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September 4/09 21:56 pm - MTB World Championships: Women's XC Report, PHOTOS and full results

Posted by Editoress on 09/4/09

Russia's Irina Kalentieva overcame early mechanical problems to win her second world title in three years on Saturday in the Elite Women's cross-country at the Mountain Bike World Championships in Canberra, Australia.  Kalentieva caught early leader Lene Byberg of Norway on the last lap of the six lap race, and broke away to win in a time of one hour, 43 minutes and 20 seconds.  Byberg finished 13 seconds behind for the silver medal, with American Willow Koerber taking bronze at 52 seconds.    The top Canadian finisher was national champion Catharine Pendrel in sixth place, two minutes and 36 seconds in arrears.  Other Canadian results include Marie-Helene Premont in 12th and Amanda Sin in 26th.  Mical Dyck was as high as 17th when she crashed in the final lap and had to abandon.



Part one


Part two


Although conditions were clear and sunny, a stiff breeze was blowing up the long false flat that led into the first climb of the lap.  This meant a conservative start for the race, with a group of six riders completing the first lap together - Byberg, Cécile Rode Ravanel (France), Eva Lechner (Italy), Catharine Pendrel (Canada), Sabine Spitz (Germany) and Koerber.  Kalentieva was a few places back, after suffering problems with chain suck that she had to stop and deal with.

Spitz led the inital move up the climb on lap two, but Byberg overtook her and began to distance herself from the rest.  Through the rest of the lap and lap three Byberg continued to lead and open a gap on Koerber, Spitz and Ravanel.  Pendrel was struggling to hold onto fifth, and at the end of the lap Kalentieva had moved up to join her.

The Russian rider had clearly solved her technical problems, and moved up impressively through her rivals, pulling back 30 seconds to start the last lap in third behind Byberg and Koerber.  She caught Koerber on the first technical climb and went straight past, to join Byberg with a half a lap to go.  Byberg tried an attack, but Kalentieva caught back easily, and then launched her own attack into the final singletrack, to pull away for her second world title.  Byberg rolled in 13 seconds later, visibly disappointed.

"Today was unbelievable," exclaimed Kalentieva.  "I had a good start.  I was in the front on the climbing, and then on the downhill something happened with the chain - I don't know what - so I had to stop and repair the chain.  It was about one minute, or one and a half minutes, I am not sure.  Anyway, I gave everything today, because I wanted to be World Champion again here.  It was my dream, and it came true, and I am very satisfied and very, very happy."

"It was a very technical course.  In Europe we also have technical courses but here with the big stones and so on it seems more technical than in Europe but it was perfect for me.  I think [the mechanical issue with the chain] gave me more concentration and it gave me more power, because I knew it should not happen today to my chain.  I was at the front in the beginning of the race and I felt good.  I did a good job: I made less mistakes on the uphill and downhill, and I felt good and perfect and that is why on every lap I was able to move forward.  It was a very special course with more singletrack and you cannot follow when you go uphill, and I lost time, many times, but anyway I am the World Champion now, and it happened!"

Byberg, who won her first World Cup this season, and leads the overall standings, was in a little bit of shock after having the title snatched away from her.

"I kind of had the title in my hands and I lost it in the last half lap.  But I just went for it today from the start and just took it from there.  It was really hard to ride alone on the flat sections after the feeding zone, and this took a lot of energy.  But I just decided to go for it, and maybe one day I can make up the thirteen seconds [to Irina].  I am happy, this is my first International medal and so far I have had a great season, but I am a little bit disappointed also."

"Normally in races I do the opposite: I get into the top ten and then come from behind like Irina did today.  But today I just knew it was a great start for me - not straight into a steep uphill, but flat so you can sit there behind in the wind and stay on a wh eel.  I knew it would be a fight on the first tricky stones when it gets narrow, and I knew I needed to be at the front today because it is so hard to pass in some places.  My legs were good, so for once I decided to go fast at the start as well.  That was my goal for the season: to try to have a good World Championships. It is also a mental thing: the one chance on the one day at the World Championships.  Every season for the past three years I have been improving slowly, slowly and this year it has been great."

As with Byberg, this is Koeber's first world championships medal, and she had no disappointment with finishing third.  The American rode a 29er, as did her team mate Heather Irmiger (10th).

