By Jason Sumner, VeloNews Associate Editor
After winning the first four races of the season, Specialized’s lock on the women’s World Cup cross country series was finally broken at race No. 5 in Durango, Colorado. Australian Mary Grigson (Subaru-Gary Fisher) slowly pulled away from Barbara Blatter (Specialized) during the second lap of the three-lap, 34.5-kilometer race, and went on to capture her second career World Cup win.
Grigson crossed the line in 1:47:45, 1:05 ahead of Blatter, who held on for second. Third place went to Specialized’s Caroline Alexander, while Ruthie Matthes (Trek-Volkswagen) was fourth, followed by Chrissy Redden (Subaru Gary-Fisher) in fifth.
The course was a cloverleaf design that circled in and around the Fort Lewis College campus, which sits on a tabletop mesa just above Durango.
Entering Sunday’s race Blatter and teammate Marga Fullana had combined to win all four races of the 2001 season, each with two. On this day, though, Blatter said she had trouble keeping up with Grigson on the descents, and felt that was the difference. Blatter rode a hard tail, while Grigson was on her customary full suspension Sugar.
In the overall standings Blatter extended her lead over American Alison Dunlap, who finished seventh at Durango. Blatter now has three second-place finishes to go with her two wins, giving her 1100 points. Dunlap has 800, and Alexander is third with 630. Grigson and Redden round out the top five.
Matthes’s fourth-place finish was the surprise of the day. Coming into Sunday the longtime Durango resident hadn’t been on a World Cup podium since the sixth race of the 1999 season. “I had so much support out there,” Matthes said of the hometown crowd. “It was awesome.”
Matthes had been in fifth place for most of the race, but came by Redden for good during the last lap.
TISSOT-UCI WORLD CUP CROSS COUNTRY NO. 5/DOWNHILL DUAL NO. 4, Durango, Colorado. July 14-15.
Cross country; Women; 1. Mary Grigson (Aus), Subaru-Gary Fisher, 35.5km in 1:47:45; 2. Barbara Blatter (Swi), Specialized, at 1:05; 3. Caroline Alexander (GB), Specialized, at 1:27; 4. Ruthie Matthes (USA), Trek-Volkswagen, at 2:14; 5. Chrissy Redden (Can), Subaru-Gary Fisher, at 2:21; 6. Sabine Spitz (G), Merida International, at 2:28; 7. Alison Dunlap (USA), GT, at 3:57; 8. Alison Sydor (Can), Trek-Volkswagen, at 4:05; 9. Audrey Augustin (USA), Zeal-GT-Shimano, at 4:07; 10. Jimena Florit (Arg), RLX Polo Sport, at 5:38