June 26/99 11:06 am - Story and Results from Big Bear DH World Cup
Posted by Editoress on 06/26/99
DH #4 from Big Bear
courtesy Annie Robillard UCI
Popular wins for US riders Missy Giove and Shaun Palmer at World Cup round 4 were the results of a thrilling day in the hot alpine sun when the circuit went to Big Bear Lake, California.
Palmer's First It was the closest of finishes, and when the clock stopped only 0.12" separated best friends Shaun Palmer, 31(USA), with 3'50.29" and Steve Peat, 25 (GBR) with 3'50.41". Shaun Palmer, 31, from Meeks Bay, California, now in his fourth season of racing, scored his first World Cup round win. Palmer, who has won two NORBA series races here (in '96 and '97), appears to be on a comeback after a troubled period in his downhill racing career. Let the podium pictures tell the story, but Palmer stated: "I'm happy for my first World Cup (round) win... I have had some struggles with my bike and mentally. Now I'm looking forward to the rest of the season. I want to make it a Steve Peat, Nicolas Vouilloz, Shaun Palmer show, that's what I'm going for," said a jubilant Palmer at the finish. He added: "It feels good to beat Nicolas Vouilloz, he rides his bike all winter: I have to snowboard." Vouilloz finished sixth today after an uncharacteristic mental aberration."I crashed, not because I was going too fast but because..." his mind wandered. "I made several mistakes at the start, and after the rocky jump (about 600m into the course) I said, ok, now it is time to stop making mistakes and start racing. Almost immediately after this I crashed!... C'est la vie." said Vouilloz. Steve Peat, whose second place puts him back into the overall lead of the series, was delighted to see his friend Palmer win. "I'm stoked for Palm. He's always been good at Big Bear." As for the overall contest, the close battle between Peat, now on 820 points, and Vouilloz now on 765 continues. "My main aim is to stay consistent. My confidence is booming. This is the way I want to carry on," said Peat. Vouilloz expressed a different view: "The World Cup is not a problem. It will be close until the the last race. I am not thinking about the World Cup, I think about each race as it comes. In two weeks I will not worry (about this result)." Dutchman Gerwin Peeters finished third with a time of 3'53.01", a result that strengthens his grip on third place overall with 570. Palmer's win moves him up to fifth place with 471.
Giove At Last When the last rider down the course, Anne-Caroline Chausson,22, (FRA), crossed the finish line Missy Giove, 27, (USA) roared with joy. This was the win that Giove had been waiting for since the start of the season. While only 0.46" separated Giove and second-placed Chausson, Marla Streb (USA) finished third 11.35" back. Deep dust and ruts on the course made it somewhat treacherous, and Chausson had thought this would suit her excellent technical ability. But when both her feet lost contact with the pedals near the top of the course, for an awful moment the six times world champion and World Cup title holder was flailing in the dust. "When you have a bad start, you have this on you mind for the whole race." Said Chausson at the finish. Although she did not lose much time to this error, Chausson lost her composure. "I made too many mistakes to win, I was feeling stressed and not confident," said the rider who has won every round of the World Cup so far this year and in 1998 won seven out of eight. For Missy Giove, this was a critical moment in her season. After world cup round three, signs of frustration were beginning to show in her facade. But the psychological boost Giove gains from this win will enable her, as one of the greatest campaigners in women's mountain biking, to put the kind of pressure on Chausson that has seen the Frenchwoman crack in the past, 1997 for example. "I'm feeling really good about this, I knew it would be tight... we have a competition now... this is good for the sport," said Giove. Asked about making mistakes, she admitted to some error in some of the technical sections in the semi-final, but she made a cleaner run - although still imperfect - in the final. In the semi-final, Giove had posted a time of 4'17.35" compared to Chausson's 4'16.23". "Anne-Caroline makes mistakes too. My problem is that I've been riding at 100%+. Today I went at 90%, and then at 100% in the pedalling sections. Giove, a resident of Durango, Colorado, who regards Big Bear as her home course, went on: "The course is very bitching this year. It is fast and slidy in the technical sections. It is an improvement over last year.. It feels great to win on home turf. My bike is brilliant and I have got unprecedented support."
2.25km (1.4mi) long and with a drop of 365m (1200ft), the Big Bear course offers a taste of Californian downhill riding. It is fast and dusty, with ruts that got deeper as the day progressed, which means that racing lines were in a state of constant change. While the trend in both the men's and the women's finals was for riders to post results 6-7 seconds faster than in their semi-final runs, there were some notable exceptions. Steve Peat felt that his final run was faster, in fact he went 0.65" slower than in the semi-final. "I knew there would be some sections of the track that had blown out (for example berms with big holes in them), so I slowed down for them, but even so I thought I would have been a lot faster. Palmer was 0.07" slower in the final than the semi-final. Vouilloz, with his crash was around 4 seconds slower in the fina. "The course might have slowed a bit for the final, but not more than one or two seconds," thought Vouilloz. The Big Bear track at Snow Summit ski area is a mainly rolling course with regular turns. About half way down, a descent of a steep rocky escarpment provides the main technical challenge. It is a course where the larger, more powerful riders should have an advantage over their lighter, more agile rivals.
1. Palmer, Shaun USA MTN DEW/SPECIALIZED 3:50.29
2. Peat, Steve GBR TEAMGT @ 0.12
3. Peters, Gerwin NED BE-ONE 2.72
4. Vazquez, David ESP MTN DEW/SPECIALIZED 3.64
5. Voreis, Kirt USA MTN DEW/SPECIALIZED 3.7
6. Vouilloz, Nicolas FRA TMSUNN 4.18
7. Pascal, Mickael FRA TMSUNN 4.74
8. Minnaar, Greg RSA KONA 4.9
9. Bailey, Colin USA Danger Unlimited 5.22
10. Warner, Rob GBR GIANT 5.74
1. Giove, Missy USA Foes/Azonic 4:10.49
2. Chausson, Anne Caroline FRA VOLVO-CANNONDALE :0.46
3. Streb, Marla USA Yeti :11.35
4. Donovan, Leigh USA Intense :12.03
5. Gonzalez, Mercedes ESP TEAMGT :14.37
6. Repo, Katja FIN :14.97
7. Le Caer, Nolvenn FRA TEAMGT :16.29
8. Elliott, Cheri USA Maxxis/tomac :18.07
9. Mortimer, Helen GBR Peak Specailized :19.08
10. Miller, Katrina AUS JAMIS :23.51
23. Skelton, Daamiann CAN ROCKY MTN :38.67
27. Haley, Barb CAN Kangaroo/Cyclepath :53.89
28. Blancher, Lorraine CAN Schwinn :56.97
29. Meade, Tera CAN Ellesworth :57.02
Andrew Shandro had a last minute brake problem, which meant he almost missed his start time. He did not qualify.
All results and story thanks to Annie Robilllard of UCI/GESTEV