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NORBA series #5 - E2
Mount Snow, Vermont, June 17-20, 2004
Race 3 - June 20: Short-track XC
Sydor and Rowney win hard-fought short-track battles
By Keri Fagan, USA Cycling
Starting out at a high pace as short track events often do, it was obvious right from the gun who the contenders of the day were. The men's race ended just as the crowd hoped with Paul Rowney claiming the win in the final NORBA race of his career. Alison Sydor edged out Kerry Barnholt in a hard fought battle for the women's crown.
Early in the women's race, a group broke off the front to set the quick pace. Kerry Barnholt, Alison Sydor, Willow Koerber, Chrissy Redden, Katerina Hanusova, Shonny Vanlandingham, and Gretchen Reeves were in the lead pack while Dara Marks-Marino, Kiara Bisaro, and Jimena Florit (ARG) raced to catch up.
At the half way point, Redden, Sydor, and Koerber quickened the pace while Vanlandingham and Barnholt tried to bridge the gap that was forming. Sydor, who had been sitting in to conserve energy, launched a vicious attack and distanced herself from the group. Kerry Barnholt was the only one with the strength to make contact as a one-on-one race got underway with three laps to go.
Sydor kept Barnholt in the lead for the remaining laps, a tactical decision which gave her the legs to eventually overpower her competitor at the finish line.
"I knew she had fresh legs and that she was making me work," Barnholt said after her second place finish. "But, I also knew the rest of the riders would catch us if we slowed down. With every race, I learn more about the tactics."
After the two front women battled it out for the win, Vanlandingham placed third, Hanusova fourth, and Koerber fifth.
The men lined up next, and it was obvious from the start that Paul Rowney wanted his last NORBA race to end with a victory. The leader right off the bat, Rowney broke away with a front pack of Trent Lowe, Chris Sheppard, Travis Brown, Seamus McGrath, Geoff Kabush, and Ryan Trebon.
With three laps remaining, Kabush took off in the front with Rowney launching an immediate attack. Trent Lowe tried to slow down the pace in the chase group to help Rowney take his final moment in the spotlight. An all-out fight for the finish line began between Rowney and Kabush during the last laps.
"I knew Geoff was strong and I thought if I could get him on the descent, I could take him around the next few turns," an excited Paul Rowney said of his final minutes on the course. "I worked well with Trent Lowe, and the crowd was fantastic."
When asked if this was really his last NORBA race, the Aussie replied "I'll always come back at various points of the season to keep the bar tab open."
"I think everyone was hoping that Rowney would have the legs," Kabush said in the post race interview. "I definitely wanted to do my share of the work and make sure the other guys didn't catch up. I'm happy in second place."
Rounding out the podium in the men's contest was Liam Killeen, Travis Brown, and Trent Lowe in third, fourth, and fifth respectively.
Women 1 Alison Sydor (Can) 2 Kerry Barnholt (USA) 3 Shonny Vanlandingham (USA) 4 Katerina Hanusova (Cze) 5 Willow Koerber (USA) Men 1 Paul Rowney (Aus) 2 Geoff Kabush (Can) 3 Liam Killeen (GBr) 4 Travis Brown (USA) 5 Trent Lowe (Aus) Women's Standings after 4 Rounds 1 Katerina Hanusova (Cze) 2 Kerry Barnholt (USA) 3 Shonny Vanlandingham (USA) 4 Jimena Florit (Arg) 5 Willow Koerber (USA) Men's Standings after 4 Rounds 1 Chris Sheppard (Can) 2 Paul Rowney (Aus) 3 Travis Brown (USA) 4 Andreas Hestler (Can) 5 Trent Lowe (Aus)