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

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Evans and Blatter Win Penultimate XC
World Cup Cross-Country #7
Canmore, Alberta, Canada: July 8-9, 2000

With just one race remaining in the Tissot-UCI Mountain Bike World Cup Cross-Country series, Cadel Evans (AUS, Volvo-Cannondale) and Barbara Blatter (SUI, Scott USA) repeated last week's wins with two more impressive performances here in the Canadian Rockies, wowing a vocal local crowd with feats of daring and wheelmanship.

What a difference a year makes. Last year's mud-pit action and freezing temperatures in Canmore were replaced this season by partly sunny skies, cool temperatures and a fast, dusty course from which our heroes launched air, dirt and Olympic dreams.

Nobody's Badder Than Blatter
First to go was Switzerland's best new cycling export Barbara Blatter, who again cruised to a (seemingly) effortless win some 42 seconds ahead of local heroine and multi-time champ Alison Sydor (CAN, Volvo-Cannondale). "I just rode my own race," said the cool-as-a-cucumber Blatter after she overtook Sydor in the first lap and never looked back for four laps of fast racing.

Sydor was being chased by teammate Alla Epifanova (RUS, Volvo-Cannondale) for a couple laps, then faded a bit and backed into her Russian teammate's wheel, the two then teaming up and working the vast figure-eight course to maximize their points. Sydor needs them for the World Cup overall, Epifanova needed them for Russia's Olympic selection, which is now ticking away.

Chrissy Redden (CAN, Gary Fisher/Saab) — another Canadian gem — stayed glued at 4th place, but told us she was actually passed a couple times (albeit briefly) by Alison Dunlap (USA, Team GT). Dunlap was simply off today, trying in vain to save her overall lead as she feels the wrath of a long season. She passed happy girl Jimena Florit (ARG, RLX Polo Sport) in the third lap, as the Argentine finished 6th for her best-ever World Cup finish and Dunlap settled for the last rung of the podium.

A few places back, two more Americans were working together to show they deserve trips to the Olympics this September, as veteran Ruthie Matthes (USA, Trek Volkswagen) and Ann Trombley (USA, Koulius Zaard) finished 9th and 10th.

Good 'Evans He's Fast!
Cadel Evans (AUS, Volvo-Cannondale) is one smart rider. First he broke his collarbone this spring in a road race, and healed enough to suit up for the first World Cup in Napa. Then he crashed (not smart) and broke it again. But he healed again in time for the European spring rounds and slowly, methodically, worked his way into form. He arrived with an express label last week, making more passes than a pickup artist as he returned to the top of the podium and began eyeballing the Olympics once more.

This week he was firmly in control, taking the wind out of Bas Van Dooren's (NED, Be-One) sails, and moving all the way to 5th overall in the standings. Not that he's working for the championship this season - he's got his mind set squarely on Sydney and gold. So he put the medal to the pedal and dropped Van Dooren like yesterday's laundry in lap four for win number two.

Van Dooren lost 25 seconds in the final lap to the Aussie, then made a ferocious attack to close the gap to 15, absolutely flying down the fire road in front of a cloud of dust, his Be-One manager yelling at him to "go fer chrissakes!" We paraphrase but think it's close. But he could get only within 13 seconds before crossing the finish and literally collapsing to the ground in exhaustion.

Roland Green (CAN, Team GT), who finished 3rd at the recent Worlds, did it again in front of a delighted home crowd. After working with teammate Roel Paulissen (BEL, Team GT) for much of the race before saying 'see ya, eh' in the final lap, he stayed clear on the imminently dangerous Miguel Martinez (FRA, Full Dynamix) and moved up four spots in the overall.

And how about that Mighty Mig? He A) didn't have his own bike this week, and B) flatted in the first lap. But he then C) fixed the flat (three minutes) and began the arduous task of picking off scores of riders to get to the top-five by race's end. He pointed out that the time lost is more than the gap to the win — so we guess he's winner by "de-flat."

Patrick Tolhoek (NED, Be-One) finished 5th after failing to out-sprint Mig, but picked up his season's best finish and rounded out the podium — thus ending our story of this week's exciting world cup MTB race up north.

Next week we go downhill — racing, that is. Round Five of the World Cup DH circuit comes to Colorado, so if you live within 3000 miles of Vail, head on over for free rocks and $2 sodas. And we'll see you at the races.

Ari Cheren, trying to get to the races between golf rounds at SilverTip, for MountainZone.com

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