World Mountain Bike Championships - CDM

Vail, Colorado, USA, September 12 - 16, 2001

2000 Results    Main page

Day 4 - September 16: Men's & Women's Elite cross country

Men: Complete live report

15:55 - 44.5km (27.8miles) to go
The weather has turned distinctly grotty and it's now overcast and threatening, but the rain that arrived during the women's race has stopped. The men are now almost ready to go in the start area.

They will loop round the course 3 3/4 times, for a total of just under 28 miles, expected to take around two hours. Favourites include Canada's World Cup force of nature Roland Green, France's Miguel Martinez (though it's doubtful how his late arrival will have affected his acclimatisation to Vail's altitude), Cadel Evans of Australia and Spain's Jose Hermida.

16:10 - 42.5km to go
After just a couple of kilometres of start loop the riders are still very tightly bunched. On the front as they passed our position were Marek Galinski of Poland, Switzerland's Christof Sauser, Jose Granados (Spain) and Roland Green of Canada.

16:30 - 34km to go
A large lead group has formed containing most of the expected favourites and a few others. Christof Sauser leads as they leave the village to climb out into the hills around Vail, followed by Michael Rasmussen (Denmark), Cadel Evans (Australia) and Roland Green (Canada) . In fifth is Kashi Leuchs (New Zealand), then Jose Hermida (Spain) and Lado Fumic (Germany).

17:15 - 22km to go
The atmosphere here is electric, the crowds huge. It's so unusual to see such large numbers of people turn out for a bicycle race in the US, though of course previous world MTB champs in Colorado have been well-attended. The big turnout of European fans has really added to the atmosphere, though, with French fans in particular lining the course, cherring on their countrymen and adding the clang of cowbells, a sound not often heard in the Rockies.

With half the race gone, Roland Green of Canada and Michael Rasmussen of Denmark have pulled away and until recently were working together some 45 seconds ahead of the main lead bunch. As they come through our position just below the jump, Green is a couple of hundred feet ahead, and is clearly trying to escape from Rasmussen; the next climb will be decisive.

The chasers are led by Thomas Frischknecht (Switzerland) who heads a group that includes Cadel Evans (Australia), Christof Sauser (Switzerland) and Bart Brentjens (Netherlands). There's a small gap to the next group: Jose Hermida (Spain), Kashi Leuchs (New Zealand), Cedric Ravenel (France), Ludovic Dubau (France) and Filip Meirhaeghe (Belgium).

Despite the hilliness of the course, a condition that usually strings out the riders early on, this is still a very close race.

17: 40 - 5km to go
Green and Rasmussen still lead and are gradually increasing their margin over a chasing bunch of eight consisting of the riders mentioned above less Kashi Leuchs who seems to have faded out. As they go out on to the last lap, it looks like the top two positions on the podium are secured — it's going to be very hard for anyone to close the 1.20 gap if Green has retained the form he's shown all season. That said, many of the chasers are known for their ability to come back strongly in the last lap. One thing is certain: whoever wins the bronze is going to have to fight for it hard.

18:00 - 0km to go
As we look up the finish straight, it's Roland Green on his own; he's shed Rasmussen on the final lap to take the world championships ina powerful display of the same domonating riding we've seen from him all season. This is truly a magnificent achievement; taking the worlds and the World Cup in the same year puts Green into the mountain bike pantheon with Miguel Martinez, the only other rider to accomplish that double.

Just 30 seconds behind Green a hard-charging Thomas Frischknecht collects the silver, and moments afterwards Christof Sauser comes in for bronze. The following riders are separated by just seconds apiece, as the last lap saw each of them battle to take podium positions after Michael Rasmussen blew and eventually dropped to 11th.

Results (unofficial)

1 Roland Green (Canada)
2 Thomas Frischknecht (Switzerland)
3 Christof Sauser (Switzerland)
4 Cadel Evans (australia)
5 Ludovic Dubau (France)
6 Bart Brentjens (Netherlands)
7 Cedric Ravenal (France)
8 Filip Meirhaeghe (Belgium)
9 Martino Fruet (italy)
10 Jose Hermida (Spain)

Women: Complete live report

13:20 - 32.6km (20.37 miles) to go
Welcome to Cyclingnews' live coverage of the 2001 world cross country mountain bike championships. The riders are being staged in the start area, ready for the 2001 world championships cross-country race for women. It's a beautiful, warm day here in Vail, with clear skies and sunshine; perfect weather for mountain bike racing.

Riders to watch today include Caroline Alexander of the UK, her Specialized team-mate Barbara Blatter of Switzerland, Australia's Mary Grigson, Alison Sydor of Canada and Colorado local hero Alison Dunlap.

13:40 - 30km to go
The riders are under way on this sweeping, loopy 11.9km course that returns several times per lap to Vail village. Caroline Alexander of the UK has taken the early lead. Alexander has said in the last several weeks that the World's is a major aim for her in what has turned out to be a strong comeback season for this rider from the hills of the English Lake District.

14:15 - 20km to go
At the end of the first lap Alison Sydor has taken the lead and is some 10-15 seconds ahead of Gunn-Rita Dahle. Trailing them in third by a small margin is Alison Dunlap. Sydor has traditionally come on strong for the World's, and Dunlap's home crowd advantage is clearly buoying her along.

14:25 - 17km to go
In typical Rocky Mountains style, the weather has changed rapidly and an hour after sunshine we now have rain dampening the riders' spirits. However, it's not much affecting Alison Sydor (Canada) who has built up a 55 second lead over second-placed Gunn-Rita Dahle (Norway). Dahle has 33 seconds on Sabine Spitz (Germany) who is just in front of Caroline Alexander (Great Britain). In fifth is Alison Dunlap (USA).

Of the other riders who were expected to be contenders, Switzerland's Barbara Blatter is 15th and Australia's Mary Grigson is 18th.

14:52 - 7km to go
At the end of the second lap there have been dramatic developments. Gunn-Rita Dahle of Norway has moved into the lead, passing Alison Sydor who has dropped to second. The other Alison — Dunlap — has found the strength for a mid-race charge and moved up to third, while Caroline Alexander continues in fourth and Sabine Spitz has moved back to fifth.

As the race enters its closing stages, it's far more open than it looked after the first lap — the time gaps are not large and a late charge from any of the top three could see them on top of the podium.

15:15 - 2km to go
Alison Dunlap has moved into the lead! The crowd are of course going nuts!

15:20 - 0km to go
Dunlap hangs on to her lead, beating Alison Sydor to the finish by a mere 12 seconds; another 28 seconds separates Sabine Spitz from the first two.

Dunlap is utterly elated to have won in front of her home state crowd, and the reception she's getting from the thousands of spectators is little short of ecstatic

Results (unofficial)

1 Alison Dunlap (USA)            1.51.28
2 Alison Sydor (Canada)             0.12
3 Sabine Spitz (Germany)            0.30
Latest live report