August 9/00 10:00 am - Shep Takes Mercury Opener, Junior Track Worlds Final
Posted by Editor on 08/9/00
Mercury Tour Prologue
(courtesy Patrice Quintero)
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (Aug. 9, 2000) - The 2000 Mercury Tour presented by Outdoor Life Network kicked off Wednesday afternoon with '99 history repeating itself. Russian Alla Epifanova (Volvo-Cannondale) and Canadian Chris Sheppard (Haro-Lee Dungarees) won their second-straight Howelsen Prologue.
At five days, the Mercury Tour presented by Outdoor Life Network is the largest mountain bike stage race in the world. The prologue does not count toward overall riders' rankings, but offers them a chance to better their start position for Thursday's first stage.
Susan Haywood from Davis, W.V., had an early start time and held the lead for most of the race. USA Cycling National team member Rachel Lloyd (San Anselmo, Calif.) came the closest to Haywood's time, but ended up 5 seconds behind her in third. The podium finish was the first Mercury Tour podium appearance for both women.
"I think I rode too much earlier today, but it felt good. I just wanted to nail all the turns, but my legs sort of still hurt from this morning," Lloyd said. "I hope to do well in the stage tomorrow, because it has lots of downhills. For this week, I just want to get some good training in and have fun."
At the finish line, Epifanova admitted that she had been dreaming of the Mercury Tour all year. The Russian busted the time of Haywood by 4 seconds and finished the short prologue in 4 minutes and 13 seconds.
"It was a nice course, dry and hard. I just wanted to do well," Epifanova said. "I don't have any goals for here, because I'm just using this race for training for the European championships at the end of August. I just want to have fun here. I can also make some good money. You can't make money like this in European races."
After capturing his second prologue title, Sheppard said he rises to the occasion for time trials.
"I just like the time trials," Sheppard said. "I don't know how riders can use this as a training race. It's non-stop suffering. I come here and race as hard as I can. I want to get as many podiums as I can, and go back to Canada a happy man."
Past national collegiate mountain bike champion Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, Colo. - Nantucket Nectars) continued to build on his recent successes, placing second in the prologue. Horgan-Kobelski held the prologue lead until Sheppard, who was the fourth-to-last rider to leave, took over.
"It was fun waiting around and watching people come in with times slower than me," Horgan-Kobelksi said.
Action from the 2000 Mercury Tour picks up again Thursday with the Continental Divide Cross-country. The Mercury Tour wraps up Sunday, Aug. 13, with the Gondola Criterium at the base of Steamboat Springs Ski Resort.
1. ALLA EPIFANOVA, Russia (Volvo-Cannondale) 4:13
2. Susan Haywood, Davis, W.V. (Trek/W.V. Tourism) 0:04
3. Rachel Lloyd, San Anselmo, Calif. (USA Cycling National Team) 0:05
4. Jimena Florit, Argentina (RLX Polo Sport) 0:08
5. Suzy Pryde, New Zealand (Saturn) 0:12
1. CHRIS SHEPPARD, Canada (Haro-Lee Dungarees) 3:32
2. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, Boulder, Colo. (Nantucket Nectars-Specialized) at 0:09
3. Frank Mapel, Boulder, Colo. (Trek/VW/JBL) 0:10
4. Jason Tullous, Flagstaff, Ariz. 0:11
4. Pavel Tcherkassov, Russia (Gary Fisher-Saab) 0:12
Junior Track Worlds - Italy
Mens Points Race
1 TORTELLA DAVIDE ITA 30 points
2 DAWSON PETER AUS 14
3 IAKOVLEV EUGENI RUS 14
4 ZRIMSEK JURE SLO 12
5 LAMPATER LEIF GER 11
21 RETSECK JON USA 0
Mens Sprint Final
1 BAYLEY RYAN AUS
2 KWIATKOWSKI EUKASZ POL
3 VINOKUROV ANDRIY UKR
4 EDGAR ROSS GBR
Womens Sprint Final
1 MUCHE CHRISTIN GER
2 ALESSIO VALENTINA ITA
3 DOUTRELUINGNE MATHILDE FRA
4 ABASSOVA TAMILA RUS
5 MEARES ANNA AUS
6 HAMMER SARAH USA