Posted by Editor on 03/26/00
Pre-race, it is shaping up to be interesting. There was a press conference held this evening, with world champions Margarita Fullana (Subaru-Specialized) and Michael Rasmussen (Haro-Lee Dungarees), and World Cup champion Alison Sydor (Volvo-Cannondale) in attendance (men's WC champion Cadel Evans (Volvo-Cannondale), who broke his collarbone in a freak training accident yesterday, was not at the press session).
The press asked Rasmussen what he thought about the course, and got a very blunt answer, that sent everyone scrambling for their notepads: "I am not sharing the nthe enthusiasm of the organizer. I am not happy with this course.. It is not one that you can win the first time on the singletrack, but it is one you can lose there..."
What Ramussen is talking about is the lack of passing on the course. While the course did widen slightly after hordes of Sport and Expert riders went through today, it is still narrow, without the passing opportunities the pros like. Alison Sydor was a bit more classy in her reply: " there are 8 races, on 8 different courses. It is our job to go out and race the best we can on this course."
We also asked Sydor and the others about full suspension - the rumour has been that many teams will be on FS for Napa, given the rough terrain. All three riders at the press conference said No, they would not be using FS.
The problem seems to be familiarity. Charlie Livermore of Volvo-Cannondale said "Cannondale hasn't been pushing us to go to FS, although, obviously, they would like us to do so. The riders have a real tough decision to make, but they decided to stick with the tried and true for this race." However, Gary Fisher-Saab, (team of Chrissy Redden) is apparently going FS, with all riders on the GF Sugar FS bike.
We have received the Men's Start List. Since Evans has dropped out of the picture, it puts the burden on his arch-rival, Miguel Martinez. No word yet on what sort of fom Martinez has.
Among the Canadians in the men's race:
24. Seamus McGrath (Haro-Lee Dungarees)
28.Chris Sheppard (Haro-Lee Dungarees)
32. Roland Green (Team GT)
34. Andreas Hestler (Team Ford Devinci)
71. Mathieu Toulous (Team Ford Devinci)
73. Geoff Kabush (Kona Factory)
84. Peter Wedge (Kona Factory)
101 Ryder Hesjedal (Saab-Gary Fisher)
103 Eric Tourville (Oryx)
110. Georges Visser (Oryx)
115. Matthew Decore (Marin)
124. Jean-Francois Robert (OGC)
144. Ruedi Schnyder (Norco-Factory)
145. Ricky Federau (Rocky Mountain)
- Cadel Evans broke his collarbone while warming up. It was a fluke accident, with Evans crashing hard while practising on a quarter barrel obstacle on the course.
- the men will do 2 start loops and 7 full laps, the women 2 start loops and 5 full laps.
- this year the riders can either miss or discard one race. While it makes it less "nerve racking", in the words of Sydor, there is some concern that certain races might get short-changed in the number of top riders that show up.
- Margarita Fullana says that she will be concentrating on the Olympics and Worlds this year, not going for World Cup results.
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