August 17/03 7:44 am - Canadians Take Durango Short Track
Posted by Editor on 08/17/03
Sydor and McGrath lead Canadian Charge in Durango
Courtesy USA Cycling
Durango, Colo. (Aug. 17, 2003) - The last short track event of the 2003 NORBA National Championship Series was one for the ages. Narrow margins at the top of the overall standings suggested that today's event was going to be competitive to the last stroke of the pedal as individual race victories, overall titles and national championships were all on the line. In the end Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, Colo; RLX-Ralph Lauren) took home the title of U.S. National Short Track Champion, but the overall series title eluded him. Meanwhile, Sue Haywood (Davis, W. Va; Trek-Volkswagen) secured both the national and overall series title in a hard fought battle.
Prior to the start of the men's event, Horgan-Kobelski led Seamus McGrath (CAN; Haro-Lee Dungarees) in the overall standings by a slim 46 points. McGrath had his eyes on the overall title and a victory was almost imperative. Immediately from the gun, McGrath attacked and eventually opened up a substantial gap. Behind, a chase group formed with Horgan-Kobelski, and McGrath's Canadian countrymen, Ryder Hesjedal (Subaru-Gary Fisher), Geoff Kabush (Kona-Clarks) and Chris Sheppard (Haro-Lee-Dungarees). As Hesjedal broke away from the chase group and dangled in between, the group, which also contained hometown heroes Todd Wells (Durango, Colo; Mongoose-Hyundai) and Travis Brown (Durango, Colo; Trek-Volkswagen), continued to chase with Horgan-Kobelski having the most to lose from the situation. As the number of laps remaining shrunk, it was evident that victory was McGrath's, which meant Horgan-Kobelski needed to finish no less that third to secure the overall title. With Hesjedal too far in front of the chase group, Horgan-Kobelski's only hope was to out-kick Kabush for third. In the second-to-last corner, Horgan-Kobelski made an unsuccessful attempt to pass Kabush on the outside and the overall title came down to the last corner. Giving it his all, Horgan-Kobelski took the last corner too fast and furious and crashed as Kabush rode in for third thus giving McGrath the overall title.
Second in the overall standings but the top ranked American, Horgan-Kobelski walked away with both the U.S. National Short Track Championship, as well as yesterday's cross country title.
Horgan-Kobelski talked about his race afterwards. "The race was hard from the gun. Seamus was definitely going for the overall title, and once he won, I knew I had to get third to keep the overall. I was fourth heading into the last corner and just tried a crazy pass and went down. I didn't get the overall, but the stars and stripes is a nice consolation prize."
"I did it on my own. I earned it." McGrath said about his win. "It was hard and I led from the start which is the hardest way to do it."
The women's race was also a game of mathematics as Haywood and Katerina Hanusova (CZE; Luna Chix) were stacked closely at the top of the overall. Both of them had a legitimate shot at the overall title. The race began with the usual suspects in the lead group. Haywood, Hanusova, Chrissy Redden (CAN; Subaru-Gary Fisher), Alison Sydor (CAN; Trek-Volkswagen) and Dara Marks (Flagstaff, Ariz; Sobe-Cannondale) all made the final selection. As the race neared completion Hanusova put in a strong effort that, at first, only Sydor could match. Haywood, with the overall series in jeopardy, gave chase to the leaders along with Redden and Marks. In the end, Sydor took the win a few seconds ahead of Hanusova, followed by Marks and Redden. Haywood took fifth, collapsing after her dramatic finish, and securing her enough points to take both the overall victory and the title of U.S. National Short Track Champion.
"I'm super stoked!" I don't know how many of the riders knew the points situation, but it was so close for the overall, it was so dramatic", Haywood explained. "Winning this title is so unbelievable. I've never collapsed after a race before, I gave it everything I had out there, I was hurting so bad."