap, perennial home town favourite, and two-time defending champion, Marie-Helene Premont (Rocky Mountain-Haywood) fought back to capture fourth place behind Sabine Spitz (Ghost International), and ahead of World Cup leader Marga Fullana (Spiuk-Tau Ceramica).
After much discussion and debate regarding riders being relegated to the back of the field due to late registration (see yesterday's Preview) no protest of any sort materialized from the women's field. Instead, the start was marred by a bad crash literally under the start banner. Katerina Nash (Luna) went down with Kiara Bisaro (Opus) also hitting the ground after going over the top of Nash. Bisaro's crash was hard enough to break her helmet, and afterwards she revealed that she had bruises and chainring marks all over her back. Nash and Bisaro were at the back of the field through the start loops. Both fought back valiantly into the top 30, but the effects of the crash were evident, causing them both to eventually finish well outside of their usual top-15 spots, with Nash taking 37th while Bisaro was a further two positions back in 39th.
Meanwhile, the cream of the field rode to the front on the first major climb of the course. Georgia Gould (Luna) led Fullana , Spitz, Premont, Kalentyeva and Ying Liu (China) with Ren just behind her. The rest of the field was simply shredded by this aggressive pace.
This group remained intact through the end of the first lap. Once again, the big first climb proved important, as Gould and Liu were dropped from the lead group. With her usual horde of family and friends at the finish, Premont was expected in the lead group, but came through back in eighth place - 45 seconds behind the leaders. "I crashed on the second lap," said Premont while icing her shoulder after the race. "I was with all the girls at the front and I was behind the Chinese rider (Ying) and tried to pass her and I did a mistake. I went over my bike and landed on my head and shoulder. I tried to go on my bike right away but I was shaken. I wasn't seeing anything wrong but I really had to focus to get going again. I tried to catch the other girls but I was really missing one good lap from the race with my crash."
Kalentyeva was sitting comfortably in the lead group of four through to the end of the fourth lap. Fullana was still there along with Ren and Spitz, while Ying and Gould drifted 30 seconds behind the leaders with Willow Koerber (Subaru-Gary Fisher) a further 30 seconds back on her own. Premont was working her way back towards the front, and was only 10 seconds back from Koerber at the end of lap three, and then sitting sixth one lap later as the event entered its final lap. Koerber and Gould were fading, so Premont picked them off and focussed on the podium.
With the leaders still so close together, the decisive move was going to be made on the final lap and it came from Kalentyeva. Her attack on the zig-zag climb, between the one and two kilometre marks on the five kilometre course, proved to be successful. "It was a very fast race," she noted. "It was hard for me. It was on the steep uphill that I attacked and I felt really good on the downhill after that. It was at that point that I felt I could win the race. I was still worried about Marie-Helene and Margarita even after I took the lead. It was my day today. I won the race and I'm happy!"
Ren held on for second place, 10 seconds back from Kalentyeva. Through her interpreter Ren was clearly pleased. "I was happy to place well here," said the Chinese woman. "It was a difficult race to judge. I managed to have some energy left on the last lap and I got past the other riders."
Riding very strongly through the race, and always near the front, was Spitz. She finished third, 24 seconds back from Kalentyeva. Despite the podium finish Spitz was somewhat disappointed with her placing. "Everything was going well for me into the final lap," she reflected. "It was a bit of a tactical game between us four. Sometimes the speed slowed down a bit and everyone was checking everyone else out. I felt pretty good during the race. Kalentyeva attacked at the top of the Zig-Zag climb and right at that moment I was shifting and I couldn't get all the power into my pedals. She opened a little bit of a gap and my tactic was to stay at the front of the group through the technical stuff, through the single track, to control the speed from the front.
"But ultimately that tactic didn't work," continued Spitz. "However, we had worked together well up to the final lap. Everyone took a turn in the lead. Finally it came down to the last lap and everyone was looking for the right moment. Irina was the one who found it."
Premont came in 46 seconds back to enormous applause from the highly partisan crowd. "Because of the fall I was just trying to ride at my own pace," admitted Premont. "I started to feel better every lap. I knew it was going to be a fast race so I tried to go faster the last 2 laps."
