July 19/99 10:57 am - Rocky Mountain House Downhill #4 Story
Posted by Editoress on 07/19/99
Rocky Mountain House DH Canada Cup #4 July 17
by Greg Flaaten
After experiencing a mass boycott at last year's Rocky Mountain House Canada Cup Downhill event, race organizers enlisted the assistance of a number of downhill racers, most notably Norco's Pete Zablotny, to improve upon a number of concerns brought forth by last year's (largely) Senior Elite entrants. The result? A shorter course, a lot less fire-road, more National calibre steeps and drops and greater attention to the safety concerns of the riders. Unfortunately, Mother Nature showed her nasty side and delivered as much as 30 centimeters of snow to the upper, and most technically challenging portions of the course forcing cancellation of practice on Thursday and last minute alterations to the course.
24 riders started the Men's Senior Elite field, with only three of the current top-ten Canada Cup overall contenders in attendance at Rocky Mountain House. Of those three, only Dustin Adams (BC Rocky Mountain Bicycles/Chevy Trucks/Troy Lee) held a spot in the top five.
With the absence of Canada's top pros Leon May (BC Marin Bicycles), in his first Canada Cup appearance of the year, made the most of the opportunity by posting a blazing 4:54.83 on the newly renovated, flat, wet, winding and predominantly singletrack Rocky Mountain House course. After 10 riders had finished, none had come within 30 seconds of May, who currently sits first overall in the BC Cup Downhill Series.
After fifteen riders, including attempts by Alberta favorite Chad Douglas (AB River Valley Cycle/Tatonka), veterans Duane Nickull (BC Norco) and Ted Tempany (BC Giant/Roach), no single rider could close the gap to within an unbelievable 30 seconds of May's ride.
And so it went, rider after rider set off in chase of May's leading time. After all but the top seed, Dustin Adams, had completed their runs, May sat alone atop the heap. The nearest time was that of Domenic Scorda (BC Giant/Roach), who sat in 28th position overall going into Rocky Mountain House, who could get only as close as 13.42 seconds to May.
With only Dustin Adams, in possession of fifth place in the Canada Cup overall going into Rocky Mountain House and one of Canada's fastest and most promising downhillers, left to assault the course, who would claim victory? As expected, Adams was ablaze. He managed to knock off May by a margin of over five seconds. The win, accentuated by the absence of the nation's top riders, places Adams in sole possession of the Canada Cup overall lead.
Senior Elite Men
1. Adams, Dustin BC Rocky Mtn/GM 4:49.64
2. May, Leon BC Marin at 5:19
3. Scorda, Domenic BC Giant/Roach 13.42
4. Onyschuk, Chad BC Ford - Devinci 20.56
5. Leclerc, Cory BC Giant / Roach 21.54
6. Beattie, Doug ON Kona Factory Team 21.67
7. Jenkins, Sean BC Giant Bicycles 23.63
8. Durand, Iani QC Velo DH Regar 25.15
9. Nordee, Tony BC Ellsworth / Java Racing 27.27
10. Adsit, Cory BC Scared Wear 37.31
In the Senior Elite Women event, Sylvie Allen (BC Giant/Fanatyk Co.) was conspicuous by her absence in the 10 starter field. With a solid hold on first place, Allen's attendance could pad her Canada Cup points lead or risk having the gap closed considerably by Cecile Gambin (ON Schwinn/Toyota Tundra) who held second overall in the Canada Cup series after three events.
First out of the gate was Andrea Kraft (BC Rocky Mountain Bicycles/Fox) with a time of 6:29.38. As with the men's field, the women struggled to match the performance of the lead rider. American, Michelle Brown (MT River City) was unable to equal Kraft's ride. Natasha Ward (Norco/Scary Fast), the third starter of the day and the dominating force in the 1999 Women's Alberta Cup Downhill Series, struggled, in spite of the support of local fans and could not challenge Kraft's lead.
