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Sea Otter Classic - NE

USA, April 6-9, 2006

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Race 1 - Thursday, April 6: MTB stage race #1 - Super XC

Gunn-Rita super at Sea Otter

Peraud takes men's race ahead of favoured rivals

By Steve Medcroft in Monterey, CA

Gunn-Rita takes the win
Photo ©: Rob O'Dea
(Click for larger image)

Norway 's Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesja (Multivan-Merida) and France 's Jean-Christoph Peraud (Team Orbea) won the Sea Otter MTB stage race opener on Thursday morning on a windy and muddy half-road, half-mountain 2.3-mile course.

In the first event of the four-stage Sea Otter MTB Omnium, Dahle-Flesja stormed off the front in the very first lap of the women's race, leaving 2005 Omnium winner Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain/Business Objects) to out-sprint a chase group for second.

Sydor said the constant rainstorms that have swept across the Monterey peninsula in recent weeks waterlogged the dirt section of the hybrid course and helped create the break Dahle-Flesja needed. "It was a mighty, messy affair," she said after the race. "The ground was super saturated. We (Sydor and teammate Pia Sundstedt among others) were at the front up the first climb. But there was a huge amount of pedalling needed once you got into the mud and things broke up." Dahle-Presja slipped away.

Typically a power course, the off-cambre turns and boggy sinkholes threw racers off their rhythm. "Everyone was changing lines," Sydor said. "Each time we went through the mud, a few riders were going off the back so I made sure I stayed close to the front."

Dahle-Flesja finished unchallenged. "The group was chasing pretty hard but Gunn-Rita was a level ahead strength wise." Sydor patrolled the front of the eight-woman chase held off former road racer Georgia Gould (Luna Chix) for second place.

Jean-Christoph Peraud wins
Photo ©: Rob O'Dea
(Click for larger image)

The sloppy terrain also played a role in the men's race as European continental champion Jean-Christoph Peraud slipped away from a stumbling field to steal a solo win. "I started slowly," the 28-year-old Peraud said by phone Thursday evening. "I just stuck close to the riders in front of and behind me. When we left the road, I got 20 metres ahead in the mud and did the last part of the lap alone."

Two riders - Ralph Naef (Multivan Merida ) and Todd Wells (GT/Hyundai) – bridged up to Peraud. Australian Chris Jongewaard (Australian National Team) joined the trio, and the group stayed together for most of the race. "Near the end," Peraud said, "I did the downhill and got another gap, another 20 metres. I did the last lap alone." Peraud ultimately won by almost a full minute over a re-formed main group. 2005 Super XC and Curacao World Cup winner Bart Brentjens slipped across the line for second. Jongewaard held on for third.

Peraud says that he is more suited to cross country and doesn't expect to hold onto the Omnium title through Friday's time trial or Saturday's short track, but thinks that his performance on Thursday is a good sign for Sunday's cross-country race. "I would like to do well on Sunday," he said. "I did one lap of the course today and it's nice. It suits me."

The MTB Omnium continues tomorrow with a two-mile time trial.

Race Notes:

  • Peraud's Super XC win didn't come without a moment of uncertainty; race announcers gave the leader a mixed signal about how many laps he had left to go in the timed competition. "They thought we had to do one hour and one lap," Peraud explained. "When I passed the line, it was 59 minutes." Which means Peraud expected that his next time through the start-finish (his first past the one-hour mark) would leave him with one more lap to race. But the race was actually over when he crossed the line. "I tried to leave to do the last lap alone and someone stopped me and told me I had won."
  • The points awarded to Alison Sydor for her second place in the women's race give her the best chance to challenge Dahle-Flesja for the omnium, but the Canadian says she's not hung up on defending her title. "There is a lot going on this weekend. There are four races, sure, but Sunday's E1 cross-country race is most important." Important because Sydor, like most other elite pros, is aware that every highly-ranked UCI race she can attend is important to her country's chances to score the maximum number of starting spots in the 2008 Beijing Olympic mountain-bike competition. "This is the two years where we need the points to determine the number of start spots," she says. "The European racers have a lot more chances at UCI points so we have to be strategic as to where we race so I'm riding with the national at most of the World Cups this year to get the points but I'll also do some of the NORBA's and some of the Canada Cups – as many UCI points as we can."
  • Where has the weather gone? Although the ground was still saturated from weeks of rain, the weather could not have been more perfect on Thursday. Clear skies, temperatures in the low sixties and calmer-than-Sea-Otter-normal winds left riders smiling. The ever-changing weather forecasts now call for rain only on Saturday which, Alison Sydor says, should make the short-track race interesting to watch.
  • Missing from the starting line-ups was both 2005 US short track national champion Shonny Vanlandingham (Luna Chix) and four-time cross-country national champion Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru/Gary Fisher). Both riders are sick and likely saving themselves for Sunday's cross-country race.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Rob O'Dea/onetrak@gmail.com


