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National Mountain Bike Series #3 (NMBS) - 2

Santa Ynez (Los Olivos), California USA, May 16-18, 2008

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Race 7 - May 17: Elite Men Cross Country

Taberlay takes first NMBS victory

By Dave McElwaine in Santa Ynez, California

Sid Taberlay (Avanti SRA) celebrates
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

Australian Sid Taberlay (Avanti SRA) succeeded today in a race of attrition due to temperatures in excess of 100 degrees in Los Olivos, California. Geoff Kabush (Maxxis) took second place with a surge late in the race while Barry Wicks (Kona), who had been doing much of the work on the last lap, finished third.

After leading early in the race Todd Wells (GT Bikes) held on for a fourth place ahead of Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru/Gary Fisher) who rounded out the podium.

As the elite men's competitors lined up for their event all were aware of the carnage that had taken place in the women's race earlier due to the heat. Many of the men had ice packs on their backs trying to keep their core temperatures down.

Expecting it to be a hot day, the race organizers and UCI officials had shortened the race to two and a quarter laps. With lap times of approximately 48 minutes, it was still to be a two hour suffer-fest.

How it unfolded

As he often does Todd Wells (GT Bikes) won the start and single-handedly created the separation that would become key to the race. Within minutes Wells was towing Wicks, Taberlay, and Horgan-Kobelski. Kabush was dangling off the back, between 50-100 metres behind the bunch.

Todd Wells (GT Bikes) wins the start
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

The racers completed a quarter of a lap before coming through the start/finish to begin the first full lap. By this point Kabush seemed to surge and almost made contact with the leaders. Halfway through the lap Horgan-Kobelski was gapped off the back of the lead group, which seemed to temporarily stall Kabush's forward progress.

"I was pacing myself but it (the heat) hit me all of a sudden then I just didn't have it," admitted Horgan-Kobelski.

Kabush echoed Horgan-Kobelski's comments, describing the conditions in California as intense "It was pretty intense out there with the heat and I was just cooking early on," he said. "I didn't want to make those efforts to get on the lead group, then I caught the group going into the last lap.

"On the last significant climb I was just about to make contact [with Wicks and Taberlay] when Sid attacked," he added. "I thought I might have a chance coming into the end but I kind of blew a corner on the descent."

Coming off three World Cup races it was not surprising to see Wicks, Horgan-Kobelski, Wells, and Kabush battling one another for the race win. Many were surprised however to see Taberlay survive not only the heat but the efforts of North America's best racers.

Barry Wicks (Kona) leading Todd Wells (GT Bikes)
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

"I was just trying to be smart out there and keep the fluids going," said Taberlay. "I got put in the front and when I saw Geoff coming [and said to myself] 'if he gets back on he has a pretty good kick'. Barry then dropped off the back and I had to ride the last couple miles by myself."

Wicks felt that he had done most of the work that got the gap back over Wells and Kabush. "I tried to ride pretty smart for the fist lap and a half just sitting in," said Wicks. "After the steep climb it was just me and Sid.

"I ended up doing a lot of work," he added. "I finally got Sid to pull through and he pulled for a bit, then he attacked. I didn't quite have it to match him so I put it into damage control."

The top five racers came into the finish with at least a 30 second gap between each of them. Most went straight to sit in the shade near the finish line while replenishing their fluids after crossing the line and nobody moved for about 20 minutes.

Racing resumes on Sunday with the short track cross country and Super D events. The weather forecast isn't good for the riders, however, with another hot day at Los Olivos expected.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Dave McElwaine/www.trailwatch.net


1 Sid Taberlay (Aus) Avanti Sram                  1.43.38
2 Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis                     0.36
3 Barry Wicks (USA) Kona Les Gets                    1.00
4 Todd Wells (USA) GT Bikes                          1.59
5 Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher    2.26
6 Carl Decker (USA) Giant MTB Team                   3.09
7 Jeff Schalk (USA) Trek VW- East                    4.31
8 Andy Schultz (USA) Kenda Titus Hayes               6.09
9 Ross Schnell (USA) Trek/VW                         6.26
10 Ignacio Torres (Mex) Turbo Bikes                  7.18
11 Manuel Prado (CRc) Sho-Air/Rock N Road            9.46
12 Robert Marion (USA) Kenda Titus                  11.05
13 Adam Snyder (USA) 3-D Racing                     12.34
14 Mike Andres (USA) Trek/VW West Coast Team        13.20
15 Dana Weber (USA) Trek VW/Westcoast               13.33
16 Robert Herber (USA) Intense                      13.40
17 Mike Phillips (USA) Adventure 212/Specialized    13.43
18 Ryan Woodall (USA) Industrynine/Powerbar         13.50
19 Tim Allen (USA) Voodoo                           14.10
20 Tad Elliott (USA) U23 National Team              15.07
21 Tim Olson (USA) Trek/VW Westcoast                15.54
22 Michael Lee (USA) Trek/VW West Coast             16.15
23 Sean Donovan (USA) Cytomax/Khs                   16.46
24 Charles Pendry (USA) Inland - Btd                17.21
25 Ken Burt (USA) Jamis Kenda Hayes                 17.38
26 Mitchell Hoke (USA) Tokyo Jos                    19.18
27 Mitchell Peterson (USA) Mona Vie/Cannondale      20.03
28 Aroussen Laflamme (Can) Webcor-Alto-Velo         21.02
29 Sedly Rivas (Mex) Turbo                          22.06
30 Chad Wells (USA) 3D Racing                       23.46
31 Chris Peariso (USA) Adventure 212 /Titus         24.54
32 David Williams (USA)                             25.01
33 Kevin Smallman (USA) Sobe Cannondale             27.43
34 Leonardo Sandoval (USA) Ur Mamas House           27.49
35 Cody Peterson (USA) Scott Bicycles               28.13
36 Paul Freiwald (USA) Titus Cycles                 29.23
37 Pablo Voigt (Mex) Turbo                          29.40
38 Garnet Vertican US1 Odi /Southridge              33.16
39 Chance Noble (USA) Calif Giant Berryf Arms     1.37.05
DNS Kris Sneddon (Can) Kona Les Gets                     
DNF Charles Jenkins (USA) Ie Bikes Racing                
DNF Trevor Downing (USA) Devo                            
DNF Stephen Ettinger (USA) Arlberg Sports                
DNF Troy Wells (USA) Tokyo Joes                          
DNF Alex Howard (USA)                                    
DNF Dylan Stucki (USA) Mafia Racing                      
DNF Matt Rotroff (USA) Btd/Inland Construction           
DNF Chris Peterson (USA) Devo