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Sea Otter Classic - 1
Monterey, CA USA, April 12-15, 2007
Race 5 - Sunday, April 15: Cross Country
Kabush and Gould win lengthy cross country
By Sue George in Monterey
Geoff Kabush (Maxxis) outsprinted Christoph Sauser (Specialized) and Jean Christophe Peraud (Orbea) to win the Sea Otter Classic cross-country race on Sunday. The trio made up part of a five-man lead group that got away in the first lap.
In the women's race, US National Champion Georgia Gould (Luna Chix) built a solo lead early in the first lap and stayed away for remaining majority of the two-lap, 61 kilometer (38 mile) race for the win. Kiara Bisaro (Opus) picked off Gould's teammate Katerina Nash (Luna Chix) in a two-up sprint for second place.
Early five man break sets stage for podium
Early in the first lap, a group of five men rode themselves off the front and into a break. Eventual winner Geoff Kabush was among those stringing out the field.
"I did a lot of work first lap to whittle it down," said Kabush, who also won Friday's time trial. "I kept the pace pretty high until we got it down to five."
Kabush was joined in the break by yesterday's rainy short track winner Jean Christophe Peraud (Orbea), Christoph Sauser (Specialized), Todd Wells (GT), and Burry Stander (GT).
The break held until the second lap when Sauser put the hammer down. "I went to the front and really pushed hard to break away. It didn't happen, but we lost the GT guys and we were three," said Sauser, who was pleased with how his form was coming along going into the first cross country world cup of the season next weekend in Houffalize, Belgium.
"I was able to make that front group and then it blew apart on the second climb of the second lap," said Wells about falling off the pace of the lead trio. "Sauser hit it pretty hard, and I couldn't follow, and my teammate and I both kind of popped a bit. Then it was like damage control. Stander hung on longer than I did. Sauser - he's probably one of the top mountain bikers in the world, and I couldn't go with him."
After pushing the pace on the first lap, Kabush was content to let others drive the group through the second lap. "I left it more to the other guys to push the pace on the second lap. They were killing me, but I was pretty confident in my sprint. I've won here before.
"I don't know if I was as strong. Christoph (Sauser) and Jean Christophe Peraud were attacking on the last lap we were in the gutter," said Kabush. "The wind was pretty deadly coming up the last ridge. They were putting a lot of pressure on, but I tried to hold their wheels until the end."
Frenchman Peraud had attacked often in the singletrack sections, but he could not get away. Meanwhile Sauser was sure he didn't want the race to end in a sprint.
"On the downhill sprint finish, my chances were very small compared to big guy like Kabush," said the Swiss racer. "On the (final) Skyline Road (a long fireroad climb through meadows filled with blooming purple lupine near the end of each lap - ed.), all the way up, it was windy, and I tried to break away like 10 times. I tried to get the other guys into the wind as well, and I attacked, but it was my only chance to make it."
However, as the trio approached the end, a sprint seemed inevitable, and the games began. "It was tactical. I was waiting for the right moment," said a calculating Kabush.
"We came on the pavement, and we're all looking at each other and we almost came to a stop. I did a few brake checks to get Jean Christophe in the front. I waited and then made an acceleration and got enough of a gap," said Kabush who would add this Sea Otter cross country victory to his Pan Am and NMBS #1 wins already this season.
Eventually Stander came back to Wells, who would finish fourth, just ahead of his teammate in fifth.
Gould solos almost entire race
Notably absent this year were the likes of international racers Gunn - Rita Dahle and Sabine Spitz, but this left the door open for newer talent like Georgia Gould, who started the women's race as an obvious favourite after her wins earlier this year at the Pan Ams and at the first NMBS race in Phoenix. She was in Monterey collecting valuable UCI points and polishing her game before heading, with many of the other elite women and men, to next weekend's World Cup in Belgium.
