Posted by Editoress on 06/26/05
MTB World Cup - Downhill Report Mont-Sainte-Anne, QC
Reports brought to with the support of Gestev
The racers were universal in their praise for the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup course. The reason their positive comments was simple - it was a long race course. "Real mountain biking" was often mentioned. The return of the start at the top of the mountain after three years was clearly a crowd-pleaser. Today the dominant bicycle proved to be from Kona, with Tracy Moseley winning the fourth round of the World Cup for the women and Fabien Barel the men's for the Kona Les Gets Team.
The favourite going into this round of the World Cup was the series points leader Sabrina Jonnier (Fra), given the absence of Anne-Caroline Chausson (Commencal). As the fastest qualifier here at MSA, she seemed set to dominate this race. However, Tracy Moseley (Kona Les Gets), fourth fastest in qualifying, ruined her day. Jonnier was very disappointed and left the finish area quickly after her run was 0.55 seconds slower than Moseley's. When Jonnier's time came up on the screen, Moseley jumped high into the air and then hugged her team manager.
Tracy Moseley - "The track was awesome. This is the way that downhilling should be. You really had to push it all the way down the mountain. It's a brilliant course. It's so nice to back to the top of the mountain. Old school mountain biking. No sprinting stuff. I felt really strong in the last portion of the course and I think that got me the win."
Moseley continued to lavish praise on the course. "My head likes it but my body is suffering. This is where mountain biking should be. It's a long track down a mountain. I can feel I've only been racing 2 or 3 minute courses the past few years because today has taken a real toll on my body. I hope we get more tracks like this. It's what this bike is designed for. This course has everything. Really high speed plus slow speed in the woods. Nothing really crazy but you've got to hold it together the whole way."
Danika Schroeter from Vancouver was the top Canadian registering a fine sixth place finish, 13.52 seconds behind Moseley. "It was really good. Awesome fun. I just held it together. That was really, really fast for me. I've never raced a course this long. I'm tired and I'm going to feel it tomorrow. My upper body and hands are really sore.
Jonnier retains her lead atop the UCI standings, but Moseley has moved into second place and appears to have lots of confidence going into the next round in Brazil.
This course took a heavy toll on equipment in the men's race. The high speed sections meant lots of pinch flats, broken wheels and general carnage. Just that much more track is enough to damage a bike when you're going hard.
The early part of the race had a wide assortment of riders on the hot seat, but it was Chris Kovarik (Fox) in the 15th last start position who ended up claiming it for the longest period of time. With the rider start separation going to 2 minutes for the final 20, it must have seemed like forever for him. Even though Kovarik eventually was eventually pushed down to fifth, it certainly marks a return form after a year off the circuit with a badly broken leg from a motorcycle accident. Mont Ste Anne is his second World Cup this season.
The last 5 racers are always the one's to watch. Gee Atherton (Gbr) had a mechanical which dropped him out of the running. Then Fabien Barel, the defending World Champion, laid down a scorching run of 5:02:07. He knew when he crossed the line that he had done a superb run. Marc Beaumont (Shift), the third last starter was over 6 seconds back, good enough for third. Second for last starter Mickael Pascal (Maxxis-MSC) was over 7 seconds back, good enough for fourth.
That left only Greg Minnaar (Team G-Cross Honda), the fastest qualifier, to come through. Minnaar was over 2 seconds faster than his qualifying run, but it was still 0.52 seconds slower than Barel. Barel erupted from the hot seat to thunderous applause. He came forward into the finish chute and took a very gracious bow to audience.
Barel was very pleased with his win. "It was not an easy day. Coming back from missing the second race of the season (Barel missed his start at Willingen due to miscommunication within his team) and generally having a crap season so far feels really good. Coming back now and winning this race is a real success. You have to have a real strategy on a course like this. You can't be full gas from the top to the bottom. My strategy was to go kind of easy in some of the technical parts and taking some risks, but not too much, and then trying to attack as much as possible on the fast spots and make some time. In the beginning of the season you know that you can't win everything. I know that I can't. I just try to pick up some points. Winning this race was good.
Minnaar was philosophical about his second "It's a long season. This is just one of the races. I have to worry about the World Cup overall. I'm really happy with second. You can't be upset. Its good for the points. You can't win every race. I knew I was up for a good run, but then I lost concentration and ran quite wide in one section and I couldn't get my footing back. It messed up that whole section. It took quite a bit of time and I tried to make it back up down at the bottom. The course is long for sure but that actually makes it more forgiving because you have a chance to make up for mistakes. Obviously today it was really close so I just didn't have enough."
With his win Barel moves to sixth in the World Cup points standing, with Minnaar continuing to pad his huge lead atop the points.
Top Canadian finisher was Quebec-based rider Charles-Alexandre Dube.
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