Beginning the season with dominant win in Napa ValleyBas
Van Dooren (NED, Be-One) showed himself as the season’s early dominator
Sunday, winning the first race of the 2000 season Tissot-UCI Mountain Bike World
Cup in Napa Valley. Racing closely with France’s Miguel Martinez (FRA,
Full Dynamix) for much of the dusty, high-speed affair, Van Dooren made a last-lap
attack to win the opening round by 54 seconds.
The men raced directly after the women on Sunday,
beginning the eight-race series on the grounds of Domaine Chandon, the famous California
wine maker. The men’s field, which consisted of 139 starters, began in a blur of
color for two start loops and seven full laps. Each lap was 6km long and took approximately
20 minutes to complete.
Van Dooren asserted himself at the front of the race
quickly, trading the lead with several other frontrunners during the first couple
laps. Early leaders included Filip Meirhaeghe (BEL, Subaru-Specialized),
World Champion Michael Rasmussen (DEN, Haro/Lee Dungarees), Martinez
ó as well as Luca Bramati (ITA, Scott Racing Team).
By the third lap the lead began to become clearer,
as Meirhaeghe was forced to retire from an asthma attack caused by the course’s heavy
pollen, leaving Van Dooren, Rasmussen and Martinez to contest the lead. Bramati followed
in 4th position.
In lap four, Van Dooren and Martinez rode together
and built up a 41-second gap over the duo of Rasmussen and Bramati. At this point
Marcel Heller of Switzerland (Team Arrow Swiss Bike) moved into a chase
position, while Roland Green (CAN, GT) began moving up within the field
as well into 5th place.
Lap five began with Van Dooren and Martinez still
together, with Brentjens, Thomas Frischknecht (SUI, Ritchey-Yahoo!)
and Christophe Dupouey (FRA, Giant) next up. Rasmussen, who had been
riding in third, fell further back to 5th, while Green moved up to 4th. Brentjens
fell back due to a flat tire, but soon began making up time.
In the sixth lap Heller moved up to 3rd position,
while Brentjens also moved back up to 4th – Green, Bui and Rasmussen next in line.
Then on the final lap Van Dooren attacked Martinez and, by the time they reached
the popular "Disco Flyover" section, was 22 seconds clear of Martinez.
Martinez chased, but couldn’t match Van Dooren’s speed
on this day, finishing the race 54 seconds back, while Van Dooren literally kissed
the finish line after his hard-won victory. Heller, in only his first year as a full-time
professional racer, maintained his position for 3rd place while Green finished 4th.
Brentjens finished 5th after an exciting four-man
sprint for the finish, beating Roberto Lezaun, Lado Fumic (GER, German
National Team) and Frischknecht for the final place on the podium. 69 men finished
the race in the lead lap, while 105 were credited with a finish.
The Tissot-UCI Mountain Bike World Cup continues
next weekend in Mazatlan, Mexico for round two.
Bas Van Dooren: "My coach told me to
take it easy today, and not fly too high after last week’s race in Monterey. At some
point in the race today I had to take over, so I put the hammer down with two laps
remaining. I think that killed [Martinez]. I felt really strong today. You have to
concentrate on this course, because if you fall too far back you have to push very
hard to regain the time, and I think I was too early off the front."
Miguel Martinez: "Bas is very good,
I couldn’t match him today. I feel very good at this point in the season, but am
missing some technical skills right now. This course didn’t suit me as well as the
Marcel Heller: "I was 19th in Plymouth
two years ago, so this is by far my best result, and I am very happy today. This
is my first season racing full time."
|name / nom|
|tt / gs|
|ARROW SWISS BIKE TM|
|– 1 lap|
|– 2 laps|
|– 2 laps|
|– 3 laps|