Peat, Chausson Brave Elements for Victories|
Tuesday, June 19, 2001
For the first time in the UCI mountain bike world cup, organisers were forced to cancel a round of dual racing on Saturday, when severe weather threatened rider safety on the course in Vars, France. The weather cleared up a little by Sunday so the downhill events went on as scheduled.
The two that rode it best - Steve Peat (GBR, Team GT) and Anne-Caroline Chausson (FRA, Volvo-Cannondale) - repeated their victories from round one, and maintain their overall leads in the overall standings.
Conditions in Vars were cold and dark Sunday afternoon, with occasional rain and hail showers rolling through the alpine town to make the track muddy at times, sticky at others. It was a big challenge for everyone to pick the correct tyres, and then maintain as much speed as possible on the always-changing course.
Steve Peat (GBR, Team GT) proved today that, when it comes to consistency and raw speed, 2001 is quickly shaping up as his season. After winning the season-opener in Slovenia one week ago, Peat repeated in this second round with an authoritative run in adverse conditions - maintaining his overall lead in the world cup.
"I was a bit worried today because I messed up in the rocks," said Peat after his win. "I was also worried about Vouilloz because of that." But his rival - and #1 qualifier Vouilloz - crashed just seconds before the end of the race, at which point he was reported to be close to, or even ahead of, Peat's time.
Once it was clear that Vouilloz would miss Peat's time, the British rider jumped out of his seat in celebration - both for the win as well as the fact that it occurred on his birthday. Vouilloz ended up 5th, and moves to third overall in world cup points.
Chris Kovarik (AUS, Intense Cycles) earned second place with a run that was one second slower, his second career 2nd-place finish. He is now ranked 4th overall.
"It's awesome just being next to these guys, knowing that you're going fast," said Kovarik. "I had a great run, so I'm really happy."
Fabien Barel (FRA, Team GT) finished third for the second-straight week, after qualifying second-fastest in the morning's semi's, and is now ranked second overall. Bas DeBever (NED, Be-One Team) finished fourth after also spending some time in the hotseat, and is ranked 6th.
Conditions were colder for the men than the women, as 7th place finisher Mick Hannah (AUS, Global Racing Team) reported actually riding into a snowstorm during his run. But the expected heavy rains never materialized, except for a brief hailstorm during Vouilloz's run - which may have contributed to his crash.
The Tissot-UCI Mountain Bike World Cup now takes a three-week break, when it will move to North America for the season's first triple event in Grouse Mountain, Canada.