Pro/Elite men
1 Jean Christoph Peraud (Fra) Orbea                              1.11.13
2 Bart Brentjens (Ned) Giant-Racing-Team                            1.02
3 Chris Jangewoard (Aus) Australian National Team                   1.03
4 Ralph  Naef (Swi) Multivan Merida Biking Team
5 Liam Killeen (GBr) Specialized Factory Racing
6 Todd Wells (USA) GT Bicycles                                      1.08
7 José Antonio Hermida (Spa) Multivan Merida Biking Team            1.09
8 Sid Taberlay (Aus) Dolphin Bike Team                              1.39
9 Karl Platt (Ger) Rocky Mountain Business Objects                  1.53
10 Matt Kelly (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher                              1.54
11 Thomas Frishcknecht (USA) Swisspower/Scott
13 Christophe Sauser (Swi) Specialized Factory Racing               1.56
14 Max Plaxton (Can) Rocky Mountain/ Business Objects               2.12
15 Michael Broderick (USA) Seven Cycles/Kenda                       2.52
16 Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Trek/VW                                    3.05
17 Simon Richardson (GBr) Subaru-Gary Fisher                        3.18
18 Rudi Van Houts (Ned) Dolphin Bike Team                           4.05
19 Antonio Ortiz (Spa) Specialized Spain                            4.11
20 Kris Sneddon (Can) Kona Les Gets Factory Team                    4.17
21 Michael Weiss (Aut) SRM Simplon Team                             4.46
22 Geoff Kabush (Can) Jittery Joe's-Kalahari
23 Jelmer Pietersma (Ned) Dolphin Bike Team
24 Adam Craig (USA) Giant                                           4.57
25 Barry Wicks (USA) Kona Les Gets                                  5.03
26 Sam  Schultz (USA) U23 National Team                             5.05
27 Ricky  Federau (Can) Team R.A.C.E. com                           5.51
28 Matt Martindill (Can) NA                                         6.09
29 Neal Kindree (Can) Kona Factory                                  6.57
30 Chris Eatough (USA)
31 Tristan Schouten (USA) PCW Cycling team                          7.13
32 Alban Lakata (Aut) Specialized Factory Racing                    7.19
33 Carsten Bresser (Ger) Rocky Mountain Business Objects
34 Shaun Lewis (Aus) Australian National Team                       7.30
35 Charles  Jenkins (USA) cytomax/KHS                               7.38
36 Ken Onodera (Jpn) Subaru-Gary Fisher                             7.40
37 Troy Misseghers (Can) Mountain Bike City
38 Nick Waite (USA) Kelly Benefit Strategies
39 Jason Sager (USA) Hotel San Jose/Cannondale                      8.24
40 Sam  Jurekovic (USA) U23 National Team                           8.48
41 Michael Lee (USA) Trek VW JBL                                    8.50
42 Carl Decker (USA) Broadmark Capital                              9.07
43 Brendan Macintosh (Can) Brendan MacIntosh
44 Eric Ransom (USA) Tamarack Resort/ Intense
45 Christian Favata (USA) campmor/hutchinson                        9.08
46 Perry Paolini (USA) Trek-VW West                                 9.21
47 Charlie Pendry (USA) Inland Construction/BTD                     9.27
48 Andy Schultz (USA) Cannondale Mountain Bike Team                 9.50
49 Tim Olson (USA)                                                  9.57
50 Nick Martin (USA)                                               10.09
51 Cody Peterson (USA) 3D Racing/ SRAM/ LFP&Co                     10.27
52 Jeff Schalk (USA) Trek-VW East                                  10.50
53 Roddi Lega (Can) Norco Factory Team/United Cycle                11.07
54 Oyvind Aas (Nor) Team Stifinner/Giant
55 Kevin Bradford-Parish (USA) Bicycle Butler/Rocky Mountain       11.14
56 Colin  Cares (USA) U23 National Team                            11.15
57 Sean Donovan (USA) cytomax/KHS                                  11.36
58 Austin Carroll (USA) Team Devo                                  11.55
59 Bryan Fawley (USA) University of Montana                        11.56
60 Ben Thompson (USA) Santiam Bicycles / Breakaway Consulting      12.35
61 Aren Timmel (USA) Soulcraft                                     12.56
62 Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona/Clarks/LesGets                           12.58
63 Craig Richey (Can) Cove Bikes                                   13.11
64 Dana Weber (USA) JAX Bicycle Center
65 Paolo Montoya (CRi) Santa Ana
