Posted by Editor on 07/31/99
Katrina Miller (Team Jamis/Smith) padded her already formidable Series lead, and Eric Carter (Team GT) didn't let a bad ankle slow him down in round 6 of the Swatch Dual World Series, in Mont Ste Anne, Quebec. The weather was hot and humid, well into the 30's Celsius, leading announcer Peter Graves to quip "the riders won't need much of a warmup tonight." However, despite the heat, which turned body armour into sweat factories, the racing was judged to be some of the finest of the season to-date. The biggest upset was Men's Series leader Brian Lopes (Volvo-Cannondale) getting knocked out in the quarter finals. However, he still hangs onto his overall series, with Carter moving into second.
The course had caused concerns among the top riders in training the day before competition; specifically that the lanes were uneven in their level of difficulty, offering a potential bias. However, the race organizers put their team to work overnight and praise was fulsome from the winners. "The course shaped up real good", said Carter. "It has passing capabilities, which most don't. I would judge it the best of the season." Miller echoed his compliments: "Yesterday it wasn't very even, but the volunteers made a lot of changes, made lots of passing possible, which is usually a problem."
Other than Lopes' loss to Philip Tinstman (Vans/Iron Horse) (about which he was obviously and visibly disappointed), there were no other major upsets as the riders worked their way through the draws. In the women's event, the first big match up was Miller against Switzerland's Sari Jorgensen (Team Tomac) in one of the two semis. Miller admitted afterwards "I was most nervous going against Sari." However, Jorgensen crashed in the upper section of the course, in one of the turns, giving Miller a cruise into the Final. Malin Lindgren (Scott One Life) also benefited from a crash in her semi, with Tara Llanes going down at the very end of their race.
This race was one of the most exciting of the evening, with Llanes leading, then losing her lead to Lindgren, before coming back over the final double bump with big air to put them even into the final few metres. Llanes was possibly the only woman to clear the double all night, and that probably is what got her into trouble. She hit the ground, slipped off her pedals, started to recover, then crashed big only a couple of metres from the line. In the Final, Miller didn't have too much trouble disposing of Lindgren (racing in her first Final), while Jorgensen won a fairly close ride over Llanes.
The men's event was a crashfest from the start, with the most spectacular taking place in the 1/8 finals, when both riders went down, and bikes went flying into the fencing! One of the crashees was eventual third place finisher Michael Marois (Rock Machine), who quickly scrambled back on his bike to coast to the next round. Carter easily beat the less experienced Marois in their semi, but it was left to Mike King (Haro) to pull out the most exciting ride of the evening, when he had to come from behind at the line to dispose of the Lopes-beating Tinstman in the other semi. In the Final, King and Carter were neck and neck through the upper part of the circuit, before Carter got a slight lead into the last corner and over the double bump, to take his first victory of the year (after finishing second to Lopes in the last two rounds).
- Carter has been nursing a damaged ankle since Maribor, but hasn't had a chance to get it attended to. "We tape it well, and I'm okay. But, there's definitely something wrong with it, and I'm going to have to get it attended to in the off season."
- Katrina Miller attributes her consistency to confidence ("as you get on a roll, your confidence keeps getting higher"), and off season road miles. "This year I did way more road miles, and some track riding too. So I'm ready to push it every heat."
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