Events

Meirhaeghe wins at Grouse Mountain

Belgian Filip Meirhaeghe took a commanding lead in the chase for World Cup overall cross-country title Sunday, winning the fourth round of the series at Grouse Mountain in British Columbia. Meirhaeghe, who also won a week ago at Mont-Ste-Anne, Quebec, now holds an 120-point lead over Giant's Bart Brentjens with just one race to go. If Brentjens manages to win the final race, Meirhaeghe would need to finish no worse than fifth to capture his first World Cup overall title. The win Sunday was the sixth of his career, moving him out of a tie with Ned Overend and John Tomac and into sixth place

By Jason Sumner, VeloNews Associate Editor

Meirhaeghe won his second straight World Cup race.

Meirhaeghe won his second straight World Cup race.

Photo: Jason Sumner

Belgian Filip Meirhaeghe took a commanding lead in the chase for World Cup overall cross-country title Sunday, winning the fourth round of the series at Grouse Mountain in British Columbia. Meirhaeghe, who also won a week ago at Mont-Ste-Anne, Quebec, now holds an 120-point lead over Giant’s Bart Brentjens with just one race to go. If Brentjens manages to win the final race, Meirhaeghe would need to finish no worse than fifth to capture his first World Cup overall title. The win Sunday was the sixth of his career, moving him out of a tie with Ned Overend and John Tomac and into sixth place alone on the all-time wins list.

“I was very nervous before the race because I put a lot of pressure on myself,” said Meirhaeghe, who could be seen burying his head in his handlebars during the minutes before the start. “At the beginning of the year I was not thinking of the overall, but after last week it has been in my head all the time.”

Sauser won here last year, but settled for second in 2002.

Sauser won here last year, but settled for second in 2002.

Photo: Jason Sumner

Like the women’s race the day before, the men’s cross country was a race of attrition, with many top riders suffering flats or mechanicals. Meirhaeghe (Specialized) had no such problems, though, winning the 33.57km race in a time of 1:49:42, 57 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Christoph Sauser (Volvo-Cannondale). Brentjens took third, at 1:38, followed by New Zealand’s Kashi Leuchs (Volvo-Cannondale) and Giant’s Christophe Dupouey of France.

Last year’s World Cup overall winner and local fan favorite Roland Green (Trek-Volkswagen) was sixth. Todd Wells (Mongoose-Hyundai) was the top American, finishing 23rd, two spots behind Mexico’s Ziranda Madrigal. Reigning U.S. national champion Kirk Molday was 65th, three laps back.

The early portions of the race saw Meirhaeghe riding at the front with a lead group that included Green, Dupouey and Brentjens. Sauser was in the next group, riding with Lanabau’s Marco Bui, 21 seconds back of the leaders. Next came Leuchs, Lado Fumic (T-Mobile), Jose Antonio Hermida (Motorex-Bianchi) and Ryder Hesjedal (Subaru-Gary Fisher).

But it wasn’t long before the numbers at the front of the race started to thin, as the tough, rocky course took its toll on equipment. Among the victims were Hermida (two flats), Roel Paulissen (two flats), Julian Absalon (chain), Bui (drivetrain), Lado Fumic (two flats) and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (flat). All told there were 12 DNFs in the 87-rider field and only 36 riders finished on the lead lap.

Dupouey looks for his line.

Dupouey looks for his line.

Photo: Jason Sumner

“There were so many rocks and if you make just a small mistake you could flat,” said Paulissen, who was riding at the front with the leaders early on, only to fall way back twice because of flats, before clawing his way back to 12th at the finish. “It was very hard because I felt so good today but that was too much to overcome.”

Back at the front Meirhaeghe began to take control of the race during the third of seven laps around the 5km course. At the end of the third lap he’d put 24 seconds on Green, Brentjens and Dupouey, with Sauser another six seconds back and Leuchs a minute behind the leader.

From there, Meirhaeghe’s advantage drifted back and forth between 35 and 45 seconds, before he finally pulled away at the end.

Behind him Green slowly started falling off the pace, while Sauser and Leuchs were picking up places. Sauser moved into second place alone for good during the fifth lap, while Leuchs passed Dupouey during the final climb of the last lap.

