Posted by Editoress on 09/7/02
World Cup Final: Dh Story Les Gets, France
"I love to beat the French in France"
Steve Peat - Peaty - has finally shaken the bad luck, injuries and on-form French to take the World Cup downhill title here in Les Gets, France. He did it in fine style, winning both the qualifier and the final to decisively take the title.
"I've been trying for a few years, now, and had a few silvers, so to get this really means something. I've always wanted to win the World Cup more then the Worlds, because it is the season-long competition of the best riders. I had a pretty good run, with just a couple of bobbles, but it was such a fast hard track, that you had to work really hard and take some chances to keep the speed going."
Coming into the race, Peat (Orange-England) was pretty comfortable, especially after winning the qualifier and taking maximum points, while his closest competitor Cedric Gracia (Volvo-Cannondale) crashed and finished out of the points, slipping to third in the standings, behind Chris Kovarik (Intense). But Peat wasn't prepared to sit back and coast in to the title, he wanted to win the Final.
Fabien Barel (Maxxis-MSC), fifth in the standings, and ninth last to ride, set the time to beat - 3:38.61 . Barel's time would hold up even through the ride of world champion Nico Vouilloz (Vouilloz Racing), who rode just ahead of Peat. Vouilloz finished 7 one-hundredths of a second behind Barel, with the next rider - Mickael Pascal (Team Be-One) - nearly seconds back.
"I wanted to do something this week after the problem last week (when he missed his start at the Worlds qualifier, and could not race the final). I think that I lost 2 to 3 seconds when I had a small crash about halfway. I am happy to finish the season this strong, but I still would have preferred to finish first!"
Vouilloz, the favourite with the local French crowd, was disappointed with his result. "I pushed too hard to go fast, after I had a slower then normal starting run. Then I made too many mistakes, I braked too much, I was not smooth. It was a big disappointment, since I do not know whether I will race next year, and this may be my last race."
But even the losers were happy for Peat, who has been chasing the title for a long time, and was an obviously delighted winner.
The women's race was a much more business as usual, with Anne-Caroline Chausson (Volvo-Cannondale) easily locking up the title ahead of countrywoman Sabrina Jonnier. Chausson won the qualifier and the Final, with Jonnier second in each. Fionn Griffiths finished third in the race, with Tracy Moseley taking third in the overall series.
"Every race is important to win, and the World Cup was still close, so I wanted to make sure that I did well." explained Chausson. "It was a good run, with only a few small mistakes."
- Missy Giove (Global Racing) crashed hard in the qualifier, smashing her quadricep. "I got tangled up in the mesh protecting the spectators, and then I could hardly move my leg when I got going again. I finished 31st (in the qualifier), so I wasn't in the Final, but I probably couldn't have ridden it anyway."
- Still with Global Racing, team manager Martin Whitely says that they are busy in discussions with sponsors for next year - one of them a telecommunications company. He says that the team is a strong probability to go, although they will only do so if they can keep up the same level of commitment. The team suffered a few disappointments in the past couple of weeks, with Greg Minnaar breaking his collarbone just before Worlds, and then Missy. Both of these contributed to the team losing their lead in the World Cup team standings. Both Maxxis-MCS and Volvo-Cannondale overtook them after the Final.
- Steve Peat was so concerned about rain (and there were a few drops as he started his run) that he left knobbies on the bike and they just shaved them down before his run.
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