Posted by Editoress on 06/25/05
MTB World Cup Mont-Ste-Anne, QC
Reports brought to with the support of Gestev
Unlike the Women's XC World Cup, where the field shredded early on, the men's XC remained much more intact for much of the six lap race. However, it was really a two person race. From the gun Christoph Sauser (Siemens Cannondale) and team-mate Fredrik Kessiakoff of Sweden built a strong lead and rode together until Sauser pulled away on the large climb of the final lap.
Sauser, who is the World Cup leader and defending World Cup Champion, helped to pull Kessiakoff to his best World Cup finish ever. Both were pleased, and so was the Cannondale Team with both riders on full suspension Scalpels. Kessiakoff was the most emotional. "I'm very happy. It's my best result so far. I just had a good day. Christoph has so much experience. I think he is still a better rider than I am but I proved today that I am closer to the elite, the top riders, and I tried to stay with him as much as I could, but at the end he just rode away from me (Kessiakoff was 18 seconds back at the finish). This gives me much more confidence."
"Success just doesn't mean a physique, it means having the courage to try to really have a result like this. I went from the gun. It wasn't quite planned. The legs were good and I tried it. Christoph caught me and I stayed with him as long as I could with one lap to go. The heat was a bit of a factor, but it was more pleasant than the rain, but I'm not going to complain. The course suited me. It was just a blast. I had so much fun. Every time I came to a descent I could relax a bit. The climbs are tough here. The full suspension bike helped me so much because I could rest a bit on the descents."
For Sauser, it was business as usual. "I knew from the first lap that we were pretty safe up here. When Adam Craig (Giant) got close I decided to add some more seconds. We weren't cruising but we were always aware of where he was, and we always had a gear in reserve. The last lap you always worry about a mechanical so I added a little more time. I definitely had an advantage over Fredrik in the climbs. I'm also in the World Cup lead overall so I didn't want to take any risks in the downhills. You just can't afford to crash or puncture. That would be the worse. I won't be going to Brazil, just Angelfire (New Mexico). All my main competition finished out of the top 5 today so with a decent result at Angelfire I will win the overall."
Sauser was very pleased with his bike. "The Cannondale is so great. Full suspension is the way to go. You're probably not any faster on the descents, but you save lots of energy. The full suspension also means that you aren't as much at risk on those descents."
Canadian fans were very pleased with the fine third place from National Champion Geoff Kabush (Maxxis), 1:18 back of Sauser. Kabush was in a tight battle with Liam Killeen (Specialized), Raul Paulissen (Giant), and Jeremiah Bishop (Trek VW) into the third lap. Bishop had a meltdown and Paulissen fell back from Kabush and Killeen. Kabush eventually dropped Killeen and then set his sights on Craig.
Going into Lap five Kabush caught Craig on the climb through the feed zone and then put him away for good on the big climb. "I've raced all season in North America so it has been frustrating not to have been on the podium at a World Cup this year." admitted Kabush.
"Once I made it into a podium position I became more conservative Ã‹â€ maybe I could have closed it up a bit on second, but I just wanted to protect my podium spot." He also talked about how he chose to run dry condition tires. "I was praying that there were no thundershowers out there today. I just decided I needed to ride my own race. Adam (Craig) was pushing the pace earlier so I hung back a bit. Maybe I should have taken more risks."
He was also asked about not attending the earlier World Cups in Europe given his obvious superb form. "No, I don't have any regrets. At the earlier World Cups I think I would have cracked. I wasn't ready. My big goal this year is the World's so this just gives me confidence.
Adam Craig, back in North America after a successful European campaign, recorded his best World Cup result ever in fourth. He spent the first half of the race in third before Kabush caught and eventually dropped him. "I was in third a long time. It was a very good feeling. Geoff just came on very strong in the second half of the race. I was able to stay with him for 5 to 10 minutes, but I just don't have that capacity yet."
Also showing a return to World Class form was former two-time World Champion Roland Green (Kona Les Gets), racing his first World Cup in over a year. Green was pleased with his ninth place finish. "Starting that far back, I forgot what it was like. There was a lot of traffic to go through. I knew with the heat that if I started to fast I would blow up. I rode a steady race." After his race, Green commented on his return to high-level competition. "Right now I'm very happy. I've still got to drop a couple of pounds so a few more races should help." We then talked about his strategy for the race. "I wanted to be fresh heading into the technical sections because I knew that one crash would affect the rest of the race. I didn't push it on the climbs. I felt really good on the last lap. I felt that I could have done another lap."
- Other Canadians in the top 20 were Ricky Federeau (Gearsracing.com) in 15th, and Kris Sneddon (Kona Les Gets) in 19th.
- Seamus McGrath (Adidas Haro) was looking good and well up in the field, but ran into mechanical problems, which dropped him down to 23rd. "It was good race. I was just biding my time and starting to light up out there. I was starting to catch a bunch of guys. I hit my rear derailleur on a rock and bent it. That caused the chain to jump around a lot on the cassette. It really hurt me on the climbs. What can you do? The form is there. I'm really happy about that."
- Mechanical problems were very common in the men's race. The most notable victim was Jose Antonio Hermida (Multivan Merida). After being as high as seventh early in the race, Hermida came to an abrupt halt in the third lap when his chain became jammed in the spokes. He struggled with it for nearly five minutes, losing nearly 15 spots. Mat Toulouse (Maxxis) suffered from a similar problem.
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