Posted by Editoress on 06/17/06
NORBA #3 Mount Snow VT
Courtesy USA Cycling
The World Cup overflowed at Day 2 of the National Mountain Bike Series #3 as Mary McConneloug (Kenda/Seven Cycles) and two-time World Cup champion Christopher Sauser claimed the women's and men's pro cross country titles.
As the last training stop before the World Cup in Mount Ste. Anne, Quebec, along with UCI C1 prize money provided by USA Cycling, the NMBS stop at Mount Snow Resort had attracted McConneloug, Sauser and other top-level talent making their 2006 NMBS debut.
"I was pretty hungry for the win," said McConneloug, who returned to the United States from Europe on Tuesday. "I was in my big ring on very lap, which is something I'm growing into now; putting your head down and suffering like I've learned to do in the World Cups. It's so intense over there because everyone is so tooth-and-nail. After the first lap I heard I had a minute ten on second place and then two minutes by the second lap and I was like 'Ooh, I think I can chill on the next climb and be extra smooth - Save something for next week at Mount Ste. Anne.'"
McConneloug took the lead early on the 5.1-mile course, making easy work of the 1,000 ft. of climbing per lap. By the conclusion of her third and final lap, McConneloug crossed the finish line nearly two minutes ahead of series-leader Shonny Vanlandingham (Luna) who finished second. McConneloug's win marks her second cross country win in a row at Mount Snow.
On the men's side, Sauser, Great Britain's Liam Kileen and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Subaru-Gary Fisher) took off to an early lead - more than 20 seconds ahead of a chase group of Canadians Geoff Kabush and Ricky Federau, Todd Wells (GT Bikes) and Jeremiah Bishop (Trek/VW).
By lap two, Killeen had built a 25-second lead on Horgan-Kobelski who was second, and Sauser who was 15 seconds behind him in third.
"I had a crash in the final corner and my handlebar got twisted on the second lap," Sauser said. "The first two minutes of riding with it were awful, but then I got used to it and got to the technical center. We adjusted it and I just kept on going. When you have to catch up, you don't feel so good, but I was confident I could come back again and win."
Sauser was able to catch the pair by the fourth and final lap, and sprinted across the finish line three seconds ahead of Specialized-teammate Kileen.
"Liam and Christoph were just climbing a notch better than I was," said Horgan-Kobelski, noting that seven weeks in a row of hard racing were taking its toll on him. "I was making up time on those guys on every lap, but it just wasn't enough."
Despite his third-place finish, Horgan-Kobelski remained the series leader after Saturday's race.
The top finisher for the Under-23 National Team was Sam Schultz who finished in 11th. Colin Cares finished 16th - a personal best - and Sam Jurekovic finished 23rd.
1. Christophe Sauser (Sui) Specialized
2. Liam Killeen (GBr) Specialized
3. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher
1. Mary McConneloug (USA) Kenda/Seven Cycles
2. Shonny Vanlandingham (USA) Luna
Earlier in the day, cyclocross star Barry Wicks (Kona/Les Gets) and Sue Haywood (Trek/VW) placed first in the men's and women's pro divisions of the Super D competition. Each class took to the course in a mass start - running with their bikes around a pylon before taking to the course. Wicks picked up the first Super D victory of his career by finishing the 1.5-mile course in six minutes and 4.85 seconds. Wicks finished nearly six seconds ahead of Ariel Lindsley (Maverick) who finished second. Ross Schnell (Trek/VW) finished third.
Haywood took first in a sprint finish in the women's competition ahead of teammate Lea Davison who finished second. Marla Streb (Luna) finished in third; just six weeks after giving birth to daughter, Nicoya. Haywood's win in 7:10.52 was her second Super D win in a row.
"I was the first one to get on my bike and get down the hill which helped a lot," Haywood said, noting that the Super D is an event she enters "just for fun," since she has not been performing as well in cross country.
"I had a little bit of lead. Marla passed me, then Lea passed me and I passed Marla. It was really a perfect Super D course because you've got to have some uphill or some flat or it's just a sport downhill course. That balance between the fitness and handling, but it would be a lot more competitive if more cross country girls would do it," Haywood said with a smile.
1. Barry Wicks (USA) Kona/Les Gets
2. Ariel Lindsley (USA) Maverick
3. Ross Schnell (USA) Trek/VW
1. Sue Haywood (USA) Trek/VW
2. Lea Davison (USA)
3. Marla Streb (Luna)
In the dual slalom, third-seeded Rich Houseman (Yeti/Fox Shox) won the championship with fourth-seed Russian Andrew Neethling taking second. On the women's side, top-seeded Tara Llanes (Giant) won the championship and second-seed Melissa Buhl finished second.
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