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August 26/01 7:27 am - Mont Ste Anne World Cup Final: Story


Posted by Editor on 08/26/01
 

Mont Ste Anee - World Cup Final

It was Canada Day at Mont Ste Anne, Quebec, where Canadian cyclists Chrissy Redden and Roland Green won the men's and women's World Cup races. Green's win in this the final race of the season-long World Cup series vaulted him into first place in the overall standings. Canadians had an unprecedented set of results, taking 5 of the 10 podium spots for men and women.

In the women's race Redden took the lead at the start, but relinquished it to World Cup leader Barbara Blatter of Switzerland after 2 kilometres. Blatter and her Specialized team mate Caroline Alexander went to the front of the women's field and set a hard pace on the climbs, while Redden chased alone in third, losing approximately 10 seconds per lap for the first 4 laps (of 6).

"They were definitely faster on the climbs, but I was faster in the technical descents. I tried to keep it smooth and pace myself, but by mid-race I was starting to get comfortable with third, which is not a good sign."

Ahead, Alexander had dropped her team mate and was riding strongly alone in front by 30 seconds. Blatter was a further 20 seconds ahead of Redden with 3-time World Cup winner Alison Sydor in fourth, another minute back. The final standings looked to be set, but something interesting was happening at the front of the race.

"With two laps to go I was 20 seconds behind Barbara, but then I bridged up to her and the two of us started battling for second. This helped bring me up to Caroline, and I heard at the start of the last lap that I was only 30 seconds behind."

Redden was assisted in her chase when Alexander dropped her chain on the main climb and had to come to a complete stop to reinstall it.

"I was really surprised to be catching her, and then I heard the gap was down to 15 seconds. All of a sudden, I don't know whether she was feeling worse or I was feeling better, but I came right up to her."

Redden went by the British rider in the final half lap of the race to take the lead and win her first ever World Cup, after a second place finish earlier in the year at Grouse Mountain World Cup in Vancouver. Alexander hung for second place, with Blatter in third and Sydor fourth. North Vancouver's Lesley Tomlinson moved up steadily during the race to finish tenth.

Blatter won the World Cup overall title, with Redden finishing 7th and Sydor 8th.

While the top overall standings in the women's series were decided before the start of the final race, the men's series was wide open. Miguel Martinez of France had a 52 point lead over Jose Antonio Hermida of Spain and 96 points ahead Green. A combination of a good result by the Victoria rider and a poor showing by his rivals could see Roland as the first ever Canadian man to win a World Cup title.

Green's plan was simple - keep the pressure on his rivals and wait for cracks to appear. On the third lap of seven that began to happen, when he, Martinez and Michael Rasmussen (Haro Lee Dungarees) broke away from the other race leaders. One lap later, on the climb, Green attacked and got a gap on his rivals. Martinez tried to limit the damage, but within a lap it was over, as the reigning world champion started an inexorable slide backwards through the field, before eventually abandoning.

Green was pouring it on at the front, riding away to the race victory and the overall title, but behind him, other Canadian riders were also having strong rides. 20 year old Ryder Hesjedal, Green's Victoria training partner, was leading the chase group and eventually broke away alone to finish second. Seamus McGrath (Haro Lee Dungarees) recorded his best ever finish in a World Cup by taking the fifth and final podium spot.

However, the man of the hour was Roland Green, who stopped before the finish, hoisted his bike in the air and triumphantly strode across the line in front of 9,000 partisan fans.

Afterwards, the jubilant rider was exclaiming "Can you believe it? I can't believe it! I knew there was a chance today. I was getting feedback from my team and knew halfway through the race that he (Martinez) was starting to slip. It was very tactical - I was watching Miguel and he was watching me. I turned around at one point and could see in his eyes that he was hurting, so I put the pressure on. I love racing in Quebec, and the fans definitely made a difference."


Race Notes: Marie-Helene Premont was as high as 6th on lap one before she flatted, then dropped to 38th. By the end of the race had worked her way back up to 16th.

- Total spectators in attendance, from Wednesday to Sunday, is estimated at 37,000.

 


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