2000 Mountain Biking World Cup 2000 Mountain Biking World Cup
2000 Mountain Biking World Cup
2000 Mountain Biking World Cup 2000 Mountain Biking World Cup
2000 Mountain Biking World Cup 2000 Mountain Biking World Cup
2000 Mountain Biking World Cup

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Brian Lopes
Lopes and Chausson Sew Up Dual
Dual #6

Arai Mountain, Japan: July 22, 2000

Racing finally got underway in the hot, sticky mountains of Japan, when the marquee spectator event of the weekend — the dual — got underway before massive crowds and perfect weather. With a sweet course, trackside lighting and the most enthusiastic fans in the sport all set to go, some of the closest and most exciting runs went off just as Saturday ended here in Japan, 16 hours ahead of the West Coast time zone.

Like two seamstresses working a patchwork quilt of dual supremacy, teammates Brian Lopes (USA, Volvo-Cannondale) and Anne-Caroline Chausson (FRA, Volvo-Cannondale) sewed up their 2000 season dual championships Saturday night when they won again and put themselves out of reach of their nearest chasers. In Lopes' case, that would be yet another teammate, Cédric Gracia (FRA, Volvo-Cannondale), and in the women's it was Tara Llanes (USA, Subaru-Specialized), who was leading the chase but is now relegated to at least 2nd place overall.

The chase is over, prompting team manager Charlie Livermore to quip "Hey, I may just keep them home and let them buy some champagne with the travel money."

Doubtful, but a nice thought. These two have won five of the season's six rounds of racing and, in Chausson's case, won every race she's entered (she didn't race in Les Gets' round one) and Worlds. This is the team o' the year.

Big Air
Lopes took his fifth win by beating rival Wade Bootes (AUS, Trek-Volkswagen) in a close final run, meeting the Aussie for the first time in a World Cup final since Bootes won the World Championship in Spain. Brian had some tough work to get there, having to come from behind in an earlier round against Scott Beaumont (GBR, Kona/Ford Focus) keeping his cool in the hot and humid Japanese weather.

Chausson did the same, beating Leigh Donovan (USA, Schwinn/Toyota) in a close and clean women's final and keeping her season nearly perfect. She didn't even have a scare this week, dominating like Katrina Miller (AUS, Jamis) did just last season. But since Miller separated her shoulder in round one she hasn't been the same, and with Chausson in the sport, it's all gone French.

In the consolation rounds, Mike King (USA, Haro/Lee Dungarees) beat Rich Houseman (USA, Tomac) to capture 3rd place, while Katrina Miller (AUS, Jamis) beat Tara Llanes (USA, Subaru-Specialized) in the women's consolation.

In between the qualifying and final rounds, organizers put up a Tissot watch as prize for a big-air jumping contest. The fans were loving it, as Cédric Gracia (FRA, Volvo-Cannondale), Greg Minnaar (RSA, Animal Orange) and Gary Houseman (USA, Haro) joined a few local pros to see who could best jump the course's big tabletop launcher. Gracia — always the crowd favorite here — won handily, earning a pair of perfect 10s on scorecards held by four volunteers from the crowd. It made for an excellent "halftime" show during the dual.

Ari Cheren, wading through 6,000 spectators at the awards ceremony, headed for the press room for MountainZone.com

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