"At the start I was like, 'whats going on?  None of us can ride our bikes!'.  Everyone seemed to be crashing into each other and falling over.  But you just have to stay patient, as it is five laps, and I managed to escape any big crash or problem with my bike, so I had a great day out there.  Just a lot of fun, and the crowds were great.  This is my first [International] medal, so I am very excited and pleased."

"I guess you could say the start worked in my favour because it ended up well, it all worked out great.  I just stayed calm, because in the past I have panicked numerous times and you just waste a bunch of energy, so I was like, okay, whatever is happening in front of me, it will all work out, and I guess it did.  I won the last race in the US Cup in New York three weeks ago, so that gave me a lot of confidence, and then I really didn't train too much.  I just did a bunch of short fun things, so I would be rested and really ready to race today."

"I knew going in that this course did not suit my strengths," explained Pendrel, who had her third consecutive sixth place finish at the world championships.  "But I got to the front for the first lap and was able to stay with the leaders until the second lap, when it began to split up.  It's a little frustrating, to be sixth again, but that's the best I could do today.

Premont, who is racing for the first time after being diagnosed with exercise induced asthma, was pleased just to be able to race without problems.  "The second half of the course did not suit me, so I knew that I would have problems getting a top result.  But for me, the main thing is that I was able to race without any breathing problems like I had in the World Cups and at the Olympics last year.  This gives me confidence for the next two world Cup races."


Women - 5 Laps - 32.35 km - Average Spd: 18.78 km/h
1 Irina Kalentieva (Russian Federation) 1:43:20
2 Lene Byberg (Norway) at 0:13
3 Willow Koerber (United States Of America) 0:52
4 Sabine Spitz (Germany) 1:30
5 Anna Szafraniec (Poland) 1:37
6 Catharine Pendrel (Canada) 2:36
7 Cécile Rode Ravanel (France) 3:07
8 Esther Süss (Switzerland) 3:40
9 Eva Lechner (Italy) 3:58
10 Heather Irmiger (United States Of America) 4:12
11 Blaza Klemencic (Slovenia) 5:03
12 Marie-Helene Premont (Canada) 5:15
13 Magdalena Sadlecka (Poland) 5:50
14 Katherine Compton (United States Of America) 6:32
15 Georgia Gould (United States Of America) 7:01
16 Margarita Fullana Riera (Spain) 7:03
17 Petra Henzi (Switzerland) 7:28
18 Anja Gradl (Germany) 7:41
19 Laura Metzler (France) 7:46
20 Katrin Leumann (Switzerland) 7:55
21 Mary McConneloug (United States Of America) 8:31
22 Laura Turpijn (Netherlands) 9:43
23 Annika Langvad (Denmark) 10:11
24 Kate Potter (Australia) 10:13
25 Rie Katayama (Japan) 10:16
26 Amanda Sin (Canada) 10:24
27 Rowena Fry (Australia) 10:42
28 Oksana Rybakova (Russian Federation) 10:42
29 Githa Michiels (Belgium) 10:49
30 Adelheid Morath (Germany) 10:52
31 Janka Stevkova (Slovakia) 12:15
32 Joanna Harrington (Australia) 13:00
33 Pavla Havlikova (Czech Republic) 13:08
34 Katherine O'Shea (Australia) 13:12
35 Nicola Leary (New-Zealand) 13:34
36 Monique Zeldenrust (Netherlands) 13:45
37 Laura Lorenza Morfin Macouzet (Mexico) 14:22
38 Wei Fang (People's Republic Of China) 14:59
39 Judy Freeman (United States Of America) 15:22
40 Jodie Willett (Australia) 15:23
41 Joanna Wall (Australia) 16:08
42 Elena Gogoleva (Russian Federation) 17:52
43 Suzanne Clarke (Great Britain) 18:10
44 Zoe King (Australia) 19:08
45 Jeanette Gerrie (New-Zealand) -2LAP
DNF Nathalie Schneitter (Switzerland)
DNF Marielle Saner-Guinchard (Switzerland)
DNF Maria Osl (Austria)
DNF Mical Dyck (Canada)
DNS Maja Wloszczowska (Poland)


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