By Ryan Newill, VeloNews Correspondent
Trek-Volkswagen rider Roland Green continued his dominance of the second leg of the NORBA National series by adding a short track title to Friday’s cross-country victory, while Chrissy Redden (Subaru-Gary Fisher) took the women’s race.
The highly tactical men’s race began with Green sitting on the front of the fast-moving group in the early laps, challenged strongly by Snow Summit short track champ Ryder Hesjedal (Subaru-Gary Fisher) and his teammate Pavel Tcherkassov. In those first several laps, Hesjedal fell victim to trouble with his single-chainring setup. He was forced to dismount several times to correct the problem, but caught the group and moved back into the chase each time, proving his strength in a field which was shooting a number of riders out the back.
Following several probing accelerations, the first sticky move of the day took place when Friday’s second place on the cross-country, Yeti-Pearl Izumi rider Paul Rowney, made a daring solo attack and jumped out to a seven-second gap. Rowney dangled at five seconds up for a number of laps, with the pack seemingly content to let the self-described “short track guy” burn himself out.
“Yeah, I don’t know what I was thinking,” commented Rowney about the move, “but it’s not like you get out there and sit up. I thought to get a split in the group, make the group smaller, and then get a select group at the front.” Even if he did not succeed in making good on the long solo break or forcing a selection, Rowney did succeed in working the legs of the peloton when things strung out to single file as Green, Tcherkassov and Seamus McGrath (Haro-Lee Dungarees) chased on the front.
McGrath would soon fall victim to a flat, and Rowney’s strong solo display at the front came to an end when Green finally made his move to bridge accompanied by Todd Wells (Hildbrand). Green closed the last meters alone, and after a few brief moments with Rowney, struck out on his own, shattering the field behind.
Once the chaos created by Green’s attack had settled, a strong group of five formed behind, containing Jose Bonilla (Café de Costa Rica), Tcherkassov, Rowney, Geoff Kabush (Kona-Ford Focus), and Peter Swenson (Tokyo Joe’s).
At that point, it was clear that the on-form Green’s lead was untouchable, and he soloed comfortably to his second victory of the weekend.
“When Roland went for good a couple laps before, we just tried to fight for second place. There was a lot of attacking and a lot of effort in the last 2 laps,” said Tcherkassov, who did a fair amount of the attacking himself, jumping away to a little gap with Rowney in the final half of the final lap.
In the end, Rowney’s early efforts did not seem to effect him too terribly, as he powered around Tcherkassov in a hard fought sprint to the line.
“When I came to the corner, I was going at maximum effort and my legs were ready to explode. Paul had a better sprint, and it all just came down to the last 100 meters,” said Tcherkassov.
Rowney and Tcherkassov were trailed in by Bonilla and Kabush, who, along with Green and Rowney, would also prove his emerging strength with a second Snowshoe podium appearance.
Redden Rules Short Track
In the women’s short track event on Saturday, Chrissy Redden capped a dream weekend for the female component of the Subaru-Gary Fisher squad. After playing second fiddle to Mary Grigson’s (Subaru-Gary Fisher) cross-country win on Friday, the Ontario native notched a victory of her own in the lung burning short track contest.
Last year’s series champion Jimena Florit jumped to the front of the group to set a high tempo from the start, accompanied by the Grigson-Redden tandem and shadowed by Carmen Dalusio (Volvo-Cannondale) and Sue Haywood (Trek-Volkswagen Factory East). Redden and Grigson made several jumps, but after yesterday’s escape, they were closely marked by Florit and the group.
The result of the aggression by both Florit and Redden resulted in the two surging off the front together, in a move which could have spelled the end for the others. Haywood slid upwards through the chase group into the third position to lead the chase as Grigson began to fall off the pace.
As she caught the rear wheel of the pair, Haywood, a West Virginia native riding exceptionally well at home, took the front, bringing the situation back under control and reforming the select front group. Despite her efforts, Redden and Florit jumped away again several laps later, only to be chased down by Mary McConneloug (Jamba Juice) and Dalusio.
That brief move was reabsorbed to the seven-strong front group that would clearly produce the winner, containing Florit, McConneloug, Redden, Shonny Vanlandingham (SoBe-Headshock), Dalusio, Rachel Lloyd (Sunrace-Santa Cruz), and Haywood.
Coming into the last lap, it was Redden accompanied by Florit again off the front, but the Argentinean Olympian did not have the strength left to respond as Redden charged to the victory.
Though disappointed at not pulling off the victory, Florit could console herself in taking over the short track series lead, at title she won last year. For her part, Haywood was pleased with her second podium appearance of the weekend, stepping it up two notches to third after her fifth place performance in the cross-country.
Commenting on the overwhelming support she received from her home crowd, Haywood summed it up neatly, “That last lap, it was all for them.”
Results: Men’s Short Track Cross-country
1. Roland Green (Can), Trek-Volkswagen
2. Paul Rowney (Aus), Yeti-Pearl Izumi
3. Pavel Tcherkassov (Rus), Subaru-Gary Fisher
4. Jose Bonilla (CR), Café de Costa Rica-Pizza Hut
5. Geoff Kabush (Can), Kona-Ford Focus
Results: Pro Women Short Track Cross-Country
1. Chrissy Redden (Can), Subaru-Gary Fisher
2. Jimena Florit (Arg), RLX-Polo Sport
3. Susan Haywood (USA), Trek-Volkswagen Factory East
4. Mary McConneloug (USA), Jamba Juice
5. Rachel Lloyd (USA), Sunrace-Santa Cruz