Posted by Editoress on 07/25/09
In a day of absolutely schizophrenic weather conditions, Sabrina Jonnier (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain Bicycles) claimed her 5th downhill win of the season at Mont Ste Anne, Quebec. Jonnier mastered a difficult course made even more challenging by the variable amounts of moisture on track.
MSA had rain overnight. Not a lot, but enough to make things pretty slick for this morning's training. Based on the cloud cover, wind and drizzle, common thought was that it would be a wet afternoon. At the beginning of the women's race, the top half of the mountain was obscured by cloud. However, the expected rain didn't happen, and there were even a few brief moments of sun. What it meant to the racers though was an incredibly difficult time selecting the right tire. There was still a lot of mud in some sections, whereas other spots had dried out considerably by race time. Running mud tires robs top end speed but, of course, aids traction in the loose soil. In a sport where fractions of a second can separate several racers, it was a very important consideration.
The women's field had 20 starters. Through the first 10 racers, there was rapid and frequent turnover in the hot seat. The first rider to hang on to the hot seat for a bit was Emilie Siegenthaler (Scott 11). Siegenthaler was eventually dislodged by Melissa Buhl, who was clearly stoked by her run. “It was pretty good. I struggled a bit in the mud but I kept it together. I was going back and forth between the mud and the dry tires and I was glad I stuck to the dry. There were a couple of spots of mud where I would have like spikes, but it paid off in the rocks because they were pretty slippery.“
After Buhl was Canadian Champion Claire Buchar (Chain Reaction Cycles/Intense). Buchar was having a good run, but unfortunately crashed on the lower part of the course. She was very disappointed with herself. “It happened in the last section of woods. I was having such a good run up until then. Everything was going good and I was giving it all I had. I don't know what happened. It happened so quickly. I went over that same rock every single time and this time my front wheel went out. I lost a whole bunch of time. I'm really disappointed because I wanted to do well this weekend. That's racing.” Buchar finished in 13th place, 30.02 seconds back.
The next rider to lay down a fast run was Emmeline Ragot (Suspension Center) at 5:30.29, which was good enough to maintain the Hot Seat until only Jonnier remained to descend. Jonnier was the class of the field, with the big TV screen at the finish showing her great control. Her run was 5:26.50, beating Ragot by 3.79 seconds. “That run was the best of the weekend. Conditions were a lot different than this morning. It dried out a lot. I decided to be a bit cautious and then go fast when I could. I just want to win and be happy on my bike.” Jonnier's win was her fifth consecutive of the season.
Tracy Moseley (Trek World Racing) finished in 3rd place, 4.77 seconds back. Top Canadian was Micayla Gatto in 11th at 26.80 seconds, Danice Uyesugi in 15th at 31.69 and Rebecca McQueen in 17th at 34.36.
With her win here, Jonnier stretches her lead in the World Cup standings to 1382 points, with Emmeline Ragot a distant second with 1115 points. 4 of the top 5 are now French riders, with only Moseley, in 3rd, breaking the streak.
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