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NORBA series #5 - E2

Mount Snow, Vermont, June 17-20, 2004

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Race 4 - June 20: Downhill

Minaar and Pruitt ride to impressive wins

By Keri Fagan, USA Cycling

The fourth stop on the NORBA circuit came to a close with the downhill competition. In a sport that typically sees margins of just a couple of seconds between the top riders, Kathy Pruitt shook things up this afternoon by besting her nearest threat in the finals by 18 seconds. Reigning World Champion Greg Minaar took the win by three seconds over Dustin Adams in the men's contest.

Spectators were a bit disappointed this afternoon when they learned that riders would be unable to contest the popular 'yard sale' section of the course. The rains from earlier in the weekend left riders without a practice session there, meaning it would have been unsafe in competition. The race was not without excitement though, as Pruitt and Minaar closed out the weekend with crowd pleasing efforts.

A win looked well within Pruitt's reach when she won the qualifying round in 4:51:28, 17 seconds faster than Chile's Bernadita Pizarro. The margin was quite the confidence booster going into the finals, but nobody would have imagined Pruitt to shave 12 seconds off of her own time in the final run. The crowd went wild as she came into sight and stole the victory from Pizarro. In a final run of 4:39:27, Pruitt would have placed in the top 40 had she competed against the pro men.

Pizarro took second place by clocking a 4:57:48, and Lisa Sher took third in 5:03:74. A career day for Dawn Bourque saw her come in fourth posting a time of 5:06:38. Although she was ranked eleventh after qualifying, Danni Connolly rode to her first podium finish of the year in a fifth place time of 5:09:79.

On the men's side, Minaar took it easy in the qualifying run posting a tenth place time of 4:20. Of course, he saved the excitement for last. As the last man down the mountain at NORBA round five, Minaar bested his time by 24 seconds, finishing in 3:56.

Dustin Adams was very close, but not close enough. The second place winner clocked a 3:59, which was 13 seconds faster than his qualifying run. Third, fourth, and fifth places went to John Kirkcaldie, Shaums March, and Bryn Atkinson.

Minaar is concentrating on the NORBA circuit this year as opposed to the World Cups. The champion explained in a pre-race interview, "I really like racing the NORBA series, and I would also like to build my fan base here in America." Judging from the number of young mountain bike hopefuls surrounding his tent over the weekend, it looks like his American fan base may just be growing.


Greg Minaar (RSA)
Dustin Adams (Can)
John Kirkcaldie (NZl)
Shaums March (USA)
Bryn Atkinson (Aus)
Kathy Pruitt (USA)
Bernadita Pizarro Lazo (Chi)
Lisa Sher (USA)
Dawn Bourque (USA)
Danni Connolly (USA)
Men's Standings after 4 Rounds
1 Greg Minaar (RSA)
2 John Kirkcaldie (NZl)
3 Bryn Atkinson (Aus)
4 Dustin Adams (Can)
5 Jared Graves (Aus)
Women's Standings after 4 Rounds
1 Bernadita Pizarro Lazo (Chi)
2 Kathy Pruitt (USA)
3 Lisa Sher (USA)
4 April Lawyer (USA)
5 Melissa Buhl (USA)