“I had really good legs the last lap,” said Leuchs, “and I was pulling a lot of time back on him during the downhills.”

The pace was quick right from the beginning.

The pace was quick right from the beginning.

Photo: Jason Sumner

Green’s fade was a big disappointment for himself and the partisan crowd, which was hoping the native of nearby Victoria could get redemption for his disastrous day a year ago when a last-lap flat cost him a sure win at Grouse.

“I tried to stay with Filip but I just didn’t have the power today,” said the reigning world champion. “I was surprised more people didn’t catch me.”

The cross-country World Cup series now takes an extended break, before reconvening for the finals, September 7-8 in Les Gets, France. Meanwhile, the downhill World Cup circuit heads to Telluride, Colorado next weekend for its fourth stop.

Check back with VeloNews.com then for reports, photos and results.

Photo Gallery

Results

TISSOT UCI WORLD CUP CROSS-COUNTRY NO. 4; Grouse Mountain, British Columbia; July 6-7; Men; 1. Filip MEIRHAEGHE BEL, 33.57km in 1:49:42;
2. Christoph SAUSER SUI, at 0:57;
3. Bart BRENTJENS NED, at 1:38;
4. Kashi LEUCHS NZL, at 2:02;
5. Christophe DUPOUEY FRA, at 2:23;
6. Roland GREEN CAN, at 3:24;
7. Martino FRUET ITA, at 4:03;
8. Ryder HESJEDAL CAN, at 4:59;
9. Seamus MCGRATH CAN, at 5:00;
10. Geoff KABUSH CAN, at 5:48;
11. Marek GALINSKI POL, at 6:15;
12. Roel PAULISSEN BEL, at 6:28;
13. Carlos COLOMA ESP, at 7:43;
14. Jose Antonio HERMIDA ESP, at 7:52;
15. Christian POULSEN DEN, at 8:26;
16. Peter Riis ANDERSEN DEN, at 8:44;
17. Julien ABSALON FRA, at 8:54;
18. Marti GISPERT LABARTA ESP, at 8:54;
19. Cedric RAVANEL FRA, at 9:16;
20. Peter WEDGE CAN, at 10:22;
21. Ziranda MADRIGAL MEX, at 10:44;
22. Sid TABERLAY AUS, at 10:50;
23. Todd WELLS USA, at 11:01;
24. Stefan SAHM GER, at 11:16;
25. Ivan ALVAREZ ESP, at 11:16;
26. Jochen KASS GER, at 12:16;
27. Inaki LEJARRETA ERRASTI ESP, at 12:23;
28. Mathieu TOULOUSE CAN, at 13:01;
29. Carl DECKER USA, at 13:20;
30. Carsten BRESSER GER, at 14:01;
31. Alejandro DIAZ DE LA PENA ESP, at 14:08;
32. Michael WEISS AUT, at 14:15;
33. Chris SHEPPARD CAN, at 14:21;
34. Davy COENEN BEL, at 15:51;
35. Travis BROWN USA, at 16:54;
36. Marco BUI ITA, at 19:05;
37. Ludovic DUBAU FRA, -1Lap;
38. Thomas HOCHSTRASSER SUI, -1Lap;
39. Karl PLATT GER, -1Lap;
40. Josh FLEMING AUS, -1Lap;
41. Jorg SCHEIDERBAUER AUT, -1Lap;
42. Andreas HESTLER CAN, -1Lap;
43. JosÈ MARQUEZ ESP, -1Lap;
44. Ricky FEDERAU CAN, -1Lap;
45. Mark LEIS AUS, -1Lap;
46. Antonio ORTIZ ESP, -2Laps;
47. Salvador BARRIGA MEX, -2Laps;
48. Philip TAVELL SWE, -2Laps;
49. Paul ROWNEY AUS, -2Laps;
50. Matthias MENDE GER, -2Laps;
51. Perren DELACOUR AUS, -2Laps;
52. Marc GULLICKSON USA, -2Laps;
53. Brent MILLER AUS, -2Laps;
54. Julian HINE CAN, -2Laps;
55. Sam GARDNER GBR, -2Laps;
56. Carter HOVEY CAN, -2Laps;
57. Michael PRUNER CAN, -2Laps;
58. Aslak JOHANSEN NOR, -2Laps;
59. Roddi LEGA CAN, -2Laps;
60. Christian CUESTA MEX, -2Laps;
61. Raita SUZUKI JPN, -3Laps;
62. Szilard BURUCZKI HUN, -3Laps;
63. Fuyu LI CHN, -3Laps;
64. Kris SNEDDON CAN, -3Laps;
65. Kirk MOLDAY USA, -3Laps;
66. Xiaojun SHAO CHN, -3Laps;
67. Bruno LAFONTAINE CAN, -3Laps;
68. Ian CARBONNEAU CAN, -3Laps;
69. Shawn BUNNIN CAN, -3Laps;
70. Adam CRAIG USA, -4Laps;
71. Ronny POELVOORDE BEL, -4Laps;
72. Ryan INGHAM CAN, -4Laps;
73. Jaimie DOUGLAS CAN, -4Laps;
74. Cody PETERSON USA, -5Laps;
75. Menno HUBREGTSE CAN, -5Laps;
— Lado FUMIC GER, DNF;
— Manuel FUMIC GER, DNF;
— Silvio BUNDI SUI, DNF;
— Jeremy HORGAN-KOBELSKI USA, DNF;
— Carl SWENSON USA, DNF;
— David WIENS USA, DNF;
— Armando ZACARIAS MEX, DNF;
— Jacob KJELDSEN DEN, DNF;
— Emmanuel VALENCIA GUADARRAM MEX, DNF;
— Philip COOPER GBR, DNF;
— Nick KIRALY AUS, DNF;
— Hilton POWER NZL, DNF

