Posted by Editoress on 07/27/03
NORBA #4 Sandpoint, Idaho
Alison Sydor (CAN; Trek Volkswagen) and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, CO; RLX-Ralph Lauren) each took home short track cross country wins today in equally exciting races at the fourth round of the NORBA National Championship Mountain Bike Series at Schweitzer Mountain Resort in Sandpoint, Idaho.
Sydor and yesterday's cross country winner, Chrissy Redden (CAN; Subaru-Gary Fisher) engaged in a drag race to the finish with Sydor claiming victory by a matter of inches from the two-woman breakaway. Early in the race, Sydor and Willow Koerber (Ashville, NC; RLX-Ralph Lauren) worked together in an early break until a chase group led by Sue Haywood (Davis, WV; Trek-Volkswagen) regained contact. Afterwards, Sydor attacked again, opening up a threatening gap. This time, Redden was the only one who had the strength to match Sydor as the two rode away from a small chase group that contained Koerber, Katerina Hanusova (CZE; Luna Chix), Haywood, and Shonny Vanlandingham (Durango, CO; Luna Chix).
With no chance of the chase catching the two leaders, Sydor and Redden motored to the finish for the inevitable sprint where Sydor squeaked out the win.
An elated Sydor explained her win following the race. "It took me a really long time to get this so it's nice to win. This is a great format. Originally I wanted to help Sue (Haywood) since she is in the overall lead, so it was my job to chase Willow on her first attack. After that we wanted to make the Luna or Fisher teams chase so I attacked. Once she was away with Redden, the strategy was clear. "At that point it was a sprint for the last corner and I won that and kept going into the finish."
In the men's event, Horgan-Kobelski took advantage of two late race crashes amongst the leaders to sail away with his second NORBA NCMBS short track win of the season.
From the gun, the pace was blistering on the flat, dog bone-shaped course that wound its way through the village of Schweitzer Mountain. All the usual suspects were present at the front, minus World Champion, Roland Green (CAN; Trek-Volkswagen) who withdrew from the race early on.
A natural selection of six riders formed at the front that included Horgan-Kobelski, Paul Rowney; (AUS; Sobe-Cannondale), Ryder Hesjedal (CAN; Subaru-Gary Fisher), and Seamus McGrath (CAN; Haro-Lee Dungarees). As the leaders negotiated a downhill hairpin turn, Rowney, sitting third wheel, crashed creating a gap and allowing McGrath and Horgan-Kobelski to ride away from the other leaders. As Hesjedal made a last ditch effort to bridge back to the duo ahead, they hit the gas negating any chance Hesjedal had.
Just when it was looking like it was going to be a carbon copy of the women's finish with a two-up sprint, McGrath crashed with one lap remaining. Horgan-Kobelski took advantage and immediately attacked, easily hanging on for a solo win.
"I didn't know at first Rowney crashed and I kept pushing hard laps then I saw we had a gap so I kept going", Horga-Kobelski said of the first mishap.
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