Posted by Editor on 06/22/03
Norba National 4-Cross - Mount Snow, Vermont
Courtesy USA Cycling
Mt. Snow, VT (June, 21, 2003) Eric Carter (Temecula, CA; Mongoose-Hyundai) and Sabrina Jonnier (FRA; Intense) showed why they claimed the number one seeds for today's mountain cross finals in round three of the NORBA National Championship Mountain Bike Series in Mt. Snow, VT, each posting victories in the face of stiff competition.
Following an electrifying cross-country race in the afternoon, the gravity riders took to the mountain cross course in a light drizzle that did little to keep the crowds away.
The women's event was without Tara Llanes (Corona, CA; Giant-Pearl Izumi), currently second in the NCS points standings, who suffered a broken foot in an automobile accident earlier in the week, but the depth of the women's field ensured a competitive race.
The 16-woman field was narrowed down to the final four after a few heats and featured Jonnier, Marla Streb (Los Osos, CA; Luna Chix), Katrina Miller (AUS; Jamis) and current points leader, Jill Kintner (San Jose, CA; Staats).
In what looked to be a competitive final round, the race was essentially over the second it began as some contact amongst the women caused Kinter, Streb, and Miller to go down right out of the gate. Jonnier escaped the carnage and had an immediate gap that she maintained through the finish. The race at this point was for second place, which was taken by Streb ahead of Miller after a second crash by Kintner in the middle of the course took her out of contention.
Asked about the early crash, Jonnier responded, "I had a good gate last week, but everybody pushed me so this week I pushed everybody on the outside. Katrina tried to come inside, and I pushed back."
The last four men standing after the elimination of 60 throughout the evening were top seed Carter, NORBA NCMBS points leader, Mike King (San Diego, CA; Haro-Lee Dungarees), Chris Kovarik (AUS; Intense-Fox) and Frenchman, Fabien Barel (Kona Clarks). Out of the gate, it was Carter, who despite racing on a broken hand, took advantage of his inside lane assignment, leading after the first corner and never looking back. Without many opportunities to make up lost ground on this particular course, the riders maintained their positions they had out of the gate all the way to the finish 30 seconds later. Carter took the victory from Kovarik as King and Barel took home third and fourth respectively.
"The first straightaway was like thoroughbred racing", Carter noted, "It was flat and tons of horsepower was being laid down." I focused on having clean shifts and getting my second, third and fourth pedals going so I could get my bars up front, take my line and make everybody back off."
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