Long Scores Top U.S. Honors at Junior Cross-Country Worlds |
Monday, September 24, 2001
VAIL, Colo. (Sept. 16) -- After racing was postponed Friday for the National Day of Prayer and Remembrance, the junior and espoir cross-country got underway Sunday at the 2001 World Mountain Bike Championships in Vail, Colo.
Junior sensation Magen Long (Oklahoma City) was the top U.S. performer for the day, placing fifth in the junior womenís cross-country. Long has proved herself sometime as a junior force to be reckoned with, winning national titles in all disciplines of cycling -- track, road, mountain bike and BMX.
"I was doing good until I crashed on a descent and I couldn't stay with the group, but I knew I had to get back up," Long explained. "It was difficult to breathe because I couldn't get a lot of oxygen, but my legs werenít hurting that bad."
She added that as she caught some of the French riders in front of her, she was edged out by the girls.
Long was the top American for the entire race, with fellow junior phenom Lea Davison (Jericho, Vt.) behind her. Bringing up the U.S. train was fellow East coaster Liza Winne (Georgetown, Maine), who finished 12th. Davison was thrilled after the race with her seventh-place finish.
"It was a fun course. The downhill was nice and technical," Davison said. "My legs felt cold, but other than that I was fine. It was an awesome experience, and it was cool having everyone cheering for the U.S. I'm proud I could represent the United States."
In the junior menís showdown, Ryan Edwards (Rapid City, S.D.) led things for the Americans. He finished in 27th at about one hour and 45 minutes.
"I loved it," Edwards said at the finish line. "It was a dream come true for me. I did the best I could do and it was great. The climbing was definitely the best part for me. I'm not known to be a technical descender, but I just took my time and stayed smooth."
Andy Guptill (Haanacroix, N.Y.) added that the course provided some challenges.
"It was really hard because people were going so fast," he said. "I rode the whole things clean and never crashed. I expected it ot be very hard and it was, but I had fun."
The men face a tough international field, which included last year's world championship runner-up Inaki Lejarreta Errasti from Spain, who eventually took this yearís title. Nicole Cooke from Great Britain won the women's race.