World Mountain Bike Championships

Sweden, 11-18 September, 1999

Sep 19 - Rasmussen and Fullana win elite Cross Country

By Tomas Nillson, correspondent

Sept 19, 1999: Fine weather at last in Åre but the track was still slippery and muddy from all the rain earlier this week. This fact caused the officals to shorten the men's race to four and a half laps after the women's race took 30 minutes longer than expected.

Christoph Dupouey, winner of the last World Cup event in Houffalize, started in the same manner this time with an almost immediate attack. But this time about ten riders hung on and he was caught after the first lap of four when his compatriot Miguel Martinez and Dane Michael Rasmussen attacked.

They were together for two laps, trying to get rid of each other at several occasions. Rasmussen's decisive attack came in the third lap and the rest of the race was a one-man Danish show. He crossed the line a minute and a half ahead of Martinez. "I simply had better legs today," was the Dane's simple explanation.

Belgian teammates Filip Meirhaeghe and Roel Paulissen finished in third and fourth respectively. Meirhaeghe caught and passed Paulissen on the most treacherous descent in the race, putting thirty seconds on his teammate for the Bronze medal. Bas Van Dooren (NED) claimed the final podium place, finishing 4:32 down on the winner.

The women's race saw a similar start with Spanish relay champion Margarita Fullana attacking from the first kilometre. Canada's Alison Sydor was the only one capable to follow reasonably, and she caught Fullana on the descent of the first lap.

They stuck together until the major climb on the second lap when Fullana attacked again and this time went off for good. By the start of the third lap, Sydor was 1:17 down, with Blatter in third, 1:51 down. Italian racer Pezzo began her surge for a podium spot moving up from 11th to 4th. By making up a lot of time on the treacherous descent, Pezzo was able to join Sydor by the end of the third lap, but Fullana was still off the front of the two chasers with a 1:30 lead. Blatter, still in third, was one minute off the back of Sydor and Pezzo.

Pezzo's effort in the third lap caught up to her in the final lap when the Italian was unable to respond to Sydor's attack. Sydor crossed the finish line 1:47 behind Gold Medalist Fullana, with Pezzo finishing 1:30 down on Sydor for the Bronze medal. American Alison Dunlap was fourth and Blatter hung on for the final podium spot.

Other Race Results:

  1. September 19th - Elite Men & Womens Cross Country - the sun shines for XC
  2. September 18th - Downhill - French & Aussies take gold
  3. September 17th - U23, Junior Men & Womens Cross Country - Evans crashes on last lap, Italian Bui wins
  4. September 15th - Teams Challenge - Spain Reins