Hesjedal, Alexander Dominate Deer Valley |
Wednesday, July 11, 2001
DEER VALLEY RESORT, Park City, Utah (June 28, 2001) -- Canada's Ryder Hesjedal (Subaru/Gary Fisher) and Great Britain's Caroline Alexander (Specialized) rode to victory in the men's and women's cross country races on a tough mountain course at Deer Valley Resort in round three of the Chevy Trucks National Off-Road Bicycle Association National Championships Mountain Bike Series.
Both men's and women's races contained one of the strongest international fields seen on the Chevy Trucks NORBA circuit this season.
Alexander, who only last weekend finished 10th overall in the HP Women's Challenge road stage race in Idaho, powered away from her rivals on lap one of three-and-a-half. Alexander, regarded as one of the world's best mountain bike climbers, was never challenged.
"I thought it was too early to push myself after the HP Challenge. I said to myself 'please, please only ride at 80 percent, don't push too hard.' And today I just went out and rode at my own speed. I wasn't racing, I was just riding around. I couldn't believe it," Alexander said.
Australia's Mary Grigson (Subaru/Gary Fisher), the Chevy Trucks NORBA series leader, stayed with Alexander on the first climb, but then faded and dropped back to sixth place. She rallied on the final lap and finished second.
Ruthie Matthes (Durango, Colo. -- Trek/Volkswagen) assumed second place when Alison Dunlap (Colorado Springs, Colo. -- GT) suffered two flat tires during the second lap. Matthes remained in second until the resurgent Grigson rode past her on the final lap.
"I benefited from Alison (Dunlap) flatting, then Mary (Grigson) came on strong on that last lap. I tried to stay with her but she was just inching away. I suddenly realized that I was over my limit and I had to let her go and make sure I didn't lose any more places," Matthes said.
Hesjedal, 21, dominated the men's race, in which he out-climbed the two-time world cup champion, Australia's Cadel Evans (Volvo/Cannondale).
The Canadian used his characteristic attacking style to great effect on the long, steep climbs. He attacked early and kept on attacking, while the tenacious field refused to let go.
"It's my biggest win. There were a lot of world cup guys here today. To win here at altitude is a huge deal," said Hesjedal. "Cadel (Evans) is a world class rider. Any time you are being chased by a rider like that you'd be worried about him chasing you."
Evans, Todd Wells (Tucson, Ariz. -- Rocky Mountain), Ziranda Madrigal (Mexico -- Turbo) and Pavel Cherkasov (Russia -- Subaru/Gary Fisher) led the chase group. By lap three of four-and-a-half, Hesjedal had gradually opened a lead of 35 seconds over Evans, with the others strung out over the following minute.
Evans counterattacked in hope that Hesjedal would crumble, and early in lap four, the gap came down to 20 seconds. But Hesjedal dug deep and had enough in reserve to rebuff the advance of the experienced Aussie.
"My attack was more mid-race. I had some mechanical difficulties at the end and I couldn't quite close on Ryder (Hesjedal)," said Evans. "He was pushing hard at the start, he gapped me on lap two and I couldn't close it. He was pushing hard at the start and he was still strong at the finish. He deserved to win."
The Deer Valley victory gives Hesjedal the overall lead in the series, and at only 21 years of age he is one of the youngest riders to have led the Chevy Trucks NORBA series.
1. CAROLINE ALEXANDER, Great Britain (Specialized), 20.6 miles in 1 hour 54 minutes, 45 seconds;
2. Mary Grigson, Australia (Subaru/Gary Fisher), at 1:15;
3. Ruthie Matthes, Durango, Colo. (Trek/Volkswagen), at 2:32;
4. Jimena Florit, Argentina (RLX/Polo Sport), at 3:35;
5. Chrissy Redden, Canada (Subaru/Gary Fisher), at 5:06;
6. Shonny Vanlandingham, Pagosa Springs, Colo. (SoBe Headshok), at 5:51;
7. Audrey Augustin, Williston, Vt. (Zeal/GT), at 6:49;
8. Trish Sinclair, Canada (Ford/Devinci), at 7:28;
9. Ann Grande, Seattle (Ford/Devinci), at 8:12;
10. Nancy Busching, Rapid City, S.D. (SoBe/Headshok), at 8:50
1. RYDER HESJEDAL, Canada (Subaru/Gary Fisher), 26.8 miles in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 36 seconds;
2. Cadel Evans, Australia (Volvo/Cannondale), at 1:10;
3. Kashi Leuchs, New Zealand (Volvo/Cannondale), at 2:19;
4. Pavel Cherkasov, Russia (Subaru/Gary Fisher), at 2:52.8;
5. Steve Larsen, Davis, Calif. (LL Bean/Mongoose), at 3:18;
6. Tinker Juarez, Downey, Calif. (Volvo/Cannondale), at 3:38;
7. Todd Wells, Tucson, Ariz. (Rocky Mountain) at 3:49;
8. Seamus McGrath, Canada, (Haro/Lee Dungarees), at 4:20;
9. Carl Swenson, Boulder, Colo. (RLX/Polosport), at 4:38;
10. Paul Rowney, Australia (Yeti/Pearl Izumi), at 5:33