Diverse Cycling Events Please Huge Crowds at Hyundai Sea Otter Classic|
Sunday, April 18, 2004
MONTEREY, Calif. (April 17, 2004) – The Hyundai Sea Otter Classic bustled today, as a large crowd was treated to exciting racing and the festive atmosphere of North America’s greatest cycling festival. Cycling fans and enthusiasts of all ages were able to witness many of the world’s top cyclists competing in the PlayStation 2 MTB Stage Race, the SRAM Dirt Jumping Contest, the Elite Road Stage Race, and the Downhill Domination Dual Slalom.
The PlayStation 2 MTB Stage continued today with its third stage of four, the Short Track. The men's race boasted one of the strongest fields ever to be assembled at Sea Otter, including current world cross-country champion Filip Meirhaeghe (Specialized) of Belgium. Meirhaeghe claimed victory in the short track with a gap off the front. German Karl Platt (Rocky Mountain-Business Objects) attacked in the final laps of the race and came in second. 2001 and 2002 world champion and two-time defending Sea Otter champion Roland Green (Trek-Volkswagen) rounded out the top three.
In the women’s Short Track, Melanie McQuaid of Victoria, B.C. (Ford Racing) led the charge until the final lap. In a major attack, 2001 world champion Alison Dunlap (Luna Women’s MTB Team) charged in the last lap and surged past McQuaid before the final turn. It was a sweet victory for Dunlap, who placed second in the time trial Friday due to a technical difficulty. Dunlap has secured the top women’s standing in the stage race going into the final stage, where she will be looking for a third-straight Sea Otter title.
The Downhill Domination Dual Slalom saw a wave of international riders step up to the podium at North America’s greatest cycling festival. Australia swept the men’s top 3, with Mick Hannah (Haro/Adidas) taking his first win of the season in the Downhill Domination Dual Slalom, beating compatriots Wade Bootes (Trek-Volkswagen) and Nathan Rennie (Santa Cruz Syndicate/Troy Lee). In the women’s race, France’s Sabrina Jonnier (Intense Cycles) rode flawlessly to first place, with another Australian, Jamis Cycles’ Katrina Miller placing second. The lone American to achieve a top 3 result was Tara Llanes (Giant-Pearl Izumi).
The Elite Road Stage Race at the Hyundai Sea Otter Classic concluded on Saturday with a 100 mile road race for pro men and women on a scenic course Carmel and Salinas valleys. Lyne Bessette (Quark) continued her domination of the women's southern Californian spring racing scene, adding the Hyundai Sea Otter title to the Pomona Valley Stage Race and Redlands Classic wins she posted over the past four weeks. Chris Horner (Webcor) matched her win streak by riding away from the field in the final six miles to snatch the overall title from stage two winner Trent Klasna (Sierra Nevada).
In a transition found only at the Hyundai Sea Otter Classic, the crowd’s focus shifted from endurance sports to action sports for the day’s final event, the SRAM Dirt Jump Contest. As the sun set over the Monterey Peninsula, John Jesme (Ellsworth Bicycles) took top honors after receiving a perfect score on a no-footer backflip on his final jump. Drawing the greatest response from the crowd was 17-year-old Paul Basagoitia who almost landed a nearly unheard-of backflip tailwhip.
Frank Yohannan, president and CEO of Sea Otter Classic LLC said, "Today was well attended by both athletes and spectators. It was clearly one of the most enthusiastic and appreciative crowds we’ve had, and it was especially great to see so many families today."
Sunday’s program will feature two pro events in the Downhill Domination Gravity Omnium, the final stage of the PlayStation 2 MTB Stage Race, family activities like the Kids’ Bike Rodeo, and the amateur cross country mountain bike race, which draws the largest field of any event at the Hyundai Sea Otter Classic.
The Hyundai Sea Otter Classic is the largest cycling festival in North America, attracting nearly 10,000 participants and 50,000 spectators and participants to Laguna Seca Recreation Area in Monterey, California for four days of elite and amateur competition, fun rides, riding demonstrations and cycling’s largest outdoor trade show and expo.
About Sea Otter Classic LLC
Sea Otter LLC specializes in promoting outdoor sports festival events. The Company’s premier property is the Sea Otter Classic Cycling Festival, held April 15-18 at Laguna Seca Recreation Area in Monterey, California. Now in its 14th year, this has become the USA’s largest cycling festival, attracting some 10,000 entries, over 50,000 spectators, and 200 journalists from 15 nations. The newest sports festival promoted by Sea Otter Classic LLC is the California Outdoor Sports Championships, organized in partnership with Infineon Raceway, Sonoma, California. More information is at www.seaotterclassic.com. Participant hotline number: (650) 364-7612
About Hyundai Motor America
Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif. is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Company of Korea. Hyundai cars and sport utility vehicles are distributed in the U.S. by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced by more than 625 dealers nationwide.