Posted by Editoress on 03/13/04
NORBA #1 Waco Texas
Short Track Photos
Junior Expert Men
Canadian cyclists won for the second consecutive day at the opening event in the NORBA national mountain bike series, with Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain-Business Objects) winning the women's race, and Ryder Hesjedal (Subaru-Gary Fisher) the men's. Hesjedal led a Canadian sweep of the top four spots in the men's short track circuit race, outsprinting stage one winner Seamus McGrath (Haro). Geoff Kabush (Maxxis) finished third, and Andreas Hestler (Rocky Mountain-Business Objects) fourth. Chrissy Redden (Subaru-Gary Fisher) joined Sydor on the women's podium, in fifth place. McGrath continues to lead the overall standings for the men after two stages, and Sydor leads Kiara Bisaro (GearsRacing.com) in the women's event (note: official results and GC standings are not yet available from the organizers). Canadian Mark Batty (Bay Cycle) dominated the Junior Expert men's race, with his second win in as many stages.
The long circuit was more of a road course than a mountain bike one. Starting on pavement, the riders did a pavement climb and then a 180 to head back down on grass beside the road. They went through a stutter bump back onto the road, and then off the pavement onto a hardpack bike path. Just past the start line they did another 180, only 100 metres from the finish line. Both men and women did 20 minutes plus three laps. There were a couple of slippery sections, but most riders used semi-slick tires.
In the women's competition, Sydor was expecting a tactical race, and that was exactly what happened.
"It looked like it was going to be a fairly tactical race, so I had my team mate Sarah Noble attack to see who would chase. I was expecting Luna to be more aggressive than they were. I tried to get to the front on the last climb, but Alison (Dunlap - Luna) got by me into the singletrack. I knew I was descending faster than the others - I was riding down with no brakes and the others were braking. But, Alison got by, so I waited until the bottom, when we went through a muddy ditch. I went through there, and just powered to the finish. If I was leading along that last section I was pretty confident; I had a lot left in my legs and it would be pretty hard to come by someone after that last corner."
Hesjedal and McGrath made the initial break in the men's race, and Kabush joined them as he saw them going clear. The trio were joined by Texan Jason Sager. However, Sager wasn't working, so Kabush gapped him and then jumped back up to the other two leaders, squashing Sager's hopes.
"I went for the holeshot on the first climb, as hard as I could." explained Hesjedal. "Seamus was with me, and then Geoff came up. Three is better than two, to break the wind, so we had a good group. At the end, I was able to come by Seamus out of the last corner. It's another victory for the Rockpile!"
For a couple of laps the gap hovered around 10 seconds, but Chris Sheppard (Haro) and Liam Killeen (Subaru-Gary Fisher) were covering the front of the pack for their team mates, so the gap grew to nearly 30 seconds. In the last lap, Kabush dropped back, unable to match the speed of the other two. McGrath led into the last corner, which should have assured him the stage, but swung wide and Hesjedal came through for the stage win.
Kabush came in a few seconds later for third, and Hestler attacked along the final stretch to get the holeshot into the corner. Sheppard just missed making it a complete Canadian podium when he picked too low a gear for the sprint, enabling John Devine (U23 Mountain Bike Team)to get by him at the line.
- We probably won't hear until tomorrow morning about the what the length of the men's cross country race will be. Initially, it was going to be three laps for the women and four for the men. However, the teams are asking for a shorter race, especially since it doesn't start until 3 pm (originally the men and women were both going to be on the course at 1 pm, but they were separated, since the circuit is so tight and there is little room to pass). The thinking now is three laps for the women and three and a half for the men.
- This is Mark Batty's first NORBA race as a Junior Expert. He has been down in Tucson for the last five weeks with his brother Eric, Jesse Jakomait, Andrew Watson and Andrew Erb. Only Jakomait came to this race with him. From here he goes to the Desert Classic, then to Sea Otter.
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