Posted by Editoress on 05/17/03
NORBA #1, Big Bear Snow Summit CA
Courtesy USA Cycling
Alison Dunlap (Colorado Springs, CO, LunaChix) and Ryder Hesjedal (Victoria, BC, Subaru-Gary Fisher) dominated the Cross Country event today at the NORBA National Mountain Bike Championship Series opener in Big Bear Lake, CA by posting impressive victories against a solid field of top international competitors.
There was a little bit of uncertainty leading up to the men's race with regards to the condition of pre-race favorite Roland Green (Victoria, BC, Trek Volkswagen) who was still suffering the effects of a crash almost a month ago in the Tour de Georgia. Green, who swept all five NORBA NMBCS races last year couldn't hang on to the pace that Hesjedal eventually set.
Early on, a group of nine distanced themselves from the main bunch. All of the key players made that initial selection, including Hesjedal, Green, Seamus McGrath (Carslile, Canada, Haro Lee Dungarees), Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, CO, RLX/Ralph Lauren), and Geoff Kabush (Victoria, BC, Kona). On the first of two complete laps of the 12 mile circuit, the group remained together, but as they approached the descent on the second lap, Hesjedal bolted and put in 30 seconds on the descent. From there, he just motored and held his gap, eventually soloing in across the line for the victory, the 20th consecutive one by either he or Green in a NORBA NMBCS event. Kabush and McGrath cruised in for second and third place respectively giving Canadians a sweep of the top three podium spots.
Hesjedal, jubilant in victory, expressed his confidence after the race. "I expect myself to win, I get more confident each time I come back here." It appeared that with Green not his usual self, the rest of the riders were rather passive throughout the race. "No one wanted to work in the group, I was feeling strong and thought I would go for it and I figured I would do it on the downhill", noted Hesjedal. Second place finisher, Kabush, agreed with Hesjedal on the pace, "The group was Dilly-Dallying, no one wanted to spend any bullets, Hesjedal just snuck away and nobody wanted to take any risks to catch him." Top American, Horgan-Kobelski, was happy with his fourth place finish, "I wanted to ride for the win, but I'm really happy to be on the podium, it's so hard to be in the top five in these races (NORBA) so I'm really happy I was the top American.
Like the men's race, the women's event featured a dominant performance from a pre-race favorite as Dunlap showed some strong early season form. Racing two laps of a 12 mile circuit, Dunlap and Kiara Bisaro (Victoria, BC, GearsRacing.com) distanced themselves from a second group of two which contained defending champion Jimena Florit, (Argentina, RLX/Ralph Lauren), and Kim Anderson (Colorado Springs, CO, T-Mobile). While tackling the last climb on the second lap, Dunlap made her move on Bisaro, "Kiara and I were together until halfway up the last climb. I was on the front and she kind of drifted off and I saw a gap open. Soon it was a 20 second gap and when I went into the singletrack, I couldn't see her so I put my head down and went", noted Dunlap who couldn't be happier to finally get a victory in Big Bear, "I've always wanted to win this one, I'm delighted."
1. Ryder Hesjedal (Can), Subaru-Gary Fisher, 2:25:02
2. Geoff Kabush (Can), Kona-Clarks, at 0:19
3. Seamus McGrath (Can), Haro-Lee Dungarees, 0:24
4. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) RLX Ralph Lauren, 1:21
5. Todd Wells (USA) Hyundai-Mongoose, 2:26
6. Adrian Bonilla (CR), Costa Rican National, 2:40
7. Ziranda Madrigal (Mex), Turbo, 4:04
8. Carl Swenson (USA) RLX Ralph Lauren, 4:54
9. Walker Ferguson (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher, 6:15
10. Andreas Hestler (Can), Rocky Mountain, 6:32
1. Alison Dunlap (USA) Luna, 24 miles in 2:07:58
2. Kiara Bisaro (Can), Gears Racing, at 0:35
3. Kim Anderson (USA) T-Mobile, 0:56
4. Mary Grigson (Aus), Subaru-Gary Fisher, 1:21
5. Jimena Florit (Arg), RLX Ralph Lauren, 1:33
6. Sue Haywood (USA) Trek-Volkswagen, 1:49
7. Alison Sydor (Can), Trek-Volkswagen, 2:54
8. Mary McConneloug (USA)Seven Cycles, 3:45
9. Trish Sinclair (Can), Gears Racing, 4:45
10. Willow Koerber (USA) RLX Ralph Lauren, 4:46
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