JUNIOR & U23 WOMEN XC WORLD CHAMP’S

Some info off usacycling.org
Val Di Sole, Italy

 Jamie Dinkins (Powell, TN) turned in the top American performance on the second day of competition at the 2008 Mountain Bike World Championships. After starting 37th, Dinkins moved up 18 spots to finish 19th in the U23 Women’s Cross-Country. Jill Behlen (Boulder, CO) and Deidre York (Indio, CA) finished 31st and 33rd respectively in the Junior Women’s Cross-Country.
 
Dinkins was the sole American to take the start in the U23 women’s race and with no international racing experience was seeded at the back of the nearly 40-rider field. The 22-year-old didn’t waste time however, passing numerous riders on the first of the four lap affair.
 
‘I think I did two or three endos out there,’ said Dinkins. ‘This is my first Worlds. I was so pinned and nervous I couldn’t think straight. I am tickled to be in the top 20.’
 
Team USA’s Dinkins finished 16:14 back from overall winner Tanja Zakel of Slovenia who scorched through the 14.3-mile course in 1:35:31. Nathalie Schneitter (Swi) earned the silver medal 2:58 later and Aleksandra Dawidowicz (Pol) won the bronze 3:14 behind the overall winner.
 
Both competing in their first international contest, Behlen and York rode steadily throughout the 10.9-mile junior women’s cross-country competition. Against a much more experienced international field, the pair of Americans had their hands full from the start, both encountering difficulty as they attempted to tackle the first climb, a 1800 foot, damp, grassy ascent with a more than an 18 percent grade.
 
‘I was warned by my sister, Danae, who competed at Worlds a few years ago that the start would be tough,’ stated York. ‘It still didn’t prepare me for how fast and how hard everyone went right out of the gate.’
 
Behlen echoed York’s sentiments, emphasizing the difficulty of the mushy, grassy climbs rarely found on courses in the United States. Yesterday’s rain left much of the course very damp, forcing many of the junior competitors to walk the steep sections.
 
‘I just couldn’t run as fast as some of the other girls,’ explained Behlen. ‘Because the climbs were so steep and exhausting, you were tired for the descents.’
 
Laura Abril of Columbia won the three lap junior women’s contest in 1:16:08 with Barbara Benko (Hun) taking the silver only 37 seconds later. Germany’s Mona Eiberweiser finished third, 2:11 behind Abril. Behlen crossed the line 21:52 later and York finished 24:14 behind the

 

The event was not kind to prerace favorite Ren Chengyuan (China National). The 2006 U23 World Champion finished 2nd last year behind China National teammate Ying Liu. But Ren recovered well by coming out swinging this year and won the opening elite World Cup in Houffalize, Belgium. Ren had a terrible ride in Italy, immediately suffering a mechanical, and then riding uninspired to a 13th place score at 9:31 behind Tanja Zakel. Ying has aged out and is riding elite this year.
 
U23 WOMEN CROSS-COUNTRY RESULTS
1. Tanja Zakel (Slo)…1:35:31…9.0 mph av
2. Nathalie Schneitter (Swi)…Colnago Cap Arreghini…+2:58
3. Aleksandra Dawidowicz (Pol)…3:14
19. Jamie Dinkins…Devo-Vantaggio…16:14
 
JUNIOR WOMEN CROSS-COUNTRY RESULTS
1. Laura Abril (Col)…1:16:08…8.6 mph av
2. Barbara Benko (Hun)…+0:37
3. Mona Eiberweiser (Ger)…2:11
31. Jill Behlen…Tokyo Joe’s…21:52
33. Deidre York…Velobum-Turner…24:14

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