Canadian Cyclist


May 31/03 8:23 am - Fort William World Cup: XC story, 4-Cross story & full results

Posted by Editoress on 05/31/03

Fort William World Cup #2 Fort William, Scotland

World Cup coverage sponsored byVélirium 2003

Cross Country

Gunn-Rita Dahle solidified her lead and Filip Meirhaeghe put himself back into contention at the Fort William World Cup on Saturday. Both riders took extremely hard fought victories in front of nearly 6,000 spectators, under the most perfect conditions imaginable.

Fort William, in the Scottish Highlands, held its first World Cup last year; a Downhill / 4-Cross. This year the organizers stepped up to the plate to present a triple, and hit a homerun with the cross-country crowd. Held in the shadow of Ben Nevis, the tallest mountain in the United Kingdom, the Scottish Forestry Service built an 8.5 kilometre course at a cost of over $150,000. The result was a circuit offering an excellent mixture of technical descents, short, steep climbs and fast double track.

Dahle began the women's race in the same fashion as last week in St Wendel, and after two laps appeared to be well on her way to a similar dominant victory. However, on the third lap (of four) she faltered, opening the door for her team mate Sabine Spitz and Barbara Blatter.

"On the third lap I had a lot of crashes; I was getting tired. I lost time and then I started stressing. I know when Barbara is pushing, she is really strong on the uphill. So, I had to gather my concentration and focus for the final lap."

Her concentration worked, and the world champion was able to hold on for an 8 second victory ahead of Spitz, with Blatter coming in third at 20 seconds. Blatter had caught Spitz on the final lap, but when the duo reached the fast finishing section, the more powerful German rider was able to ride away from her rival.

Jimena Florit had a strong ride for sixth place, with the top Canadian places taken by Marie-Helene Premont in ninth and Chrissy Redden taking a sprint for tenth.

The men's 5 lap race began in a similar fashion to St Wendel also, with a group of 10-12 forming at the front. Meirhaeghe, world champion Roland Green, World Cup leader Christoph Sauser, Lado Fumic, Julien Absalon and team mate Jose Hermida, Roel Paulissen and Thomas Frischknecht were all present.

Meirhaeghe, who had flatted out of St Wendel early, was determined to do better at Fort William. "Each lap there would be a big group by the bottom of the main climb, and then it would get smaller and smaller on the climb. Everyone would get back on again along the technical sections, but I was only worried about Sauser and Fumic."

The defending World Cup champion made his move on the last lap, attacking repeatedly on the climb until only Fumic was left. Then, he used his secret weapon to drop the German champion. "I rode my Epic full suspension, and it made the difference here, on the rocky sections."

When he attacked again after the climb, he was able to finally drop Fumic, who agreed that Meirhaeghe's bike helped: "Filip got a gap with 2 kilometres to go, and he was sitting pedaling, while I had to use my whole body. I made a tactical mistake to let him go, and then with my hardtail I had no chance to get back."

Absalon managed to drop Sauser at the end to take third, with the World Cup leader in fourth. Green was the top North American finisher, in 12th place, followed by Todd wells in 23rd.

Race Notes:

- Both Dahle and Sauser hold onto their leads in the World Cup series, but Fumic is only 50 points behind Sauser, and Absalon only 60. Dahle has a perfect 500 points in the women's category, followed by team mates Spitz at 400 and Irina Kalentieva at 320.


Thomas Frischknecht - "It was a great course but it killed me. I thought I was in good shape before last weekend, but now I know that I need some more, I'm not quite there yet. I think that for the spectators the racing has never been better, with lots of riders still in the race quite late."

Sauser - "I was expecting him (Meirhaeghe) to do well. When Filip attacked and opened a gap, they were only 5 meters ahead, but I could not close the gap."

Fumic - "This is my best World Cup result. I think that I was the strongest today, but I should not have given Filip that gap, especially when there was so little opportunity to pass; it was a tactical mistake that cost me the race."

Roland Green - "I had nothing left after the race, absolutely dead. My shoulder doesn't hurt, it is still a little weak, but it feels like my body just isn't right. I'm looking forward to some time at home and some solid training."

Marie-Helene Premont - "I'm so happy. I fell at the start and hit my knee, and then I was behind everyone. My whole race was chasing. This week I feel more rested and caught up from the jet lag, I felt that I had 'juice' on the climbs and was able to ride everything.

Chrissy Redden - "I was trying to keep it steady all race. My start was okay and then Marie-Helene went down and I ran over her! I spent most of the race trying to move up, and luckily had a little bit left at the end to outsprint the group I was with. I was up to seventh at one point, but everyone was battling back and forth and it was hard to hold your place."

Gunn-Rita Dahle - "I think it took everything I had to win this week; at the finish line I had nothing left. I can't remember ever being this tired since I won the World Cup Final in Hawaii in 1996, and I passed out there."


