Posted by Editoress on 04/17/10
The pro mountain biking competition got underway on Saturday with the men's and women's Short Track races. Georgia Gould (Luna) and Todd Wells (Specialized) took the wins, with each rider impressively riding the rest of the competition off their wheel for solo victories. Canada put three riders on the podium - Catharine Pendrel (Luna) in third and Emily Batty (Trek World Racing) fifth for the women, and Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) third for the men.
The rough, rutted circuit on the side of a hill had one section that proved to be key - a muddy dip just after the start-finish that led into a wet and soft grassy section. Any mistake here opened gaps that were difficult to close.
In the women's race, Gould, Lene Byberg (Specialized) and Willow Koerber (Subaru-Gary Fisher) got away early, with Pendrel having to bridge up. Shortly after Pendrel joined the leaders, Koerber made a mistake in the muddy section. She was ahead of Pendrel and Byberg, holding them up and enabling Gould to open a gap which grew steadily through the rest of the race. Pendrel tried to attack Koerber and Byberg with two laps remaining, but Byberg was able to catch her in the final half lap to take second. Batty rode consistently in fifth, while Mical Dyck (Terrascape-Trek) finished 11th.
"It was good to open the legs up like this," commented Pendrel. "It was a hard race, much faster than last year. I had a little bit of a slow start, but I was able to get across to where I needed to be. Willow had a mistake in the muddy section, and that allowed Georgia to get away. I tried to attack Lene, but I just couldn't get enough of a gap, and she chased me down and then attacked."
In the men's race, Kabush got the holeshot on the first lap, and he and Wells established the lead. Wells' team mate Burry Stander came back impressively through the field after a slow start to join the leaders by the third lap. Wells was surging off the front every lap, and by the halfway point it was only the two Specialized riders at the front, with Kabush riding alone in third and trying to hold off a late charge by a third Specialized rider - Christoph Sauser.
Wells upped the pace again to ride away for his third victory of the season, one week after winning the Pan Am title. Stander rolled in for second, with Kabush hanging on for third ahead of Sauser and Sid Taberley (ShoAir-Specialized). Max Plaxton, who is racing on antibiotics after picking up a bug at the Pan Ams in Guatemala, finished 12th.
"It was a fast start, which went pretty well for me," said Kabush. "But I had a little mistake on the off-camber muddy section, and Todd and Burry opened a gap on me there."
Kabush was riding the prototype Rocky Mountain Element full suspension rig that has been under wraps all spring. He says that it is the lightest bike he has ridden (an unconfirmed 21.5 pounds), and everything that he had hoped for.
Note: Video interviews with Catharine Pendrel and Geoff Kabush will be posted separately.
1 Georgia Gould (USA) Luna
2 Lene Byberg (Nor) Specialized
3 Catherine Pendrel (Can) Luna
4 Willow Koerber (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher
5 Emily Batty (Can) Trek World Racing
6 Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna
7 Kelli Emmett (USA) Giant
8 Heather Irmiger (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher
9 Chloe Forsman (USA) Luna
10 Mical Dyck (Can) Trek Canada
1 Todd Wells (USA) Specialized
2 Burry Stander (RSA) Specialized
3 Geoff Kabush (Can) Maxxis/Rocky Mountain
4 Christopher Sauser (Sui) Specialized
5 Sid Taberlay (Aus) Shoair/Specialized
6 Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher
7 Sam Schultz (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher
8 Manuel Fumic (Ger) Cannondale
9 Carl Decker (USA) Giant
10 Marco Aurelio Fontana (Ita) Cannondale
11 Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona
12 Max Plaxton (Can) Shoair/Specialized
13 Ken Onodera (Jpn)
14 Roel Paulissen (Bel) Cannondale
15 Jeremiah Bishop (USA) Cannondale
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