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Mountain Bike World Championships - CM
Fort William, Scotland, September 4-9, 2007
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Race 10 - September 8: Elite women cross country
Late race surge gives Russian the rainbow bands
By Rob Jones in Fort William
Russia's Irina Kalentyeva's dream season continues, with a rainbow jersey now to add to her collection of World Cup wins and World Cup series lead. Kalentyeva attacked breakaway companions Sabine Spitz (Germany) and Jingjing Wang (China) on the third lap and steadily extended her lead through the final lap to beat Spitz by 39 seconds and Jingjing by 1:42. Canadian favourite Marie-Helene Premont faded in the middle portion of the race before recovering to take fourth, just ahead of Rosara Joseph (New Zealand) and Catharine Pendrel (Canada).
Premont went to the front on the first lap, and was joined by Kalentyeva, Spitz, Jingjing and Maja Wloszczowska of Poland. Right behind them over the top of the climb were Pendrel, Anna Szafraniec (Poland), Joseph, Magdalena Sadlecka (Poland) and Georgia Gould (USA).
Pendrel descended strongly and joined the front four just before the end of the lap, with Wloszczowska chasing on her own at 20 seconds. However, the Polish rider had blood all over her skinsuit and was bleeding heavily from an arm injury, and subsequently dropped out.
Into the second lap, Jingjing attacked hard, taking Kalentyeva and Spitz with her and opening a gap on the two Canadians. By the top of the climb it was up to 30 seconds, with Premont just trailing Pendrel. At the end of the lap the split had jumped to 55 seconds on Pendrel, with Premont struggling and having been passed by Joseph for fifth.
"Sabine messed up the technical bit at the start of the second lap and it opened a gap between me and the front four," explained Pendrel. "I couldn't get back, but I was able to bridge up to Marie-Helene after she was dropped by the other three."
Premont backed off because the pace was too much. "On the first lap I felt good, and I did all the first lap at the front, no one would come to the front. Then on the second the Chinese girl (Jingjing) gave a big push and it was overpaced (too fast for me). But I'm not too unhappy, I gave it everything I had, and I'm just happy to see another Canadian rider doing so well (Pendrel)."
Kalentyeva attacked on the third lap, taking Spitz with her and dropping Jingjing. The Russian was able to ride the descent faster and built up a slight lead on Spitz going into the final lap, which she then extended on the climb and final descent to win the first elite mountain bike title for Russia.
"The beginning of the race was hard for me because the tempo was so high," said Kalentyeva. "So I was waiting in the group for later in the race. The last two laps I was feeling better and better. In the third lap I knew that I had to get away or it would be a big problem to win in the last lap, so I gave it everything. On the downhill I was feeling very good, and descending the best, I think, so I could make some time there."
"It was my dream to win here, and the dream came true."
- Pendrel may have faded a bit in the last lap to finish 6th, but she still considers this result her finest - ahead of the gold medal she won last month at the Pan Am Games. "Finishing 6th at the Worlds is definitely the highlight of my career; it is awesome to ride so well here. At the end, Rosara just got into the downhill ahead of me, and I think she was riding the flat section at the bottom faster."
- Kalentyeva and Spitz were asked about the 'Unfit to Race' suspension Spaniard Marga Fullana was hit with 24 hours before the race - was it a surprise? "No it didn't surprise me, it is something we can expect." Kalentyeva was more diplomatic: "I didn't know about it until just before the race, so it was unexpected."
- What about the missing Gunn-Rita Dahle-Flesjaa? Has it changed the way races go? Spitz says "Yes, it is a big change from the last two years, when there was one rider out in front and everyone else riding for second. Now there is a big group of girls able to win." Kalentyeva agrees: "It makes the races more interesting, I think. Now you have 3, 4, 5 riders at the front, all riding very well. However, it does not change the tactics, since we all still race as hard as we can."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Didier Weemaels/www.pixstream.eu
Images by Rob Jones/www.canadiancyclist.com
1 Irina Kalentieva (Russia) 1.44.08 2 Sabine Spitz (Germany) 0.39 3 Jingjing Wang (China) 1.42 4 Marie-Helene Premont (Canada) 3.16 5 Rosara Joseph (New Zealand) 3.34 6 Catherine Pendrel (Canada) 4.11 7 Anna Szafraniec (Poland) 4.37 8 Lene Byberg (Norway) 4.50 9 Georgia Gould (United States of America) 5.03 10 Blaza Klemencic (Slovenia) 5.59 11 Kiara Bisaro (Canada) 6.23 12 Mary Mc Conneloug (United States of America) 6.54 13 Petra Henzi (Switzerland) 7.09 14 CÚcile Rode Ravanel (France) 7.26 15 Willow Koerber (United States of America) 7.39 16 Maroussia Rusca (Switzerland) 7.41 17 Katrin Leumann (Switzerland) 7.48 18 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 8.12 19 Laurence Leboucher (France) 8.14 20 Magdalena Sadlecka (Poland) 8.44 21 Heather Irmiger (United States of America) 9.00 22 Maria Osl (Austria) 9.22 23 Sarah Koba (Switzerland) 9.33 24 Sabrina Enaux (France) 9.40 25 Lea Davison (United States of America) 9.41 26 Kelli Emmett (United States of America) 9.50 27 Kaytee Boyd (New Zealand) 9.54 28 Anna Enocsson (Sweden) 9.59 29 Arielle Van Meurs (Netherlands) 10.13 30 Evelyn Staffler (Italy) 10.38 31 Yolanda Speedy (South Africa) 10.46 32 Katrin Schwing (Germany) 10.53 33 Katerina Nash (Czech Republic) 11.16 34 Laura Turpijn (Netherlands) 11.25 35 Ivonne Kraft (Germany) 11.30 36 SÚverine Hansen (France) 11.32 37 Nina G÷hl (Germany) 12.19 38 Laura Morfin Macouzet (Mexico) 12.27 39 Viviana Maya (Colombia) 12.46 40 Anja Mcdonald (New Zealand) 13.11 41 Bernardine Boog-Rauwerda (Netherlands) 13.28 42 Ruth Moll Marques (Spain) 13.44 43 Janka Stevkova (Slovakia) 14.23 44 Amy-Jane Mundy (South Africa) 14.32 45 Rie Katayama (Japan) 14.40 46 Maaris Meier (Estonia) 15.24 47 Jenny Copnall (Great Britain) 15.25 48 Oxana Rybakova (Russia) 16.00 49 Ksenia Chernykh (Russia) 16.35 50 Rocio Gamonal Ferrera (Spain) 16.42 51 Ivanda Eiduka (Latvia) 17.11 52 Jennifer O'connor (New Zealand) 17.42 53 Tania Raats (South Africa) 19.00 54 Jaqueline Mourao (Brazil) 19.06 55 Beth Mccluskey (Ireland) 19.25 56 Ruth Mcgavigan (Great Britain) 20.21 57 Inbar Ronen (Israel) 20.58 58 Tarja Owens (Ireland) 21.08 59 Daniela Bunzli (Chile) 23.51 60 Sara Muhl (South Africa) 24.21 61 Senem Guler (Turkey) 29.21 62 Elizabeth Scalia (Great Britain) 63 Ivana Ruszkowski (Croatia) DNF Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) DNF Elina Sophocleous (Cyprus) DNS Elsbeth Van Rooij-Vink (Netherlands) DNS Elena Gaddoni (Italy) DNS Sarka Chmurova (Czech Republic) DNS Lubomira Kalinova (Slovakia) DNS Christelle Ferrier-Bruneau (France) DNS Franziska Roethlin (Switzerland) DNS Olga Vinogradova (Russia)