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Sea Otter Home
2002 Sea Otter
Sea Otter Road

Sea Otter Classic - E1

Monterey, California, USA, April 10 - 13, 2003

Main Page     Results    Previous stage

Stage 4 - April 13: Cross Country, Laguna Seca

Overall victories to Green & Dunlap

Green takes last stage; women's to Blatter

By Chris Baldwin

The much-anticipated rains of Sunday did not fall on the final stage of the Sea Otter Classic. Instead the sun was shining and the ground was dry as Roland Green (Trek-VW) and Alison Dunlap (Luna Women MTB) both held on to repeat as overall winners of the MTB Stage Race.

Clouds had split open late Saturday afternoon just as the pro men finished their short-track. That rain held for two hours, and though it died down and the heavens above the Laguna Seca racetrack were dry through the night, showers came back in the early morning, just as 60,000 fans were waking up coffee, cold showers and thoughts of mud.

"We had some rain early this morning," said men's stage winner Green. "I think a lot of people thought it would be really muddy, but the ground being so dry, it just sucked it up. It actually made the traction perfect. There was only one spot on the course where we went through water; the rest of it was super-tacky. No dust."

Green and Ryder Hesjedal followed the wheels of Thomas Frischknecht (Swisspower MTB) through the first climb of lap one. When the men left the paved start-finish and put out into the dirt, Green attacked with the intention of creating a select group.

"On the (first) climb, usually it breaks up there, and sure enough Roland and Ryder were driving it, and the group got splintered," said Mathieu Toulouse (Gears Racing). "And that's where I bridged across and made the front group. There were about eight of us."

From that selection it was immediately known by Hesjedal that Julien Absalon (Motorex Bianchi) was absent, and that the French world Cup rider's second place on GC was vulnerable. Hesjedal began working to keep it that way.

"I didn't want to go too hard on the attack early in the race," said Green. "But when Ryder saw that Absalon was missing from the first group, he was very in to driving it, because he wanted to move up in GC. Then when I saw the gap that we were getting, I said 'Well, might as well keep going.'"

In continuing their pace, Green, Hesjedal, Toulouse, Frischknecht and Geoff Kabush (Kona-Clarks Factory Team) came into a dismounted scramble, perhaps no longer that 20 meters, where the next selection took place.

"We got to the run up," said Toulouse. "And once again, Ryder and Roland put in a good acceleration. A group of three formed with Ryder, Roland and Geoff Kabush."

Those three were the main breakaway and would stay together until the end. Hesjedal and Kabush had visions of GC glory, while Green was eager to win the stage.

"We could see behind us Thomas and Toulouse were chasing, but we just kept them 30 or 40 seconds the whole time. I was into doing that, not working too hard, and waiting for the last climb," said Green.

After two laps and 36 miles, the trio came to the final climb, dubbed by some as "The Long Climb Home", lined with thousands of flag-waving, bell-ringing, cheering and yelling fans. Green attacked and entered the paved Laguna Seca speedway alone, navigating the winds and s-turns to win. Though Hesjedal was 11 seconds ahead of Kabush on GC, and even with the assurance of time bonuses to keep him in second in the overall, he outsprinted Kabush for second in the stage as well.

Frischknecht had a gap of 20 seconds on Toulouse when he crossed the line for fourth.

"We worked together for the last lap,' said Toulouse. "Always staying at 30, 40 seconds. Then at some point I had some problem with my shifting. I dumped my chain, I had to stop and rearrange that. It wasn't much, maybe 15 seconds, but that's all it took for Frischy to get away from me."

"I'm surprised how well I'm going this time of year," said Frischknecht. "All winter I didn't do any special training. I just started at the beginning of March. So after one good month of training I'm happy with the shape I'm in right now."

For Toulouse it was a very good finish. He credited a new training locale, new training partners, and an injury-free winter as the reasons why.

"I've been out in Victoria training with Roland, Ryder, and Seamus McGrath, and that really helped. It's the first winter in the past couple of years where I haven't had any injuries and I've been able to put in consistent training. Nothing really put me off my plan, just stuck to it pretty well. It seems to be paying off," said Toulouse.

Cagey Dunlap takes a tow

Barbara Blatter (Specialized) won the women's race after pulling Dunlap the last 18 miles. Dunlap had sufficient time on Blatter on GC so that as long as the duo finished together, Dunlap would win her third Sea Otter Classic.

"In the first lap, on the long climb, we broke away," said Blatter. "We worked together, because we were a little bit ahead. Then in the second lap I pulled her around the whole course because she was 30 seconds ahead because she got a time bonus yesterday."

