Posted by Editoress on 07/17/05
NORBA #4 Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Idaho
Courtesy USA Cycling
Horgan-Kobelski on Pace with Kabush in Overall XC Standings; Killeen, Graves Post Wins
The 2005 Shimano NORBA National Mountain Bike Series resumed in the northwestern corner of the U.S. on Saturday as the eight-race men's and women's pro cross country series made it to the season's halfway mark. After four rounds, Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and Geoff Kabush are deadlocked at 642 points as co-leaders of the overall men's standings while Sue Haywood held on to her slim series lead in the women's standings ahead of Willow Koerber and Heather Irmiger .
In Saturday's cross country event, Liam Killeen and Shonny Vanlandingham notched wins on a treacherous course that only became more difficult after morning and mid-race rainstorms added an extra element of difficulty. Vanlandingham's cross country win was her second in a NORBA National this season after taking the previous round last month in Park City, Utah.
In the men's race, Adam Craig set the early pace and settled into a rhythm that gave him the early lead after the first of three laps, but close behind lurked a solid cast of pre-race favorites including Killeen and Kona teammates Ryan Trebon and two-time world champion Roland Green.
By the end of the second lap, Killeen had overtaken Craig and claimed a lead that he would not relinquish. At the end of the day, he held a 1 minute 20 second advantage over runner-up Trebon and a 1:36 gap on Green.
Series leader entering round four, Geoff Kabush, was fourth and Craig held on for fifth. Horgan-Kobelski was sixth, and after the points were tallied, last year's NORBA series champion and the reigning U.S. national cross country champion were tied for the overall series lead with four events remaining.
In the women's race, the up-and-coming Irmiger held the lead after one of two laps as Dara Marks-Marino, Kiara Bisaro, Haywood, Koerber, and Vanlandingham sat closely behind.
Irmiger, who is becoming a familiar fixture on the podium this year, conceded the lead to Vanlandingham and gave up an additional spot to Marks-Marino before all was said and done. Vanlandingham crossed the line 44 seconds ahead of Marks-Marino and 1:17 in front of Irmiger to add to her growing point total in the overall series standings.
Haywood placed fifth to retain her series lead with 665 points, but Koerber and Irmiger sit closely behind with 614 and 609 points respectively.
Schweitzer Mountain also marked the second round of the season-long mountain cross series as gravity riders took to a vastly improved - albeit wet - course from a year ago.
After pre-race favorite and series leader Jill Kintner (Seattle, Wash.) crashed out in Friday's qualifying session, the women's race was wide open as several competitors looked to infringe upon her absence.
The top-four seeds from Friday's qualifying round all made it through to the final four to set up a shoulder-to-shoulder final run that would be decided in the final corner. Top-seeded Melissa Buhl , former world champion Katrina Miller, current U.S. national champion Tara Llanes and current Canadian national champion Michelle Dumaresq made for a star-studded finale that would be decided by a final-corner crash.
Miller led out of the gate and throughout the entire race, but as the finish line drew nearer, Llanes made her move and the two tangled in the last corner. Miller went down as Llanes held on for the win ahead of Buhl and Dumaresq.
With two second-place finishes to her credit, Buhl now holds the series lead in the women's mountain cross standings after two rounds.
In the men's mountain cross final, 19-year-old Cody Warren looked to hold on to his series lead amongst a deep field of gravity riders. The fourth-seeded Warren made it through to the finals along with reigning world champion and sixth-seeded Eric Carter, second-seeded Jared Graves and the surprisingly 17th-seeded Greg Minnaar .
Graves led from start to finish to claim the win, and a late race move by Warren that ended in a crash relegated him to fourth.
Graves victory, along with his third place finish in round one, puts him just ahead of Warren in the overall standings after two rounds.
Also on Saturday, Mike West and Jennifer Whalen captured wins in the pro men's and women's Super D event respectively.
Round four of the 2005 Shimano NORBA National Mountain Bike Series continues on Sunday with short track and downhill competition.
1. Liam Killeen (GBr) Specialized
2. Ryan Trebon (USA) Kona Les Gets
3. Roland Green (Can) Kona Les Gets
4. Geoff Kabush (Can) Maxxis
5. Adam Craig (USA) Giant
6. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (USA) Subaru Gary Fisher
1. Shonny Vanlandingham (USA) Luna
2. Dara Marks-Marino (USA) Ford/Specialized
3. Heather Irmiger (USA) Tokyo Joe's
4. Kiara Bisaro (Can) Gearsracing.com
5. Sue Haywood (USA) Trek
1. Tara Llanes
2. Melissa Buhl
3. Michelle Dumaresq
1. Jared Graves (Aus) Yeti
2. Eric Carter (USA) Hyundai
3. Greg Minaar (RSA) Honda
4. Cody Warren (USA)
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