Blatter takes women’s cross country
By Jason Sumner, VeloNews Associate Editor
Flat tires are the worst enemy of any cross-country racer, but the happenings on Sunday at World Cup No. 4 at Grouse Mountain in British Columbia took things to a new level of anguish.
For seven of eight laps Roland Green couldn’t have looked any better. The native of nearby Victoria pulled away from his nearest challengers almost immediately after the start, and then built a gap that hung in the 1:20 neighborhood for most of the race. All along the course the buzz was unmistakable. The local boy, who already this year became the first Canadian male to win a World Cup race, was going to make good in front of the home-country crowd. But halfway through the final lap, Green flatted in a section of tight single track, and before the Trek-Volkswagen rider got back on his bike Christoph Sauser (Volvo-Cannondale) had taken over the lead. Green put in a valiant effort in the closing minutes and cut a nearly-30-second gap in half, but it wasn’t enough, as Sauser held on for the win.
“That’s the worst flat I’ve ever had in my life,” said Green, choking back tears during the post-race press conference. “It’s just bad luck. What can you say?”
Sauser won the 36-kilometer race with a time of 1:57:08. Green was 11 seconds back, then came another Volvo-Cannondale rider, Cadel Evans, two seconds back of Green.
The battle for fourth place was a tight back-and-forth affair between Ryder Hesjedal and Miguel Martinez. On the second-to-last lap the Canadian Hesjedal (Subaru-Gary Fisher) powered ahead of the reigning Olympic and world champion during the tough finishing climb. But on the last lap Martinez (Full Dynamix) was able to re-take his place ahead of the young Canadian. Overall Martinez was 1:35 behind Sauser, while Hesjedal finished 1:49 off the pace.
Despite Green’s catastrophe, it was a great day for the Canadian’s, as the host country placed three riders in the top 10 bolstered by Geoff Kabush’s seventh-place finish.
Volvo-Cannondale also had an outstanding afternoon. Besides Sauser and Evans, the team placed New Zealander Kashi Leuchs in 11th and American Tinker Juarez in 19th. Juarez had the best finish of the U.S. riders. The next yank across the line was Travis Brown (Trek-Volkswagen) in 27th. RLX Polo Sport’s Carl Swenson was 28th, one spot ahead of current UCI No. 1 Bart Brentjens (Giant).
In the women’s race Barbara Blatter’s climbing prowess was on full display at Grouse. The Swiss Specialized rider cruised to a comfortable win, covering the 33km distance in 2:07:42. It was Blatter’s second series win of 2001, and it furthered her strangle hold of the overall standings.
For most of the second half of the tough seven-lap race, Blatter’s closest pursuer was Aussie Mary Grigson (Subaru-Gary Fisher), who was 38 seconds back near the end of the second-to-last lap. But like Green later in the day, Grigson flatted on the last lap, falling back to fifth. Grigson’s misfortune was a blessing for teammate Chrissy Redden, who ended up second in front of her home-country crowd, 2:04 back of Blatter.
Also moving up late in the race was GT’s Alison Dunlap. She was as far back as 9th early on, but was able to pick off riders, moving into fifth by the sixth lap. On the final trip around, Dunlap went around Specialized’s Caroline Alexander, then passed Grigson while she was changing her tire. Alexander finished fourth. Local favorite Alison Sydor (Trek-Volkswagen) was sixth.
Italy’s Annabella Stropparo (Be One) looked strong early, leading the race through most of the first four laps. But a bad case of chain suck cost her near the end of the fourth lap, as she tumbled out of the top five. Stropparo was later disqualified for receiving outside assistance from one of her Be One coaches, who helped her get her chain freed.
TISSOT-UCI WORLD CUP DOWNHILL/DUAL NO. 3, CROSS COUNTRY NO. 4, Grouse Mountain, Vancouver, British Columbia, July 7-8.
Cross country; Men; 1. Christoph Sauser (Swi), Volvo-Cannondale, 36km in 1:57:08; 2. Roland Green (Can), Trek-Volkswagen, at :11; 3. Cadel Evans (Aus), Volvo-Cannondale, at :13; 4. Miguel Martinez (F), Full Dynamix, at 1:35; 5. Ryder Hesjedal (Can), Subaru-Gary Fisher, at 1:49; 6. Roel Paulissen (B), GT, at 3:10; 7. Geoff Kabush (Can), Kona-Ford Focus, at 3:44; 8. Jose Antonio Hermida (Sp), Bianchi Motorex, at 3:52; 9. Bas Van Dooren (Nl) Specialized, at 3:52; 10. Julien Absalon (F), Bianchi Motorex
Other North Americans; 18. Seamus McGrath (Can), Haro-Lee Dungarees, at 7:32; 19. Tinker Juarez (USA), Volvo-Cannondale, at 7:34; 27. Travis Brown (USA), Trek-Volkswagen, at 10:34; 28. Carl Swenson (USA), RLX Polo Sport, at 10:38; 30. Andreas Hestler (Can), Rocky Mountain, at 10:58
Women; 1. Barbara Blatter (Swi), Specialized, 33km in 2:07:42; 2. Chrissy Redden (Can), Subaru-Gary Fisher, at 2:04; 3. Alison Dunlap (USA), GT, at 3:00; 4. Caroline Alexander (GB), Specialized, at 3:22; 5. Mary Grigson (Aus), Subaru-Gary Fisher, at 4:01; 6. Alison Sydor (Can), Trek-Volkswagen, at 4:40; 7. Sabine Spitz (G), Merida, at 4:54; 8. Susan Haywood (USA), Trek-East Coast, at 5:11; 9. Ruthie Matthes (USA), Trek-Volkswagen, at 7:49; 10. Corine Dorland (Nl), Be One, at 9:28
Other North Americans; 12. Willow Koeber (USA), Cane Creek, at 10:38; 13. Marie-Helene Premont (Can), at 11:08; 15. Kerry Barnholt (USA), SoBe-HeadShok, at 12:05; 16. Lesley Tomlinson (Can), Rocky Mountain, at 12:38; 17. Trish Sinclair (Can), at Ford-Devinci, at 13:18; 18. Audrey Augustin (USA), Zeal-GT-Shimano, at 13:49; 20. Kiara Bisaro (Can), Team Canada, at 15:40