Posted by Editor on 07/8/01
We are getting ready to start our coverage of the cross-country races with the Junior Expert events, which just got underway. 28 men and 2 women are on the start list. It is overcast and cooler than yesterday, in the mid-teens at 8:00 am local time; the expectation is to stay the same all day. The main events start at 10:30 (local) with the pro women, followed by the men at 1:30 pm. Yesterday the official estimate based on gondola traffic was 9,000 people - it will probably be much, much higher today.
It was a short but sweet downhill yesterday, with French riders Anne-Caroline Chausson (Volvo-Cannondale) and Fabien Barel (GT) taking the third round of the downhill World Cup at Grouse yesterday. Barel also took over the overall lead in the men's series, joining Chausson.
Both winners said that the course was short but very, very good. "The hardest thing was because it was so short you could not make any mistakes." said Chausson. "I think I was very good at the top, but I made a couple of small errors at the bottom in the rooty section."
Barel was racing with 24 stitches in his left leg - 8 right inside in the muscle. He received a puncture wound on Thursday during Dual training and scratched from that event. He said that the wound was painful but "during the event you are so focussed that you do not feel it.. When I was warming up and after the race I was in some pain, but it was okay."
Barl dedicated his win to his team mate Steve Peat, who was favoured (and leading the World Cup) before crashing on Thursday and separating his shoulder.
The Dual unfortunately had technical problems which delayed runs repeatedly. In early runs riders had forced the right hand gate, damaging it. The organization tried re-welding it, but it hung up sometimes, sending a rider flying over the bars. Eventually the starter went to '1-2-3-Go!'
Brian Lopes (GT Fox) beat out Eric Carter (Mongoose) in the men's final, with Leigh Donovan (Schwinn) handing Chausson a rare defeat in the women's. A major complaint about the course was the lack of room to pass - if you didn't get the holeshot coming out of the gate, you were doomed to lose. That is what happened to Chausson in the women's final, when she hesitated fractionally, allowing Donovan into the lead.
Top Canadians were Dave Watson (Dirt Works/Sombria) for the men in 23rd and Annie Bisson (Roach-John Henry) in 10th for the women.
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