And so it went again, rider after rider set off in chase of Kraft's leading time without success. Annie Girard (PQ Rocky Mountain Bicycles/GM), 9th overall in the Canada Cup overall and Jen Ashton (BC Fanatyk Co.) 10th overall in the Canada Cup series would not challenge the leader. With only two riders remaining and with her podium position secure, Kraft held on to her lead of less than two seconds over the American.
Tera Meade (BC Ellsworth/Java Cycle), in sixth position in the Canada Cup overall going into Rocky Mountain House, was a serious threat but could only close to within only 19 seconds; not enough for victory but good enough to establish a hold on third place. This left the Schwinn/Toyata Tundra rider, Cecile Gambin, the last rider of the day, with an opportunity to strike and close the gap on Sylvie Allen's overall Canada Cup lead. Gambin rose to the challenge, and eclipsed Kraft's time by more than ten seconds to take the top podium position.
"The race was kind of funny right from the start," explained Gambin who had trouble putting it together at the beginning of the race. "Technically I was okay," but "my legs had no gas." In spite of a less than perfect day, Gambin managed to pick up speed and claimed top honours. At the end of it all, Gambin moves into first place overall, a 110 points ahead of previous Canada Cup points leader, Sylvie Allen. Tera Meade, who ended the day fourth overall, moves into third in the Canada Cup overall standings heading into next weeks Canada Cup final in Silverstar BC.
A special thanks to Pete Zablotny and crew from Cecile for the obvious efforts that went into course preparation.
Senior Pro Women
1. Gambin, Cecile ON Schwinn / Toyota 6:18.51
2. Kraft, Andrea BC Rocky Mtn/Fox 10.87
3. Brown, Michelle USA River City/Pull Saic 13.59
4. Meade, Tera BC Ellsworth / Java Racing 18.88
5. Girard, Annie QC Rocky Mtn / GM 24.64
6. Walton, Anne BC Schwinn/Toyota 44.16
7. Ashton, Jen BC Fanatyk Co 46.55
8. Ward, Natalie AB Norco/Scary Fast 1:01.31
9. Madsen, Tina BC Giant / Roach 1:02.17
Junior Expert Men
1. Short, Craig AB Tatonka RVC 5:17.66
2. Laurin, Mathieu QC Sentier Plein Air 7.01
3. Roberts, Jessie BC 17.23
4. Biggy, Kyle AB Cafe Racers 26.07
5. Eller, Brian BC Scared Wear 28.43
Overall After RMH
1. Adams, Dustin BC Rockey Mtn Sunn/Troylee 575
2 Porter, Trevor NB Radical Edge 495
3. Poulin, Frederic QC Balfa 480
4. Cseff, Eric ON Ellsworth / Java Racing 475
5. Robichaud, Simon QC Velo DH Regar 395
6. Begon, Cody BC Giant / Roach 385
7. Onyschuk, Chad BC Ford - Devinci 364
8. Beattie, Doug ON Kona Factory Team 350
9. Nordee, Tony BC Ellsworth / Java Racing 340
10. McLean, Peter ON KHS / Wheel Goods 335
1. Gambin, Cecile ON Schwinn / Toyota 650
2. Allen, Sylvie BC Giant / Fanatyk Co 540
3. Meade, Tera BC Ellsworth / Java Racing 470
4. Huard, Kim QC Balfa 410
5. Boulianne, Chantale QC Marin 385
6. Girard, Annie QC Rocky Mtn / GM 370
7. Desautels, Lalena ON Ellsworth Bicycles 355
8. Violette, Julie QC Porter / Race Face 320
9. Blancher, Lorraine BC Schwinn Home Grown 295
Junior Expert Men
1. Laurin, Mathieu CAN19820317 QC Sentier Plein Air 370
2. Belanger, Eric CAN19810521 QC Velo DH Regard 260
3. Nielsen, Matthew CAN10820910 ON Nieslsen's Bikes 170
4. Short, Craig CAN19810418 AB Tatonka RVC 150
5. Biggy, Kyle AB Cafe Racers 120
The overall are our calculations. The riders will shed their worst and retain only their best rides after the final at Silver Star next week. All riders must attend the final to be eligible for the overall
Full results (for the event and the overall) are being coded and will be posted tommorrow.