By Jason Sumner, VeloNews Associate Editor
The first day of racing at the World Cup stop in Grouse Mountain proved two things: short downhills are exciting and dual is not.
In the downhill it was a pair of French riders, Fabien Barel (GT) and Anne-Caroline Chausson (Volvo-Cannondale), walking away with the winner’s points. For Chausson that meant an even tighter grip on the World Cup overall lead. For Barel that meant overtaking teammate Steve Peat, who missed Saturday’s race after suffering a separated shoulder in a training crash on Thursday.
Barel’s win was a slim as can be. The gregarious Frenchman nipped Aussie Chris Kovarik (Intense) by just one one-hundredth of a second on the 1.3km course. “That’s like the aerodynamics of a glove or something,” said one GT staffer.
Barel’s win was even more remarkable when you considered he was gouged by a course-marking pole during a training run on Thursday and had to get 24 stitches sewn into his right calf. “It hurts some now but when I was racing I didn’t even think about it,” Barel said.
Global Racing’s Mick Hannah qualified fastest in the morning semifinal, but ended up third when it counted, finishing .57 seconds behind Barel. Hannah’s teammate Greg Minnaar took fourth, while reigning World Cup champion Nicolas Vouilloz was fifth. Vouilloz, who said he’s very disappointed with his season thus far, has yet to win a World Cup race this year, his longest drought since 1998.
The top American was Giant’s Myles Rockwell, who was 13th, 4.90 seconds behind Barel. Mongoose-Hyundai rider Eric Carter was 14th, 4.94 back.
In the women’s downhill it was Missy Giove (Global Racing) who laid down the fastest morning time. But as usual, Chausson brought her A-game when it counted. The Frenchwoman scorched the twisty, tree-lined course, finishing in 2:08.50. Giove came across second, 1.25 seconds behind.
Both Chausson and Giove said they prefer longer courses then the one at Grouse, but agreed that it did make for exciting racing. “I’m more fit than some of the other (racers),” said Giove. “So I’d rather see longer courses. But this was a great course. Things came at you like lightning.”
Great Britain’s Tracey Moseley (Kona-Ford Focus) was third, followed by Sabrina Jonnier (Intense), then Katja Repo (GT).
The excitement of the downhill was not matched by its gated counterpart. Throughout the dual there were problems with the start gate which caused long delays (after some attempts to weld the problem, the gate was scrapped all together in favor of manual starts). And even worse, the design of the course allowed for virtually no passing, making it another boring whoever-gets-the-hole-shot-wins affair.
Those honors went to GT-Fox’s Brian Lopes and Schwinn’s Leigh Donovan. Lopes got his win by taking out Carter in the finals. Mickael Deldycke (Schwinn) beat Kovarik in the consolation finals to take third.
Donovan’s surprising win came at the expense of Chausson, who lost in the gated event for the first time in nine tries in World Cup competition. “I’ve been second in this race so many times but I’d never won one,” Donovan said. “It’s about time.”
The win also gave Donovan custody of the World Cup leader’s jersey by virtue of being the most recent winner. Chausson beat Donovan in the season opener at Maribor, Slovenia, but round 2 was cancelled and has been rescheduled for stop No. 7 at Kaprun, Austria.
Tara Llanes (Yeti-Pearl Izumi) took out Tai-Lee Muxlo (Dirtworks) for third place.
Racing at Grouse concludes Sunday with the cross country. The women start things off at 10:30 a.m. local time. The men follow at 1:30 p.m.
Check back to VeloNews.com for a full report, results and photos.
TISSOT-UCI WORLD CUP DOWNHILL/DUAL NO. 3, CROSS COUNTRY NO. 4, Grouse Mountain, Vancouver, British Columbia, July 7-8.
Downhill; Men; 1. Fabien Barel (F), GT, 1:52.13; 2. Chris Kovarik (Aus) Intense, 1:52.14; 3. Mick Hannah (Aus), Global Racing, 1:52.70; 4. Greg Minnaar (RSA), Global Racing, 1:53.44; 5. Nicolas Vouilloz (F), Vouilloz Racing, 1:53.98; 6. Bas De Bever (Nl), Be One, 1:54.58; 7. Cedric Gracia (F), Volvo-Cannondale, 1:55.90; 8. Seam McCarroll (Aus), Global Racing, 1:55.92; 9. John Waddell (Aus), SunRace-Sturm, 1:56.26; 10. Joel Panozzo (Aus), SunRace-Santa Cruz, 1:56.45
North Americans; 13. Myles Rockwell (USA), Giant, 1:57.03; 14. Eric Carter (USA), Mongoose-Hyundai, 1:57.07; 17. Colin Bailey (USA), Maxxis, 1:57.78; 20. Jordie Lunn (Can), Santa Cruz, 1:58.59; 26. Gary Houseman (USA), Tomac, 1:59.20; 27. Andrew Shandro (Can), Ford-Devinci, 1:59.22; 28. Jason Sigfrid (USA), Compass Card, 1:59.59
Women; 1. Anne-Caroline Chausson (F), Volvo-Cannondale, 2:08.50; 2. Missy Giove (USA), Global Racing, 2:09.75; 3. Tracy Moseley (GB), Kona-Ford Focus, 2:10.49; 4. Sabrina Jonnier (F), Intense, 2:12.47; 5. Katja Repo (Fin), GT, 2:12.91; 6. Fionn Griffiths (GB), Ancillotti, 2:13.38; 7. Leigh Donovan (USA), Schwinn, 2:13.58; 8. Marla Streb (USA) Foes-Azonic, 2:15.05; 9. Marielle Saner (Swi), Global Racing, 2:15.18; 10. Elke Brutsaert (USA), Schwinn, 2:15.19
Other North Americans; 11. Tara Llanes (USA), Yeti-Pear Izumi, 2:15.98; 12. April Lawyer (USA) Maxxis, 2:17.61; 13. Cassandra Boon (Can), Giant Canada, 2:18.62; 14. Melissa Buhl (USA), ODI-KHS, 2:19.48; 18. Tera Meade (Can), Dirtworks, 2:21.55; 23. Karey Watanabe (Can), Unattached, 2:23.76; 24. Sylvie Allen (Can), Rocky Mountain, 2:25.81; 25. Kim Huard (Can), Balfa, 2:26.96; 26. Anne Walton (Can), John Henry, 2:26.98; 28. Barb Haley (Can), Norco, 2:28.92; 29. Gale Dahlager (USA), Razor, 2:33.63
Dual; Men; 1. Brian Lopes (USA), GT-Fox; 2. Eric Carter (USA), Mongoose-Hyundai; 3. Mickael Deldycke (F), Schwinn; 4. Chris Kovarik (Aus); 5-8. Sean McCarroll (Aus), Global Racing; Wade Bootes (Aus), Trek-Volkswagen; Cedric Gracia (F), Volvo-Cannondale; Will Longden (GB), Team MBUK
Women; 1. Leigh Donovan (USA), Schwinn; 2, Anne-Caroline Chausson (F), Volvo-Cannondale; 3. Tara Llanes (USA), Yeti-Pearl-Izumi; 4. Tai-Lee Muxlo (Aus), Dirtworks; 5-8. Kathy Pruitt (Aus), Dirtworks; Katja Repo (Fin), GT; Sabrina Jonnier (F), Intense; Melissa Buhl (USA), ODI-KHS