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MTB World Cup XC #4 & DH #3 - CDM
Mont Sainte Anne, Quebec, Canada, June 22-24, 2007
Race 4 - June 24: Elite Women Downhill
Jonnier extends World Cup lead
By Mike Badyk and Rob Jones
Defending world champion Sabrina Jonnier (Iron Horse/Monster Energy) continues to be the one to beat on the World Cup circuit with a convincing win at Mont-Sainte-Anne. Jonnier was over two seconds up on second place Tracy Moseley (Kona Les Gets) to claim her second win of the 2007 season.
The 3.2 kilometre circuit is one of the favourites on the tour. Minor revisions to the upper part of the course made the top section faster than ever. However, unlike many of the races that have been run here, the dry conditions proved to be difficult for many. Thick dust and dust covered rocks caused many crashes and flats.
Canada's Micayla Gatto (Rocky Mountain Haywood) was a victim of both a crash and a flat. "I crashed pretty bad in the woods after the drop. I was going pretty fast and then my front tire washed out and then I went way off course. I got back on and I didn't let it make me mad. But then a couple of pedals later I felt that I had a flat. Mentally I'm more sore than anything." Gatto completed her run but was well down in 21st position.
Another notable victim of a flat was regular top-10 rider Fionn Griffiths (Norco). "I got the flat right under the chair lift, basically on one of the faster sections of the course. The bike just skipped sideways and I was hoping that I hit something wrong and that it stepped out. When I got the bike back going the other way I knew that I had a flat. The bottom half of the track is just brutal if you have a flat tire. You have to carry so much speed even with inflated tires. With a flat tire it's just hell. It's just unlucky that I hit something. The rocks are always there."
The initial hot run of the afternoon was from Melissa Buhl with a 5'23. However, the next rider down the hill, Scarlett Hagen, was running three seconds faster when she crashed hard on the bottom part of the course and had to be evacuated by ambulance. Initially, the crash looked frightening, since Hagen lay completely still and face down on the track. However, she was able to move all of her limbs when the medics checked her out, and the latest report is that she has a shoulder injury.
Unfortunately, Hagen's crash caused Marielle Saner (Bikepark.ch), Celine Gros and Tracey Hannah (Orange) to have to restart as they were already on course while Hagen was being evacuated. This likely had some influence on the final outcome. This was especially true for Saner, who was three seconds ahead of Buhl's time on her first run. On her second run she flatted and finished well down.
Hannah laid down a good run to take the lead, but Emmeline Ragot nipped her by 0.02 seconds as the next finisher. This left only two riders to do their runs.
Moseley laid down a hot run, over 10 seconds faster than Ragot. However, she didn't even try to take the Nissan Hot Seat with the formidable Jonnier still to arrive. Sure enough, Jonnier was travelling fast on the lower part of the course and finished 2.32 seconds up on Moseley.
Jonnier was pleased with her win, but also concerned about Hagen's crash. "It was far from a perfect run. I was 5'01 this morning and this was slower. With Scarlett's crash and the delay it was pretty hard. I was all ready to go and then I had to warm up again and try to concentrate. Just to know that my friend is on the ground hurt doesn't help."
"I was more nervous than usual and I felt I did a big mistake on the flats at the top of the course. I did the first turn drifting on my front wheel! There were some good and bad things about my race. I had trouble with the lights in the woods. It was all on and off (shadows and sun). I nearly went off piste in one turn because I forgot to turn! 5'04 isn't that good. I wanted to do a 4'48. It was a win though."
Moseley was philosophical about being beaten by Jonnier. "It was tough conditions out there. I definitely found it much drier this afternoon and I had a few issues with the grip. I think I may have made a bad choice on my tire selection."
"I made one big mistake before the split time which cost me time. I definitely had some problems in the top half and I knew I had to try much harder on the bottom section. I knew I had to go really hard if I want to beat Sabrina. It wasn't perfect today. I'm happy with second. It's certainly a good result. After Champery, which was a pretty disastrous race for me, I'm glad to be back on it."
Jonnier retains her lead in the World Cup points standings with 690 points after three rounds. Ragot is second with 540 points and Moseley is third with 480.
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
1 Sabrina Jonnier (Fra) Iron Horse / Monster Energy 5.04.5 2 Tracy Moseley (GBr) Kona Les Gets 0.02.3 3 Emmeline Ragot (Fra) 0.12.4 4 Tracey Hannah (Aus) 5 Céline Gros (Fra) 0.14.3 6 Melissa Buhl (USA) 0.18.6 7 Helen Gaskell (GBr) 0.20.7 8 Vanessa Quin (NZl) Ms-Intense Factory-Racing 0.23.2 9 Mio Suemasa (Jpn) 0.23.7 10 Lisa Myklak (USA) 0.33.7 11 Daniela Bossard (Swi) 0.35.7 12 Joanna Pettersen (RSA) 0.36.7 13 Helene Fruhwirth (Aut) 0.40.4 14 Jennifer Makgill (NZl) Ssangyong-Fusion Pro Team 0.41.2 15 Anja Rees Jones (GBr) Stendec Racing 0.49.9 16 Fionn Griffiths (GBr) 0.50.6 17 Sheila Morris (Can) 0.52.5 18 Elisa Canepa (Ita) Playbiker - Iron Horse 0.52.6 19 Mylene-Kim Fortier (Can) 1.18.0 20 Marielle Saner (Swi) Bikepark.Ch Tui 1.37.6 21 Micayla Gatto (Can) Rocky Mountain Haywood 1.50.2 22 Jessica Vogt (USA) 1.52.9 23 Amy Laird (NZl) 1.57.2 24 Claudia Paquin (Can) 2.03.0 DSQ Claire Buchar (Can) DNF Scarlett Hagen (NZl) DNF Amelia Colasurdo (USA)