Dunlap's closest rival on GC, Melanie McQuaid (Ford Outfitters) had gone too hard from the gun and was over a minute behind the leaders going into lap two.

"I was riding really big gears the first lap," said McQuaid. "Thinking that I was a superstar, and then I cracked, like, bad. It's really windy, and if you're on your own and you can't see anything, it's really easy to start going backwards."

McQuaid rode consistently but not as quickly as she would have liked, and so when it became obvious to her that second on GC was over but for the shouting, she teamed up with Chrissy Redden (Subaru-Gary Fisher) to come in fast enough for fourth overall and a podium.

"I was so glad when Chrissy caught me,' said McQuaid. "We had a good thing going, and we were trying to minimize the damage so I could keep fourth. We agreed that I'd give her the stage and she'd help me with GC. She's my training partner and best friend, so it was good to have her out there when I was falling to pieces."

Redden had blown up early trying to keep pace with Blatter and Dunlap. However, Redden found that just as the leaders were riding in tow on lap two, she had developed something of a second wind.

"On the second lap I got a bit of a rest because a group caught me," said Redden. "Then going into the (first climb), oh my gosh, I was just having so much fun. I dropped all the girls with me, and I ended up at the top of the road by myself again. Then I saw Mel and caught up to her, then Mel and I worked together. I knew she needed help with GC, and she helped me with the podium."

To her credit Alison Dunlap did work hard in the race, working methodically in stage four just as she had in stages three and two. Instead of winning the strategic time bonus like she did on Friday and Saturday, however, she cruised into Sunday's finish line smartly and respectfully.

"In the second lap (Blatter) kind of bumped it up a notch and I just sat on to protect the overall," said Dunlap. "So I gave her the stage win because she towed me around. After the time trial I was pretty disappointed, so it feels really good to have kind of clawed my way back and get the overall."

Falling off the main pace Sunday was Susan Haywood (Trek-VW), who ended the stage race in tenth, down from third overall the day before. Moving up was Kerry Barnholt (Sobe-Cannondale), who climbed into fifth overall from 15th. Mary McConneloug (Seven Cycles) finished fourth on the day and third overall.

Also racing was Team Saturn's Lynn Bessette, who traded in her road wheels and road shoes for a full MTB kit on Sunday.

"I have no expectations," said Bessette before the race. "I am just riding for fun, to enjoy the scenery. I never mountain bike really, I just do cyclo-cross. I said 'I might as well try it while I'm here, and I can ride an awesome bike. It's a Sugar from Gary Fisher."

After the race she was not entirely prepared to abandon her road career, but pleased by her performance in the dirt nonetheless. "It was a hard race, that's for sure. It was my first time on a mountain bike in a long time, and I was lucky that I made it to the line with nothing broken."