OVERALL WORLD CUP STANDINGS; (after 4 of 5 races);
1. Filip MEIRHAEGHE, 765 points;
2. Bart BRENTJENS, 645;
3. Christoph SAUSER, 540;
4. Roel PAULISSEN, 522;
5. Roland GREEN, 520;
6. Christophe DUPOUEY, 401;
7. Lado FUMIC, 390;
8. Julien ABSALON, 379;
9. Kashi LEUCHS, 344;
10. Jose Antonio HERMIDA, 340;
11. Ryder HESJEDAL, 322;
12. Seamus MCGRATH, 282;
13. Marco BUI, 267;
14. Marek GALINSKI, 251;
15. Ludovic DUBAU, 231;
16. Martino FRUET, 223;
17. Ziranda MADRIGAL, 207;
18. Alejandro DIAZ DE LA PENA, 200;
19. Todd WELLS, 191;
20. Sid TABERLAY, 185;
21. Jochen KASS, 184;
21. Thomas HOCHSTRASSER, 184;
23. Manuel FUMIC, 170;
24. Carlos COLOMA, 169;
25. Inaki LEJARRETA ERRASTI, 165;
26. Karl PLATT, 160;
27. Carsten BRESSER, 157;
28. Christian POULSEN, 154;
29. Antonio ORTIZ, 153;
30. Peter Riis ANDERSEN, 148;
31. Silvio BUNDI, 141;
32. Stefan SAHM, 135;
33. Liam KILLEEN, 133;
34. Salvador BARRIGA, 130;
35. Philip TAVELL, 128;
36. Davy COENEN, 126;
37. Peter POULY, 126;
38. Jerome CHEVALLIER, 121;
39. Mariusz KOWAL, 117;
40. Cedric RAVANEL, 110;
41. Geoff KABUSH, 107;
42. Mathieu TOULOUSE, 106;
43. Josh FLEMING, 105;
44. Marcin KARCZYNSKI, 92;
45. Chris SHEPPARD, 91;
46. Peter WEDGE, 89;
47. Michael WEISS, 87;
48. Jorg SCHEIDERBAUER, 86;
49. Ivan ALVAREZ, 85;
50. Dario ACQUAROLI, 85;
51. Torsten MARX, 77;
52. Hakon AUSTAD, 73;
53. Bas PETERS, 73;
54. Marti GISPERT LABARTA, 71;
55. Marc GULLICKSON, 71;
56. Ricky FEDERAU, 70;
57. Fredrik KESSIAKOFF, 70;
58. Carl DECKER, 69;
59. Andreas HESTLER, 65;
60. Szilard BURUCKI, 63;
61. Jeremy HORGAN-KOBELSKI, 59;
62. Thomas KALBERER, 59;
63. Massimo DE BERTOLIS, 56;
64. Ronny POELVOORDE, 55;
65. Barrie CLARKE, 55;
66. Nicolas FILIPPI, 53;
67. Adam CRAIG, 51;
68. JosÈ MARQUEZ, 50;
69. Julian HINE, 49;
70. Julian ADRADA RODRIGUEZ, 48;
71. Andreas DILGER, 46;
72. Jimmy TIELENS, 45;
73. Sam GARDNER, 44;
