July 12/03 4:08 am - Grouse Mountain World Cup: DH Preview
Posted by Editoress on 07/12/03
Grouse Mountain World Cup
This report made possible through the sponsorship of Rocky Mountain Bicycles
By Mike Badyk
After last year's DH race cancellation due to the abundance of snow, the 2003 edition of the UCI World Cup at Grouse is dry and dusty. Unlike Mt Ste Anne where the dust was a control issue, the dust here is not a factor.
Instead the roughness and speed of the course are the difficulties for the racers. As far as courses are concerned, it is not overly technical. There are several large rock drops (filled with spectators) and a new double with a chicane immediately after it just above the finish. However, the course requires lots and lots of pedaling through very rough and bumpy sections through the trees. At the finish line, riders are spending long periods of time catching their breath and then sitting on the bike spinning backwards to get the lactic acid out of their legs.
The roughness is taking a toll on bikes and some of the riders. Cedric Gracia broke his seat near the bottom of the course. "It's a hard course because you have to hit the brakes were you don't want to." Steve Peat, who won at Mt. Ste. Anne, lost his rear brake in the lower third of the course. Peat said "It's a really fast course overall. You have to be really going hard over much of it." Peat was still able to qualify in 10th place. Jordie Lunn was in a lot of pain after his run thanks to his cracked ankle. He damaged it at a photo shoot at Whistler last week. With his injury and the absence of Dustin Adams (broken wrist thanks to being hit by a car).he remains the top Canadian, qualifying in 30th.
Top seeds in the men are Joel Panozzo, followed by Mickael Pascal and Chris Kovarik with times of 2:02. Only .65 seconds separated first from third. For the women, there were no real surprises with Kathy Pruitt the fastest, Fionn Griffiths in second and Tracy Moseley in third. Less than one second separated the top women, who were in with times around 2:19. With the qualifying times so close, it is likely to be a tight race.