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MTB World Cup XC #6 & DH #4 - CDM
Mont Sainte Anne, Canada, July 25-27, 2008
Race 6 - July 27: Elite women cross country
Premont solos to win at home
By Sue George in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Québec
Racing near her home, Canadian Marie-Helene Premont (Rocky Mountain) rode away from her competition on the first lap and never looked back on her way to victory in the cross country at the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup. She was followed by Catherine Pendrel (Luna Women's MTB Team), another Canadian riding solo to a second place. Norwegian Lene Byberg (Specialized Factory Racing) rode steadily to a strong third place finish.
"It was really crazy to win here at home," said Premont. "The crowd was here for me and it really helped." Premont's popularity drew many spectators it appeared there were more out to watch the women's race than the men's race. Cheers followed her around the course; it was easy to tell when Premont was coming by the reactions of her fans, many of whom were carrying and waving signs with Premont's photo.
Premont got a good start, but she also looked strong throughout the race. "My strategy was to be fast at the beginning and try to get that gap and to be careful after that," she said. In a clean ride finished up in 2:06:30, she had no mechanicals or crashes and her solid technical skills enabled her to ride everything.
Going into the first technical section on the initial lap, Premont led, followed by Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida) and Pendrel.
"I had the best World Cup start I've ever had in my life," said Pendrel. "We were all close at the top of the first climb, but I wasn't aggressive enough and I went into the woods third wheel instead of on Marie's. That allowed a gap to form between us, and Marie started to pull away in the first woods section."
Pendrel said it was helpful for the two Canadians to have raced the same course one week ago for their national championships. "Both of us love this course and we were out there having fun. Mentally, we know we can do well here and that works to our advantage."
Pendrel caught and passed Dahle Flesjaa and spent the rest of the race pursuing Premont. "I was able to settle into my rhythm. She was very strong on the last section on the course - I knew it from nationals. On the first half of the course, I'd close on Marie, on the second half, she'd close to me. On the fourth lap, she opened it up. I knew I had enough to finish strong, but that I probably wouldn't catch her." She would end up 2:53 behind the winner.
Byberg surprised many with her third place. Clad in an almost fluorescent pink team uniform, the Norwegian started out in fifth early on the first lap and moved into fourth going into the second lap. At the end of lap two, she passed Dahle-Flesjaa for third, a spot she would hold until the end, when she finished 4:28 behind Premont.
Georgia Gould (Luna Women's MTB team) passed Dahle Flesjaa with 1.5 laps to go. The American and the Norwegian would hold their spots for the duration, finishing fourth and fifth to round out the podium.
Gould didn't let a poor start deter her from her best-ever World Cup finish. "I kind of got stuck behind a bunch of junk at the start, but I knew it would be a long race and I was able to move up. The first corner in the start loop, people were not holding their lines in the corner and I had to cut over to avoid crashing," said Gould, who added that the other women were so nervous they were executing crazy passes on the downhills. "I knew I didn't want to get hurt. I have to the Olympics next month."
Gould rode well technically and considered the race good preparation for the Olympics next month. "It's always good to practice handling your bike even if the course in Beijing isn't technical."
Dahle Flesjaa faded from second to fifth during the race, but was happy with her race, which occurred in the middle of a significant training block leading up to the Olympics. "I had to put in more training after the worlds. Since I was out last year, I haven't been able really to train much the last month," said world marathon champion Dahle Flesjaa, who was on a fishing trip while recovering from illness one year ago instead of racing the circuit. "We all have to think about Beijing now. It's great to be top five in a World Cup."
The top riders spoke positively of the challenging course with many steep climbs, short steep descents and technical rocky and rooty sections, some of which were slick with rains from the night before.
US National Champion Mary McConneloug (Kenda / Seven), who finished sixth, was one of the few top women to ride a full suspension. "I chose to ride the dually for the first time in six years. It really allowed me to rest on the descents and not get all beat up and then I could just focus on climbing."
