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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Lopes and Chausson Dominate
Dual #8

Leysin, Switzerland: August 26, 2000

And so ends the dual season. The sun set behind the majestic peaks of the Swiss Alps Saturday evening in this season's eighth and final round of World Cup dual racing, while the lights also went down on the series itself. After eight long rounds of intense competition, only one man and one woman could step forth as champions, and, as we predicted from the previous round in Kaprun, Austria, those two are Volvo-Cannondale teammates Brian Lopes (USA, Volvo-Cannondale) and Anne-Caroline Chausson (FRA, Volvo-Cannondale).

The two riders, whom for most races wore the white Tissot leaders' jerseys, carried their hard-earned garments onto the stage Saturday evening to accept one of the biggest prizes in the sport: the Waterford Crystal Globe trophy of the overall champion.

For Lopes, who won this eighth round with an easy final run against Mickael Deldycke (FRA, Taillefer), this is the second time he's earned the championship after winning the inaugural title in 1998. He lost it in 1999 to Eric Carter (USA, Team GT) when he injured his ankle in the penultimate round, but came storming back this season aboard his Cannondale CAAD4/Jekyl bike to win an impressive seven of eight possible rounds. The one lost round was at Mont Ste-Anne's #5 — he's unbeaten otherwise.

This week he took advantage of Deldycke's crash in the starting gate, giving him a clear run for the win in the finals, after working hard for the money against riders like Steve Peat (GBR, Team GT) — with whom he crashed in their run. That's because Lopes only qualified seventh fastest, and didn't have lane choice against many opponents. On this course, the race was effectively over after the first hairpin right, so everyone was choosing the inside line and usually winning with it.

Cèdric Gracia (FRA, Volvo-Cannondale) had qualified fastest in the afternoon's solo seeding run, but was beaten by Deldycke and had to settle for 3rd place when he beat young Petr Joch (CZE, Rock Machine) in the consolation round. Gracia also finishes his season ranked 2nd, with World Champion Wade Bootes (AUS, Trek-Volkswagen) ranked 3rd overall.

Chausson hasn't given an inch this season since she started racing in round two. She had skipped round one out of lack of interest, but when champion Katrina Miller (AUS, Jamis) crashed out of racing for several weeks at that first round in Les Gets, Chausson's interest was piqued and she found that she liked the dual as much as (or more than) the downhill. And so another legacy was born and the unbelievably talented Frenchwoman won the overall title to go with the World Championship earned in Sierra Nevada.

She beat Tara Llanes (USA, Subaru-Specialized) in that World's final, and also beat her this weekend in the final round as well as in the overall points scene. Llanes met up with her nemesis in the final round again, but had qualified 3rd, giving Chausson the inside, faster line. And don't think that A-C didn't take advantage, quickly building several meters' lead before cruising to the win.

Sari Jorgensen (SUI, Tomac/Manitou) was looking forward to a good showing, as she's Swiss and loved by the male fans here. She did do well, taking her season's best finish at 3rd place, by beating Lisa Sher (USA, White Bros./ Azonic) in the women's consolation round. Only the four top women could even jump the huge double at the beginning, but the difference in style and speed between the final run and consolation run of the women was remarkable.

Ari Cheren, looking for Swiss cheese and laughing cows, for MountainZone.com

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