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Downhill World Cup #5 - CDM

Calgary, Canada, July 4, 2004

Results    Cross country   Four-cross

Gros & Vasquez win mudfest tyre-selection test

By Colin Meagher in Calgary

The winner
Photo ©: Colin Meagher

The fifth gravity race of the year on the UCI World Cup circuit, the Calgary Downhill, appeared to be more of a point stop than a true race. Upon arriving and inspecting the DH course, many riders expressed disappointment that the course was not a proper DH. With a track only 1.3 km long and only a 121 vertical meter drop, the Calgary Olympic Park does not have the terrain to do a downhill correctly given the skill of today's riders and the technology of today's bikes-the Canadian Cup DH on the same course saw many racers on hard tails, and some of the world cup racers were taking their practice runs on 4 cross bikes. Definitely not the norm for a world cup downhill race... At first look, the size of the course, and the many flat sections were the main source of the riders disappointment. But in addition, the course was fairly non-technical by world cup standards. Sure, there were a few small step downs, a few rock gardens, and some tight bermed sections resembling the bobsled run that snakes down the mountain as a reminder of the winter games held here back in1988, but the change in course technicality compared to last week's race in Mt St Anne, Quebec was dramatic. Given all this, the consensus among many of the top riders was that fitness would be the winner. Kirt Voreis of the Santa Cruz Syndicate stated that he'd "probably blow a gasket" (puke) trying to crank out a time on the pedal friendly course good enough to win.

Celine Gros
Photo ©: Colin Meagher

But then the mouse roared. Heavy rains yesterday afternoon during the XC finals and continued soakings overnight changed the course character dramatically, though, from a fun, if physically demanding pedal fest, to a greasy skid fest, requiring perfect tire selection. Practice runs made the morning of the race were aimed at narrowing down each rider's tire selection to what worked. Voreis opted for a tire with a softer rubber in order to have better control in the rock gardens. Kathy Pruitt had her mechanic frantically shaving knobs off her tires in order to shed mud more quickly-the deep knobs literally packed up with the area's clinging mud so quickly that hitting her brakes on the steep drop in leading to the bottom of the course caused her to accelerate instead of the reverse.

Even with a delayed start to the semis, the start of the race still came to quickly for some riders to be able to make the correct tire choice. Consequently, riders were ping-ponged by the rocks in the upper sections while the slimy roots lacing the wooded single track had a tendency to unpredictably typewriter riders from one side of the trail to another. But for the most part, there were no surprises in either the men or the women. Voreis failed in his prediction of blowing a gasket, but put in a sharp effort to qualify in the seventh position for the finals. The rest of the names in the top ten men were a mix of the usual suspects-Rennie, Sam Hill, Peaty, etc-with Gracia coming out in the hot seat. For the women, the tops were Celine Gros, Vanessa Quin (+:02.92) and Marielle Saner (+:04.60). The only American in the top ten was Kathy Pruitt in tenth.

Claudio Caluori crashing
Photo ©: Colin Meagher

Along with the finals came more rain. A lot more rain. The course became a veritable slip 'n slide. The women were up first, and ran in reverse order of finish from the morning's semi. Despite the increased difficulty caused by the track's deteriorating conditions, April Lawyer turned in a smoking time. While not good enough to win, it was good enough to land her the first extended stay in the hot seat-not bad considering she finished 21st in the semi final. But the races times continued to improve, and April Lawyer eventually had to settle for ninth; the day belonged to top qualifier Celine Gros, who turned in a 1.37 second faster time than second place finisher Sabrina Jonnier. Filling out the rest of the podium were Tracey Mosely of Kona/Clarks (+3.56), Kathy Pruitt(Luna) movied up from her tenth position qualifying to finish (+4.32), and Rachel Atherton ((+5.73) claimed fifth..