Her decision may have come after seeing the course. "I was really happy to come to Mont-Sainte-Anne and see that the course was made more technical compared to last year. They changed it and added more sections that gave the course so much flow. This is now my favourite race course!" she said after finishing sixth, a performance that showed her form is coming on strong with just weeks to go until the Olympics.
Katerina Nash started the race well and was in fourth place for a time on the first lap, but it wasn't her day and she fell back a few places, finishing in seventh. "I was climbing well, but not descending well. It was one of those days when I didn't have it all together so I made some mistakes on the slick roots."
Notably absent from the race were current World Champion Marga Fullana, former World Champion Irina Kalentieva and Sabine Spitz, who finished second at both cross country and marathon worlds earlier this year.
Dahle Flesjaa was surprised that the other favourites were not in attendance. "I can't really understand why they are not here. World Cup races are big and important for the sponsors and for the teams," she said. "Especially for Marga, being the World champion, she should be here showing the rainbow jersey. When I had the World Champion's jersey, I felt that was part of promoting my sport," before adding with a shrug, "We all have different views of that."
- The Canadians had a stellar day of racing on home soil. They placed six riders in the top 20 (Premont - first, Pendrel - second, Amanda Sin - 10th, Wendy Simms - 13th, Emily Batty - 17th and Jean Ann McKirdy - 20th).
- The next round of the World Cup heads south, but stays in Quebec. Round seven will happen in Bromont next weekend, August 1-3.
- Mont-Sainte-Anne will host the World Championships in 2010.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Dave McElwaine/www.trailwatch.net
1 Marie-Helene Premont (Can) Rocky Mountain 2.06.30 2 Catherine Pendrel (Can) Luna Womens MTB Team 2.54 3 Lene Byberg (Nor) Specialized Factory Racing 4.29 4 Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Womens MTB Team 5.07 5 Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Nor) Multivan Merida Biking Team 5.24 6 Mary McConneloug (USA) Kenda / Seven 6.28 7 Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Womens MTB Team 7.33 8 Elisabeth Osl (Aut) Team Ghost International 8.42 9 Sabrina Enaux (Fra) Team Lapierre International 11.33 10 Amanda Sin (Can) 12.15 11 Lea Davison (USA) Trek-VW 12.44 12 Katrin Leumann (Swi) 13.30 13 Wendy Simms (Can) Kona 13.52 14 Willow Koerber (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 15.25 15 Tereza Hurikova (Cze) Ceska Sporitelna MTB 16.43 16 Laura Metzler (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour 17.44 17 Emily Batty (Can) 18.00 18 Laura Turpijn (Ned) 18.19 19 Laura Lorenza Morfin Macouzet (Mex) 19.46 20 Jean Ann McKirdy (Can) Rocky Mountain 20.14 21 Jaqueline Mourao (Bra) 22.32 22 Julie Krasniak (Fra) Team Lapierre International 23.06 23 Sandra Walter (Can) 23.33 24 Karine Travaillaud (Can) 25.14 25 