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By Kip Mikler , VeloNews Editor
Slovenia, France, West Virginia, Utah. Steve Peat doesn’t care, he just keeps winning. The moptop Brit continued his win streak at round 3 of the NORBA series in the high alpine air of Deer Valley, Utah, Sunday. To keep the tear alive, Peat had to get past his main rival Nicolas Vouilloz, as well as two-time defending champion at Deer Valley, Chris Kovarik (Intense) of Australia. In the women’s race, Missy Giove (Global) had a wild ride on the loose, dusty 1.5-mile course to beat the Schwinn duo of Elke Brutsaert and Leigh Donovan.
For Peat and Vouilloz, there was little pressure, as both riders are more intent on winning the World Cup series and the upcoming round three next weekend in Vancouver. In fact, Vouilloz didn’t even know he was allowed to practice Sunday, so his first run of the day was his qualifier.
Vouilloz qualified fifth, then in his final run posted the time to beat, 3:43.36. Kovarik, winner here the last two years, went after Vouilloz but crashed in a rock garden section.
“I just went in too fast and came off my bike,” he said. Amazingly, the 23-year-old got back on and still finished third, 2 seconds behind Vouilloz.
As for Peat, the 29-year-old GT rider said the big rock drop and rock garden were a breeze, it was all the pedaling that he was worried about. “I knew I had to dig deep,” he said. “It’s hard at altitude.”
Peat, the No. 1-ranked UCI rider, has won the first two World Cup races of the season and the last two NORBA races.
Kovarik’s third-place finish was enough to keep him in the overall lead. Kirkcaldie is second, followed by Rando.
For Giove, the win was a much-needed confidence boost heading into two World Cup rounds where she will try to beat world champion Anne-Caroline Chausson.
“The first two World Cups I wasn’t too far behind Anne-Caroline,” Giove said. “That was in the wet, where Anne-Caroline shines, and I’m a dry rider. And Leigh is riding really good now, too.”
As always, Giove was on the edge during her run. “I was sweet on the rock drop in the semi, but in the final I came in a little hotter and I unclipped [from the pedals]. I went off it with the wrong foot unclipped, and I thought it was going to be an over-the-bars situation.”
Giove kept it upright, however, and flew over the pedaling sections to post the winning time, 4:23.5.
While Giove can bank the confidence of a win to help her try and de-throne Chausson in the upcoming World Cups, Schwinn’s Elke Brutsaert just wanted a decent finish. Second only to teammate Leigh Donovan in career NCS wins, Brutsaert has suffered through a rough patch. A big crash on a double jump at Snow Summit in round 1 left her with a painful rib injury, and the mental effect had even more impact.
“I’m finally feeling better,” she said after finishing second to Giove. Brutsaert’s biggest obstacle is overcoming the fear a crash like that can leave. “I didn’t do the dual slalom last night because I was afraid of the jump,” she said.
Donovan finished third, 7.65 seconds off Giove’s time. With two straight wins, Giove leads the series, while Marla Streb (Foes-Azonic), sixth at Deer Valley, is second overall.
CHEVY TRUCKS NORBA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES NO. 3, Deer Valley, UT. June 29-July 1.
1. Steve Peat (GB), GT, 2.2mi in 3:40.67; 2. Nicolas Vouilloz (F), Vouilloz Racing, 3:43.36; 3. Chris Kovarik (Aus), 3;45.40; 4. John Kirkcaldie (NZ), Maxxis Tires, 3:48.94; 5. Todd Leduc, Foes-Azonic, 3:52.91; 6. Eric Carter, Mongoose-Hyundai, 3:53.54; 7. Michael Ronning (Aus), Intense, 3:53.70; 8. Shaums March, Chumba Wumba, 3:53.84; 9. Gary Houseman, Tomac, 3:55.69; 10. Jared Rando, Foes-Azonic, 3:56.22.
1. Missy Giove, Global, 4:23.5; 2. Elke Brutsaert, Schwinn, 4:26.85; 3. Leigh Donovan, Schwinn, 4:31.15; 4. Kathy Pruitt, Dirt Works, 4:34.48; 5. Katja Repo (F), GT, 4:36.07; 6. Marla Streb, Foes-Azonic, 4:38.53; 7. Melissa Buhl, ODI-KHS, 4:28.29; 8. Tara Llanes, Yeti-Pearl Izumi, 4:49.45; 9. Lisa Sher, Chumba Wumba, 4:53.36; 10. Cheri Elliott, ODI-Azonic, 4:56.99.
1. Kovarik, 504
2. Kirkcaldie, 440
3. Rando, 434
4. Leduc, 422
5. Peat, 400
1. Giove, 586
2. Streb, 514
3. Donovan, 500
4. April Lawyer, Maxxis, 454
5. Llanes, 446