Posted by Editoress on 08/29/02
2002 Mountain Bike World Championships Kaprun, Austria
There were no surprises in the downhill seeding runs today at the world championships, with the French dominating the top of the leaders board. Anne-Caroline Chausson finished a staggering 13.86 seconds ahead of second place Missy Giove (USA) and 17.28 seconds in front of Nolvenn Le Caer (France). Chausson was the only woman to break six minutes in her run. Top Canadian qualifier was Michelle Dumaresq in 25th, 57.43 seconds behind Chausson. National champion Sylvie Allen was 28th (at 1:17.31), Sheila Morris was 37th (2:25.25), Claire Buchar 38th (2:32.99) and Cassidy Johnson 39th (2:45.22). Johnson is currently sick, and rolled down the course to qualify, hoping to recover in time for Saturday.
The men's side was a lot tighter, with three French riders at the top of the standings, all less then a second apart. Cedric Gracia took the top spot, 0.21 seconds in front of Mickael Pascal and 0.72 seconds ahead of Nicolas Vouilloz. The only surprise among the top finishers was Steve Peat, well back in 23rd. Speculation is that he crashed or flatted. Canadian national champion Dustin Adams finished 35th, 22.21 seconds back, followed by Mathieu Laurin in 53rd (33.63 seconds). Brant Lyon was right behind in 56th (35.57 seconds), Trevor Porter 71st (43.19 seconds), Mike Jones 81st (53.03 seconds) and Geoff Pendrel 85th (56.22 seconds). Fabien Barel, another top French contender, missed his start and is out of the competition.
The course is described as very fast. The upper section will be treacherous if it rains, but otherwise the top riders should have no problem with the roots and bumps. Just after the halfway mark there is a man-made jump that the top riders are getting huge air on - not high, but a long hangtime before they touch down again. Once they are through this it is very, very fast all the way to the finish.
- We spoke with Global Racing director Martin Whitely about Greg Minnaar's crash and the broken collarbone that took him out of the competition. "It was just one of those stupid little accidents. He was out of position, put his leg down to correct and then just lost control and flipped over. He didn't think it was broken at first, but it was. It is just bad, bad luck, because he has really good form now, and won the Maxxis series race last week.
- A further update from the Team Relay: Canada had a distinct advantage in the transfer zone. As defending champions, their 'stall' was the first in line. This was significant, because riding behind the stalls to the transfer point it was thick gravel and the riders were wading through it. The new rider heading out on their lap was on hardpack. So, Canadian riders didn't have to flounder through the deep stuff. National coach Yury Kasherine made it even easier by surreptitiously packing down the entrance area...
- Tomorrow are the Junior cross-country events. The women start at 1:00 pm local (7:00 am EDT), with the men at 3:00 pm local (9:00 am EDT). We will begin our reports with pre-race updates, and then report through the competition.
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