Posted by Editor on 08/16/03
Vanlandingham, Hesjedal Seize the Day
Courtesy USA Cycling
Horgan-Kobelski, McConneloug Capture U.S. National Mountain Bike Titles
Durango, Colo. (Aug. 16, 2003) - In the final cross-country race of the NORBA National Championship Mountain Bike Series today in Durango, Colo., a familiar face graced the top step of the podium in the men's race courtesy of Ryder Hesjedal (CAN; Subaru-Gray Fisher), as the women's race witnessed a first time winner in Shonny Vanlandingham (Durango, Colo; Luna Chix).
Amidst the excitement of dominating performances, the unique format of a five-race series culminated with the coronation of the 2003 U.S. National Mountain Bike Champions as Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, CO; RLX-Ralph Lauren) and Mary McConneloug (Fairfax, CA; Seven Cycles) finished as the top Americans in the overall points standings to earn their respective men's and women's titles.
Horgan-Kobelski, the highest ranked American in the standings heading into today's final, raced a conservative race after suffering from a stomach flu at last week's Pan American Games. As Hesjedal set a strong and unmatchable pace early on in the race, Horgan-Kobelski rode in defense of his stars and stripes jersey, finishing third in the race behind Hesjedal and recent Pan Am Games gold medallist, Jeremiah Bishop (Harrisonburg, VA; Trek East Coast)
Competing on essentially a carbon copy of the 1990 World Championship course at Durango Mountain Resort, The men's race began at a comfortable pace, but given the altitude of 8700 feet, things began to split up on the first major climb of the day. Hesjedal crested the climb alone and maintained a steady pace throughout the descent quickly opening up a gap of over a minute to the closest chasers, Todd Wells (Durango, CO; Mongoose, Hyundai) and Horgan Kobelski. For the remainder of the race, Hesjedal was untouchable as he motored to the finish in solo fashion. Behind, Bishop continued his amazing season, placing second ahead of Horgan-Kobelski.
The quest for the women's National Championship would be a little closer as McConneloug and Sue Haywood (Davis, WV; Trek-Volkswagen) were separated by a mere 50 points at the start. As in the men's race, a solo move early in race proved to be the difference as Vanlandingham powered away from the rest of the field and held off Alison Sydor (CAN; Trek-Volkswagen) and teammate Katerina Hanusova (CZE) for her first ever NORBA NCMBS victory.
Behind, McConneloug finished 16th, well ahead of Haywood, securing the title of U.S. National Champion.
With the 2003 NORBA NCMBS completed, overall champions were crowned in addition to today's race winner and U.S. National Champions. Jimena Florit (ARG; RLX-Ralph Lauren) took her second consecutive overall title in the women's standings ahead of Chrissy Redden (CAN; Subaru-Gary Fisher) and Hesjedal secured the men's overall title over second place finisher, Horgan-Kobelski.
Horgan-Kobelski, elated with his repeat title, described his race. "It was hard out there. I felt decent at the start, but didn't quite recover from my stomach flu I had last weekend. I didn't have the legs to go with Ryder today, so I just rode for the stars and stripes. I knew exactly what I had to do to keep the jersey and I didn't want to bury myself so I kept it steady and rode for the title."
Overall series winner and today's victor Hesjedal seemed equally pleased with his dominant ride today as he described his race. "After the first short lap, just as we started the first major climb, I just kept it in the big ring and rolled it. I felt fine and kept up the effort all the way up the climb. At the top I had a gap and thought if I could hold it on the downhill I could take the win."
For Durango resident, Vanlandingham, winning on her home turf was a special accomplishment and racing in her own backyard possibly gave her the edge when considering the altitude factor and familiarity of the course. "I knew the downhill pretty well", Vanlandingham mentioned. "I though if I could just get ahead on the climb, I could use that to my advantage." Vanlandingham, who returned from a broken collarbone suffered earlier this season, stepped up for her Luna Chix team in the absence of injured teammate, Alison Dunlap (Colorado Springs, CO). "This was a long time coming", she added.
McConneloug overcame a bit of bad luck on her way to the National Championship after dropping a chain and quickly losing ground in the field. "I was nervous on the first lap", she admitted. "I put in a good effort to close the gap in front of me and that's when I saw Sue Haywood, which was a relief because she was right behind me in the points."
Jeanson Takes Mt Washington
Conway, New Hampshire, August 16, 2003 - Under 100 km/h-winds and zero visibility, Geneviève Jeanson won the Mount Washington Hillclimb today. For her third victory in as many starts, the young leader of team RONA/Esker climbed the 12.3 kilometres of this challenging ascent (12.3% average grade with sections at more than 20%) in 59 minutes and 58 seconds.
In the women's classification Jeasnon was followed by Americans Alison Lusby and Kristin Johnson and by Johanna Buick of New Zealand, who finished between 6 and 13 minutes behind her. Only two men were faster than Jeanson today up the summit of New England.
"I have never competed before in that sort of weather, but it was cool!" said the Canadian champion from Lachine, Québec, after her feat. "Up there you couldn't see more than five metres and I couldn't stand up on my pedals, because then there was,not enough weight on the rear wheel and the wind pushed it. A gust even threw me on the ground within 50 metres of the finish! The slope was at 22% there and with the wind I couldn't get back on my bicycle. I tried to run to the finish, but with the wind and the slope, on wet pavement and with clips, I couldn't run either! I lost a good minute and a half because of that fall, but I eventually managed to reach a less sloping portion and finish on my bike."
1. Tom Danielson (USA) Saturn 51:05
2. Phillip Wong (USA) ECV 55:23
3. Andrew Knight (USA) 1:01:40
4. Scott Fiore (USA) 1:03:04
5. Drew Miller (USA) Trek-VW All Stars 1:03:28
1. Geneviève Jeanson (Can) Rona-Esker 55:23
2. Allison Lusby (USA) 1:05:04
3. Kristin Johnson (USA) T-Mobile 1:11:15
4. Johanna Buick (USA) 1:12:17
5. Elizabeth Shorts (USA) 1:1:12:28
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