June 24/00 6:27 am - Mount Snow
Posted by Editor on 06/24/00
Mount Snow - NORBA Short Track
Twenty minutes plus three laps. That's all it takes to provide some of the most exciting mountain bike racing possible. Today many of the world's best cross-country racers were introduced to short track racing for the first time, with GT's Alison Dunlap and Volvo-Cannondale's Cadel Evans proving to be the fastest.
Both the men's and women's fields featured a number of riders not normally seen at a Chevy Trucks NCS event. Riders such as Evans, Pavel Tcherkassov (Gary Fisher-Saab), Christoph Sauser (Volvo-Cannondale), Alison Sydor (Volvo-Cannondale) and Paola Pezzo (Gary Fisher-Saa). The injection of this world class group of riders lifted the racing to another notch.
In the women's event it was a battle between Dunlap, Sydor, the Gary Fisher-Saab duo of Chrissy Redden and Mary Grigson, plus a relatively unknown Susan Haywood. Fisher was the aggressor, with Redden and Grigson constantly at or near the front. Dunlap and Sydor marked them closely, and tried a few test jumps of their own, which whittled the field down quickly. Haywood surprised the frontrunners with a strong individual effort that strung the field out. "I just wanted to go out hard and see how long I could last."
In the end though, it came down to the two ex-roadies - Sydor and Dunlap. Sydor attacked hard before the final climb, but "I didn't power away like I should have." Dunlap didn't make the same mistake and led up the climb and around to the finish, holding off the Canadian by a bike length. Redden took third, Haywood fourth and Grigson fifth. Unfortunately, Paola Pezzo's experience with short track only last 2 laps before she retired with a flat - "it is very spectacular, very exciting for the spectators.", said Pezzo with a smile.
In the men's race, spectators almost needed a scorecard to keep track. Attacks were launched constantly, with Canadian riders Roland Green (Team GT), Geoff Kabush (Kona) and Chris Sheppard (Haro-Lee Dungarees) particularly aggressive. As the race wore on, Pavel Tcherkassov moved to the front, either leading or sitting in the top 3 consistently. Meanwhile, Evans was sitting in the group comfortably, watching and waiting.
With three laps to go, Steve Larsen (LL Bean/Mongoose) launched an all out attack that opened up the first significant gap of the race. Tcherkassov responded "when Steve attacked, I had to close the gap. However, I used a lot of energy doing it." When he brought the American back with a lap to go, Evans was right on his wheel and attacked. No one responded, and the Australian rolled in to win alone. Tcherkassov held off a fast closing Paul Rowney (AIS/Giant) to claim second.
Men - 1. Cadel Evans (Aus) Volvo-Cannondale; 2. Pavel Tcherkassov (Rus) Gary Fisher-Saab; 3. Paul Rowney (Aus) AIS/Giant; 4. Seamus McGrath (Can) Haro-Lee Dungarees; 5. Roland Green (Can) Team GT.
Women - 1. Alison Dunlap (USA) Team GT; 2. Alison Sydor (Can) Volvo-Cannondale; 3. Chrissy Redden (Can) Gary Fisher-Sabb; 4. Susan Haywood (USA) Trek/West Virginia Tourism; 5. Mary Grigson (Aus) Gary Fisher-Saab.