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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World Cup Downhill Rolls into Rockies
Downhill #5

Vail, Colorado, USA: July 16, 2000

The scenic venue of Vail Resort was awash in the bright colors of mountain biking this weekend, as the Tissot-UCI Mountain Bike World Cup rolled onto the high-altitude slopes for the second half of the 2000 racing season. With the 2001 World Championships already in the planning stages, this weekend tested a brand new course and logistics for next Fall's big event.

The new course, dubbed the "American Flyer," is aptly named. It features over 1,400 feet of vertical drop, utilizing a brand new part of the mountain — totally different than the '94 track. This one, designed by Jurgen Beneke (with some local help), is a spectator's dream with more scenic viewing than any course we've seen this season. In the dry it's dusty and in the wet it's muddy and slick. It would bring out the best in whatever rider could master it Sunday afternoon.

Steve Peat (GBR, Team GT) hadn't won a World Cup race all season, but, until Sunday, had come close. He finally put it all together, beating rival Nicolas Vouilloz (FRA, Vouilloz Racing Team) for win number one in 2000 — his fourth career victory. Anne-Caroline Chausson (FRA, Volvo-Cannondale), who is actually beginning to tire of the Downhill, won it again with a supreme effort that earned the season's biggest margin — 8.9 seconds over Missy Giove (USA, Foes/Azonic).

Peat was definitely the master of his domain in the finals, beating Vouilloz by 2.5 seconds and moving up to 2nd overall in the standings. Vouilloz flatted his rear tire on a long fire-road straightaway. How he did that to a Michelin "le System" wheel is a mystery, but he was leading Peat by two seconds at the mid-run time check, and lost it, and two seconds more by the finish.

Peat knows he probably won't catch Vouilloz in the overall standings this season, but considers him his biggest rival overall, and is amazed by all the fast riders this season. Two riders who surprised everyone were Nathan Rennie (AUS, Yeti), who finished 3rd after qualifying fastest, and Greg Minnaar (RSA, Animal Orange). Minnaar finished 5th behind David Vazquez (ESP, Subaru-Specialized) to become the first African to stand on the podium.

Rennie took the best result of his career, while other riders just hung on to survive the course. World Champion Myles Rockwell (USA, Team Giant) missed the podium by one position, but several racers had worse luck — such as Gary Houseman who crashed right at the finish line.


Women's racing was all about Anne-Caroline Chausson (FRA, Volvo-Cannondale), who for the second time this season stormed back after having been beaten by an American to reclaim the win and maintain the series lead. Chausson was exhausted at the finish and said she was happy to have done well and that she rode very hard — knowing that Missy Giove (USA, Foes/Azonic) had posted a fast time.

Chausson is having more fun racing the Dual this season, but still takes the Downhill seriously for her sponsors and the overall title. Giove, however, was taking it more seriously, and is only 160 points behind the Frenchwoman in the overall standings. Third place went to Katja Repo (FIN, Team GT), who continues to ride well this season and is ranked third overall. Actually, the first three women took the same results and overall standings this week as last week.

The 4th and 5th-ranked women, Leigh Donovan (USA, Schwinn/Toyota) and Sabrina Jonnier (FRA, Team GT), are both injured at present, but where Donovan sat out the race and helped out in the announcer's booth, Jonnier taped up her bruised arm and finished 11th for the day. Fourth place went to Marla Streb (USA, Yeti), and 5th was Marielle Saner (SUI, Hot Chili).

The Downhill season, which will get all the World Cup attention until the Cross-Country finals in September, now heads to Japan for round six. Most riders are headed for the airport tomorrow morning to make the long flight and we'll be there, reporting on all the sumo fun.

Ari Cheren, holding his umbrella up high to see if lightning will strike, for MountainZone.com

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