June 8/00 10:11 am - Worlds Update
Posted by Editor on 06/8/00
Report From Sierra Nevada
It is just afternoon local time here in Sierra Nevada, on Thursday. For the cross-country riders it is an 'off' day, but the downhillers are doing their seeding runs - starting in less than an hour with the Junior women.
Canada will have one rider in this category - Katherine Lobodzinski. In the Junior men we have two - Jordie Lunn and Mathieu Laurin - and the same in the Elite women's category - Lorraine Blancher and Tera Meade. Finally, in the Elite men there are 4 Canadians - Eric Cseff, Andrew Shandro, Dave Watson and Trevor Porter. All of the Canadian Elite riders, with the exception of Andrew Shandro, will be participating in the Dual qualifier also. The last of the Canadian men should be done by about 3:00 pm local time (9:00 am EDT), and we will report back after the seeding runs are finished with how the Canadians stacked up.
The general consensus among the riders I have spoken with is that it is going to be a fast, rough and dusty run. While it is not too, too technical, the speed and the rocks will take out the unwary.
- Spoke with Chris Sheppard this morning while we were both checking our e-mail. He says that his knee is working well again, and that he is looking forward to a good ride here. The course suits North Americans and, other than the altitude, he thinks Canadians should do well. Unlike most of the Canadian cross-country squad, Chris has been staying up at altitude, as well as living at 4300' in Kamloops. The others who arrived early and have been staying high are the Dutch and the Spanish.
- The 'unveiling' of Thomas Frischknecht as the 1996 World Champion at last night's parade of the first decade of Mountain Bike World Champions is likely to be the only official announcement we shall see for Frischknecht's replacement of admitted EPO user Jerome Chiotti. The record books will be modified, but there is unlikely to be any official press conference.
- There is much talk of the new EPO tests (Australian and French), that are supposed to be in place for the Sydney Games. Generally, everyone (athletes) are in favour, although there is some concern that the tests are accurate. The tests are undergoing clincal trials now.
- Some stats on the Worlds: 46 countries, 843 riders (XC - 429, DH - 273, Dual - 141). Biggest single field is the Elite Men DH, with 133 riders registered.