May 8/99 1:18 am - Women's Race Story from St Wendel
Posted by Editor on 05/8/99
St Wendel Women's Race - The Story
Philippe Reinaer has just sent in the following information for today's fourth race in the women's cross country World Cup. Chrissy Redden (Ritchey-Yahoo!) has also phoned in a report that we have incorporated into the story.
Alison Sydor (Volvo-Cannondale) got off to her usual fast start, and was leading a group at the top of the first climb. Chrissy was in this group of about 7 and then they hit one of the technical, slippery sections and had to run, and, in Chrissy's words: "four of them just ran away. It was just...wow, they were gone." The foursome were Sydor, Paola Pezzo (Gary Fisher-Saab), Gunn-Rita Dahle (DBS) and Alison Dunlap (GT). This quartet quickly moved into a 30 second lead by the end of the second lap, and to 50 seconds clear by the end of the third. Behind, it was Caroline Alexander (American Eagle) leading the chase, with Annabella Stropparo (Volvo-Cannondale) steadily moving up. Some other favourites, such as Laurence Leboucher (GT) and Chantal Daucourt (Trek-Volkswagen) were having poor days, and eventually dropped out. Chrissy, after feeling good in training all week, ran into stomach problems over the next few laps and started dropping back, eventually going as low as 15th. However, she began to recover on the fourth lap, and started passing people through the final lap. "I was getting ready to go by 9th, and then I flatted with about 2.5 k to go. I decided to ride it in (mainly descending for the last 2 kilometres), and was passed first by Alison Dunlap, and then in the final 500 meters by Lesley (Tomlinson). It was a frustrating day."
Back at the front, Pezzo made her winning move at the end of the 4th lap. She dropped the other three and splintered the group. Sydor was sitting in second, 15 seconds back, as they entered the last lap. Dahle was third, a minute behind Sydor, but Alexander had overtaken Dunlap and was breathing down the Norwegian's neck. Stropparo had also moved up behind Dunlap. At the line it was Pezzo by a minute on Sydor, Dahle outsprinting Alexander for third, and Stropparo in 5th (Dunlap faded badly, finishing in 10th place).
For the other Canadians in the race there was good and bad tidings: Chrissy Redden (Ritchey-Yahoo!) struggled, getting off to a poor start and never cracking the top ten (except at the start). She yo-yoed between 10th and 12th place all race, eventually finishing 12th, just behind Lesley Tomlinson (Polo Sport) - who was having one of her best races of the year. Melanie Dorion (Team Ford-Devinci) rode consistently for a 22nd place finish, with Melanie McQuaid (GM-Rocky Mountain) coming in 40th.
After the race, Alison Sydor said that it was a very tactical race, and that she was disappointed in a last minute change of the course. She (and other riders) had installed tires suitable for a very slippery technical descent. However, the organizer announced on the start line that the section had been changed! Chrissy Redden said "they replaced the downhill with a fire road, but none of us knew anything about it."
The World Cup standings have not changed for the first three places, with Sydor opening up her lead a little further over Dahle. Dunlap sits in third, but Pezzo and Grigson are starting to catch her. Chrissy Redden has slipped just behind Grigson into 5th place in the rankings, and Tomlinson remains 16th. McQuaid moves up one place to 19th and Dorion jumps three, to 25th.
The men had a Qualifier for tomorrow's race, with Canadians Peter Wedge, Mathieu Toulouse and Adam Walker having to qualify. Wedge and Toulouse made it, but Walker didn't. Chrissy says that she thinks he had either a mechanical or crash in the last lap, because up to that point he was doing fine and would have qualified, she believes.
Philippe Reinaer is the head of the European arm of the Alison Sydor Fan Club. His website can be found at: http://www.geocities.com/Colosseum/Track/2186/