Posted by Editor on 06/8/00
Spain Wins Team Relay After Canadian Mechanical Canada suffered a bitter blow today, when they lost the Team Relay while leading by a large margin. Spain was the eventually winner, to the delight of the partisan crowd, but they suffered their own mechanical misfortunes.
The race, held on the cross-country course, began very fast, with Spain's Roberto Lezaun charging away from the line, followed by Julien Absalon of France. Lezaun dropped his chain shortly into the race and would have a long hard chase through the lap. Canada's Roland Green started out slowly, but began picking off riders "I caught Sauser (Switzerland) on the downhill, and had caught Cadel (Evans - Australia) also, but he dropped me again on the climb. " In front, Marco Bui (Italy), the 1999 Espoir World Champion, was staying barely in front of Evans, with Green 20 seconds back at the changeover.
Ryder Hesjedal took the change from Green, and rode like a demon. "I caught Mary (Grigson - Australia) right away, and the Italian (Leonardo Zanotti) on some dropoffs ÃƒÂ± I just launched off them and by him. ". Hesjedal would eventually come in 55 seconds in front of Zanotti, and 2:10 ahead of Swiss rider Florian Vogel. He was so exhausted after his ride that national coach Yury Kacherine had to catch him at the end.
So, Canada went into the third lap in an extremely strong position, with Junior Jamie Douglas representing Canada, and Junior Mirko Fanisi for Italy. However, Farnisi came by first, at the two-thirds mark, followed by Spain and Switzerland. Where was Canada? Douglas finally came through over 8 minutes down, running with his bike. "I was feeling good and riding strong, and then, going over a dropoff, my chain came off and wrapped around the crank. I pulled it out, but the chain was twisted. I tried straightening it, but it kept coming off the crank. ". Alison Sydor would do her best in the final leg but, as she said "I can't do magic. " Canada would eventually come in twelfth.
Meanwhile, at the front, Paola Pezzo was riding the anchor leg for Italy, followed by Jose Hermida for Spain. The Spanish rider was possessed, scorching by Pezzo in nothing flat, and riding in to a convincing victory - Spain's second straight in the Team Relay. Pezzo was also passed by Switzerland (Silvio Bundi),for the silver, and ended up third.
- The course is described by all the riders as tough, a real mountain bike course. It favours the technical riders and the climbers, according to Sydor.
- Many of the riders are worried about mechanicals in the cross-country (the French also suffered one in the Team Relay). "It is so rocky, " said Hesjedal, "that you can easily catch something ona rock and bust a derailleur. "
- Some early favourites for the cross-country races: Cadel Evans, Roland Green, Ryder Hesjedal (a BIG favourite after his astounding performance today), Barb Blatter.<
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