Posted by Editoress on 04/20/08
Report Courtesy Sea Otter
Photos by Larry Ireland
For the second day in a row, the wind posed the biggest challenge on course. High winds moved in midway through the start of the pro mens cross-country and forced riders to push themselves beyond their limits on one of the longest courses of the season.
2000 Olympic Mountain Bike Gold Medalist, France's Miguel Martinez (Look), was victorious after breaking away from a strong eight-rider pack in the second lap.
In France, the Sea Otter Classic is a very prestigious race. To win here makes me very happy, Martinez said.
Martinez placed eighth in Saturdays short track, a race he used as both a warm-up and as a way to observe the strength of his fellow competitors.
After winning gold in the short track, Sam Schultz (Subaru/Gary Fisher) continued his success by winning silver in the pro mens cross country.
We all worked well together in the first lap and then Miguel broke away at the start of the second. Sid (Taberlay ed.) and I worked together well and thought we might catch Miguel, but he was too strong, Schultz said. Taberlay (TIS) ended the day in third place.
Schultz added that he felt that his new 29er gave him an advantage, I felt great on the descents and I felt I could hold my momentum better. It also held really well on the corners.
Expected contender Ryan Trebon (Kona) was amongst the top riders after the first lap, but found himself bonking midway through the second lap and had to struggle to cross the finish line. After the Phoenix race, I had a stomach bug. I thought I was over it but I guess not. Once my lights went out I had nothing left. I bonked and I had to stop and get food from some random guy to keep going, Trebon said.
In the womens race, all three podium finishers had their best Sea Otter finishes ever. Kelli Emmett (Giant) started strong off the front and never looked back. I got off the front right after the sand pit. Once I got away, I just rode as hard as I could the entire way.
The SoBe-Cannondale team had a 2-3-4 finish with teammates Jenna Zander, Kathy Sherwin and Emily Van Meter putting forth a solid effort. There were four of us working together to try and catch Kelli, but she was just too strong, Zander said who finished with the silver medal.
A beaming Sherwin was elated over her best-ever third place finish in a pro field. I felt really good. I woke up on the right side of the bed today. Last year, I didnt fuel properly beforehand and I went from ninth to like, twelfth on the last hill. This year, everything was just right. The engine went well, the bike ran well. What more can you ask for?"
Consistent with other races this weekend, first-time winners took aim at a podium spot and scored. The depth of talent that Sea Otter continues to attract guarantees a world-class event for years to come.
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