1 Barbara Blatter (Specialized)
2 Alison Dunlap (Luna)
3 Kerry Barnholt (Sobe Cannondale)
4 Mary McConneloug (Seven)
5 Christina Redden (Subaru/Gary Fisher)
1 Roland Green (Trek/VW)
2 Ryder Hesjedal (Subaru-Gary Fisher)
3 Geoff Kabush (Kona-Clarks)
4 Thomas Frishcknecht (Swisspower)
5 Mathieu Toulouse (Gears Racing)
Final general classification
1 Alison Dunlap (Luna Women's MTB Team)                4.12.12
2 Barbara Blatter (Specialized)                           0.38
3 Mary McConneloug (Seven Cycles)                         3.43
4 Melanie Mcquaid (Ford Outfitters)                       3.54
5 Kerry Barnholt (Sobe Cannondale)                        4.29
6 Christina Redden (Subaru/Gary Fisher)                   4.30
7 Willow Koerber (RLX Polo Sport)                         4.50
8 Dara Marks (Sobe/Cannondale)                            5.08
9 Rhonda Quick (Trek/Clif Bar)                            5.27
10 Susan Haywood (Trek-Volkswagen)                        6.05
11 Katerina Hanusova (Luna Women's MTB Team)              6.11
12 Shelly Whisenhant (Velo Bella)                         6.24
13 Kiara Bisaro (Gears Racing)                            8.26
14 Alison Sydor (Trek-Volkswagen)                        10.49
15 Gretchen Reeves                                       12.10
16 Trish Sinclair (Gears Racing)                         12.14
17 Shari Kain (RLX Polo Sport)                           13.36
18 Susy Pryde (Specialized)                              13.45
19 Lesley Tomlinson (Rocky Mountain/Crystal Decisions)   15.24
20 Stella Carey (Kelly Bike Company)                     17.55
21 Kathy Sherwin                                         18.51
22 Alice Pennington (Desalvo)                            18.56
23 Nina Baum                                             19.42
24 Jennifer Wilson                                       20.23
25 Magen Long (The Bicycle Store)                        21.06
26 Jennifer Todd (Sobe /Cannondale)                      21.55
27 Kelli Emmett (Hillenbrand Racing)                     22.51
28 Karen Matamoros (Costa Rica)                          23.53
29 Kristin Johnson (T-Mobile/US National)                24.11
30 Mary (Lanie) Mason (Cane Creek)                       24.57
31 Wendy Simms (Steed Cycles)                            25.53
32 Eron Chorney (Rocky Mountain Bicycles)                26.29
33 Sally Warner (Biogen)                                 26.53
34 Jody Koch (Ford Outfitters)                           29.04
35 Leah Trapp                                            29.19
36 Annemarie Huisman (Sobe/Cannondale)                   29.29
37 Joan Orgeldinger (Redhook/Turin)                      30.36
38 Sara Bresnick (California Dried Plums/Orbitz.Com)     32.16
39 Nichole Wangsgard (La Florza)                         32.47
40 Abigail Hippely (Maverick American)                   32.59
41 Dorothy Wong (Kelly Bike Co)                          33.18
42 Linda Robichaud (Norco Performance Bikes)             34.35
43 Heather King (Gears Racing)                           34.41
44 Alexandra Robinette (Bicycle Sport Shop)              35.04
45 Rebecca Blay (Dean Ultimate Bikes)                    35.50
46 Tiffany Kenny (Ford Outfitters)                       35.54
47 Alicia Mayer (Coppercanyonresorts/Orbea)              37.17
48 Shenna Fitzgerald (Spot)                              46.07
49 Cristina Begy                                         52.27
50 Megan Harrod (Spot Brand Components)                  53.32
51 Simone Otto (Titus Cycles)                            40.40
52 Shari Hausbeck (Trek-VW/ Rocky Mountain)              50.45
53 Amy Hunter-Dillinger (Sobe Cannondale)
54 Julie Emmerman (Ritchey)
55 Alisha Engel (Central Coast Cycling)
56 Lisa Peck (Biogen)
DNF Rachel Massey (Ford Outfitters)
DNF Lisa Matlock (Ford Outfitters)
DNF Heather Szabo (Tokyo Joe's)
1 Roland Green (Trek-Volkswagen)                       3.33.04
2 Ryder Hesjedal (Subaru-Gary Fisher)                     1.07
3 Geoff Kabush (Kona Clarks Factory Team)                 1.19
4 Thomas Frischknecht (Swisspower MTB Team)               2.16
5 Mathieu Toulouse (Gears Racing)                         3.29
6 Absalon Julien (Motorex Bianchi)                        4.33
7 Florian Vogel (Swisspower MTB Team)                     5.05
8 Hermida Jose Antonio (Motorex Bianchi)                  5.11
9 Jose Bonilla (Costa Rica Olympic Team)                  5.36
10 Chris Sheppard (Team Haro Lee Dungarees)               5.36
11 Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (RLX Polo Sport)                5.39
12 Christoph Sauser                                       6.26
13 Ziranda Madrigal (Turbo)                               7.31
14 Paul Rowney (Sobe  Cannondale)                         7.47
15 Kashi Leuchs (Maxxis-Trek)                             7.53
16 Nick Craig (Trek UK)                                   7.57
17 Seamus Mcgrath (Team Haro Lee Dungarees)               8.24
18 Adam Craig (Giant Bicycles)                            8.34
19 Diego Garavito (Evergreen/Colombia)                    9.30