74. Perren DELACOUR, 43;
75. Daniel SOLER, 43;
76. Travis BROWN, 41;
77. Brent MILLER, 40;
78. Michael BRODERICK, 40;
79. Tim BOHME, 40;
80. Siegfried BAUER, 40;
81. Aslak JOHANSEN, 38;
82. Rune HOYDAHL, 37;
83. Raita SUZUKI, 36;
84. Magnus PALMBERG, 36;
85. Eloj GISPERT LABARTA, 35;
86. Robert KIRCHER, 35;
87. Andrej KAISER, 34;
88. Thomas FRISCHKNECHT, 34;
89. Mark LEIS, 31;
90. Frederick ERICSSON, 31;
91. Christof BISCHOF, 31;
92. Deiber ESQUIVEL, 30;
93. Julien GIRARD, 30;
94. Adrian BONILLA, 28;
95. Christoph SOUKUP, 28;
96. Paul ROWNEY, 27;
97. Milan SPESNY, 27;
98. Matthias MENDE, 26;
99. Craig GORDON, 26;
100. Emanuel VALENCIA GUADARRAM, 24;
101. Ralph NAF, 24;
102. Marc HANISCH, 22;
103. Armando ZACARIAS, 21;
104. Gregory BOMBARDO, 21;
105. Carter HOVEY, 20;
106. Michael PRUNER, 19;
107. Henry RAABE MENDEZ, 19;
108. Marcel HELLER, 19;
109. Thys AL, 19;
110. Fuyu LI, 18;
111. Nick CRAIG, 18;
112. Roddi LEGA, 17;
112. Christian CUESTA, 17;
114. Thomas Nesset SUNDAL, 17;
115. Jakob KJELDSEN, 16;
116. Marc GOLZ, 16;
117. Jean-Philippe PROVOST, 15;
118. David WIENS, 14;
119. Jose Ignacio AREVALO, 14;
120. Greg REAIN, 13;
121. Kris SNEDDON, 12;
122. Xiaojun SHAO, 12;
123. Cody PETERSON, 12;
124. Mark LEISHAM, 12;
125. Johann PALLHUBER, 12;
126. Kirk MOLDAY, 11;
127. Ian CARBONNEAU, 11;
128. Philip COOPER, 11;
129. Balz WEBER, 11;
130. Ryan INGHAM, 10;
131. Thomas BONNE, 10;
132. Bruno LAFONTAINE, 9;
133. Sean MCCARROLL, 9;
134. Oliver BECKINGSALE, 9;
135. Osmond BAKKER, 8;
136. Roman RAMETSTEINER, 8;
137. Shawn BUNNIN, 7;
138. Hilton POWER, 7;
139. Klaus NIELSEN, 7;
140. Marcin PRZYBYLA, 6;
141. Yader ZOLI, 5;
142. Martin KRALER, 5;
143. Johannes SICKMUELLER, 5;
144. Martin LAFONTAINE, 4;
145. Jurg GRAF, 4;
146. Jaimie DOUGLAS, 3;
147. Juan Carlos GARRO, 2;
148. Menno HUBREGTSE, 1;
149. Micha DE VRIES, 1;
150. Lars Petter STORMO, 1;