Posted by Editor on 09/13/03
The sun kept teasing everyone during the Downhill qualifying session, but it turned into a muddy slog, with riders fighting to keep their bikes upright in the off-camber corners in the intermittent rain. The bottom portion of the course gave many riders problems: if they slid too far down in the final corner, they would get bogged in a swampy dip just before the drop to the finish, with some riders coming to a complete halt and having to run their bikes. On the other hand, trying to stay high meant scrubbing a lot of speed as you entered the corner.
Women's World Cup leader Tracy Moseley (Kona Clarks Factory Team) had a poor run, actually going through the tape on the final corner and having to scramble back onto the course. Her 15th place put her out of the World Cup points and, combined with Sabrina Jonnier's second place behind Marla Streb (Luna Women's MTB Team), Moseley enters the Final with a 1 point margin over the French rider. Fionn Griffiths finished 8th in qualifying, taking 13 points, and is tied with Jonnier, also 1 point behind Moseley. Streb's Qualifying win will not change her fourth place overall standing.
Top Canadian rider was Michelle Dumaresq in 16th, followed by Claire Buchar in 19th, Danika Schroeter 20th and Debra MacKillop 21st.
In the men's qualifying, Fabien Barel (Kona Clarks Factory Team) was first, with new world champion Greg Minnaar second, but the big battle going to be is World Cup leader Cedric Gracia (Siemens Mobile Cannondale) versus Mickael Pascal (Maxxis-MSC). Pascal got 20 points for qualifying fifth fastest, while Gracia received 11 for 10th place. This means they go into the final run tied. Nathan Rennie is in third, 15 points behind.
Mathieu Laurin qualified 21st, and Jordie Lunn 80th (there are 81 starters).
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