Posted by Editoress on 07/19/99
Canada Cup Cross Country #5, Rocky Mountain House, Alberta: July 17-18
Freakish weather, courtesy of La Nina, brought lots of rain and as much as 30 centimeters of snow to Rocky Mountain House, Alberta this past week, site of today's Canada Cup Cross Country #5. Sixty-five points separated Canada Cup leader Peter Wedge (NB Mapei/Kona) and George Visser (QC Xenacom) as the field prepared to do battle on a weather-altered course that featured a looong opening fire-road climb followed by plenty of narrow, wet, rooty singletrack descending.
As the riders hammered away from the starting area to begin the long initial climb, Wedge appeared to lose balance and immediately dismounted to attend to a very untimely broken chain. The pack, mostly unaware of Wedge's predicament, pedaled out of view as Wedge calmly attended to the mishap.
Silence overcame the starting area as the men's field disappeared from view and Wedge continued to sort out his problems. A minute passed which brought on the start of the Senior Expert Men's category. Another minute passed and the Senior Elite Women were on course and rapidly moving away. Yet another minute passed and the final category, the Master Expert Men, were on course as well, and Wedge, now showing some frustration, continued to struggle with the mechanical problem. "I felt like turning around and going back to the car," Wedge would later explain of his crisis. But perseverance paid off as Wedge finally put everything in order and began his chase more than five minutes down on the leaders.
With the current Canada Cup leader well off the back, George Visser, Eric Tourville (PQ Oryx), Chris Blanchard (AB River Valley Cycle/Tatonka) and Mathieu Toulouse (PQ Ford/Devinci) fought for control at the front of the pack. At the three-quarter point of the first lap, Tourville had established a gap of 15 seconds on Visser. Blanchard and Toulouse were within striking distance of Visser, and Wedge, having already worked his way through the entire field of Master Expert Men and Elite Women, was tearing through the singletrack but was now 5:40 down on the leader, Tourville. As Wedge tried to pick his way through the tight singletrack, and the Senior Expert field, Tourville was able to extend his lead over Wedge to 6 minutes by the time the first lap was completed.
Having received the news that Wedge was well back, Tourville attacked with ferocity and began to work on his lead. With clear sailing ahead, he attacked the challenging technical sections and stretched his lead on his chasers by nearly a minute after two laps. Meanwhile, local favourite, Chris Blanchard had worked his way twenty-six seconds ahead of Visser who was now riding just a few seconds behind Toulouse. Chad Miles (BC OGC Gary Fisher) trailed the Quebec duo by fourteen seconds and Jeff Kabush (BC Kona Factory) was on the move another thirty seconds back. Wedge had by this time worked his way into the top twenty but still trailed the leader by six minutes.
Tourville continued to stretch his lead into the fourth lap and had established a minute and seven second lead on Blanchard after three. Visser and Toulouse remained within sight of each other and dueled for much of the third and fourth laps. Jeff Kabush, meanwhile, had managed to catch Chad Miles and was beginning to leave him behind as he set his sights on Visser and Toulouse . Wedge, pushing the big gears, was nearing the top-ten and had amazingly narrowed his distance to the leader to just over four minutes and thirty seconds.
Tourville was in great form today and continued to extend his lead through the fourth lap. Kabush, returning to form after a poor, illness related performance at Canmore last week, was also on fire today. Going into the final lap, he had overtaken Toulouse, Visser and Blanchard, three-fifths of the top five Canada Cup overall and had established a sizeable one minute margin on Blanchard. "I just sat in, happy to be close to the leaders," recounted Kabush who was "able to close out the gaps on the downhills." Tourville, however, had over two and a half minutes on Kabush and continued to push, and Wedge, in spite of the full support of the sympathetic race fans, could not maintain his early come from behind pace. With four of five laps completed, Wedge now trailed seven minutes and sixteen seconds behind Tourville in the number 8 position.
At the finish, a jubilant Tourville had nearly three minutes on Kabush, and three and a half minutes on Blanchard. "My bad luck went away today," explained an obviously satisfied Tourville, referring to a string of mechanical problems that have plagued him and contributed to his absence from the top podium spot since 1995. "I climbed well today," noted Tourville who was oblivious to the problems encountered by Wedge until well into the race. "I was duking it out on the first climb with Mathieu (Toulouse), George (Visser) and Chris (Blancher)" before extending his lead on the technical singletrack at Rocky Mountain House.
Overall, Wedge's Canada Cup lead is intact thanks in part to Tourville's outstanding performance, and also those of Kabush, Blanchard and Miles. With Wedge's misfortune, a win today for Visser would have put him in the overall Canada Cup lead. According to Wedge, who now leads the Canada Cup series by (just) 50 points, "there is a God."
