Dupouey, Chiotti Complete French Sweep

Posted by Editor on 9/20/98.


Dupouey Completes The French Sweep

Christophe Dupouey of France won the 1998 World Mountain Bike Championships, completing his nations domination at Mt. Ste. Anne, Quebec. His compatriot Jerome Chiotti finished second to add even more sweetness to the victory. Filip Meirhaeghe of Belgium rode a solid race to finish third.

The pace at the beginning of the race was just phenomenal. Riders who couldnt keep up to this freight train had no chance of regaining contact with the lead bunch. Even through the short start loop, the pack was starting to shred. By the end of the second lap a lead group consisting of Dupouey, Chiotti and Meirhaeghe had been established, with Michael Rasmussen of Denmark and Bas Van Dooren of Netherlands half a minute back.

Tactics started to come into play during Lap 3, when the two French riders allowed Meirhaeghe to set the pace. They marked him closely, never falling further than 5 seconds behind. They left him out in front to hang. The work load became a little too much, and Meirhaeghe started to falter during the 4th lap. At the end of the 4th, Dupouey had gone 16 seconds clear on both Meirhaeghe and Chiotti.

During Lap 5, Dupouey had increased his lead to 21 seconds over his team mate Chiotti, with Meirhaeghe falling back 57 seconds. The remainder of the top 10 looked like this:- Van Dooren, 1:46 back; Rasmussen, 3:08 back; Lennie Kristensen of Denmark, 3:08 back; Patrick Tolhoek of Netherlands, 3:39 back; defending champion Hubert Pallhuber of Italy, 4:04 back; Dario Cioni of Italy, 4:20 back and Gregory Vollet of France, 4:49 back.

After going as high as 21st in the early stages of the race, Canadian Chris Sheppard fell back to finish 30th, 12:23 back. Other Canadian finishers were Peter Wedge in 49th, 18:30 back, Andreas Hestler in 51st, 19:01 back, Eric Tourville in 55th at 19:27 and Roland Green 56th at 20:25. Guido Visser broke his chain and had to drop out, and Bill Hurley was one lap down and pulled from the race. Top North American was Tinker Juarez in 21st place.

Quotes and Notes

Christophe Dupouey - The idea was to be at the front, as we discussed at the team meeting yesterday. When Jerome (Chiotti) and I were at the front we attacked every time Fil (Meirhaeghe) slowed down. Jerome covered the majority of the attacks, but in the 4th lap I attacked on the hill and took off. With half a lap to go I was asking myself if I was dreaming, if it was really true.

Jerome Chiotti - Im disappointed for Fil because he is a good friend of mine. It wasnt fair two against one. Im really happy with the result because I had a season with a lot of ups and downs. It was important for me to show my sponsor and the FFC that I can win and that I can be the man to represent France at the Olympics.

Filip Meirhaeghe - At the beginning of the race I was concerned that I was up front with two French riders. I knew that they were going to attack me, and I knew that I was going to have to chase them. The two French guys are a little stronger than I am, but I am pleased with the results.

Andreas Hestler - I didnt have a lot of gas today. Im just feeling seriously fatigued at the end of this season. It wasnt a good race for me. It is unofficial at this point, but it is pretty certain that Hestler will be moving to the Polo Sport team for next year.

Chris Sheppard - I went out too hard, but youve got to do it. I thought that I could hold it today, but I got caught by a pack of 10 guys in the 5th lap. It wasnt the result that I was looking for. I was expecting a top 20 here. The crowds were amazing but the trumpets blowing in your ears caused you to lose concentration.

Roland Green - I rolled my tire off on the second lap going through one of the chutes. By the time I got going again I was way at the back. I felt weak today like I had the flu. I had no energy, no rythmn. I just wanted to finish.

Peter Wedge - I had a very bad first lap, crashed twice. Riders were stopping in front of me. I got caught in the snow fence. It was carnage!!! I tried to stay consistent every lap after that and kept picking people off.


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