The men faced an even tougher challenge during their final than did the women. Sometime near the finish of the women's final, the rain quit. While greasy, with the rain, the traction had been somewhat predictably terrible. Now it became alternatively greasy and sticky; some sections flowed like they had earlier, but others just seemed to grab at the racer's wheels; x-ing one's fingers now seemed to have as much effect on traction as tire selection did. The long chute dividing the wooded single track from the bottom of the course became incredibly treacherous. Entering it from the top, many riders found brakes to be of little use, and simply hung on for dear life as the course twisted into the sharply bermed corner that fed into the final section before the finishing straight. More than one rider lost it here, with Voreis, the seventh place semi finisher slipping to 48th, and Cedric Gracia, the morning's top qualifier dropping to 27th.

Free rider Thomas Vanderham
Photo ©: Colin Meagher

Evidently the tire selection that made the most sense with the increased traction difficulties were Maxxis tires, as the top 5 finishers were all on Maxxis rubber: David Lopez Vazquez was first, followed by Markolf Berchtold (+1.13), Steve Peat in third (+1.94), Mickael Pascal in 4rth (+2.21), and Colin Bailey in fifth (+2.62). Additionally, with his third place finish, Steve Peat locked up the UCI World Cup Series DH title, while on the women's side, the title is controlled by Sabrina Jonnier, with Celine Gros remaining close enough to be a worry, and Tracey Mosely still a mathematical possibility for the title. And who knows? It's a long time until the last race in Livigno, Italy, and anything can happen.


