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By Jason Sumner, VeloNews Associate Editor
All those complaints about a lack of passing possibilities on World Cup dual courses were put to bed for at least a day at World Cup No. 4 in Durango, Colorado. The course, which was designed by former downhill world champion Greg Herbold, had mix of big berms, jumps and even a rock garden. It also provided plenty of exciting wheel-to-wheel racing. Still, when it was all done, the same names that were at the top of the podium a week ago in Canada were there again here in Colorado: Brian Lopes and Leigh Donovan.
Lopes (GT-Fox) got his third straight win of 2001 by taking down Trek-Volkswagen’s Wade Bootes in the finals. Lopes got the hole-shot, then carried his speed through a twisty pedaling section. Meanwhile, Bootes started pushing a little too hard in an attempt to catch up and endowed on one of the double jumps. The rest of the race was a formality.
Bootes earned his spot in the finals by making one of the day’s best passes. In the semifinals against Eric Carter (Mongoose-Hyundai), Bootes fell about 20-foot behind. But the barrel-chested Aussie managed to catch back up, then slip by Carter on the inside during their trip through the second big berm.
In the other semi Lopes took down Cedric Gracia (Volvo-Cannondale), who went on to beat Carter in the consolation round.
In the woman’s bracket Donovan accomplished the seemingly impossible, beating Anne-Caroline Chausson for the second week in a row. Before last week at the Grouse Mountain World Cup, Chausson was 8-for-8 in the dual, but Donovan knocked her off in the finals to end the Frenchwoman’s run.
This time around the pair faced off in the semis where Chausson charged out to the early lead. But during the slower middle section Chausson mistakenly thought Donovan had crashed and backed off just enough to allow the 29-year-old American to go past her on the inside. The two bumped during Donovan’s pass and Chausson’s foot came out of her pedal, allowing Donovan to cruise away with the win.
The 29-year-old Schwinn rider went on to easily dispatch Tara Llanes (Yeti-Pearl Izumi) in the final, while Chausson beat Sabrina Jonnier (Intense) in the consolation round.
Competition continues Sunday with cross-country racing in the hills around Fort Lewis College. The women get things started at 10:30 a.m. local time. The men follow at 1:30 p.m. Check back to VeloNews.com for a report, photos and results.
TISSOT-UCI WORLD CUP CROSS COUNTRY NO. 5/DOWNHILL DUAL NO. 4, Durango, Colorado. July 14-15.
Men; 1. Brian Lopes (USA), GT-Fox; 2. Wade Bootes (Aus), Trek-Volkswagen; 3. Cedric Gracia (Volvo-Cannondale); 4. Eric Carter (Global Racing); 5-8. Jared Rando (Aus), Foes-Azonic; Mike King (Haro-Lee Dungarees); Will Longden (GR), Team MBUK; Gary Houseman (USA), Tomac
Women; 1. Leigh Donovan (USA), Schwinn; 2. Tara Llanes (USA), Yeti-Pearl Izumi; 3. Anne-Caroline Chausson (F), Volvo-Cannondale; 4. Sabrina Jonnier (F), Intense; 5-8. Vanessa Quinn (NZ), DD Inc.; Cheri Elliot (USA), ODI Azonic; Katja Repo (Fin), GT; Katrina Miller (Aus), Jamis