Dunlap and Green win finish-line sprints to claim cross country wins
By Jason Sumner, VeloNews Associate Editor
The final day of the Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California, saw a shake-up in the women’s cross-country stage-race standings, but no change at the top of the men’s leaderboard.
Specialized’s Caroline Alexander came from 17 seconds back to win the women’s overall. Alexander supplanted teammate Barbara Blatter, who entered Sunday’s race wearing the leader’s jersey.
In the final stage, the 36-mile cross country, Alexander was second to GT’s Alison Dunlap, who won a sprint finish. Blatter held on for third, despite a problem with her fork that left her without front suspension for most of the race.
Dunlap covered the two laps around the course in 2:35:42.90. Alexander was 0.20 back, while Blatter was 25.20 behind. After that the gaps grew with Jimena Florit coming across next, 5:04.40 off the pace. Alison Sydor followed, at 7:21.70.
The final women’s GC had Alexander first, Blatter second and Dunlap third. Florit and Sydor rounded out the podium spots.
Dunlap was 40 seconds behind Alexander and Blatter at the race’s halfway point. But Dunlap was able to bridge the gap on an early descent of the second lap, where Blatter was struggling with her broken shock. From there the Colorado Springs resident was able to pull away from the slowed Blatter, giving Alexander no choice but to leave her teammate.
“We had hoped that one of us would win the overall, but the plan had been for Barbara to do it,” Alexander said.
In the second half of the race’s final lap, which ended on the asphalt of the Laguna Seca Raceway, Dunlap was forced to pull Alexander along or risk allowing Blatter to catch-up.
“Caroline just sat on for the last half of that lap,” Dunlap said. “But I knew I’d be in a good position if it came down to a sprint.”
Meanwhile, Blatter was left to ponder what could have been.
“My fork got flat and it felt like it was locked up,” she said. “It was really hard on my head.”
In the men’s race, Giant’s Bart Brentjens had no trouble holding onto his GC lead. Brentjens took second in the final stage of the three-day race, barley losing a hard-fought sprint with Trek-VW’s Roland Green. Green covered the two laps around the 18-mile course in 2:09:45.60. Brentjens was 0.10 behind, with Bas Van Dooren next at 1.90. Ryder Hesjedal and Cadel Evans followed at 23.40 and 25.70.
Green’s win allowed him to move into second in the final GC standings. Bas Van Dooren (Specialized) was third, followed by Cadel Evans (Volvo-Cannondale) and Ryder Hesjedal (Subaru-Gary Fisher).
“I knew on the last lap that I wasn’t going to be able to get the overall win,” Green said of a deficit that was 36 seconds when the day began. “At that point my focus was just getting the stage win.”
Green, Brentjens and Van Dooren rode alone most of the race, with Evans and Hesjedal the only real threat to bridge, hanging about 30 seconds back most of the way.
Like teammate Blatter, Van Dooren was stymied by problems with his front shock. A team mechanic said both riders were using a prototype that none of the other team members were using.
“I just couldn’t keep up in the downhills,” Van Dooren said.
Brentjens finished his weekend with one stage win and two second-place finishes to go with his overall title.
“Today wasn’t so hard because I was riding for the GC and Bas and Roland were riding for the stage,” Brentjens said. “I just had to follow them.”
In other final-day action, GT-Fox’s Brian Lopes and Volvo-Cannondale’s Anne-Caroline Chausson won the mountain cross, a new event to the Sea Otter where riders take on a gated gravity course four at a time.
Check out the next issue of VeloNews for a complete wrap-up of the 2001 Sea Otter Classic.
SEA OTTER CLASSIC, Monterey, California, March 23-25
Stage 3, Cross country
1. Roland Green (Can), Trek-VW, 36 miles in 2:09:45.60
2. Bart Brentjens (Nl), Giant, at 0.10
3. Bas Van Dooren (Nl), Specialized, at 1.90
4. Ryder Hesjedal (Can), Subaru-Gary Fisher, at 23.40
5. Cadel Evans (Aus), Volvo-Cannondale, at 25.70
6. Rune Hoydahl (N), Giant, 4:15.80
7. Paul Rowney (Aus), Yeti-Pearl Izumi, at 4:28.10
8. Henrik Spark, at 4:58.30
8. Kashi Leuchs (NZ), Volvo-Cannondale, at 4:58.30
10. Liam Killeen (GBr), Great Britain Team, at 5:10.40
11. Steve Larsen (USA), L.L. Bean Mongoose, at 5:20.10
13. Steve Tilford (USA), Jog Mate, at 5:54.40
14. Fillip Meirhaeghe (B), Specialized, at 7:02.40
16. Kirk Molday (USA), SunRace-Santa Cruz, at 7:04.00
17. Seamus McGrath (Can), Haro-Lee Dungarees, at 7:04.10
23. Marc Gullickson (USA), Mongoose, at 10:52.70
24. Tinker Juarez (USA), Volvo-Cannondale, at 11:12.80
25. Geoff Kabush (Can), Kona, at 11:34.50
29. Travis Brown (USA), Trek-VW, at 11:59.10
56. Greg Randolph (USA), Tomac, at 19:48.50
60. Carl Swenson (USA), RLX Polo Sport, at 21:22.50
Final General Classification
1. Brentjens, 2:48.30
2. Green, at :36
3. Van Dooren, at :50
4. Evans, at 1:11
5. Hesjedal, at 1:36
6. Hoydahl, at 5:17
7. Killeen, at 6:35
8. Rowney, at 6:43
9. Spark, at 6:57
10. Meirhaeghe, at 7:27
12. McGrath, at 8:18
14. Molday, at 9:14
16. Tilford, at 9:47
21. Larsen, at 13:15
23. Gullickson, at 14:08
24. Juarez, at 14:12
27. Brown, at 15:27
31. Kabush, at 16:16
33. Jimi Killen (USA), Schwinn, at 17:15
50. Randolph, at 23:11
1. Alison Dunlap (USA), GT, 36 miles in 2:35:42.90
2. Caroline Alexander (GBr), Specialized, at 0.20
3. Barbara Blatter (Swi), Specialized, at 25.20
4. Jimena Florit (Arg), RLX Polo Sport, at 5:04.40
5. Alison Sydor (Can), Trek-VW, at 7:21.70
6. Chrissy Redden (Can), Subaru-Gary Fisher, at 8:44.80
7. Kerry Barnholt (USA), SoBe Headshock, at 9:09.10
8. Kelli Emmett (USA), GT, at 9:27.90
9. Dellys Franke (Aus), Merida, at 12:02.50
10. Julie Emmerman (USA), Gary Fisher, at 13:08.00
12. Ruthie Matthes (USA), Trek-VW, at 14:25.70
13. Sue Haywood (USA), Trek-VW/WV Tourism, at 16:30.10
22. Rachel Lloyd (USA), SunRace-Santa Cruz, at 22:59.50
Final General Classification
1. Alexander, 3:18:58
2. Blatter, at :07
3. Dunlap, at 1:17
4. Florit, at 6:45
5. Sydor, at 9:29
6. Redden, at 11:06
7. Barnholt, at 13:17
8. Emmett, at 14:02
9. Franke, at 14:54
10. Mary McConneloug (USA), Jamba Juice, at 17:20
12. Matthes, at 18:37
18. Lloyd, at 25:53