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MTB World Cup XC #3 & DH #2 - CDM
Champéry, Switzerland, June 9-10, 2007
Race 6 - June 10: Elite Women Downhill
Saner successful at home
By Rob Jones
The second round of the Downhill World Cup was the final event in Champery, Switzerland on Sunday and, once again, rain played a major role in the outcome of the competition. The host country took its first win of the weekend when Marielle Saner (Bikepark.ch) finished over two seconds ahead of the French duo of Emmeline Ragot and World Cup leader Sabrina Jonnier (Ironhorse-Monster Energy).
Early morning rain soaked the course and delayed the start of the semi-final by an hour, as organizers waited for the water to at least partially drain out of the wooded and muddy sections. The course did start to dry out significantly for the final.
Jonnier won the women's semi, by four seconds over Mio Suemasa of Japan, with Ragot in third. Saner could only manage eighth in qualifying after a crash. However, when it came to the final, the Swiss rider, who lives only a few kilometres away from Champery and is sponsored by the event organizer, roared down the course, knocking over 37 seconds off her qualifying time. Ragot was 2.37 seconds back, and Jonnier another half second in arrears after a small crash.
Jonnier retained her World Cup leader's jersey with the third place finish.
"I tried to be in control, and not make any mistakes" explained Saner. "My strategy was to not attack the course. This race was a very big goal for me, since I am a local. There was a lot of supporters out for me, and I was able to make it a positive thing, and use it for motivation.
"But, yes, it was very tense in the hot seat, waiting for Jonnier!" she confessed. "She crashed, but I think I would have won anyway because she was behind my time when she crashed."
- Jonnier leads the women's World Cup comfortably after two events with 440 points, followed by Ragot (370) and Saner (348).
- There was considerable speculation as to how much practice time Saner had on the course - despite World Cup rules closing the course until a couple of days before the race. Saner insisted that she had not ridden the course "I did the course only 1 time before, but I like more difficult, technical courses like this." Four-Crosser Jill Kintner (GT), for one, does not believe her. On her website, www.jillkintner.com, she commented: "Marielle Saner won today. She rides for the Bikepark.ch team which is the sponsor of the event, so those guys had like two months of closed training on this course. Still, you can't take away from the fact that she made it down, fast too. Her first World Cup win, congrats, love that home Swiss soil."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Rob Jones/www.canadiancyclist.com
Qualifying 1 Sabrina Jonnier (Fra) Iron Horse / Monster Ener 5.17.50 2 Mio Suemasa (Jpn) 4.10 3 Emmeline Ragot (Fra) 6.50 4 Scarlett Hagen (NZl) 10.20 5 Tracey Hannah (Aus) 11.30 6 Fionn Griffiths (GBr) Norco/Griffith 17.10 7 Céline Gros (Fra) 19.20 8 Merielle Saner (Sui) Bikepark.Ch Tui 20.30 9 Floriane Pugin (Fra) Chatel Mountain Cycle 30.30 10 Helen Gaskell (GBr) 34.40 11 Tracy Moseley (GBr) Kona Les Gets 36.30 12 Petra Bernhard (Aut) 1.02.30 13 Pascaline Reusser (Sui) 1.04.30 14 Miriam Blas Otondo (Esp) Massi 1.29.30 15 Diana Marggraff (Ecu) Zenith 1.39.10 16 Claire Buchar (Can) Cove 2.15.10 17 Melissa Buhl (USA) 2.17.10 18 Emily Horridge (GBr) Chatel Mountain Cycle 2.24.30 19 Vanessa Quin (NZl) Ms-Intense Factory-Racing 2.35.40 20 Helene Fruhwirth (Aut) 2.42.10 21 Jaymie Mart (Bar) 3.24.40 22 Calamaty Jayne Cann (GBr) 3.27.20 23 Patarina Tothova (Cze) 5.09.50 24 Olivia Johnston (NZl) 6.05.20 25 Daniela Bossard (Sui) 9.29.10 26 Jennifer Makgill (NZl) Ssangyong-Fusion Pro 11.55.30 DNS Anja Rees Jones (GBr) Stendec Racing DNS Elisa Canepa (Ita) Playbiker - Iron Horse DNS Harriet Harper (NZl) DNS Miriam Ruchti (Sui) DNS Harriet Rucknagel (Ger) DNS Helena Boskova (Svk) Final 1 Merielle Saner (Sui) Bikepark.Ch Tui 4.59.20 2 Emmeline Ragot (Fra) 2.40 3 Sabrina Jonnier (Fra) Iron Horse / Monster Energy 2.50 4 Mio Suemasa (Jpn) 15.00 5 Tracey Hannah (Aus) 18.10 6 Helen Gaskell (GBr) 18.50 7 Tracy Moseley (GBr) Kona Les Gets 23.30 8 Scarlett Hagen (NZl) 28.40 9 Floriane Pugin (Fra) Chatel Mountain Cycle 32.30 10 Fionn Griffiths (GBr) 40.40 11 Céline Gros (Fra) 12 Pascaline Reusser (Sui) 59.10 13 Claire Buchar (Can) Cove 1.16.00 14 Petra Bernhard (Aut) 1.16.50 15 Miriam Blas Otondo (Esp) Massi 1.16.40 16 Diana Marggraff (Ecu) Zenith 1.32.00 17 Melissa Buhl (USA) 1.38.00 18 Emily Horridge (GBr) Chatel Mountain Cycle 2.05.00 19 Calamaty Jayne Cann (GBr) 2.09.50 20 Helene Fruhwirth (Aut) 2.17.10 21 Jaymie Mart (Bar) 2.21.50 22 Jennifer Makgill (NZl) Ssangyong-Fusion Pro Team 2.37.20 23 Patarina Tothova (Cze) 3.52.50 DNS Daniela Bossard (Sui) DNS Olivia Johnston (NZl) DNS Vanessa Quin (NZl)