Also having very good races were Lene Byberg (Specialized), in 10th, and Canadian Catherine Pendrel (Norco), both of whom started near the back of the pack after the late registration fiasco. Byberg is showing good form after having recently been diagnosed with low iron, and Pendrel was ripping the downhills all race long and moved up to a fine 11th place finish.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Frank Bodenmuller / PhotoSport International www.mtbsector.com
Images by Rob Jones/www.canadiancyclist.com
Images by Ralf Schuable / PhotoSport International
1 Irina Kalentyeva (Rus) Topeak 1.39.00 2 Ren Chengyuan (Chn) China 0.10 3 Sabine Spitz (Ger) Ghost International Racin 0.24 4 Marie-Helene Premont (Can) Rocky Mountain Haywood 0.46 5 Margarita Fullana (Esp) Spiuk-Tau Ceramica 1.00 6 Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Womens Mtb Team 1.39 7 Willow Koerber (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 2.08 8 Ying Liu (Chn) China 2.40 9 Mary Mc Conneloug (USA) Kenda Seven 3.32 10 Lene Byberg (Nor) Specialized 3.58 11 Catherine Pendrel (Can) Norco 4.06 12 Laurence Leboucher (Fra) 4.53 13 Tereza Hurikova (Cze) Ceska Sporitelna Mtb 5.03 14 Jingjing Wang (Chn) China 5.11 15 Renata Bucher (Sui) 5.17 16 Petra Henzi (Sui) Fischer-Bmc 5.29 17 Ivonne Kraft (Ger) 5.55 18 Nina G÷hl (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking 5.57 19 Maroussia Rusca (Sui) 6.07 20 CÚcile Rode Ravanel (Fra) Team Lapierre Internation 6.30 21 Heather Irmiger (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 6.43 22 Katrin Leumann (Sui) 7.09 23 Blaza Klemencic (Slo) Pintatim Full-Dynamix 7.48 24 Sabrina Enaux (Fra) Team Lapierre Internation 7.53 25 Mical Dyck (Can) Trek Terrascape 7.55 26 Sandra Walter (Can) 8.44 27 Susan Haywood (USA) Trek-Vw 8.45 28 Amanda Sin (Can) 9.07 29 Anna Enocsson (Swe) Ghost International Racin 9.18 30 Anna Szafraniec (Pol) Halls Professional Mtb Te 9.36 31 Wendy Simms (Can) Kona Les Gets 9.46 32 Magdalena Sadlecka (Pol) Halls Professional Mtb Te 9.56 33 Nina Homovec (Slo) 10.23 34 Laura Turpijn (Ned) 10.50 35 Janka Stevkova (Svk) 11.08 36 Lea Davison (USA) Trek-Vw 11.34 37 Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Womens Mtb Team 12.05 38 Emiliy Batty (Can) Team R.A.C.E. 12.15 39 Kiara Bisaro (Can) Opus 12.55 40 Jaqueline Mourao (Bra) 13.45 41 Helene Marcouyre (Fra) Bh-Sr. Suntour 14.22 42 Tory Thomas (Aus) 15.18 43 Sarah Koba (Sui) 15.46 44 Laura Lorenza Morfin (Mex) 16.04 45 Tanja Zakelj (Slo) 16.21 46 Jennifer Smith (NZl) 16.38 47 Bernardine Boog-Rauwerda (Ned) 16.47 48 Chloe Forsman (USA) Luna Womens Mtb Team 17.10 49 SÚverine Hansen (Fra) Bh-Sr. Suntour 17.21 50 Julie Sanders (Can) 17.29 51 Jenna Zander (USA) 17.49 52 Yolanda Speedy (Rsa) 18.26 53 Natalya Krompets (Ukr) 18.34 54 Catherine Vipond (Can) 19.36 55 Caroline Villeneuve (Can) 19.54 56 Jean Ann Mc Kirdy (Can) Rocky Mountain Haywood 20.36 57 Sandra Dolcerocca (Den) 20.44 58 Kathy Sherwin (USA) 21.03 One lap down 59 Rie Katayama (Jpn) 60 Kathleen Villeneuve (Can) 61 Sara Bresnick (USA) 62 Zoe King (Aus) 63 Amy-Jane Mundy (Rsa) 64 Karine Travaillaud (Can) 65 Joanna Wall (Aus) 66 Nina Baum (USA) 67 Sue Trimble-Haviland (Can) 68 Marie Kunst (Den) 69 Inbar Ronen (Isr) Two laps down 70 Theresa Richardson (USA) 71 Patricia Sinclair (Can) 72 Liliya Zaytseva (Ukr) 73 Rosemary Barnes (Aus) 74 Mathilde Hupin-Debeurme (Can) DNF Erika Gramiselli (Bra) DNS Bettina Schmid (Sui)