1. Tourville, Eric QC Oryx 1:59.35
2. Kabush, Geoff BC Kona Factory Team at 2:54
3. Blanchard, Chris AB Tatonka 3:33
4. Miles, Chad BC 4:23
5. Visser, George QC Xenacom 5:45
6. Curran, Lucas ON Axidata / Leximart 7:29
7. Wedge, Peter NB Kona / Mapei 8:03
8. Toulouse, Mathieu QC Ford - Devinci 8:30
9. Walker, Adam AB GM/Rocky Mtn 9:33
10. Hine, Julian ON Schwinn / Toyota 10:29
In the women's event, Amber Chorney's (BC Gary Fisher/Saab/OGC/Oakley) pre-race strategy was to grab the hole shot and ride "conservatively" after coming off two recent Diesel World Cup races and a Canada Cup last weekend in Canmore that didn't go according to plan. "I came out a little too strong last week," noted Chorney of her third place Canmore finish. "Two World Cups depleted the sources of energy that I needed to go."
A "conservative" ride, by Chorney's demonstration today, is a near one minute gap on Melanie Mcquaid (BC Rocky Mountain Bicycles/Chevy Trucks), her nearest competitor after one lap, and significant progress into the Senior Expert Men's field who started a minute ahead of the women.
Chasing the leaders were Trish Sinclair (BC Marin Bicycles), 13 seconds down on Mcquaid, current Canada Cup overall leader Marie Helen Premont (PQ Rocky Mountain Bicycles/Chevy Trucks), four seconds behind Sinclair, Christine Platt (BC Rocky Mountain Bicycles/Chevy Trucks) and Eron Chorney (BC OGC/Gary Fisher/Cycle Path), just over two minutes behind her sister.
Amber Chorney enjoyed her lead while the chasers exchanged positions behind. Premont, as she did last week in Canmore, seemed content to watch things develop before making a move. This week's move came in the second lap as she overtook both Mcquaid and Sinclair. "I knew I was strong in the hills," she explained, but she also "knew that Amber was strong in the downhills." With that in mind, she pursued and managed to distance Mcquaid by just over a minute and Sinclair by almost two and a half minutes as she chased within a minute of the leader.
Amber Chorney held the pace, and her trademark smile, into the third lap. Premont had lost fifteen seconds on the leader but held a sizeable lead over Sinclair, who had moved into third, and Mcquaid, who had fallen more than five minutes off of Chorney's pace. Eron Chorney, having overtaken Christine Platt in the second lap, held on to fifth place and continues to prove that there is more potential to be realized form the Chorney gene pool.
Amber Chorney held on to win and today's victory moves her into the top five for the Canada Cup overall. Premont, finishing one minute and forty-seven seconds down, extends her Canada Cup lead going into the finals next weekend in Silverstar. Mcquaid , finishing fourth moves into third overall exchanging positon with Claire Townsend (BC Rocky Mountain Bicycles/GM) who finished seventh today behind Christine Platt. Only 45 points separate Sinclair, Mcquaid and Townsend in the overall standings so expect some good racing next weekend.
1. Chorney, Amber BC Fisher/SAAB 1:56.34
2. Premont, Marie-Helene QC Team Oryx at 1:47
3. Sinclair, Trish BC Marin 6:37
4. McQuaid, Melanie BC Rocky Mtn/Chevy Trucks 9:03
5. Chorney, Eron BC OGC/Fisher/Cycle Path 9:35
6. Platt, Christine BC Rocky Mtn/Chevy Trucks 10:15
7. Townsend, Claire BC Rocky Mtn/Chevy Trucks 11:47
8. Hamel, Annie QC Trek / Volkswagen 11:55
9. Simms, Wendy BC Trek/Schwalbe 12:00
10. Grain, Gina BC Because/ Brodie 13:00
Note: The Senior Expert Men and Masters Expert Men were originally scheduled to race in the afternoon along with the Pro Elite Men and Women. According to the CCA, there were concerns that the field, as such, was too large, and safety might be compromised as a result. A decision was made, and announced at the Manager's Meeting on Saturday evening, that the start times for the Senior Expert Men and Masters Expert Men would be moved to 10:00 AM. Because there were a number of riders who did not receive this message, the CCA made a decision to allow any rider who Did Not Start the 10:00 AM race to ride the course in the afternoon (with the Elite fields) without recording an official time
Junior Expert Men
1. Federov, Ricky BC GM / Rocky Mountain 1:43:48
2. Sanschagrin, Steph QC Trek / Volkswagen at 3:28
3. Odegaard, Peter BC Kona/Simon's Cycle 4:16
4. LaFontaine, Martin QC Xenacom 4:21
5. Liard, Grant AB Tatoka/Rvc 4:43
6. Beauchemin, Emmanuel QC Vo2 - VM 6:38
7. Graham, Trevor BC 7:15
8. Hendricken, Mike ON Specialized 8:19
9. Douglas, Jaimie BC OGC/Fisher 9:12
10. Wade, Adam ON Rip'N Hammer 9:28
We are still waiting on many results and will post them as soon as they are available. I am also working on calibrating the Canada Cup points and will post them as soon as I'm finished, but cannot complete them without results - Editoress
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