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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Chausson Can't Lose
French Return to Top in Cortina
Downhill #2

Cortina, Italy: May 28, 2000

Sunday's downhill event wrapped up a weekend of racing in the Italian Dolomite, when two master descenders showed why they are the champions. Anne-Caroline Chausson (FRA, Volvo-Cannondale) and Nicolas Vouilloz (FRA, Vouilloz Racing Team), two French stars of gravity and current World and World Cup champions, returned to the top of the overall standings when they won round two of the Tissot-UCI Mountain Bike World Cup.

Chausson put a relatively large gap on the field as she outrode 2nd place Missy Giove (USA, Foes/Azonic) by a full four seconds - not a long time until you consider how close some other women's times were. Giove, who is riding on a broken foot, toughed it out to stay ahead of another pair of flying Americans, Leigh Donovan (USA, Schwinn/Toyota) and Marla Streb (USA, Yeti) who finished 3rd and 4th respectively. Giove has narrowly missed out on her rival Chausson's time two weeks in a row, but remains resolved in her determination to again beat her.

Donovan came over to Italy to join up with the world cup circuit after racing in the Big Bear NORBA race last weekend, and said she was very happy with both the course here and the way she rode it. Meanwhile Streb is chasing her first world cup win, brought closer today when she was the fastest qualifier ahead of Chausson, but flatted in the final run.

The course in Cortina is tough, with plenty of pedaling to wear out riders as they fly down the famous ski resort at mach speeds, trying to cheat the wind and keep their bikes at speed on the loose dolomite rocks. The track is only 2 km long, and by race time had but one solid line in it - making for close racing and all-out efforts among top finishers.

Vouilloz is used to going at 100%, but didn't figure on the level of competition coming from all quarters in this round. He finished second last week and only qualified 9th fastest in the semi's, so he had to push it to the edge to get his season's first win aboard his custom new bike and self-titled team. In the final run his front wheel slid out in the gravel, costing him precious time.

Then, second-fastest qualifier Bas DeBever (NED, Be-One) - whose only World Cup win came three years ago in South Africa - posted another excellent time to come within just .36 of a second of Nico. It showed how close racing can be on a short course like this, and Vouilloz was threatened by other riders.

Eric Carter (USA, Team GT), the ever-improving American dual and downhiller, posted a third-place run by staying cool and pedaling on every open section, beating last week's winner David Vazquez (ESP, Subaru-Specialized) by just two-tenths of a second as the reinvigorated Spaniard finished 4th. Cédric Gracia (FRA, Volvo-Cannondale) posted one of his best finishes in some time for 5th.

Steve Peat (GBR, Team GT) was 6th after stopping dead in the tree section, with two Americans - Myles Rockwell (USA, Team Giant) and Kirt Voreis (USA, Subaru-Specialized) also posting good results for 7th and 8th.

After big team dinners of pasta and pizza at various restaurants around the region, the teams packed up their bags and planned routes for next weekend's race in Maribor, Slovenia. A couple teams, Volvo-Cannondale and Giant, will take a few days off and relax in Lido outside of Venice, while other teams such as GT head straight for nearby Slovenia.

Ari Cheren, trying to concentrate on stories while drunken riders run around the host hotel at all hours, for MountainZone.com

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