Cécile Rode Ravanel (Fra) Team Lapierre International 25.59 26 Marie-Claude Surprenant (Can) 26.26 Behind one lap 27 Caroline Villeneuve (Can) 28 Helene Marcouyre (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour 29 Mical Dyck (Can) 30 Mikaela Kofman (Can) 31 Heather Irmiger (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 32 Carla Salgado Gonzalez (Mex) 33 Joanna Harrington (Aus) 34 Rie Katayama (Jpn) 35 Marie Allaire (Can) 36 Véronique Fournier (Can) 37 Jamie Dinkins (USA) 38 Kathleen Villeneuve (Can) Behind two laps 39 Marie Kunst (Den) 40 Caitlyn Tuel (USA) 41 Lisa Morgan (NZl) 42 Catherine Vipond (Can) 43 Julie Sanders (Can) 44 Kyia Anderson (USA) 45 Kaitlin Michener (Can) Teams 1 Luna Womens MTB Team 89 pts 2 Rocky Mountain 51 3 Team Lapierre International 37 4 Specialized Factory Racing 32 5 Multivan Merida Biking Team 28 6 Team Ghost International 23 7 Trek-VW 20 8 Kona 18 9 BH-SR. Suntour 18 10 Subaru-Gary Fisher 17 11 Ceska Sporitelna MTB 16 World Cup standings after six rounds 1 Marie-Helene Premont (Can) Rocky Mountain 1220 pts 2 Margarita Fullana Riera (Spa) Massi 910 3 Catherine Pendrel (Can) Luna Womens MTB Team 723 4 Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Womens MTB Team 672 5 Lene Byberg (Nor) Specialized Factory Racing 630 6 Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Nor) Multivan Merida Biking Team 630 7 Chengyuan Ren (Chn) 578 8 Ying Liu (Chn) 555 9 Sabine Spitz (Ger) Central Ghost Pro Team 535 10 Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Womens MTB Team 531 11 Petra Henzi (Swi) Fischer-BMC 522 12 Mary Mc Conneloug (USA) 498 13 Irina Kalentieva (Rus) Topeak Ergon Racing Team 450 14 Tereza Hurikova (Cze) Ceska Sporitelna MTB 448 15 Elisabeth Osl (Aut) Team Ghost International 437 16 Katrin Leumann (Swi) 437 17 Nathalie Schneitter (Swi) Colnago Cap Arreghini 435 18 Blaza Klemencic (Slo) Giant Italia Team 434 19 Laurence Leboucher (Fra) 405 20 Cécile Rode Ravanel (Fra) Team Lapierre International 365 21 Sabrina Enaux (Fra) Team Lapierre International 343 22 Eva Lechner (Ita) Colnago Cap Arreghini 322 23 Wendy Simms (Can) Kona 310 24 Adelheid Morath (Ger) 306 25 Tanja Zakelj (Slo) 290 26 Maroussia Rusca (Swi) 287 27 Heather Irmiger (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 280 28 Kiara Bisaro (Can) 278 29 Sandra Walter (Can) 264 30 Laura Turpijn (Ned) 246 31 Maria Osl (Aut) Sunshine Racers Asv Nals 241 32 Jingjing Wang (Chn) 239 33 Nina Homovec (Slo) 235 34 Willow Koerber (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 218 35 Lea Davison (USA) Trek-VW 214 36 Anna Villar Argente (Spa) Massi 188 37 Esther Süss (Swi) 180 38 Susan Haywood (USA) Trek-VW 163 39 Amanda Sin (Can) 161 40 Ivonne Kraft (Ger) 160 41 Mical Dyck (Can) 159 42 Marielle Saner-Guinchard (Swi) Bikepark.ch BMC 132 43 Laura Metzler (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour 131 44 Francisca Campos Salas (Chi) Massi 126 45 Githa Michiels (Bel) 120 46 Emiliy Batty (Can) 119 47 Julie Krasniak (Fra) Team Lapierre International 119 48 Helene Marcouyre (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour 118 49 Alexandra Engen (Swe) 118 50 Dellys Starr (Aus) 110 51 Julie Bresset (Fra) Breiz Mountain 105 52 Arielle Van Meurs (Ned) 101 53 Janka Stevkova (Svk) 96 54 Kate Potter (Aus) 85 55 Maja Wloszczowska (Pol) Halls Professional Mtb Team 85 56 Katrin Schwing (Ger) Dolphin-Trek Mountainbike Racing Team 74 57 Séverine Hansen (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour 72 58 Maaike Polspoel (Bel) 71 59 Magdalena Sadlecka (Pol) Halls Professional Mtb Team 70 60 Alison Sydor (Can) Rocky Mountain 69 61 Laura Lorenza Morfin Macouzet (Mex) 68 62 Jean Ann Mckirdy (Can) Rocky Mountain 66 63 Sarah Koba (Swi) 66 64 Jaqueline Mourao (Bra) 64 65 Elsbeth Van Rooij-Vink (Ned) Beone Chainreaction Mountainbiketeam 64 66 Nina Wrobel (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team 64 67 Sandra Santanyes Murillo (Spa) Cemelorca-Seguros10.Com 63 68 Vera Andreeva (Rus) 63 69 Aleksandra Dawidowicz (Pol) Halls Professional Mtb Team 63 70 Karine Travaillaud (Can) 58 71 Marie-Claude Surprenant (Can) 54 72 Caroline Villeneuve (Can) 52 73 Zoe King (Aus) 50 74 Anna Szafraniec (Pol) Halls Professional Mtb Team 48 75 Mikaela Kofman (Can) 46 76 Caroline Mani (Fra) 44 77 Carla Salgado Gonzalez (Mex) 42 78 Fiona Macdermid (GBr) 41 79 Joanna Harrington (Aus) 40 80 Nataliya Krompets (Ukr) 39 81 Rie Katayama (Jpn) 38 82 Cristina Mascarreras Sabria (Spa) Conor - Camping La Siesta 38 83 Marie Allaire (Can) 36 84 Véronique Fournier (Can) 34 85 Emma Colson (Aus) 34 86 Daniella Bunzli Rojas (Chi) 33 87 Jamie Dinkins (USA) 32 88 Rocio Gamonal Ferrera (Spa) 32 89 Kathleen Villeneuve (Can) 30 90 Bernardine Boog-Rauwerda (Ned) 30 91 Marie Kunst (Den) 29 92 Ruth Moll Marques (Spa) 29 93 Caitlyn Tuel (USA) 28 94 Kaytee Boyd (NZl) 28 95 Lisa Morgan (NZl) 27 96 Asa Maria Erlandsson (Swe) Subaru-Gary Fisher 27 97 Catherine Vipond (Can) 26 98 Sarka Chmurova (Cze) Max Cursor 26 99 Julie Sanders (Can) 25 100 Kyia Anderson (USA) 24 101 Maria Kalnes (Nor) 24 102 Sandra Araujo (Por) 24 103 Kaitlin Michener (Can) 23 104 Neus Parcerissas (Spa) 23 105 Anja Mcdonald (NZl) 21 106 Laure Boulay (Fra) Team CIBF Keops 21 107 Sandra Dolcerocca (Den) 17 108 Claudia Seidel (Ger) 17 109 Rocio Martin Rodriguez (Spa) 15 110 Jennifer Fischer (Fra) Team CIBF Keops 14 111 Liliana Alejandr Uzcategui Vasquez (Ven) 12 112 Athina Chatzistyli (Gre) 10 113 Yolande Speedy (RSA) 10 114 Stephanie Wiedner (Aut) 9 115 Hanna Klein (Ger) 9 116 Rowena Fry (Aus) 8 Team standings 1 Luna Womens MTB Team 382 pts 2 Rocky Mountain 225 3 Massi 183 4 Colnago Cap Arreghini 136 5 Specialized Factory Racing 129 6 Multivan Merida Biking Team 127 7 Team Lapierre International 120 8 Central Ghost Pro Team 109 9 Fischer-BMC 108 10 Team Ghost International 91 11 Ceska Sporitelna MTB 91 12 Giant Italia Team 90 13 Topeak Ergon Racing Team 75 14 Subaru-Gary Fisher 58 15 Trek-VW 38 16 Kona 33 17 Sunshine Racers ASV Nals 20 18 Halls Professional MTB Team 20 19 BH-SR. Suntour 18 20 Beone Chainreaction Mountainbiketeam 10 21 Bikepark.ch BMC 6 22 Breiz Mountain 3 23 Cemelorca-Seguros10.com 1