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Sea Otter Classic - NE

USA, April 6-9, 2006

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Race 4 - Saturday, April 8: Gravity Omnium event #1, Dual Slalom

Never Say Never

By Chris Milliman

Brian Lopes
Photo ©: Rob O'Dea
(Click for larger image)

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


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

1 Sabrina Jonnier (Fra) Iron Horse-Monster
2 Vanessa Quinn (NZl) 
3 Tracy Moseley (USA) Unattached
5 Jill Kintner (USA) GT Bicycles

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