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Sea Otter Classic - NE
USA, April 6-9, 2006
Race 7 - Sunday, April 9: Gravity Omnium event #3, Mountain Cross
Kintner, Lopes live up to their jerseys
By Wendy Booher
World Four-Cross Champions Jill Kintner (GT) and Brian Lopes (GT) lead the way through qualifying rounds and all the way to the finish to claim the top spots for the Sea Otter Classic Mountain Cross. The world-class course guaranteed lots of lead changes since a quantity of obstacles, berms and jumps scattered lines up and down and side to side.
"Qualifying number one was good because it gave me lane choice throughout the day," said Lopes. "I had a little bit of a problem in my semis (slicks) sliding around the inside so I changed my lineup a bit for the final and it worked good. Then I heard Cedric (Gracia) yelling for me, "Watch out, watch the outside!"
Flyin' Brian Lopes clung tightly to first position throughout the event to earn a walk up to the top of the podium.
Jill Kinter rode conservatively through her qualifying rounds in order to unleash all her power for the final. Throughout several qualifying rounds, the women's race became a shell game between Tara Llanes (Giant), Melissa Buhl (KHS), and Anneke Beerten (Specialized). Kintner succeeded in outpedaling a strong Llanes in the final round for the win.
"The course is really long so it's a grinder all the way to the finish line," explained Kintner. "It was kind of interesting in qualifying rounds because there were top seeds early so you couldn't really play the same strategy - like conserving your energy - so for the final I just thought about being as powerful as I could down to the first straight away. I was in good position on the gate and luckily I was stronger."
Today former BMX World Champion Kintner stitched together efficient lines to have the win sewn up by the end.
Men 1 Brian Lopes (USA) GT Women 1 Jill Kintner (USA) GT 2 Tara Llanes (USA) Giant