66 Cale Redpath (USA) 3D Racing                                    13.12
67 Leonardo Sandoval (USA) Bicycle John's/Kenda/MGTEC              13.15
68 Walker Ferguson (USA) Scott/Spinner                             13.16
69 Mitchell Peterson (USA) Balance Bar/ Devo                       13.39
70 TJ Woodruff (USA) Litespeed/PCW                                 13.46
71 Dallas Morris (C DeadGoat Racing                                13.47
72 Pierre-Yves Facomprez (Fra) A.S Fourchambault
73 Noah Singer (USA) Cannondale Mountain Bike Team                 14.20
74 Clint Muhlfeld (USA) Sportsman Ski Haus-Cannondale              14.38
75 Kris Holden (USA) Wheelsport
76 Patrick Bush (USA) clif bar                                     15.15
77 Justin  Robinson (USA) Cal Giant /Village Peddler               16.27
78 Paul Hanson (USA)                                               17.33
Pro/Elite women
1 Gunn-Rita  Dahle Flesjaa (Nor) Multivan Merida Biking Team     1.04.00
2 Alison  Sydor (Can) Rocky Mountain/Business Objects               2.44
3 Georgia  Gloud (USA) Luna Women's MTB Team
4 Irmiger Heather (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher                          2.45
5 Kiara Bisaro (Can) Team R.A.C.E. COM
6 Dara Marks Marino (USA) Titus/Kenda
7 Katerina Nash (USA) Luna Women's MTB Team
8 Jimena Florit (USA) Luna Women's MTB Team
9 Mary Mcconneloug (USA) Seven Cycles/Kenda
10 Sue Hayward (USA) Trek VW
11 Pia Sundstedt (Ger) Business Objects/ Rocky Mountain             4.09
12 Sabrina Enaux (Fra) Lapierre Factory Team                        4.27
13 Lea Davison (USA)                                                4.34
14 Asa Erlandsson (Swe) Subaru-Gary Fisher                          4.35
15 Kelli Emmett (USA) Ford Cycling
16 Mical Dyck (Can) Terrascape Racing                               4.46
17 Willow Koerber (Can) Subaru-Gary Fisher                          4.47
18 Sara Bresnick-Zocchi (USA) Ford Cycling                          5.08
19 Wendy Simms (Can) Velo Bella - Kona                              5.41
20 Jenny Copnall (GBr) Subaru-Gary Fisher                           5.59
21 Sabine Spitz (Ger) Specialized Factory Racing                    7.38
22 Monique Sawicki (USA) Sho-Air/Team Mata                          7.44
23 Catharine Pendrel (Can) Norco                                    8.09
24 Rie Katayama (Jpn) Trek                                          8.30
25 Tomarra Muhlfeld (USA) Trek/VW                                   9.00
26 Kristin  Danielson (USA) Velo Bella - Kona                       9.02
27 Cecile Rode (Fra) Lapierre Factory Team                          9.03
28 Nina Baum (USA) Cannondale Mountain Bike Team
29 Patricia Sinclair (Can) Scott USA/Kenda                          9.45
30 Lara Kroepsch (USA) T-Mobile
31 Kathy Sherwin (USA) Ford Cycling                                10.30
32 Jenna Zander (USA) Cannondale Mtn Bike Team                     10.48
33 Judy Freeman (USA) Cannondale MTB Team                          10.50
34 Melanie Meyers (USA) Ford Cycling                               11.13
35 Nathalie Schneitter (Swi) rocky mountain                        11.42
36 Stacey Scanlan (USA) Tamarack                                   11.45
37 Krista Park (USA) Colavita/Addictive Cycles                     12.08
38 Christine Misseghers (Can) Mountain Bike City                   12.11
39 Melanie Mcquad (USA) Orbea                                      12.17
40 Josie Beggs (USA) Starbucks                                     12.18
41 Niki Gudex (Aus) SRM Simplon Team                               12.49
42 Megan Monroe (USA) Colo Preimier Training
43 Jennifer Gersbach (USA) Tokyo Joe's
44 Kyia Malenkovich (USA) Headmethod.com                           13.19
45 Linden Kimmerer (USA) Soulcraft                                 14.09
46                                                                 14.11
47 Meggan Flaherty (USA) Bicycle John's Serious Cycling            14.20
48 Carolyn Popovic (USA) MTBchick.com/Cannondale                   14.35
49 Theresa Richardson (USA) Cannondale Mountain Bike Team          14.45
50 Shannon Holden (USA) Velo Bella - Kona                          15.32
51                                                                 15.34
52 Cristina Begy (USA) Spot

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