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Chevy Trucks NORBA National Championship Series, Round 2- MTB
Mt. Snow, USA, June 23-25, 2000
On Friday, June 23 it was the international athletes that dominated the mountains of Mount Snow, Vt, with Canadian national champion Chrissy Redden (Gary Fisher/SAAB) and Swiss national champion Christophe Sauser (Volvo-Cannondale) taking cross-country race wins.
Redden, who won her first Chevy Trucks NORBA National Championship Series in 1998 at Mammoth Mountain, Calif., blasted the women's field from the start of the four-lap, 15-mile race. In tow with Redden was Canadian and past world champion Alison Sydor (Volvo-Cannondale), who won at Mount Snow in 1998. By the end of the first lap, though, Redden was alone at the front, with Dunlap making up time by the start of the second lap and moving into second.
"I just felt really good. I was smooth on the technical sections, so I just went for it and just rolled with everything today. I wanted the hole shot in to the technical section. Just after the climb I attacked Alison (Sydor), and she didn't respond, so I just punched it," Redden said.
The race for second through fourth was hotter, with Dunlap, three-time national champion Ruthie Matthes (Durango, Colo. -- Trek/Volkswagen) and Mary Grigson (Australia -- Gary Fisher/SAAB) within 30 seconds of each other at the race's half-way point. Dunlap, currently ranked second in the world, was able to hold off Matthes and Grigson, securing the runner-up spot in the third lap.
Ruthie (Matthes) was tenacious, but I held my own out there. I was little worried about Mary (Grigson). She always comes on strong at the end of a race. I was listening for her and Ruthie (Matthes) in the woods. I could hear how far behind they were," Dunlap said, adding that she came to Mount Snow after an intense week of training. "Chrissy (Redden) took off really strong, but I never give up the fight for first place. I always ride as hard as I can. I wasn't fresh today. I didn't prepare for this race like I wanted to win, but once the gun goes off, I ride to win."
Matthes and Grigson finished in a sprint, with Matthes beating out the Australian for third.
Like Redden, Sauser rocketed ahead of his fellow competitors, quickly putting a sizeable gap between himself and the field. Chasing hard was three-time national champion and '96 Olympian Tinker Juarez (Downey, Calif. -- Volvo-Cannondale). Sauser would prove to be too strong, and by the third lap, put more than one minute on the pack behind him.
"The style of the race suit me very well. Everything went very well today. When you can ride your own speed, like I did, it makes it easier," Sauser said. "Because nobody followed me the race seemed very long, like three hours. In the third lap I thought I didn't have good legs, but my strength came back."
Moving quickly behind Sauser and Juarez, was Molday, who won the opening round of the Chevy Trucks NORBA National Championship Series in May at Snow Summit, Calif. A self-admitted slow starter, Molday picked up one spot on laps four through sixth to take second place. His performance is another notch in his comeback from Epstein-Barr Syndrome in 1998.
"I was just trying to win today, whether or not Americans, Canadians or Europeans were here. This course has always been good for me. I wasn't too concerned with Christophe (Sauser) taking off so fast. I thought that maybe he and Tinker (Juarez) would play cat and mouse, so I just waited to see what happened," said Molday, who will compete next in Canada at the World Cup Series, which are qualifying races for the U.S. Olympic Team.
"Right now, I am focusing on the next two World Cups. I'm in good form, but I'm a little nervous. I'll start in the back, and there's a lot of depth in the World Cup field," Molday continued. "There's about five of us who have the potential to do medal at the Olympics, depending on what sort of day we are having. The trick will be to pick the two riders who ride well consistently."
Pavel Tcherkassov (Russia -- Gary Fisher/SAAB) took over third place, while Juarez ended up fifth.
