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Sea Otter Classic MTB Stage Race - D2
California, USA, April 14-17, 2005
Stage 4 - April 17: Cross-country, 36 miles
Kabush wraps up a good week and Sydor dominates to take the overall win
By Kristy Scrymgeour
After trying so hard yesterday in an effort that didn’t quite work out, Geoff Kabush (Maxxis) put in an amazing performance today, storming ahead in the Men’s cross country race, eventually taking the win and making up the minute he needed to take the overall win from Bart Brentjens (Giant). In the women’s race, despite many attempts from Alison Dunlap (Luna Women) to shake things up, the wind was against her and the race ended in a seven-up bunch sprint, taken by race leader Alison Sydor winning the stage and the overall. Her first Sea Otter title “in a decade” she joked.
The men’s race started with no rest for the wicked, as Kabush was on a mission. He simply started hard and kept it going, losing everybody but Liam Killeen in the first ten minutes. “I have a lot of experience with this race and I wanted to split it up before we hit the time trial course. I could see Bart back in about ninth wheel, so I started out hard and a small group formed with just me, Sid Tiberlay (Specialized), Liam Killeen (Specialized) and Florian Vogel (Swiss Power),” Kabush told Cyclingnews after the race.
Not before too long Tiberlay and Vogel also fell of the back and it was Kabush and Killeen alone, with Kabush incessantly pushing the pace.
Kabush explained, “I said to Liam, ‘lets go Liam, you and me.’” And so it went, with the pair powering off, leaving riders in their wake. By the time they hit the Laguna Seca raceway for the finishing lap, they had a lead of over two minutes to Tiberlay, who was coming in solo.
Despite his determination, Kabush said he was nervous on the hills coming home. “[Liam] was hurting me on the climbs, so I was worried that he’d attack me. We also didn’t know the time splits so I had no idea how much time we had on the guys behind.”
Killeen didn’t attack, and Kabush survived the final climb and made it to the finish, winning the stage and the overall. The win was a joyous end to an already exciting week for Kabush, who got engaged a few days ago (on his birthday) to Miss Pink.
Cyclingnews also caught up with Brentjens after the race, who had one of those bad days today. After losing one of his contact lenses in the first lap and crashing in the second, it just wasn’t his day. “I crashed but it wasn’t the crash that let me down today,” he said. “The race was already gone by then. It was just a hard day for me.”
“It was a nice course, very windy. The guys were just very strong,” he added.
In the women’s race it was Dunlap who pushed the pace from the gun, but didn’t have the success Kabush did. “I had to try,” she expained, “I had nothing to lose if I wanted to win the overall.”
Despite constant efforts, her attacks which split the bunch, continued to be in vain as things just continued to regroup.
“It didn’t really break up,” commented Lyne Bessette (Louis Garneau) because of the wind. You could easily hide.” This was backed up by Dunlap, who said, “Every time I’d attack, they’d catch me and just sit on again and I’d be out in front in the wind.”
In the second lap the pace was forced by Kelli Emmett (Ford Cycling) but still a lead group of about ten riders stayed together. Dunlap tried again on the last climb, but the headwind continued to hinder her efforts and the group ended up together for the bunch sprint.
“I went into the sprint on Dunlap’s wheel,” said race winner Sydor, who pulled it off. “It was a really good course to defend on,”she explained, because of the open course and the wind, but I always had to pay attention to the time bonuses. If Dunlap had won and I had failed to get points, then she would have won.”
Sydor, who has had great success already this season domestically, was very pleased with this one. “It’s definitely a great race to win,” she said.
Second place getter Wendy Simms was very excited with her placing, which earned her third in the overall - “I felt like I was going to get dropped so many times. There was always someone attacking and increasing the pace and we’d get dropped, but I told myself to hang on because it kept coming back together. “By the time we got to the sprint,” she added, “I just grabbed Sydor’s wheel, and it worked.”
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Images by Colin Meagher
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Men 1 Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis 2.17.23 2 Liam Killeen (GBr) Specialized 0.01 3 Sid Taberley (Aus) Specialized 2.34 4 Florian Vogel (Swi) SwissPower 3.35 5 Todd Wells (USA) GT 6 Bart Brentjens (Ned) Specialized 3.37 7 Adam Craig (USA) Giant Bicycyles 4.14 8 Barry Wicks (USA) Kona LesGets Factory Team 6.21 9 Roland Green (Can) LesGets Factory Team 6.22 10 Mathiew Toullouse (Can) 6.48 Final general classification 1 Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis 3.34.03 2 Liam Killeen (GBr) Specialized 0.21 3 Bart Brentjens (Ned) Specialized 3.01 4 Sid Taberley (Aus) Specialized 3.22 5 Florian Vogel (Swi) SwissPower 4.12 6 Todd Wells (USA) GT 4.42 7 Adam Craig (USA) Giant Bicycles 5.24 8 Roland Green (Can) Kona LesGets Factory Team 8.51 Women 1 Alison Sydor (Can) Rocky Mountain/Business Objects 3.03.54 2 Wendy Simms (Can) Frontrunners/Brodies 3 Alison Dunlap (USA) Luna Womens MTB Team 4 Kiara Bisaro (Can) Gearsracing.com Final general classification 1 Alison Sydor (Can) Rocky Mountain/Business Objects