Cross-Country Season Begins in Napa|
Tuesday, April 10, 2001
After months of training and preparing by the hundreds of elite athletes that form its ranks, the 2001 Tissot-UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Cross-Country series finally got underway in the scenic vineyards of the western United States this weekend - with a pair of exciting races through the grape vines of Domaine Chandon in Napa, California. Surrounded by thousands of spectators who came to witness the first stop of the XC tour, two champions demonstrated their unbeatable form to claim both win number-one of the season and the coveted Tissot leader's jersey as well.
Spain's Jose Antonio Hermida (Bianchi Albacom) parlayed his 2000 U-23 World Championship to his first-ever world cup victory Sunday afternoon, just hours after 2000 World Cup Champion and Olympic Silver Medallist Barbara Blatter (SUI, Specialized) dominated the women's field to continue her powerful streak of performances.
Conditions were variable on Sunday, as both women and men competed on the rocky grounds of this famous sparkling wine producer. Rain fell just after the completion of the women's race, as well during the men's race - affecting the male riders as they negotiated the course's technical sections. Temperatures were chilly for most of the day, with sunlight peeking out only intermittently during each race.
Barbara Blatter (SUI, Specialized) has been on a successful roll since emerging into prominence last season, riding for a new sponsor and, along with all the other top-five finishing women, on a full suspension bike. She had talented company throughout the entire 22-mile event, as previous world cup winners Alison Dunlap (USA, Team GT) and Alison Sydor (CAN, Trek-Volkswagen) pursued Blatter for most of the nearly two-hour competition.
1 HERMIDA Jose Antonio ESP BIANCHI MOTOREX 2:02:06.00
2 HANISCH Marc GER ORBEA 2:02:14.00
3 BUI Marco ITA A.S. MARIN HELLY HANSEN 2:02:18.00
4 DUPOUEY Christophe FRA GIANT BICYCLES 2:02:53.00
5 FUMIC Lado GER T-MOBILE 2:03:00.00
1 BLATTER Barbara SUI SPECIALIZED 1:53:07.00
2 DUNLAP Alison USA TEAM GT 1:53:37.00
3 SYDOR Alison CAN TREK/VOLKSWAGEN MTB 1:54:22.00
4 REDDEN Chrissy CAN SUBARU-GARY FISHER 1:54:33.00
5 ALEXANDER Caroline GBR SPECIALIZED 1:55:06.00