Gould did not disappoint. She charged to the front early. "Sue (Haywood of Trek V/W) came around on the first climb, and then I passed her at the top of the climb. I just tried to keep it strong." The Luna racer quickly resumed her place at the front, where she would ride solo until the finish. Halfway through the first lap, Gould already had a minute on her closest competition.
Behind her, teammate and time trial winner Katerina Nash fought Kiara Bisaro, who was riding her new Opus bike in its first race today.
A group of four racers initially formed the second chase group, including Willow Koerber and Heather Irmiger (both of Subaru Gary Fisher), Lene Byberg (Specialized), and Haywood.
Yesterday's surprise short track winner and top cyclo-cross and track racer, Katie Compton was in tenth halfway through the first lap, but she later slipped to 42nd place. Racers and spectators alike had speculated beforehand about how Compton would fare in this endurance event - much longer in duration than her specialties.
Gould was already towelled off and doing her interview with the announcer when Bisaro and Nash sprinted for second. Bisaro lagged behind, initially coming into the final section, but she renewed her faith in herself and surged from behind to take second ahead of Nash.
While some racers complained about windy conditions, especially on a long fireroad climb near the end of the lap, Gould only said, "The wind was strong, but it didn't bother me much."
On the long, lonely windswept course, Gould never knew how secure her lead was. "The most I'd heard was that it (my lead) was one minute." In fact, she finished with a greater than four minute advantage, and regardless, she rode undaunted by the unrelenting winds on the exposed course. "The wind was strong, but I didn't mind it."
"I didn't feel very good yesterday, but I felt great today," Gould told spectators. "I felt good on the first climb, so I just went for it and I didn't look back. I tried to keep a pretty steady pace."
After the finish, Gould attributed her early season consistent success to a change in her winter training venue. Hailing from Sun Valley, Idaho, Gould spent this winter instead in Colorado, which, relatively speaking, benefited from a much milder winter, which allowed more time on her bike and less on skis.
Bisaro and Nash cooperated informally throughout their two-person race. "We weren't officially working together," said Bisaro, who summarized what was apparently a mutual strategy, "We could have a sprint between the two of us or we could play games and maybe get caught."
"Sometimes she dropped me and then I'd come back and be ok. I felt like we were fairly evenly matched," said Bisaro, who said she got dropped multiple times at "random places" and then would always catch up.
Nash passed Bisaro at the top of the last climb on a technical bit. "I was trying to stay with her, but she had four seconds on me." The British Columbian admitted that she almost quit mentally at that point, but then thought, "No, I'm gonna go for it, so I just gave 100% and caught her. Then she slowed down and I was asking myself, 'why am I slowing down and staying on her wheel? I should just go for it.'"
Just going for it is exactly what Bisaro, Gould, Kabush, Sauser, and Peraud will get to do next weekend in Houfflaize with the very best mountain bike racers.
Racers were please with course conditions. "The rain made the course perfect. It was fun to ride," said Sauser who did not have a chance to pre-ride the course this year. Fortunately, for him, it was the same as in 2006.
At Sea Otter, Maxxis was promoting their new Project Pink. For each podium appearance by one of their sponsored athletes, some money is donated to the project supporting breast cancer research.
