Posted by Editor on 05/10/02
Norba National XC #1 - Snow Summit, California
1 Jimena Florit (USA) RLX-Polosport 35 km in 1:58:58
2 Alison Dunlap (USA) Luna Women at 2:42
3 Mary Grigson (Aus) Subaru-Gary Fisher 3:49
4 Shonny Vanlandingham (USA) Sobe-Cannondale 4:05
5 Susy Pryde (NZL) Velo Bella 5:30
6 Lanie Mason (USA) Cane Creek 7:03
7 Susan Haywood (USA) Trek-VW 7:45
8 Mary McConnelough (USA) 8:32
9 Dara Marks (USA) Titus 8:40
10 Willow Koerber (USA) Cane Creek 8:45
12 Lesley Tomlinson (Can) Rocky Mountain 10:01
15 Trish Sinclair (Can) Gears Racing 11:57
16 Chrissy Redden (Can) Subaru-Gary Fisher 12:12
22 Kiara Bisaro (Can) Gears Racing 16:14
Report courtesy the organizers.
SNOW SUMMIT, Calif. (May 10, 2002) - As the defending series leader, the World Cup champion, and the World Cross Country Champion, Roland Green (Trek/Volkswagen) is always the favorite.
But at the opening round of the Chevy Trucks NORBA National Championship Mountain Bike Series, Green had to be more than a great racer; he had to be cobbler.
"My cleat came lose on my shoe on the second lap," said Green. "I had to stop and fix it. I lost about three minutes."
Green would stop, fix his shoe, and plow through nearly 30 riders to return to the lead. He would win with a 1:10 margin over the surprising Ziranda Madrigal (Turbo), who outsprinted Ryder Hesjedal (Subaru/Gary Fisher) for second. Geoff Kabush (Kona), who led on the third lap, outsprinted the top American, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (RLX Polo Sport), for fourth.
Green had watched the Madrigal, a 24-year-old Mexican, roar away, turning a 33-minute opening lap.
"I was feeling pretty good and from the beginning I thought the pace wasn't not so fast," said Madrigal. "I take my chance."
He calmly pushed forward and started the second lap with Hesjedal, Horgan-Kobelski and Kabush. Defending U.S. champion and two-time Snow Summit winner, Kirk Molday (SunRace/Santa Cruz) rode close behind with his young rival, Todd Wells (Mongoose).
Then things came apart. Madrigal pushed on alone; Molday crashed out; Hesjedal struggled; and Green found himself with a shoe off and his tools out.
"The tendency is to panic. You're at the front of a big race. And the win might be getting away from you but you've got to stay relaxed," said Green. "I just came back at my own pace. Within a lap I was right back at the front."
Green returned to find his friend, Hesjedal with Madrigal and Kabush away. Hesjedal noted he wasn't waiting for Green, his training partner. "I don't know if it was strategy. I wasn't feeling all that well today. . . . Things were looking pretty bleak today and I lost contact there for a little while," said the tall Canadian.
By the start of the final lap, Green had harvested all the fugitives and started the climb with Hesjedal and Madrigal; Kabush and Horgan-Kobelski followed just 20 seconds behind. Then Green pulled the pin.
The World Champion dropped all and went clear. Madrigal, neared the top and dropped Hesjedal.
Green would pry open a minute on the final lap. Radio reports gave the crowd indications of a string of solo finishers. Green rolled in alone.
But then fireworks started and they got two fantastic sprints.
"Ziranda was climbing really well today. Last section of climbing he went over pretty decent," said Hesjedal, who descended his way back to contention. "You always have to think you've got a chance on the downhill. I just rode home. It just came back together and it turns into a road race there. I knew you had to get around that last corner in the lead I tried to come through on the inside."
Hesjedal stuck his front wheel into the rear of Madrigal's machine, but could not force himself through. Madrigal hung on for second.
"I've been watching him the last few years coming up and this course really suits him with all the climbing and the altitude," said Green. "Coming from Mexico at the front of the NORBA it's good representation for them."
The sprint for fourth proved equally thrilling as Horgan-Kobelski also tried to push through on Kabush. His inside dive proved nearly disastrous.
"I thought I might be able to get Kabush on the inside of that corner and, well, I hit the barrier pretty hard. I heard it clang; I don't know if anybody else did," said Horgan-Kobelski, who kept it up barely to finish fifth and the top American.
"Hopefully it will heal up by tomorrow," said the national short-track champion who missed his college graduation from the University of Colorado to race.
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