Pro Women's Cross-country Four laps at 15 miles 1. Chrissy Redden (Can) Gary Fisher/SAAB 18.104.22.168 2. Alison Dunlap (USA) Team GT 1.25.45 3. Ruthie Matthes (USA) Trek-Volkswagen 1.33.18 4. Mary Grigson (Aus) Gary Fisher/SAAB 1.33.73 5. Alison Sydor (Can) Volvo-Cannondale 5.00.16 6. Audrey Augustin (USA) Koulius Zaard 6.40.47 7. Ann Trombley (USA) Koulius Zaard/Residence Club 7.58.84 8. Kelli Emmett (USA) Litespeed 8.25.85 9. Shonny Vanlandingham (USA) SoBe/Headshok 9.46.04 10. Trish Sinclair (Can) Marin/Oakley 10.15 Pro Men's Cross-country Six laps at 22.5 miles 1. Christophe Sauser (Swi) Volvo-Cannondale 22.214.171.124 2. Kirk Molday (USA) Trek/Volkswagen 1.15.38 3. Pavel Tcherkassov (Rus) Gary Fisher/SAAB 3.03.08 4. Kashi Leuchs (NZl) Volvo-Cannondale 3.26.31 5. Tinker Juarez (USA) Volvo-Cannondale 3.49.29 6. Seamus McGrath (Can) Haro/Lee Dungarees 4.02.28 7. Roland Green (Can) Team GT 4.07.75 8. Marc Gullickson (USA) Mongoose Pro 5.22.66 9. Geoff Kabush (Can) Kona Factory 5.41.84 10. Travis Brown (USA) Trek/Volkswagen 6.40.65
Admist a strong international field at Mount Snow, Vt., American and Team GT rider Alison Dunlap (Colorado Springs, Colo.) emerged victorious for the second consecutive year in the short-track cross-country Saturday, June 24. Australian Cadel Evans (Volvo-Cannondale) outsprinted the men's field to take the top spot in his race. Saturday's race was one the closest in the one-year history of the short-track cross-country.
In SoBe dual slalom action, Australian Katrina Miller (Team Jamis) snagged another win in the women's race, while current World Cup dual leader Brian Lopes (Laguna Beach, Calif. -- Volvo-Cannondale) took an easy win in the men's event.
Dunlap, who won the short-track cross-country at Mount Snow last year, shot off the front when the gun went off. The lead group included Volvo-Cannondale rider Alison Sydor (Vancouver, BC, Canada), Gary Fisher riders Chrissy Redden (Campbellville, Ontario, Canada) and Mary Grigson (Australia), as well as eight other women. With the group so close, there was a different leader for almost every lap. "That was cool. It was really exciting out there. It was an interesting race with the team tactics and everyone staying together," said Dunlap, who placed second in Friday's cross-country race. "I was pretty psyched when I came across the line. You had to ride smart, and I miss that in mountain bike racing."
Redden, Sydor and Grigson seemed to have an advantage over Dunlap, who was holding her own at the front without the help of any teammates. In the last lap though, Dunlap snagged the inside line into the final climb from Sydor and entered the finish area first.
"The biggest challenge was trying to outsmart the other teams," Dunlap said. "I wasn't really worried today because I always know I'm strong on the second day. If you have the legs, no one can beat you."
For Sydor, her first short-track cross-country pushed her race limits. "It's a very different effort than the cross-country. It requires short bursts, while cross-country requires you to hold your threshold. I've never crossed the finish line with my heart rate that high (195)," said Sydor, who won the Mount Snow cross-country in 1998. "It's different type of weekend, but a good weekend. I like racing in front of crowds." The men's race played out similar to the women's event, with Evans, Russian Pavel Tcherkassov (Gary Fisher-SAAB) and Steve Larsen (Jacksonville, Ore. -- LL Bean/Mongoose) towing the front. Last year's Mount Snow short-track cross-country winner Roland Green (Victoria, BC, Canada -- Team GT) also took his turn at the front. The leader changed more than once during each lap, with Larsen taking his turn at the front with two laps to go.
Saturday's win marked the end of a tough year for Evans. "It's (Saturday's race win) been a long time coming. I'm used to winning 15-20 UCI races a year, and this is my first race win for 2000," said two-time World Cup overall winner Evans. "Things haven't been on my side. It's been unbelievable his year, with two broken collarbones. This year hasn't come together for me, but yeah, this win takes a lot of my shoulders."
Lopes produced excellent form at the second round of the SoBe Dual Slalom, but in the end won it by default when Eric Carter (Temecula, Calif. -- Team GT), his opponent in the final, clipped a gate and took a big tumble. Australia's Katrina Miller, returning from injury, won the women's final from Cheri Elliott (El Dorado Hills, Calif. -- Team Cheri Elliott/Maxxis).
Lopes had his closest battle of the knock-out contest against 1991 World Champion John Tomac (Cortez, Colo. -- Tomac) in the round of eight. "It's an old school course and he's an old school rider, he was going good," Lopes said. "Last year, I had an ankle injury that troubled me for most of the season. It's good to come back to top form here at Mount Snow in front of such a great crowd."
Miller, racing at her first event since separating her shoulder in a World Cup race in France on May 20, was delighted with the win, taken with a style that impressed even Elliott, who said "It was all about being smooth, and Katrina (Miller) was smoother than me today."
