Peat down and out in British Columbia
GT teammate Barel may miss race too
By Jason Sumner, VeloNews Associate Editor
Right about now Steve Peat may be wondering if he really wants the UCI’s No. 1 downhill ranking. For the second time in his career Peat has been taken down by injury following an ascent to the No. 1 spot.
This time Peat separated his shoulder during a practice run at Grouse Mountain on Thursday. The resort is 20 minutes outside Vancouver, British Columbia, and is the site of his weekend’s World Cup stop. According to fellow GT downhiller Katja Repo, Peat’s hand came off his bars heading into one of the course’s wooded sections, and he was tossed off his bike and into a tree. The injury will definitely keep him out of this weekend’s action, and may keep him out of the start house at next weekend’s World Cup stop in Durango, Colorado.
Peat endured similar circumstances back in 1999 when he broke his arm during a training run at Mount Snow, Vermont, just after he’d moved to the top of the UCI’s downhill standings.
This time Peat took over the No. 1 ranking on June 18 after winning the first two World Cup downhills of the 2001 season in Maribor, Slovenia, and Vars, France. The 27-year-old is 5-for-5 on the year, with wins in the downhill at the Sea Otter Classic in March, as well as the second and third races of the NORBA circuit at Snowshoe, West Virginia, and Deer Valley, Utah.
Peat’s injury opens the door for France’s Nicolas Vouilloz, who’s been the overall World Cup champ five of the last six years, but got off to a slow start this year, placing second and fifth at the first two World Cups. Vouilloz sits third in the overall World Cup standings.
The bad news for GT didn’t end with Peat’s injury. Frenchman Fabien Barel may also miss the race at Grouse after he crashed into a course-marking pole during a training run. The pole cut a nasty gouge in Barel’s calf which required 12 stitches. According to a GT staff member Barel’s status for the weekend is questionable at best. Barel came to Grouse holding down second place in the overall World Cup standings.
Action continues on the famed North Shore Friday with dual qualifying, and training for both the downhill and cross-country racers. Saturday features the downhill finals at 2 p.m. PST, followed by the dual finals at 6 p.m. The cross-country racers take over on Sunday with the women heading out at 10:30 a.m., followed by the men at 1:30 p.m.
Check back to VeloNews.com all weekend for full reports, results and photos.