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by FJ Hughes/http://www.fhughesphoto.com/
Images by Steve Medcroft/Cyclingnews
Elite Men 1 Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis 2.21.22 2 Jean Christophe Peraud (Fra) Orbea 0.01 3 Christoph Sauser (Swi) Specialized Factory Racing 0.02 4 Todd Wells (USA) GT 1.28 5 Burry Stander (RSA) GT 1.32 6 Liam Killeen (GBr) Specialized 3.24 7 Adam Craig (USA) Giant Mtb Team 4.35 8 Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Trek/VW 4.56 9 Sam Schultz (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 4.58 10 Max Plaxton (Can) Rocky Mountain-Haywood 5.10 11 Kris Sneddon (Can) Kona Les Gets Factory Team 12 Barry Wicks (USA) Kona 5.29 13 Nino Schurter (USA) Swiss Power Mtb Team 7.07 14 Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 7.08 15 Sam Jurekovic (USA) U23 National Team 7.52 16 Mat Toulouse (Can) Team Maxxis 7.53 17 Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona 7.58 18 Ruzafa Ruben (Can) Orbea 8.18 19 Jeff Schalk (USA) Trek-Vw East 10.07 20 Andy Schultz (USA) Montana State Univesity 10.33 21 Thomas Turner (USA) Cannondale Mtb Team 12.10 22 Seamus Mcgrath (USA) 12.51 23 Brent Miller (USA) Kenda/ Titus/ X-Fusion Mtb Tea 13.21 24 Matthew Hadley (Can) Rocky Mountain Haywood 13.22 25 Federico Ramirez (CRc) La Ruta De Los Conquistadore 13.28 26 Pierre-Yves Facomprez (Fra) Look Cycle International 13.40 27 Erik Tonkin (USA) Kona Les Gets 14.07 28 Ken Onodera (Jpn) Subaru-Gary Fisher 14.20 29 Evan Plews (USA) Capitol Subaru Cycling 14.50 30 Colin Cares (USA) Usa Cycling U23 Nat'l Team 14.58 31 Chris Eatough (USA) Trek/VW 16.06 32 Charles Jenkins (USA) Cytomax/KHS 17.00 33 Aren Timmel (USA) Team Chico 17.54 34 Ross Schnell (USA) Trek/Vw 18.03 35 Mitchell Peterson (USA) Devo 18.19 36 Kevin Bradford Parish (USA) Lapierre 18.29 37 Shun Matsumoto (Jpn) Trek Japan 18.55 38 Alan Obye (USA) Sram 19.58 39 Benoit Simard (Can) Specialized Sbcu 20.20 40 Cody Peterson (USA) Scott Bicycles 20.24 41 Eric Ransom (USA) Team Tamarack Resort 42 Dana Weber (USA) Jax Bicycle Center 20.50 43 Michael Simonson (USA) Bells Brewery/Quiring Cycles 21.11 44 TJ Woodruff (USA) Momentumendurance.Com 21.26 45 Noah Holcomb (USA) Bear Naked/Cannondale 21.31 46 Nat Ross (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 47 Osvelo Olmas (USA) 21.36 48 Ben Thompson (USA) Santiam Bicycles / Breakaway 21.37 49 Tim Olson (USA) Trek VW 21.52 50 Nick Martin (USA) Trek/VW 22.14 51 Dror Pekatch (Isr) Subaru-Gary Fisher 22.41 52 Grant Kier (USA) Red Barn Bicycles 23.08 53 David Yakaitis (USA) BPG/ Montano Velo 23.13 54 Chance Noble (USA) California Giant/Specialized 23.22 55 Tristan Uhl (USA) Team Hotel San Jose/ Silicon 23.29 56 Leonardo Sandoval (USA) Socal Specialized Team 23.49 57 Miguel Valadez (USA) Zumwalts 24.34 58 Glenn Fant (USA) Na 24.36 59 Russell Stevenson (USA) Benaroya Research Institute 24.55 60 