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Sea Otter Classic - NE
USA, April 6-9, 2006
Race 4 - Saturday, April 8: Gravity Omnium event #1, Dual Slalom
Never Say Never
By Chris Milliman
On a day when the course seemed to jump out and grab tires all day, snarfing up dreams in one bite, luck, both good and bad, played a major role in the outcome of Saturday's SRAM Gravity Omnium Pro Dual Slalom. Brian Lopes (GT-Oakley) and Sabrina Jonnier (Iron Horse-Monster) won the Pro Men's and Women's titles, respectively, each taking advantage of slips by their competitors in the two-up, best of two format.
Lopes took advantage of a first-run slip by two-time former Sea Otter Dual Slalom winner Cedric Gracia (Commencal-Oakley). The defending Mountain Cross World Champ used his immense gravity skills to put early pressure on Gracia, forcing the Frenchman into a costly mistake. Gracia lost so much time, the second run was a mere formality for Lopes.
"I had a bad qualifier, like 18th, and that forced me to race really hard all the way through," said Gracia. "Racing Brian I have to let it all hang out and I just slipped a pedal at the top, you can't make a mistake with Brian, and that was the race."
"I had a lot more fun than I expected I would this morning," said Lopes. "The course dried out a lot and it was fun. Racing against Cedric is great, he's one of my best friends on the circuit and I know he's always going to be a great race when I go up against him."
Jonnier grabbed a .6-second advantage over finals contestant Vanessa Quinn in the first run, but trailed Quinn going into the final 50 meters of the decisive second run. However, Quinn's run at the race win came to grief in one of the deep and goopy ruts that had developed over the course of the day. Quinn skidded out, lost momentum and opened the door for Jonnier to get the win.
"You never know, she must have hit a bad line," said Jonnier, "Luck can make a difference in this for sure. I'm not crazy about the mud, but it was just as bad for everyone.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Rob O'Dea/www.baldzebra.com
Men 1 Brian Lopes (USA) GT Bicycles 2 Cedric Gracia (Fra) Commerical 3 Cody Warren (USA) C-Dub Racing 5 Jared Rando (Aus) Giant Bicycle 6 Ryan Finney (USA) UTB Fox Santa Cruz 7 John Kirkcaldie (USA) Team Maxxis 8 Mick hannah (USA) Cannondale 9 Bryn Atkinson (USA) GT Bicycles 10 Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti / Fox 11 Nathan Rennie (Aus) Santa Cruz Syndicate 12 Chris Van Dine (USA) Cannondale 13 Justin Leov (NZl) Yeti / Fox 14 Steve Peat (GBr) Santa Cruz Syndicate 15 Cameron Cole (NZl) Team Maxxis 16 Romain Saladin (Fra) Unattached 17 Caludio Caluori (USA) MS Intense Factory Racing 18 Kamil Tatarkovic (USA) Unattached 19 Chris Powell (USA) Gravity Omnium 20 Andrew Neethling (RSA) Honda/Turner 21 Dave Wardell (GBr) GT Bicycles 23 Eric Carter (USA) Mongoose Bicycles 25 Rich Houseman (USA) Yeti / Fox 27 Evan Turpen (USA) Iron Horse/ Fox Shox 28 Christopher Herndon (USA) Cane Creek 29 Nico Vink (Bel) Dolphin Bike Team 30 Cole Bangert (USA) Fox Shox/Yeti/Hayes/Maxxis 31 Darren Pokoj (USA) MS Intense Factory Racing Women 1 Sabrina Jonnier (Fra) Iron Horse-Monster 2 Vanessa Quinn (NZl) 3 Tracy Moseley (USA) Unattached 4 Anneke Beerten (Ned) SPECIALIZED FACTORY RACING 5 Jill Kintner (USA) GT Bicycles