By Kip Mikler , VeloNews Editor
Does a two-hour cross-country effort combining endurance and technical skills on the tricky natural terrain of a Vermont forest have anything in common with the effort required to go all out on short, flat man-made circles for 20 minutes? Doesn’t seem like it does, but Roland Green and Chrissy Redden, winners of Friday’s NORBA cross-country race at Mount Snow — the one with the woods and the roots and the endurance and all that — also won Sunday’s short-track race, proving one thing: When you’re on, you’re on.
“It was all elbows,” reported Redden after she completed the weekend sweep on a perfect New England afternoon. The Subaru-Gary Fisher rider from Canada who outsprinted Alison Dunlap (GT) and Alison Sydor (Trek-Volkswagen) for the win. Redden was part of a breakaway group of seven that also included Sydor, Alison Dunlap (GT), Jimena Florit (RLX Polo Sport), Shonny Vanlandingham (SoBe-Headshok), Sue Haywood (Trek-West Virginia) and Audrey Augustin (Zeal-GT).
Almost all of those riders tried an attack at one point or another after separating themselves from the field of 44 starters. Dunlap was the only one to crack any daylight at all, but even she was reeled back in on the dusty, twisty course that wound through the tech expo area and beneath the chairlifts of the Vermont ski area.
With an enthusiastic finish-line crowd banging the barriers, the seven came into the final lap together. Redden made her move early as the group approached the last left-hand corner.
“People started going ballistic,” Florit said.
Anything goes on the short track, and Redden wasn’t giving up an inch. “Alison Sydor came around and tried to take me out,” Redden said. “I mean, she tried to pass me. But in this race, you gotta be aggressive or go home.”
Not ready to go home, Redden elbowed back and came out of the turn first, but the race was far from over. In front of Redden was a 100-meter stretch of soft, bumpy trail, and behind her — well, she doesn’t have eyes in the back of her head.
“I came out first and just went, ‘oh no,’” she said. “If [Sydor] would have been on my wheel, I think she might have got me.”
But Redden made like Erik Zabel on the long sprint, and no one got her at all.
Florit finished fourth, which was all she needed to take the overall title for the second consecutive year. And the U.S. title went to Haywood, who finished fifth on the day. The East Coast rider was third overall in the standings, behind Florit and Redden, but she was the top American.
Minutes after the elbows stopped flying in the women’s race, the men blasted off, led by Green and fellow Canadian Ryder Hesjedal. The Trek rider and the Gary Fisher rider were hoping to stay up front, out of the dust and ahead of the crashes. Good plan, as about halfway through the 20 minutes-plus-three-laps affair, a big pile-up took down Todd Wells (Mongoose-Hyundai) among others.
Canadian Chris Sheppard (Haro-Lee Dungarees) was the first to get a gap, but after soloing around the grassy loop a few times, Sheppard ran out of gas, conceding his lead to a hungry chase group of nine on the biggest hill.
Now the lead group was 10, and it had a heavy Canadian influence. There was Sheppard, Hesjedal and Green. The only Americans up there were Jimi Killen (Schwinn) and RLX Polo Sport’s Carl Swenson.
Hesjedal, prone to aggression on the short track, tried a couple of attacks, but Green had weekend sweep on his mind and wouldn’t cut his younger training partner any slack. Each time Hesjedal attacked, Green pulled the weakening group up to him.
Then, with a lap and a half to go, Green made his move. Hesjedal gave everything he had, but could only dangle 10 meters or so off Green’s wheel the last time around.
Green powered through for the win, making it his third cross-country/short-track sweep of the season. The overall title was, without question, his.
And with four titles handed out so far on this weekend — two to a Canadian, one to an Australian and one to an Argentine — the NORBA series is, without question, no longer the property of American racers.
Race note: As the top American finisher (fourth overall), RLX Polo Sport’s Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski won the men’s U.S. short track title.
NORBA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP FINALS, Mount Snow, VT. August 17-19.;
Men: 1. Roland Green (Can), Trek-Volkswagen, 23:45; 2. Ryder Hesjedal (Can), Subaru-Gary Fisher, at :02; 3. Paul Rowney (Aus), Yeti-Pearl Izumi, at :03; 4. Pavel Cherkassov (Rus), Subaru-Gary Fisher, at :03; 5. Seamus McGrath (Can), Haro-Lee Dungarees, at :06; 6. Cadel Evans (Aus), Volvo-Cannondale, at :07; 7. Jimi Killen, Schwinn, at :07; 8. Geoff Kabush (Can), :08; 9. Chris Sheppard (Can), Haro-Lee Dungarees, at :11; 10. Carl Swenson, RLX Polo Sport, at :17.;
1. Green, 774; 2 Hesjedal, 730; 3. Cherkassov, 666; 4. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, RLX Polo Sport, 626; 5. Paul Rowney (Aus), Yeti-Pearl Izumi, 616; 6. Seamus McGrath (Can), Haro-Lee Dungarees, 601; 7. Carl Swenson, RLX Polo Sport, 582; 8. Jose Bonilla (CR), 580; 9. Chris Sheppard (Can), Haro-Lee Dungarees, 574; 10. Geoff Kabush (Can), Kona-Ford Focus, 568.;
Women: 1. Chrissy Redden (Can), Subaru-Gary Fisher, 24:22; 2. Alison Dunlap, GT, s.t.; 3. Alison Sydor (Can), Trek-Volkswagen, at :01; 4. Jimena Florit (Arg), at :05; 5. Susan Haywood, Trek-West Virginia, at :06; 6. Audrey Augustin, Zeal Optics, at :10; 7. Shonny Vanlandingham, SoBe-Headshok, at :12; 8. Rachel Lloyd, SunRace-Santa Cruz, at :50; 9. Kerry Barnholt, SoBe-Headshok, at 1:03; 10. Carmen Dalusio, Volvo-Cannondale, at 1:04.;
1. Florit, 736; 2. Redden, 710; 3. Haywood, 672; 4. Vanlandingham, 608; 5. Dunlap, 586; 6. Ruthie Matthes, Trek-Volkswagen, 578; 7. Lloyd, 574; 8. D’Alusio, 560; 9. Augustin, 544; 10. Mary McConneloug, Jamba Juice, 540.