Greg Minnaar (Haro-Lee Dungarees) and Katrina Miller (Jamis) won the opening rounds of the 4-Cross World Cup on a crowd-pleasing course. The small women's field saw only two rounds of competition, with Miller easily winning both her runs. Mio Suemasa (Trek-VW) finished second and Anneke Beerten third. The men's event started badly with world champion Brian Lopes (Fox) crashing in the first run and reportedly fracturing his ankle. There were crashes in at least half of the runs, and Minnaar had an easy win when Eric Carter (Mongoose-Hyundai) tangled with Michael Prokop, taking down Steve Peat in the process.

1. Greg Minnaar (RSA)
2. Eric Carter (USA)
3. Steve Peat (GBr) Team Orange
4. Michal Prokop (Cze)
5. Leiv Ove Nordmark (Nor)
6. Sascha Meyenborg (Ger)
7. Wade Bootes (Aus) Trek-Volkswagen
8. George Atherton (GBr)
9. Guido Tschugg (Ger)
10. Brian Schmith (USA)
11. Mickael Deldycke (Fra)
12. Mike King (USA)
13. Bas De Bever (Ned) Be-One
14. Scott Beaumont (GBr)
15. Will Longden (GBr)
16. Dale Holmes (GBr)
17. Cedric Gracia (Fra) Siemenscan.Dale
18. Dave Wardell (GBr)
19. Romain Saladini (Fra) Msc Bikes
20. Nathan Rennie (Aus)
21. David Klaassenvanoorscho (USA)
22. Chris Powell (USA)
23. Caile Noble (USA)
24. Daniel Auerswald (Ger)
25. Roger Rinderknecht (Sui)
26. David Vazquez Lopez (Esp) Msc Bikes
27. Samuel Hill (Aus)
28. Koen Van Valkenhoef (Ned)
29. Kamil Tatarkovic (Cze)
30. Glyn O'brien (Irl)
31. Nigel Page (GBr)
32. Todd Bosch (USA)
33. Michal Marosi (Cze)
34. Jordie Lunn (Can)
35. Oscar Saiz (Esp) Maxxis-Msc
36. Marcus Klausmann (Ger)
37. Richard Batey (GBr)
38. Dylan Clayton (GBr)
39. Martin Ogden (GBr)
40. Filip Matus (Cze)
41. Jamis Vanags (Lat)
42. Jamie Popham (Irl)
43. Carl Wilson (GBr)
44. Steve Atkins (GBr)
45. Justin Havukainen (Aus)
46. Matej Charvat (Cze)
47. Jordan Gould (GBr)
48. Martin Hoferek (Cze)
49. Brian Lopes (USA)
50. Martyn Murray (GBr)
51. Filip Polc (Svk)
52. Markolf Berchtold (Bra) Msc Bikes
53. Maciej Jodko (Pol)
54. Scott Sharples (Aus)
55. Ben Reid (Irl)
56. Ross Tricker (GBr)
57. Trond Hansen (Nor)
58. Kenji Takamatsu (Jpn)
59. Andre Wagenknecht (Ger)
60. Marco Erbrich (Ger)
61. Duncan Ferris (GBr)
62. Nicholas Green (GBr)
63. Daniel Hume (GBr)
64. David Sibley (GBr)
65. Andrew Yoong (Irl)
66. Darren Howarth (GBr)
67. Dominic Bent (GBr)
68. Matthew Allnutt (GBr)
69. Frans Sjoblom (Swe)
70. Marco Dell Isola (GBr)
71. Alun Brooks (GBr)
72. Vlastimil Hyncica (Cze)
73. William Evans (GBr)
74. Mickael Pascal (Fra) Maxxis-Msc
75. Simon Paton (GBr)
76. Miles Kirby (GBr)
77. Richard Jones (GBr)
78. Cyril Lagneau (Fra) Maxxis-Msc
79. Steven Ruffell (GBr)
80. Andi Deutschenbaur (Ger)
81. James Gould (GBr)
DNS. Christopher Kovarik (Aus)
DNS. Daniel Atherton (GBr)
DNS. Mick Hannah (Aus)
DNS. Waylon Smith (GBr)

1. Katrina Miller (Aus)
2. Moi Suemasa (Jpn) Trek-Volkswagen
3. Anneke Beerten (Ned)
4. Tara Llanes (USA)
5. Celine Gros (Fra) Morzine Avoriaz
6. Sabrina Jonnier (Fra)
7. Lisa Sher (USA)
8. Fionn Griffiths (GBr)
DNF. Jill Kinter (USA)
DNS. Rhian Atherton (GBr)
DNS. Marissa Erbrich (Ger)
DNS. Helen Gaskell (GBr)


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