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World Cup Cross Country Finals

Dahle Takes Women's Cross Country Finals
Sydor Get World Cup Just for Starting;
Men Face Rain Again

Sunday Sept. 8, 1996, 7:30 pm PDT

Dahle of Norway wins the finals
Gunn-Rita Dahle held a lead throughout the race and won the women's Cross Country Finals with a time of 2:09:28. The women did three laps around the scenic course for a total of 22.5 miles in overcast but still hot and muggy conditions. Italian M. Paola Turcutto held her second place spot through

Ruthie Matthes, wins third with DeMattei right behind her
the laps as well and followed Dahle at 2:10:14. The most closely watched race today was the battle for third and fourth place between Susan DeMattei and Ruthie Matthes. Riding close enough to exchange banter, they traded positions right up until the finish when Ruthie pulled ahead to win third by less than a second. Matthes came in at 2:10:27.38, and DeMattei got fourth with 2:10:28.14.

Alison Sydor, World Cup Champion
Trailing throughout the race, Alison Sydor came into the finals with over a 100 point lead in the World Cup standings. To win the championship, she only had to start this race and having done so, took a competitive but not excruciating pace to place fifth in the finals and win the World Cup. Dahle has now claimed second in the World Cups overall, and Julie Furtado, who didn't race in the finals because of a recent injury, has taken third.

Alison Sydor, crosses the Kaaawa Stream
The Cross Country course, beginning and ending at the Kualoa Ranch, is among the most scenic routes on the tour. Dipping through the Kaaawa Valley, it offers outrageous ocean views, a backdrop of ridge-lined cliffs, and tropical foliage along most of the track. Along with sustained climbs, steep ascents, and the usual natural hazards, this finals course runs through the site used for a dinosaur-chase scene in "Jurassic Park." At the 1.6 mile mark, racers go right past the log where Dr. Grant, Timmy, and Lexie hid from the stampeding herd of Gallimimus. Evidently, Magnum PI has done some work in the area as well.

As in yesterday's Downhill finals, the men are facing some brief but nasty weather in their race. A sudden tropical downpour caught them after about two laps, making the upper sections of the course even more perilous to negotiate. Many of the men and women had trouble with a steep downhill pitch blocked by a petrified log in the upper, wooded area of the track. It was the scene of numerous mud-baths and presumably will claim a few more swimmers on the next laps.

Halfway through their race, the men's point-standings leader, Miguel Martinez, has dropped out, and Christophe Dupouey and Thomas Frischknecht are tire-to-tire swapping the lead. They are, respectively, a close second and third in the point standings, so for them, this race is for all the marbles. Following them by 30 seconds is Alessandro Fontana and about a minute behind is Beat Wabel. Tearing through the mud close behind is US Nationals Champion John Tomac, US Nationals Finals winner Rishi Grewal, and Tinker Juarez.

The combination of bad weather and treacherous courses has created a few substantial upsets at these World Cup Finals. With the exception of Alison Sydor, whose extreme point lead guaranteed a win, all the point leaders and defending champions have lost their title-jerseys over the last two days. Stay tuned for the men's results and more photos from the Jurassic Cross Country Course in Oahu, Hawaii.

Frischknecht Wins Cross Country Finals;
Dupouey Takes the World Cup

Sunday Sept. 8, 1996, 10:30 pm PDT

Tire-to-tire the whole way, Wabel pulls away from Grewal, Tomac, and Tinker crossing the Kaaawa Stream.

Frischknecht wins the finals.
In a close race all the way to the end, Thomas Frischknecht (SUI) won the men's Cross Country finals with a time of 2:15:57. Close behind was Christophe Dupouey (FRA) at 2:17:03. Dupouey and Frischknecht, who were respectively second and third in World Cup point standings, got an extra shot at the championship when the point leader, Miguel Martinez (FRA), dropped out because of jet-lag, exhaustion, and heat. Italian Alessandro Fontana took third with a time of 2:18:43.

Dupouey, World Cup Champion
While Frischknecht won the finals, Dupouey's second place finish didn't give Frischknecht enough of a point lead to win the overall World Cup which went to Dupouey. Frischknecht is second overall and Miguel Martinez is now third.

-- Anya Zolotusky & Greg Prosl, Mountain Zone Staff

Read past updates on the scene in Oahu, Hawaii and the Downhill races.

Breakfast with a Champion: Alison Sydor
Exclusive Mountain Zone AudioChat, September 9, 1996
On the morning after claiming the Cross Country World Cup Championship, Alison Sydor joined us for a breakfast chat about training, the Olympics, playing hockey and brewing coffee. Get all the details in our exclusive AudioChat with Alison Sydor. (In case you were wondering, the breakfast of this champion was a bagel with cream cheese and coffee she made herself.) Interview by Peter Graves.

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