Images by Colin Meagher


1 Celine Gros (Fra) Team Morzine Avoriaz          2.39.55
2 Sabrina Jonnier (Fra)                           2.40.92
3 Tracy Moseley (GBr) Kona Clarks Les Gets        2.43.11
4 Kathy Pruitt (USA) Luna Women's Mtb Team        2.43.87
5 Rachel Atherton (GBr)                           2.45.28
6 Marla Streb (USA) Luna Women's Mtb Team         2.49.15
7 Danika Schroeter (Can)                          2.52.40
8 Lisa Sher (USA)                                 2.53.78
9 April Lawyer (USA)                              2.55.54
10 Anneke Beerten (Ned)                           2.57.26
11 Claire Buchar (Can)                            2.57.88
12 Anita Molcik (Aut) ARBO RSP Downhill Racing    2.59.63
13 Mio Suemasa (Jpn)                              2.59.82
14 Vanessa Quin (NZl)                             3.00.67
15 Marielle Saner (Swi) Maxxis-MSC                3.01.84
16 Anka Martin (RSA)                              3.08.97
17 Debra Mackillop (Can)                          3.12.93
18 Anja Rees Jones (GBr)                          3.23.29
19 Helene Fruhwirth (Aut)                         3.26.58
20 Tara Llanes (USA)                              3.29.41
21 Emily Johnston (USA)                           3.40.16
22 Darcy Turenne (Can)                            3.44.46
23 Michelle McCartney (Irl)                       3.45.12
24 Helen Gaskell (GBr)                            3.56.72
25 Junelle Cassidy (Can)                          3.57.22
26 Stephanie Nychka (Can)                         4.03.79
1 David Vazquez Lopez (Spa) Maxxis-MSC                 2.24.78
2 Markolf Berchtold (Bra) Maxxis-MSC                   2.25.91
3 Steve Peat (GBr) Team Orange                         2.26.72
4 Mickael Pascal (Fra) Maxxis-MSC                      2.26.99
5 Colin Bailey (USA)                                   2.27.40
6 John Kirkcaldie (Nzl)                                2.27.81
7 Nathan Rennie (Aus)                                  2.27.97
8 Guido Tschugg (Ger) Fusion MTB Pro Racing Team       2.28.16
9 Matti Lehikoinen (Fin)                               2.28.61
10 Greg Minnaar (RSA) Team G-Cross Honda               2.28.81
11 Judd Devall (USA)                                   2.29.15
12 Neil Donoghue (GBr)                                 2.29.16
13 Derrick Chambers (Can)                              2.29.24
14 Jared Graves (Aus)                                  2.29.52
15 Pascual Canals Flix (Spa)                           2.30.05
16 Chris Vandine (USA)                                 2.30.21
17 Andrew Neethling (RSA)                              2.30.40
18 Rudiger Jahnel (Aut) ARBO RSP Downhill Racing       2.30.58
19 Duncan Riffle (USA)                                 2.30.71
20 Jared Rando (Aus)                                   2.30.74
21 Michael Jones (Can)                                 2.31.50
22 Kamil Tatarkovic (Cze)                              2.31.59
23 Nico Vink (Bel) Be One / Madhouse                   2.31.69
24 Justin Leov (Nzl)                                   2.31.71
25 Mathieu Troquier (Fra) Fusion MTB Pro Racing Team   2.31.89
26 Robin Baloochi (USA)                                2.32.00
27 Cedric Gracia (Fra) Siemens Mobile Cannondale       2.32.30
28 Cyrille Kurtz (Fra) Team G-Cross Honda              2.32.31
29 Jordie Lunn (Can) Specialized Mountain Bike         2.32.32
30 Marc Beaumont (GBr) Team Orange                     2.32.51
31 Karl Rogne (USA)                                    2.32.75
32 Cody Warren (USA)                                   2.32.98
33 Adam Billinghurst (Can)                             2.33.37
34 Miles Mead (USA)                                    2.33.45
35 Jorge Aguin Castro (Spa)                            2.33.55
36 Joel Panozzo (Aus)                                  2.33.68
37 Will Longden (GBr)                                  2.33.93
38 Samuel Hill (Aus)                                   2.33.96
39 Brant Lyon (Can)                                    2.34.16
40 Thibaut Ruffin (Fra)                                2.34.17
41 Kyle Strait (USA)                                   2.34.22
42 Curtis Keene (USA)                                  2.34.64
43 Dan Stanbridge (GBr)                                2.34.79
44 Stuart Thomson (GBr)                                2.34.81
45 Ashley Mullane (GBr)                                2.34.97
46 Stewart Couper (Can)                                2.35.11
47 Glyn O¥Brien (Irl)                                  2.35.27
48 Kirt Voreis (USA)                                   2.36.19
49 Kyle Guay (Can)                                     2.36.40
50 Thomas Braithwaite (GBr)                            2.37.18
51 Jamie Popham (Irl)                                  2.37.85
52 Daniel Atherton (GBr)                               2.38.12
53 Ben Reid (Irl)                                      2.38.50
54 Steve Wentz (USA)                                   2.38.77
55 Tyler Morland (Can)                                 2.39.02
56 Iain Cookson (GBr)                                  2.39.10
57 Michael Robinson (Aus)                              2.39.24
58 Dustin Adams (Can)                                  2.39.50
59 Jon Cheetham (GBr)                                  2.39.62
60 Henry O'Donnell (USA)                               2.39.91
61 Mathieu Laurin (Can)                                2.39.92
62 Justin Havukainen (Aus)                             2.40.18
63 Fabien Barel (Fra) Kona Clarks Les Gets             2.40.62
64 George Atherton (GBr)                               2.45.76
65 Andrew Yoong (Irl)                                  2.47.48
66 Thomas Vanderham (Can)                              2.47.53
67 John Lawlor (Irl)                                   2.49.04
68 Liam Panozzo (Aus)                                  2.49.27
69 Andy Sweeney (Irl)                                  2.55.00
70 Peter Fernbach (Aut) ARBO RSP Downhill Racing       2.55.96
71 Julien Camellini (Fra)                              2.56.75
72 Brian Eller (Can)                                   2.57.21
73 Andy Czuczor (Can)                                  3.00.26
74 Cameron Zink (USA)                                  3.02.11
75 Sven Martin (RSA)                                   3.02.19
76 Ivan Oulego Moreno (Spa)                            3.12.44
77 Bryn Atkinson (Aus)                                 3.13.76
78 Claudio Caluori (Swi) Be One / Madhouse             3.39.57
DSQ Vincent Saut (Fra) Lapierre International                 
DSQ Chris Ball (GBr)                                          
DNF Brad Kelly (Aus)                                                                     
Courtesy www.canadiancyclist.com