July 4/99 7:19 am - Mens Canmore Race Story
Posted by Editor on 07/4/99
Todays men's race, round number seven in the UCI Diesel World Cup cross country series, was the Thomas Frischknecht (Ritchey-Yahoo!) show from start to finish. While the men did not suffer the extreme conditions that the women did yesterday, it was certainly no picnic - with temperatures in the 5 to 7 degree Celcius range, a very wet and muddy circuit and an overcast sky. The men had obviously paid attention to how the cold had affected the women, and were layered up throughly for their race. Behind Frischknecht, World Cup leader Cadel Evans (Volvo-Cannondale) and Miguel Martinez (Full Dynamix) battled all race for the second spot on the podium, with Evans pulling away in the third lap of four.
By the time the riders had completed their start loop, Frischknecht had a 5 metre gap on Christoph Sauser (Volvo-Cannondale), Evans and Martinez. He extended it slightly during the long opening climb, but really began to open it up on the descent through the infamous â€˜Chute', an long and extremely slippery section of singletrack. By the bottom of the Chute the Swiss rider had 22 seconds on a chase trio of Evans, Martinez and Sauser. As he headed through the start-finish in the Canmore Nordic Ski Centre (where the 1988 Olympic cross-country ski and biathlon events were held), the lead was up to 54 seconds.
Behind the lead four riders, Jerome Chiotti (Team GT) was making a tremendous surge up through the field, leaping from 8th place in lap one to second in lap two. However, he could not sustain the effort, and was reeled back in by Evans and company as the riders began their third lap. Evans then attacked his chase partners "I made a move towards the top of the climb, and got some time on Miguel. Then I just pushed hard to try and bring back Thomas". Martinez crashed heavily in the Chute while chasing Evans, and lost "at least 20 seconds. Without (that crash) I think I would have been with Cadel." Behind Martinez, Sauser was sitting comfortably on his own in fourth, while Chiotti was briefly challenged for the final podium spot by Filip Meirhaeghe (MT Dew-Specialized), although he would hold on for fifth in the end.
Evans did indeed start to pull time back from Frischknecht, bringing the gap down from 1:10 to 40 seconds as the riders entered their final lap. However, Frischknecht, the winningest rider in World Cup history (this would prove to be his 16th victory), dug deeper. "I knew Cadel was getting closer, so I went harder. I was on my own for the whole race, so this let me set my own pace." The pace was high, with Frischknecht extending his lead to 1:18 by the end of the race. The Ritchey-Yahoo! rider's jubilation at winning (his first since Budapest last year) was obvious - he dropped his bike 5 metres from the line and body surfed through the mud for his victory!
- Martinez said after the race that he was bothered by the cold, especially in his hands, and that it contributed to his crash. He was very pleased with his result, particularly after his disasterous race the previous week in Big Bear, where he finished a distant 13th.
- The Volvo-Cannondale team reported no problems with their disc brakes today. Apparently yesterday the women were reduced to using their feet to brake in the last lap and a half after the pads disintegrated! The team was using an organic compound that reacted poorly with the mud; for today's race the team replaced them with a metallic compound and had excellent braking. "We really learned something yesterday" said team manager Charlie Livermore.
- while Canadian riders challenged during the race, with Seamus McGrath (Haro) going as high as 11th in lap two and Andreas Hestler (RLX Polo Sport) up to 15th in third, it was the consistent riding of Kirk Molday (Trek-VW) that led to the top North American result, 19th. Peter Wedge (Mapei-Kona) was next at 27th, Jimi Killen (Diamondback) 29th and Chris Sheppard (Catera/Klein) 30th.
- During the awards ceremony the sun came out, for the first time in a week...