By Mike Cushionbury
It’s a weird time of year right now for professional cross-country. The World Championships are over but the Olympics are coming up. That’s one big one down and a bigger one to go.
Best guesstimate is that maybe 40-percent of the Olympic field has been chosen. That means for those riders, the rest of the World Cup is America’s favorite cheese. These riders are preparing for the so-called ?big-one? down under in a couple of months. In many cases, that means disappearing from competition until the Olympic race. For the rest of ?em on the Olympic field indecision squad, the World Cups are everything because you don?t go unless you do well in the premiere mountain bike series.
For the downhill crowd it is business as usual. The rainbow jerseys have been awarded but there is still a series to win. This brings us to this weekend in Mont Sainte-Anne, Canada, the first post World Championship World Cup race. Mont Sainte Anne has a rare triple bill featuring downhill and Dual on Saturday and cross-country on Sunday. The technical terrain saw no recent rain so the courses are dry and fast. Here is a brief rundown of the action so far?
MISSY WINS DOWNHILL!!
In a blazing return to the top spot in exciting Missy fashion (which means she almost crashed a few times but somehow hung on), Missy Giove upset perennial favorite Anne-Caroline Chausson and reoccuring star Leigh Donovan to win the women’s downhill by one second.
Men’s action saw a young upstart Frenchman by the name of Fabien Barel throw the whoop on some guy named Nicolas Vouilloz to the tune of one second. The word is Fabien lives near Nico and trains with him regularly. Barel hasn?t won a World Cup downhill before but he did indeed with the junior World Championship on 1998 at this very location.
1. Fabien Barel (FRA) GT
2. Nicolas Vouilloz (FRA) Vouilloz Racing Team.
3. Steve Peat (GBR) Team GT
4. Gerwin Peters (NED) Be-One
5. David Vazquez (ESP) Subaru-Specialized
1. Missy Giove (USA) Foes/Azonic
2. Anne-Caroline Chausson (FRA) Volvo-Cannondale).
3. Katja Repo (FIN) Team GT
4. Leigh Donovan (USA) Schwinn/Toyota
5. Elke Brutsaert (USA) Schwinn/Toyota
1. C?ic Gracia (FRA) Volvo-Cannondale
2. Scott Beaumont (GBR) Kona
3. Steve Peat (GBR) Team GT
4. Mike King (USA) Haro-Lee Dungarees)
1. Anne-Caroline Chausson (FRA) Volvo-Cannondale
2. Tara Llanes (USA) Subaru-Specialized
3. Katrina Miller (AUS, Jamis
4. Cheri Elliott (USA) Maxxis
WORLD CUP CROSS-COUNTRY #6: CADEL EVANS IS BACK!
After a season that started in mishap, Aussie Cadel Evans of the Volvo-Cannondale team showed the rest of the pro men that he is ready for the Olympics by destroying the field in Mont Sainte-Anne, Quebec on Sunday to win the Tissot-UCI World Cup in more than convincing fashion.
Not even racing an actual World Cup cross-country until round four, Cadel rode with the leaders in this sixth round until lap five of seven and then attacked with a frenzy, eventually putting just over two and have minutes on second place rider (and Volvo-Cannondale teammate) Christoph Sauser.
With World Champion Miguel Martinez (Full Dynamix) sitting back in the high twenties, World Cup series leader Christophe Dupouey (Team Giant) was content to let Sauser go and only wish he had the speed of Cadel on this day.
How good are American Olympic hopes? About as likely as Jimmy Swaggert giving out refunds. Let’s see, in this race where American coach Stephane Girard was looking on at his choices, NORBA National Championship leader Kirk Molday (Trek-Volkswagen pulled out, Tinker Juarez (Volvo-Cannondale) broke his seatpost and Steve Larsen (our best bet) finished 28th. But wait, Travis Brown (Trek-Volkswagen) who just returned to the World Cup after breaking his leg at the second round finished a respectable 20th. Will Travis be the sleeper in Australia come September?
1. Cadel Evans (AUS) Volvo-Cannondale
2. Christoph Sauser (SUI) Volvo-Cannondale
3. Christophe Dupouey (FRA) Team Giant
4. Filip Meirhaeghe (BEL) Subaru-Specialized
5. Bas Van Dooren (NED) Be-One
The women’s field saw Scott’s Barbara Blatter win her second World Cup this year. At one point Fisher-SAAB rider Chrissy Redden (enjoying her best season ever) caught Blatter but didn?t have the power to hang-on when Blatter attacked. While the Canadian team selection isn?t final yet, Redden looks to be a shoe-in with her so-far impressive results. Again, Gary Fisher ruled the field with two riders on the podium.
The eye opener of the weekend (besides Cadel’s return to glory) was a semi-privateer American named Kelli Emmett riding for Litespeed. She finished tenth in a field that was packed with the best riders in the world. If that ain?t something, I don?t know what is.
1. Barbara Blatter (SUI) Scott
2. Chrissy Redden (CAN) Gary Fisher-SAAB
3. Regina Marunde (GER) Focus
4. Alison Dunlap (USA) Team GT
5. Mary Grigson (AUS) Gary Fisher-SAAB