Posted by Editor on 06/8/00
Peat and Streb Fastest in DH Seeding
Another beautiful but hot day here in Sierra Nevada, Spain, site of the 2000 Mountain Bike World Championships. Today was the seeding runs for the Downhill (to be held on Saturday). Although everyone gets to compete on Saturday, the runs are important in order to get a good start position in the final runs.
The course is very fast and very rocky, and many riders came through the bottom section the course with single or double flats. In the women's run the favourite was Anne-Caroline Chausson (FRA), and she did post the early fast time of 4:30.32. But the next few riders consistently lowered her time - first Missy Giove (USA), then Katja Repo (FIN), who took over the lead from Giove. Leigh Donovan (USA) had a good enough run to beat both Chausson and Giove, but not Repo. However, the very next rider would - Marla Streb (USA) flew down the course nearly three and a half seconds ahead of Repo to gain the last start position for Staurday's final. The Canadian women acquitted themselves well, with Tera Meade taking 16th spot (4:57.21) and Lorraine Blancher 24th (5:02.57). "I am more tired than i thought I would be" said Meade, referring to the effect of the altitude. "The course is really fun and fast - it makes a good change from the tight, technical courses we have been riding lately." Meade described the course as "Haul ass. It will take no brakes and pedal, pedal, pedal to do well here." Blancher concurred " It is super fast, loose, with high speed corners. The altitude hasn't bothered me as much, but this is pretty early for the Canadians, we generally do much better later in the season."
Nicolas Vouilloz (FRA), the 7-time world champion suffered the same fate as his country women Chausson: set an early fast standard and then see it consistently lowered. Vouilloz ended up 5th, 3.37 seconds down on winner Steve Peat (GBR), who was very aggressive, and looking to unseat the Frenchman from his seeming lock on the Worlds title. Dutch rider Bas De Bever came the closest to catching Peat, finishing just over a second and a half back. American Myles Rockwell was a bit of a surprise, finishing third. The four Canadians had respectable runs, but all expect to go much faster in the final. Dave Watson was the top Canadian, in 41st, with a time of 4:20.18. "I used my brakes too much, came out of the corners too slow. You have to run tire pressue really high to avoid flats, and that makes you drift in the corners. And, I nearly crashed, coming over the jump at the bottom. I came down nose first, and was sure that I was going to bite it. After that, I was a little disoriented and lost time in the corners." Indeed, after the race, as we were standing talking, Dave looked down to see that his front wheel landing had blown two spokes on the front wheel and nearly taco'd it! Next fastest Canadian was Eric Cseff, in 50th (4:22.72). Cseff was actually quite pleased wih his run, considering that it was his first of the day on the course. "I broke my (rear) derailleur this morning, 100 feet into my first run, so I didn't know what to expect. I hope I can shave at least 10 seconds off this time."
Third in the Canadians was Trevor Porter, 70th with 4:33.00. "It's no Canada Cup!" quipped Porter. We have a hard time coming to a race this fast after racing stuff like Camp Fortune and Hardwood."
Team veteran Andrew Shandro flatted about halfway down the course, and had to coast in, finishing 77th (4:39.04). "I was on a good run, too. I cleaned the top section and was feeling good. I double-tubed and wrapped foam, but still flatted. The rocks are so sharp, and you can't slow down at all. This is the fastest Worlds course I can remember."
In the Junior seeding, Katherine Lobodzinski was the lone Canadian, finishing 12th - 34.74 seconds behind winner Kath Pruitt of the USA (4:39.84). There were two canadian Junior men - Jordie Lunn 21st (4:26.34) and Mathieu Laurin (4:30.99). Both were well off the pace of top finisher Filip Polc of Slovakia (4:12.29).
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