Pro Women's Short-track Cross-country 1. Alison Dunlap (USA) Team GT 2. Alison Sydor (Can) Volvo-Cannondale 3. Chrissy Redden (Can) Gary Fisher/SAAB 4. Susan Haywood (USA) Trek/VW Tourism 5. Mary Grigson (Aus) Gary Fisher/SAAB 6. Ann Trombley (USA) Koulius Zaard/Residence Club 7. Jimena Florit (Arg) RLX Polo Sport 8. Alla Epifanova (Rus) Volvo-Cannondale 9. Rachel Lloyd (USA) Voo Doo Cycles 10. Rene Marshman (USA) Moots. Pro Men's Short-track Cross-country 1. Cadel Evans (Aus) Volvo-Cannondale 2. Pavel Tcherkassov (Rus) Gary Fisher/SAAB 3. Paul Rowney (Aus) AIS/Giant 4. Seamus McGrath (Can) Haro/Lee Dungarees 5. Roland Green (Can) Team GT 6. Chris Sheppard (Can) Haro/Lee Dungarees 7. Steve Larsen (USA) LL Bean/Mongoose 8. Jose Bonilla (Crc) Café de Costa Rico 9. Marc Gullickson (USA) Mongoose Pro 10. Peter Wedge (Can) Kona. Pro Women's Dual Slalom 1. Katrina Miller (Aus) Team Jamis 2. Cheri Elliott (USA) Team Cheri Elliott/Maxxis/ODI 3. Tai-Lee Muxlow (Aus) 4. Tara Llanes (USA) Subaru-Specialized Pro Men's Dual Slalom 1. Brian Lopes (USA) Volvo-Cannondale 2. Eric Carter (USA) Team GT 3. Steve Peat (GBr) Team GT 4. Mike King (USA) Haro/Lee Dungarees
Two weeks after winning the world downhill title in Spain, Giant team rider Myles Rockwell (Durango, Colo.) was on top of the podium again. After blowing a rear shock at the start of the race, Rockwell still won the second round of the VISA Downhill, June 25, in Mount Snow, Vt.
Schwinn Toyota RAV4 rider Elke Brutsaert nabbed her second-consecutive VISA Downhill win at Mount Snow, after winning the opening round in May in Snow Summit, Calif.
Rockwell started his day off in first as well, claiming the fastest time the day's earlier qualifying round. The rugged Mount Snow course proved to be a challenge for the world champion and the rest of the field. The 1.5-mile course was dotted with severe drop-offs, rocks and roots.
After losing his rear shock at the start of the race, Rockwell "held on for dear life."
"I just held on tightly. It was so scary. I was just gritting my teeth the whole time. I almost lost some of the fillings in my teeth," Rockwell said. "I was just bench pressing the whole way down and praying I could hold on. I know I wasn't going as fast as I should have. It's amazing. Bike racing is all I'm good at, so I'm glad I'm winning."
The win marks another accomplishment for Rockwell, who broke both of his legs in 1997 after injuring his knee in 1996. Rockwell was forced to miss the series finals at Mount Snow in 1999 due to a knee infection.
Englishman Steve Peat held the top spot briefly before Rockwell flew down the hill. Peat, ended up second after he knocked out Team GT teammate Eric Cater (Temecula, Calif.). Had Carter held on, he would have earned his VISA Downhill Series win.
"It was a really burly course. It's not my style of racing, but I just let go of the brakes. I saw a lot of crashes up there, and it's just not my style of course," Said Carter, the '99 national downhill champion. "I knew these guys (Peat and Rockwell) would be beat my time. They have long bodies and carry so much more speed that I do. I knew it'd be enough for top three though. This isn't really my course."
Brutsaert proved to be the course master in the women's race, blasting the women's field by nearly six seconds. Like Rockwell, Brutsaert also qualified first Sunday morning.
"This course was very demanding," the seven-time U.S. World Mountain Bike Championship team member. "Earlier in the week, I heard about the international riders that were going to be here, I knew it would be heated competition. I didn't really put any pressure one myself though. I was racing for the NORBA regardless of who was going to be here." Brutsaert's win comes on the heels of her fourth-place performance at the 2000 World Mountain Bike Championships, June 10, in Sierra Nevada, Spain. She also won the opening round of the VISA Downhill Series in May at Snow Summit, Calif.
"There were two places where the crowd sort of jumped back from the course. I was hitting so hard off the drop-off. I kept telling myself 'No brakes, no brakes'." Brutsaert added. "If I'd have known that I was that far ahead on the clock, I would have chilled a little bit. I told myself to go and be spontaneous."
Giove was the only rider who came near Brutsaert. Like Peat, local favorite Giove also lost control on the course. At one point, the '99 national downhill champion was riding on her stomach and had to pull herself back up on the bike.
"I'm just happy to make down the mountain in one piece. It's crazy here. It got hairy at the top. It's harder to be a light rider here," said Giove, who also complained of a sore back. "I'm not 100 percent, but I rode well. I like this course.
