May 25/02 8:57 am - Houffalize Report
Posted by Editoress on 05/25/02
Houffalize World Cup Belgium
This report made possible through the sponsorship of FACT Canada & Schwalbe Tires
I just spoke with Rob who is sitting in the Trek tent with Roland Green. Roland's bike is getting a check over before he sets out to pre-ride the course for tomorrows World Cup race.
I was raining hard this morning but has now stopped and the sun is out. The course is drying up fast, but racing for master and junior class riders has been going on all morning and the course is getting beat up pretty good.
All of the weather ups and downs (who knows if and when the rain will come back again - this IS Belgium) is leaving everyone scratching their heads as to what the right tire and bike choice will be. Hard tail, soft tail, mud tires, fast tires............and the head scratching continues. Roland says he expects that after this mornings racing, the track will be full if stutter bumps, so it may be the soft tail regardless.
Barb Blatter has been sighted, so it looks like her illness that kept her home last weekend is over. Rob spoke with Fullana, who says she is feeling great after last weekends win in Madrid, but she will be watching Alison Dunlap, Gunn-Rita Dahle and Annabella Stopparo as she feels they will be her main threat.
Among the men, the favourites are Bart Brentjens (last weekends winner), Roland Green, Roel Paulisson and Miguel Martinez. Martinez has announced that this is his last World Cup until the final in September. He will be going to all road and told Rob that he will be doing the Tour de France with Mapei.
The course for tomorrow is 7.7 km. The men will do 5 laps and the women 4. Weather conditions may alter that.
The women's race starts at 10:30 local time (4:30am EDT) and the men at 1:30 (7:30am EDT) and we will be starting our lap reports at about 4:45 am Sunday.
Roland won his first World Cup on this course in 2001.
Alison Sydor has won 3 times on this course, placed 2nd 3 times and been in the top 5, 8 times since 1992 when she started MTB full time.
The race has been held every year on this location since 1990 with the exception of 1998 when Houfalize had no World Cup.