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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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Evans and Blatter Crush in Quebec
XC#6: Olympics Spots and Cash Prizes up for Grabs

Mont Sainte Anne, Quebec, Canada: July 2, 2000

Cadel Evans (AUS, Volvo-Cannondale) and Barbara Blatter (SUI, Scott USA) have both won World Cup races before, one for Blatter and plenty for Evans, but Sunday's cross-country race in Mont Sainte Anne was a meaningful one for both of them, especially as the all-important Olympic Games loom just months away.

So it was all the better for them when they won the sixth round of XC World Cup racing this weekend, one day after the Downhill race here in the Great White North.

Huge crowds took advantage of Quebec's warm weather on Sunday, lining the technical course, and staying even when the weather made a turn for the worse and rained on the end of the men's race. But that was too late to dampen the spirits of the fans and racers, who went at, with points, Olympic team spots and the huge cash prizes on the line.

Women: Blatter Beats the Favorite
Blatter took the day's first win, beating Canadian favorite Chrissy Redden (CAN, Gary Fisher/Saab) by 18 short seconds after a last-lap dual kept everyone on their toes. The two had been riding together, away from the chasing Regina Marunde (GER, Focus) and Alison Dunlap (USA, Team GT), for five long laps, and eventually made their own race for the win.

Blatter, who won round four in St. Wendel, Germany, was on her game and dropped Redden in the final lap after a strong attack at the top of a long and grinding climb. Redden responded as best she could, but couldn't match the Swiss Miss and her power today and took 2nd place, her season's best result.

Marunde made her first podium appearance since 1996, coming from seemingly nowhere to finish 3rd for her German Focus team. She's only an alternate for Sydney, but hopes to make a good impression in the next few races and this result should go a long way toward that.

Dunlap tried to catch Marunde and came within a minute, but couldn't get closer than 45 seconds in the final lap and ended in 4th place. Dunlap still holds on to the World Cup overall lead, nearly 50 points ahead of Blatter and is assured a ride to the big games.

Mary Grigson (AUS, Gary Fisher/Saab) made another late-race surge for the podium, going from 10th all the way to 5th, passing Ruthie Matthes (USA, Trek Volkswagen) who ended in 6th, and gaining a probable ride to Sydney with Dunlap and Ann Trombley (USA, Koulius Zaard), who finished 20th here today.

Men: It Was All About Evans
Men's racing was all about Evans, who crushed the field by 2:37 after a scathing fifth lap attack against teammate Christoph Sauser (SUI) and the other Christophe - Dupouey (FRA, Giant). "That's a relief!" was the first thing out of his mouth after one heck of an impressive win.

World Cup Photo
Five men, all of whom landed on the podium, had taken an early lead in the race as Sauser took the first tow of the race in lap four of the seven-lap affair. But Evans, who has been jonesing for a win since breaking his collarbone back in round one, hit the gas and dropped his group to the tune of 2:30 within the fifth lap alone.

Sauser and Dupouey chased together, Sauser letting Dupouey lead until the final lap when he attacked the fading Frenchman and finished 2nd, giving Volvo-Cannondale team manager Charlie Livermore a happy day with a 1-2 finish. Dupouey was just happy to finish ahead of Miguel Martinez (FRA, Full Dynamix) and keep the overall lead, though he couldn't beat Sauser today.

Filip Meirhaeghe (BEL, Subaru-Specialized) took 4th, happy with the way his season is going and set for Sydney after a solid series thus far. Behind him in 5th was Bas Van Dooren (NED, Be-One), whom Filip passed in the 6th lap as Bas continues to struggle this season and is ranked 3rd overall.

Top American was Travis Brown (USA, Trek Volkswagen), completing an impressive comeback from a broken leg in round two, vying for the Olympic spot that he and Tinker Juarez (USA, Volvo-Cannondale) want really, really badly, and finishing 20th. Steve Larsen (USA, L.L. Bean/Mongoose) finished 28th, while both Juarez and Kirk Molday (USA, Trek-Volkswagen) DNF'd — Tinker from a broken saddle in lap two.

The long weekend of racing was closed out by the organizers' "Sensuality Party," otherwise known as the "Eyes Wide Shut" party. We can't show you the outfits your favorite racers wore, but it was in the grand tradition of GESTEV parties and went right along with all the other amazing hospitality gestures they're famous for.

Next week we're back in Canada for the Canmore XC race. See you there!

Ari Cheren, doin' it all for MountainZone.com

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