Subaru-Specialized rider Tara Llanes (Newport Beach, Calif.) had her best-ever national downhill finish, crossing the line in third.
The 2000 Chevy Trucks NORBA National Championship Series, including the VISA Downhill and SoBe Dual Slalom, continues July 28-30 at Deer Valley Resort in Park City, Utah.
1. Elke Brutsaert (USA) Schwinn Toyota RAV4 4.50.33 2. Missy Giove (USA) Foes-Azonic 5.74 3. Tara Llanes (USA) Subaru-Specialized 15.35 4. Marla Streb (USA) Yeti 20.01 5. Sari Jorgensen (Swi) Tomac 20.04 6. Nolvenn LeCaer (Fra) Team GT 20.14 7. Vanessa Quin (NZl) Giant 23.23 8. Katja Repo (Fin) Team GT 24.13 9. Kathy Pruitt (USA) Sunrace-Santa Cruz 24.54 10. Lisa Sher (USA) White Bros.-Azonic 25.56 Pro Men VISA Downhill: 1.5 miles 1. Myles Rockwell (USA) Giant 4.16.22 2. Steve Peat (GBr) Team GT 0.59 3. Eric Carter (USA) Team GT 4.45 4. Michael Ronning (Aus) Intense-Oakley 6.11 5. Jurgen Beneke (Ger) Giant 6.34 6. Cedric Gracia (Fra) Volvo-Cannondale 6.74 7. John Kirkcaldie (NZl) Rocky Mountain Bicycles 8. Rich Houseman (USA) Tomac 7.14 9. Mike King (USA) Haro-Lee Dungarees 9.32 10. Jason Sigfrid (USA) Yeti 12.20
Pro Women's Cross-Country 1. Mary Grigson (Aus) Gary Fisher/SAAB 364 pts 2. Ruthie Matthes (USA) Trek-Volkswagen 360 3. Chrissy Redden (Can) Gary Fisher/SAAB 356 4. Ann Trombley (USA) Koulius Zaard/Residence Club 318 5. Audrey Augustin (USA) Koulius Zaard 286 Pro Men's Cross-Country 1. Kirk Molday (USA) Trek/Volkswagen 386 pts 2. Pavel Tcherkassov (Rus) Gary Fisher/SAAB 324 3. Greg Randolph (USA) Team GT 316 4. Marc Gullickson (USA) Mongoose Pro 296 5. Kashi Leuchs (NZl) Volvo-Cannondale 290 Pro Women's Short-track Cross-country 1. Mary Grigson (Aus) Gary Fisher/SAAB 356 pts 2. Chrissy Redden (Can) Gary Fisher/SAAB 348 3. Ann Trombley (USA) Koulius Zaard/Residence Club 336 4. Jimena Florit (Arg) RLX Polo Sport 308 5. Susan Haywood (USA) Trek/VW Tourism 288 Pro Men's Short-track Cross-country 1. Pavel Tcherkassov (Rus) Gary Fisher/SAAB 372 pts 2. Roland Green (Can) Team GT 300 3. Geoff Kabush (Can) Kona 294 4. Greg Randolph (USA) Team GT 294 5. Kashi Leuchs (NZl) Volvo-Cannondale 284 Pro Women's Dual Slalom 1. Cheri Elliott (USA) Team Cheri Elliott/Maxxis/ODI 380 pts 2. Tai-Lee Muxlow (Aus) 220 3. Elke Brutsaert (USA) Schwinn Toyota RAV4 220 4. Katrina Miller (Aus) Team Jamis 200 5. Leigh Donovan (USA) Schwinn Toyota RAV4 180 Pro Men's Dual Slalom 1. Christopher Kovarik (Aus) Intense/Arnette 280 pts 2. Mike King (USA) Haro/Lee Dungarees 240 3. Brian Lopes (USA) Volvo-Cannondale 200 4. Rich Houseman (USA) Tomac 200 5. Eric Carter (USA) Team GT 180 Pro Women's VISA Downhill: 1. Elke Brutsaert (USA) Schwinn Toyota RAV4 400 pts 2. Kathy Pruitt (USA) Sunrace-Santa Cruz 310 3. Vanessa Quin (NZl) Giant 308 4. Lisa Sher (USA) White Bros.-Azonic 282 5. Melissa Buhl (USA) Devo 264 Pro Men VISA Downhill: 1. Myles Rockwell (USA) Giant 400 pts 2. Michael Ronning (Aus) Intense-Oakley 320 3. John Kirkcaldie (NZl) Rocky Mountain Bicycles318 4. Johnny Waddell (Aus) Pro JrX Team 280 5. Rich Houseman (USA) Tomac 272