Meirhaeghe, Fullana Top Belgium World Cup|
Thursday, May 04, 2000
(Posted April 30, 2000) -- For the third consecutive World Cup Mountain Bike Series race, Team GT rider Alison Dunlap (Colorado Springs, Colo.) was the top American, finishing fourth, April 30, in Houffalize, Belgium. Fellow Coloradan Ann Trombley, from Golden, (Team Koulius Zaard) pounded out her best World Cup finish ever, crossing the finish line tenth.
In the men's race, Volvo-Cannondale rider and '96 Olympic mountain bike Tinker Juarez, Downey, Calif., finished 45th, the top American male.
Marga Fullana (Spain), the '99 world mountain bike champion, won the women's race, while Filip Meirhaeghe (Belgium) won the men's event.
Dunlap, the '99 cross-country national champion and Pan American Games gold medalist, led the race for two of the total three laps, opening nearly a one-minute lead on the rest of the field. Bad luck struck at the end of the second lap when Dunlap punctured her rear tire, and as a result lost nearly 2.5 minutes and 10 places. The '96 road cycling Olympian was able to fight her way back to fourth, just more than two minutes behind Fullana.
"This was the best day I had in a long time," said Dunlap, a 2000 Olympic Long Team member. "I was definitely the strongest rider out there today. Even with the flat, I'm still happy with my finish."
Dunlap's finish puts in her a two-way tie with Australian rider Mary Grigson for the overall series lead. Because Grigson placed one spot ahead (third) of Dunlap Sunday, Grigson technically holds the top spot.
Trombley rode in the seventh and eighth spots for part of the race before settling in to 10th. The two-time U.S. world mountain bike championship team member, who competed at Houffalize last year, said she knew the course suited her riding.
"Today was totally awesome. It was a good course for me climbing, and I felt like I could do well on this course," said the 2000 Olympic Long Team member. "I got sucked back at the start, but really powered on the climbs. Now that I've broken in the top 10, I know I can ride with the top riders out there. I feel really good about that."
The Houffalize race also saw the return of American Rene Marshman (Moots). The Lafayette, Colo., suffered a broken pubic bone in February at a road cycling race in Arizona.
The U.S. men faced a more difficult day with Juarez as the top finisher and LL Bean/Mongoose rider Steve Larsen (Jacksonville, Ore.) was the second American at 63rd.
Women: 1. Marge Fullana, Spain (Subaru-Specialized), at 2 hours, 5 minutes and 16 seconds; 2. Corine Dorland, The Netherlands (Be-One) @:21 back; 3. Mary Grigson, Australia (Gary Fisher SAAB) @ 1:49
Men: 1. Filip Meirhaeghe, Belgium (Subaru-Specialized), at 2 hours, 18 minutes and 53 seconds; 2. Christophe Dupouey, France (Giant) @:36 back; 3. Jose Antonio Hermida, Spain (Bianchi Albacom) @ :36