February 28/05 5:35 am - 2005 NORBA Series Season Opener
Posted by Editoress on 02/28/05
2005 Shimano NORBA National MTB Series Kicks Off This Weekend
Courtesy USA Cycling
Eight Olympians to compete in round one at Tapatio Springs Resort in Boerne, Texas
The 2005 Shimano NORBA National Mountain Bike Series gets underway this weekend with round one at the Tapatio Springs Resort in Boerne, Texas.
Many of the big names in mountain biking were absent for much of the 2004 series as they vied for spots on their nation's Olympic teams. This year's debut will feature eight 2004 Olympians on the start line including Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, Colo.), Todd Wells (Durango, Colo.), Seamus McGrath (CAN), Liam Killeen (GBR), Mary McConneloug (Fairfax, Calif.), Kiara Bisaro (CAN), Alison Sydor (CAN), and Lyne Bessette (CAN).
Other favorites to grab podiums spots in 2005 will be 2001 World Champion and last year's short track series winner Alison Dunlap (Colorado Springs, Colo.), whose entire focus this year is on the NORBA Series and the Sea Otter Classic. Dunlap will be joined at the start line by Luna Chix teammate and 2004 NORBA cross-country series winner Shonny Vanlandingham (Durango, Colo.). Geoff Kabush (CAN) won the overall series in both cross country and short track last year, while Ryan Trebon (Corvallis, Ore.), Travis Brown (Boulder, Colo.), and Adam Craig (Corinth, Maine) will also be strong contenders for wins this weekend.
Just like the 2004 NORBA opener, this weekend's UCI E1 event will use a stage race format to determine an overall winner. Racing begins on Friday morning with a marathon at Flat Rock Ranch in nearby Comfort. Riders will make 2 1/2 laps of the figure eight course for a total of 62 miles. Later on Friday, the three-mile long time trial course which utilizes many of the property's horse trails will be the center of attention, as pros, semi-pros, and experts compete in the event's first stage.
Saturday will feature a spectator-friendly short track race that winds around and through the expo area, while Sunday's cross-country competition will close out the first stop of the 2005 NORBA Series with plenty of climbing, rock ledges, and fast single track.
"The weather makes the hill country a year round cycling destination," commented Race Director and USA Cycling board member Lisa Nye-Salladin. "We think the riders will really like the terrain, the courses, and the awesome hill country views."
Complete details on this weekend's NORBA National can be found at www.texasnorbnational.com, while a full schedule for the 2005 Shimano NORBA National Mountain Bike Series is at www.norbanationals.com.