20 Derek Prechtl (Bell's Beer/Trek)                       9.46
21 Kris Sneddon (Kona)                                   10.14
22 Todd Wells (Hyundai/Mongoose)                         10.23
23 Frank Mapel (Specialized)                             10.31
24 Andreas Hestler (Rocky Mtn/Crystal Decisions)         10.33
25 Karl Platt (Rocky Mtn Crystal Decisions)              10.54
26 Travis Brown (Trek-Volkswagen)                        11.39
27 Roddi Lega (United Cycle)                             11.42
28 David Juarez (Siemens Mobile Cannondale)              11.56
29 Liam Killeen (Subaru-Gary Fisher)                     11.59
30 Ryan Trebon                                           12.40
31 Jimi Mortenson (Specialized)                          13.12
32 Carter Hovey                                          13.15
33 Jeff Hall (Salsa Cycles)                              13.56
34 Phil Dixon (Trek UK)                                  14.38
35 Ricky Federau (Gears Racing)                          14.52
36 Neil Shirley (Trek West)                              15.26
37 Carl Decker (Giant Bicycles)                          15.33
38 Michael Broderick (Seven Cycling)                     15.35
39 Zak Toogood (Trek UK)                                 15.45
40 Deibey Esquiurl (Costa Rica Olympic Team)             15.49
41 Derek Wilkerson (Hillenbrand Racing)                  15.57
42 Bryson Perry (Healthy Choice/Guru's)                  16.32
43 Julian Hine (Gears Racing)                            17.22
44 Christian Navarrete (Morati - Honeywell)              17.23
45 Alan Obye                                             17.26
46 Bart Gillespie (Biogen)                               18.03
47 Warren Gravely (Dean Bicycles)                        18.12
48 Cameron Brenneman (KB Home)                           18.26
49 Scott Keller (Speed Bikes)                            19.45
50 Walker Ferguson (Subaru-Gary Fisher)                  19.48
51 Jason Sager (Sobe/Cannondale)                         19.51
52 Jamey Yanik (Giant)                                   20.06
53 Charles Jenkins (Giant Cytomax Factory Team)          20.06
54 Aiden Lefmann (Cannondale/Sobe)                       20.23
55 Ortiz Ordonez (Turbo)                                 20.40
56 Jay Henry (Specialized)                               20.42
57 Peter Wedge (Kona Clarks Factory Team)                21.14
58 Carl Swenson (RLX Polo Sport)                         21.34
59 Drew Mackenzie (Oryx-Procycle)                        21.39
60 Eric Atwood (Ritchey-K2 Race Team)                    21.49
61 James Van Toever (Morati - Honeywell)                 21.58
62 Nathan Phillips (Sobe Cannondale)                     22.18
63 Brian Astell (Independent Fabrication)                22.54
64 Michael Lee (Trek/VW/JBL)                             24.43
65 Adam Coates (Gears Racing)                            26.15
66 Will Routley (Rocky Mtn Bikes)                        26.21
67 Nick Gould (Santa Cruz Bicycles)                      26.22
68 Phil Spencer                                          27.03
69 Martin Lazarski (Gears Racing)                        27.17
70 Greg Reain (Gears Racing)                             27.18
71 Tim Oliver (Gears Racing)                             27.23
72 Amon Pease (Trek/VW West-JBL)                         28.15
73 Frederic Bussieres (Gears Racing)                     28.35
74 David Binker (Ritchey-Nova)                           28.54
75 Raita Suzuki (Bridgestone Anchor)                     29.25
76 Charles Pendry                                        30.43
77 Garnet Vertican (ODI/Southridge)                      31.20
78 Earl Bradley (South Eastern Trek/VW/JBL)              31.26
79 Keiichi Tsujiura                                      31.29
80 John Foley (Harpoon)                                  31.52
81 Anthony Slowinski (Trek/Jeffersonville Ccyles)        32.16
82 Everett Baker                                         32.25
83 Yoshito Tsuji (Oakbay Bicycle)                        32.57
84 Jacob Stechmann                                       34.04
85 Michael Dennis (Gears Racing)                         34.09
86 Kip Biese (Giant/Pearl Izumi)                         34.54
87 Brad Vanorden (Ritchey/Nova)                          35.56
88 Fred Hodgson (Oryx / Part One International)          36.18
89 Robert Johnston                                       41.31
90 Matt Pacocha (Ritchey/K2)                             45.47
91 Alejandro Estrada (Sandiegobiker.Com)
92 Doug Swanson (Trek/VW Factory Team)
93 Steve Tilford
94 Jason Tullous (Telcel-Speed Bikes)
95 Takahiro Ogasawara
96 Barry Wicks (Kona Clarks)
97 Duncan Meyers (Soulcraft)
98 John Salskov
99 Menno Hubregtse
100 Ty West (Rocky Mtn Bicycles/Harbour Air)
101 Adam Snyder
102 Eli Owenby (Ritchie/Nova)
103 Jason Morschler (Giant/Cytomax/)
104 Ariel Lindsley (Maverick American)
105 Mark Weir
106 Matt Patterson (Gears Racing)
107 Filip Meirhaeghe (Specialized)
108 Justin Robinson (Santa Cruz)
109 Dave Wiens (RLX Polo Sport)
110 Ben Cory (Tioga Orange Factory Team)
111 Christian Cuesta