Posted by Editoress on 06/22/03
NORBA #3, Mount Snow Vermont
Courtesy USA Cycling
Keeping the breakthrough theme alive at the third round of the NORBA National Championship Mountain Bike Series, Seamus McGrath (CAN; Haro-Lee Dungarees) and Katerina Hanusova (CZE; Luna Chix) each took home their first ever NORBA NCMBS short track victory today. After yesterday's competition saw some rising stars make a name for themselves, McGrath and Hanusova rode competitive races amongst fields stacked with talent.
The women's short track started off at its usual blistering pace and a natural group of twelve quickly formed at the front. All the key players were present including Chrissy Redden (CAN; Subaru-Gary Fisher), current points leader, Sue Haywood (Davis, WV; Trek-Volkswagen), Alison Sydor (CAN; Trek-Volkswagen), Jimena Florit (ARG; RLX-Ralph Lauren), yesterday's cross-country winner, Mary McConneloug (Fairfax, CA; Seven Cycles) and up and comer Willow Koerber (Ashville, NC; RLX-Ralph Lauren). An attack by Redden split the group apart, and Sydor, Hanusova, McConneloug, and Haywood were the only ones able to match her pace, narrowing the selection down to five. With teammates Florit and Koerber putting their best chase efforts on the table, Hanusova charged away from her breakaway companions as three laps remained. Hanusova, stepping up to the plate after her teammate Alison Dunlap (Colorado Springs, CO) suffered a season ending injury last weekend, solidified the victory with the move, soloing in across the line ahead of Haywood and Redden.
Much of her victory was due to the right tactical decision, Hanusova explained. "The pace was really hard so I tried to be patient and go at the right time. I got a little gap and then tried to maintain it. I could use some more experience but I tried to watch what people were doing, what was going on, and wait for the right moment and hoped that my legs would go with my head." "I felt great, I just wanted it today," she added.
The men's event, simply put, was a crowd pleaser as McGrath, always on the podium but never on the top spot, finally made his mark.
The race began with Barry Wicks (Corvallis, OR; Kona Clarks) taking a flyer which he maintained for a few laps, but the speed of the group behind him increased after a hard effort by Travis Brown (Boulder, CO; Trek-Volkswagen) and the deck was reshuffled for the next big move. Geoff Kabush (CAN, Kona-Clarks) tried his hand at putting some time into the field, but after a few laps away, he was absorbed, setting up the decisive break. McGrath, and World Cup Champion, Filip Meirhaeghe (BEL; Specialized) broke away and quickly opened up what looked to be an insurmountable gap with the clock ticking. Adam Craig (Victor, ID; Giant-Pearl Izumi) made a valiant effort to get across to the duo but soon faded as the pace of McGrath and Meirhaeghe was just too much.
With three laps remaining, Green showed just why he is the World Champion as he began the chase to McGrath and Meirhaeghe. Within one lap, he had all but caught them, but just as he dangled off the back about to make contact, McGrath attacked as the group came through with two laps to go. Neither Meirhaeghe nor Green had the gas to match him. McGrath held his lead for the remainder of the race, basking in his first NORBA NCMBS victory.
OLN commentator, Richard Fries, asked the obvious question to McGrath after the race, "You had the World Cup leader on your wheel, and the World Champion chasing on, so what do you do?"
"Attack", McGrath responded matter of factly. Good Idea.
"I was close yesterday, so I wanted it today"; McGrath added referring to his second place finish in the cross-country event.
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