Bruce Muhlfeld (USA) Trek/VW 25.46 61 Adam Snyder (USA) Balance Bar/Devo 25.49 62 Kevin Smallman (USA) Bear Naked/Cannondale 26.20 63 Sean Donovan (USA) Cytomax/KHS 26.24 64 Bryson Perry (USA) Healthy Choice - Guru's 26.34 65 Matt Green (Can) Rocky Mountain 27.02 66 Bryan Fawley (USA) Hotel San Jose/Redbudsports 27.23 67 Michael Andres (USA) Trek VW CA Regional 27.48 68 Bear Perrin (USA) Kenda/Jamis 27.53 69 Brian Astell (USA) 28.29 70 David Wood (USA) Bear Naked/Cannondale 29.04 71 Paul Freiwald (USA) Titus Cycles 29.48 72 Kevin Rice (USA) Tokyo Joes/Golite 30.18 73 Kenny Burt (USA) Motion Based / Garmin Mtb 30.44 74 Michael Raney (USA) Voodoo Cycles 31.42 75 Trevor Downing (USA) Bear Valley Bikes 31.54 76 Jason Moeschler (USA) 35.48 77 Chris Barton (USA) Vendee V 37.46 78 Sloane Anderson (USA) Topeak-Ergon 40.09 79 Michael Lee (USA) Trek/VW West Coast 40.25 80 Hal Helbock (USA) Cytomax/Khs 45.34 Elite Women 1 Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Women's Mtb Team 2.43.37 2 Kiara Bisaro (Can) Team Race 4.14 3 Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Women's Mtb Team 4.16 4 Lene Byberg (USA) Specialized Factory Racing 9.25 5 Heather Irmiger (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 10.02 6 Willow Koerber (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher 12.41 7 Susan Haywood (USA) Trek/VW 14.18 8 Alison Sydor (Can) Rocky Mountain - Haywood 14.22 9 Wendy Simms (Can) Kona-Les Gets 14.27 10 Kelli Emmitt (USA) Giant MTB Team 17.45 11 Zephanie Blasi (USA) Kenda / X-Fusion / Titus 18.51 12 Kathy Sherwin (USA) Titus 19.11 13 Jenna Zander (USA) Bear Naked/Cannondale 20.28 14 Mical Dyck (Can) Trek/Terrascape Racing 23.02 15 Kristin Danielson (USA) Velo Bella 23.27 16 Rie Katayama (Jpn) 23.51 17 Sue Butler (USA) Bear Naked/ Cannondale 24.50 18 Dellys Starr (USA) BMC/Sports Garage 25.10 19 Monique Sawicki (USA) 25.22 20 Chloe Forsman (USA) Luna Women's Mtb Team 25.40 21 Emily Van Meter (USA) Bear Naked/Cannondale 26.16 22 Somerville Bresnick-Zocchi Sara (USA) Lynskey Performance 27.16 23 Carolyn Popovic (USA) Trek/VW East Coast 28.20 24 Melanie Meyers (USA) Kenda/ Titus/ X-Fusion 29.36 25 Nina Baum (USA) Bear Naked/Cannondale 31.03 26 Rebecca Rusch (USA) Specialized/Red Bull 31.35 27 Barbara Howe (USA) Velo Bella 33.35 28 Jennifer Gersbach (USA) BMC/Sports Garage 33.44 29 Stacey Scanlan (USA) Tamarack Resort 34.15 30 Asa Erlandsson AL SWEDEN Subaru-Gary Fisher 35.25 31 Unknown 36.59 32 Natasha Cowie (USA) Sewanee: The University 37.53 33 Sabina Kraushaar (USA) Healthfx 39.26 34 Josie Beggs (USA) 39.31 35 Megan Monroe (USA) Bmc-Sports Garage 39.51 36 Patricia Buerkle (USA) Tahoe Northstar/Giant 41.16 37 Lorena Candrian (USA) DCMTB 42.05 38 Mary-Ellen Ash (USA) Easton/Specialized 42.06 39 Erika Krumpelman (USA) Velo Bella-Kona 42.55 40 Kristina Maier (USA) Bmc/ Sports Garage 43.09 41 Johanna Kraus (USA) 43.33 42 Katie Compton (USA) Spike 44.00 43 Becca Blay (USA) Bear Naked/Cannondale 44.28 44 Jennifer Tilley (USA) Velo Bella - Kona 46.06 45 Shannon Holden (USA) Velo Bella-Kona 47.02 46 Jana Repulski (USA) Team Tamarack Resort 51.15 47 Heather Ranoa (USA) Intense Cycles 53.29 48 Sheryl Loan (USA) 53.45 49 Theresa Richardson (USA) Bear Naked/Cannondale Moun 55.48 50 Linda Gabor (USA) Sbcu 59.46 51 Mandy Eakins (USA) 1.02.08 52 Hilary Wright (USA) Devo 1.19.55 53 Stacy Beneke (USA) Old World Plaster 1.24.37 54 Rachel Throop (USA) Team Nova 1.25.48 Semi - Pro Men 1 Manuel Prado (USA) Sho-Air / Rock N' Road Cyclery 2.39.56 2 Ty Kady (USA) Sho-Air/Rnr/Cytomax/Oakley/S 3 Cris Fox (USA) Bikehusla.Blogspot.Com 0.52 4 Nathan Winkelmann (USA) Bike Lane/ Edward Jones 2.35 5 Rich Thurman (USA) Emc2 Documentum 4.53 6 Chris Peariso (USA) Titus Cycles/Bike Hub 4.58 7 Eric Salstrand (USA) Oakley 6.55 8 Nigel Hill (USA) Trek Vw West Coast 7.30 9 Jason Rahlwes (USA) Fox Racing Shox 8.07 10 Shane Bresnyan (USA) Soulcraft 8.15 11 Michael Mcdonald (USA) United States Intermountain Orthopedics 8.19 12 Rob Anderson (USA) Amd-Discovery Channel Maste 8.50 13 Jeff Angermann (USA) Amd-Discovery Channel Maste 9.07 14 Jim Hewett (USA) Content Works 9.39 15 Darren Mattingley (USA) Alaska Waste 10.57 16 Chad Stoehr (USA) Easton/Specialized 11.15 17 Justin Maka (USA) Monster Energy/Spy Optics 12.10 18 Monte Boyle (USA) Look Cycle 13.01 19 Nate Whitman (USA) Cynergy/Hammer Nutrition 13.02 20 Jamie Goldstein (USA) Platinum Performance 13.07 21 Denton Bowers (USA) Intense Cycles 14.02 22 Tim Allen (USA) Voodoo 14.14 23 Chris Burnham (USA) Burnhamcoaching.Com 14.40 24 Lyle Warner (USA) 15.02 25 Erik Peterson (USA) Recycled Cycles 15.31 26 Ryan Iddings (USA) Lapierre 17.03 27 Art Nelsen (USA) Na 28 Todd Norwood (USA) 17.14 29 Shane Deal (USA) Motionbased 17.42 30 Matthew Kramer (USA) EMC/Vellum 18.37 31 Romolo Forcino (USA) Bear Valley Bikes 18.57 32 Michael Cushionbury (USA) Bicycling Magazine 19.09 33 Joe Walsh (USA) Joe Walsh 19.49 34 Michael Hosey (USA) Soulcraft 22.49 35 Dustin Gordon (Can) Team Whistler/Nature's Path 23.14 36 Dustin Sweet (USA) Easty 23.56 37 Todd Boothe (USA) North Rim/Ep-No/Intense 26.05 38 Tim Knudsen (USA) 26.28 39 Robert Drouin (USA) 27.52 40 Scott Mckelvey (USA) Palm Springs Cyclery 28.17 41 Matt Wittler (USA) Kelly Bike 30.05 42 Mike Oceguera (USA) SC Velo 30.10 43 Jeff Kerkove (USA) Team Topeak-Ergon 31.07 44 Allan Laframboise (USA) Don's Bikes/Intense 31.40 45 Unknown 32.32 46 Olivier Bock (USA) Motionbased 33.11 47 Unknown 34.53 48 Dean Poshard (USA) 36.11 49 Tsering Alleyne (USA) Team Lost Coast Brewery 36.50 50 Clint Hosman (USA) Focaus Cyclery/Kona 37.33 51 Luke Brechwald (USA) Rad Racing NW 38.58 52 Peter Graf (USA) Reno Wheelmen 53 Damian Schmitt (USA) Sunnyside Sports 40.54 54 Justin Swett (USA) 45.17 55 David Thompson (USA) Cyco-Path 59.17 56 John Nobil (USA) 1.20.26 Back to top