|Cyclingnews TV News Tech Features Road MTB BMX Cyclo-cross Track Photos Fitness Letters Search Forum|
Sea Otter Classic - D2/E1
Monterey, California, USA, April 15-18, 2004
Sea Otter under way on road and dirt
By Kristy Scymgeour in Monterey
The Sea Otter Classic started today at the Laguna Seca Raceway, California with the first stage of the Sony Playstation MTB stage race and the prologue of the elite road tour.
The mountain bike scene is as big as ever with many foreign riders making the trip to compete against a strong field. The road event however for the men has been affected by the close proximity of Tour de Georgia with many of the big teams opting not to attend. The women's road event has also been changed, now allowing only four riders from each team to enter.
Beginning the event with wins on the dirt was both Alison Dunlap (Luna Women) who has been busy racing consistently around the world this year, in an attempt to increase her UCI ranking by June. World MTB Marathon Champion Thomas Frischknecht (Swiss Power) took the win in the men's race to take the yellow jersey going into the rest of the four-day stage race.
On the road, it was short and sweet for kiwi Hayden Godfrey, as he took the 3km downhill prologue from his teammate Gord Fraser. In the women's race, it is T-Mobile rider, Kristin Armstrong, who will wear the leader's jersey going into tomorrow circuit race.
Despite the field being small, Chris Horner (Webcor) did decide to race here and is considered the favourite for the men's race due to the large amount of climbing on the course and his recent form. In the men's race Lyne Bessette (Quark) has been dubbed as the favourite, but the T-Mobile team are confident they can challenge her.
On the dirt, Alison Dunlap has the form to keep the lead over the next for days, with Chrissy Redden (Subaru Gary Fisher) also looking pretty strong despite a lot of time off with an injury after World's last year. In the men's event, Frischknecht will be challenged by World MTB Champion Filip Meirhaeghe (specialized), Roland Green (Trek Volkswagen) and a plethora of others.
As usual, down in the pits of the raceway, the expo is huge and the racing for non pro categories and kids is still thriving.