By Chris Milliman, Special to VeloNews.com
Not even losing the ability to sit down could slow Cedric Gracia at Mount Snow. The 25-year-old Siemens-Cannondale rider closed out the weekend’s racing by winning the men’s downhill, even though he broke off his saddle midway through his winning run.
“I tried sitting back down [on the rails],” said the charismatic Frenchman. “But it was no good, I just had to ride standing up, which isn’t so easy.”
With the infamous Yard Sale rock garden section of the course shortened due to safety concerns, riders depended on skill more than luck. In order to negotiate what remained of the Yard Sale section Gracia launched off a root and cleared all the rocky obstacles. Gracia’s final-run win upended Aussie Nathan Rennie (Iron Horse-Mad Catz), who had in turn take the top spot from Haro-Lee Dungarees’ Greg Minaar.
Luna’s Marla Streb joined Gracia, winning her final after posting the fastest time in qualification. Streb’s fast morning time came despite crashing and having to stop to straighten her bars.
Her afternoon run was tighter, as Japanese national champion Mio Suemasa (Trek-Volkswagen) had previously posted a time nearly ten seconds better than the next closest rider. Streb’s winning time was less than a second faster than Suemasa.
“I told myself to ride conservative,” said Streb, “but I really didn’t. I let it go on the top and I was pretty lucky to have such a good run.”
1. Marla Streb, (USA), Luna, 5:16.9
2. Mio Suemasa, (JPN), Trek-Volkswagen, 5:17.4
3. Kathy Pruitt, (USA), Luna, 5:26.1
4. Fionn Griffiths, (GBR), Foes Azonic, 5:29.8
5. Sabrina Jonnier, (FRA), Intense, 5:32.8
6. Dawn Bourque, (USA), Dried Plums-Orbitz, 5:37.2
7. Tai-Lee Muxlow, (AUS), Tioga Orange, 5:37.7
8. Bernadita Pizarro, (USA), unaffiliated, 5:40.9
9. Melissa Buhl, (USA), KHS, 5:43.4
10. Claire Buchar, (CAN), Balfa, 6:01.3Pro Men
1. Cedric Gracia, (FRA), Siemens-Cannondale, 4:21.8
2. Nathan Rennie, (AUS), Iron Horse-Madcatz, 4:22.1
3. Gregg Minaar, (RSA), Haro-Lee Dungarees, 4:22.3
4. Mick Hannah, (AUS), Haro-Lee Dungarees, 4:26.3
5. Dustin Adams, (CAN), Giant-Pearl Izumi, 4:27.9
6. John Kirkaldie, (NZL), Maxxis, 4:30.2
7. Sam Hill, (AUS), Iron Horse, 4:33.1
8. Nathan Rankin, (NZL), Tioga Orange, 4:33.6
9. Joel Panozzo, (AUS), WTB-Santa Cruz, 4:34.2
10. Rich Houseman, (USA), Intense Tires 4:34.9