September 19/99 11:47 am - Rasmussen Wins Men's Title
Posted by Editor on 09/19/99
Rasmussen New World Champion
An ecstatic Michael Rasmussen of Denmark has won the elite men's cross-country world championship title in Are, Sweden. Our reporter Chris Redden says "I have never seen a more exuberant winner. He was crying as he crossed the line, and broke down again on the podium." Miguel Martinez (France) finished second.
Martinez and Rasmussen were the class of the field, pulling away from chasers in the second lap. Prominent among the chasers were Filip Meirhaeghe (Belgium), Roel Paulissen (Belgium) and Bas Van Dooren (Netherlands). Rasmussen dropped Martinez on the third of four and a half laps (the race was shortened) and had a small gap as the leaders crossed the line to start their last lap. At that point, in Chris Redden's words, "Rasmussen put the hammer down and rode away from Martinez." The winning margin was an impressive 1:52.
Behind the lead pair, Meirhaeghe and Paulissen were battling it out for the bronze medal. Paulissen attacked in the last lap, on the climb after the start-finish, gaining an advantage. However, Meirhaege - whom Chris said was descending better than anyone else on the treacherous slippery descents - flew past him on the most difficult drop to put a 30 second gap on his countryman, which he maitained to the line. Bas Van Dooren rounded out the top 5.
Top Canadian was Seamus McGrath, in 27th place, followed by training partner Chris Sheppard in 45th, Eric Tourville (54th), Andreas Hestler (63rd) and Peter Wedge (81st). Roland Green DNFed
- Chris says that the weather was much better today - 14 Celcius and patchy sun. However, the course, if anything, was harder, since the ground has not dried up. The mud is thicker, slowing the bikes down even more. The men's race was shortened to 4.5 laps after the officials saw how slow the women's 4 lap race was - 30 minutes longer than usual.
- In the women's race, Fullana was completely dominant. Alison Sydor was the only one attempting to ride the technical descent, but even she gave up and ran, after Pezzo started gaining time on her through this section.
- Thomas Frischknecht, who had been expected to do well with all of his cyclo-cross experience, crashed heavily earlier in the week during training and was riding with arm and side injuries; he finished in the 20s.
- Race Team Rumours: Rasmussen is currently without a contract for 2000 (he was/is with Fisher-Saab for 1999). Chris says that the rumour is that he will go to Bianchi-Martini next year... Shaun Palmer is also said to be contractless - Specialized is having difficulty signing co-sponsors for next year... Volvo-Cannondale has signed Peak Performance clothing as a sponsor, and Volvo had a huge display and promo area at the race.
- The riders and teams are now getting ready for the Rock Shox sponsored ABBA-theme party tonight. Everyone is expected to dress as their favourite ABBA character (Chris says he'll be going as "one of the guys"), and an ABBA tribute band is playing.
1. Michael Rasmussen DEN
2. Miguel Martinez FRA at 1:52
3. Filip Meirhaeghe BEL 3:36
4. Roel Paulissen BEL 4:02
5. Bas Van Dooren NED 4:32
6. Dario Acquaroli ITA 6:55
7. Thomas Hochstrasser SUI 7:35
8. Jerome Chiotti FRA 8:45
9. Jesper Agergaard DEN 9:09
10. Christophe Sauser SUI 9:40
27. Seamus McGrath CAN 17:44
45. Chrs Sheppard CAN 22:37
54. Eric Tourville CAN 26:06
63. Andreas Hestler CAN 29:35
81. Peter Wedge CAN at 1 lap
DNF Roland Green