August 26, 2006 (Rotorua, New Zealand) – The XC Elite Women’s race will start soon. Rain fell for about six hours last night stopping around 2 am. Riders awoke to clear skies and surprisingly warm temperatures. Much of the climb is expected to be rideable while sections of the descent will only be managed by the best technical riders. Most riders are choosing to run wider fully knobbed tires in order to stay on top of the mud. There are 58 starters and the women will complete 5 laps of the 5.9 km course. Riding for Canada are Marie-HÃ©lÃ¨ne PrÃ©mont, Alison Sydor, Kiara Bisaro, Catherine Pendrel and Wendy Simms.
The riders are off and leading the way is Alison Sydor (Canada) in 1st followed by Margarita Fullana Riera (Spain) in 2nd, Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Norway) in 3rd and PrÃ©mont (Canada) in 4th. Wendy Simms (Canada) is in 10th.
At the top of the first climb Dahle Flesjaa and Fullana have moved to the front with PrÃ©mont at 15 sec. in 3rd and Sydor in 5th at 30 sec.
As the riders finish Lap 1 Dahle Flesjaa is alone with Fullana, Irina Kalentieva (Russia) and PrÃ©mont at 1:06 and Sydor is at 1:51. Mary McConnelaug (USA) is in 6th at 2:26 and Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) is 7th at 2:44.
The first lap time was 22:32.
At the top of the climb it’s Dahle Flesjaa leading with PrÃ©mont (Canada) and Kalentieva at 1:20 with Fullana in 4th at 2:28 and Sydor in 5th. Canada’s Kiara Bisaro, Wendy Simms and Catharine Pendrel are in the low 20s at 4:15.
Germany’s Sabina Spitz is out with a broken derailleur.
As the riders complete Lap 2 Dahle Flesjaa continues to lead with Kalentieva in 2nd at 1:51 followed closely by PrÃ©mont in 3rd at 1:57. Fullana is in 4th at 3:42 and Wloszczowska has moved up into 5th at 4:05 as Sydor trails in 6th at 4:24.
Biasaro has moved up to 20th at 7:30 with Pendrel in 27th at 8:30 and Simms is in 31st at 9:15. The second lap time was 22:56
Dahle Flesjaa is still the race leader at the top of the climb with Kalentieva in 2nd at 2:00 and PrÃ©mont in 3rd at 2:20 with Fullana at 4:40, Wloszczowska at 4:55 and Sydor at 5:55 in the same order.
PrÃ©mont is doing well on the climbs but having problems on the descents and has crashed twice. The conditions on the descents in the woods are reported to be cold.
Kalentieva looks like she’s hurting as Dahle Flesjaa continues to extend her lead as Canada’s Sydor seems to be fading.
Bisaro has moved up to 19th and looks comfortable as Pendrel and Simms maintain their positions.
Lap time is 23:02
There’s a huge, very loud and cheering NZ crowd here for the final Elite XC races.
At the top of the climb it’s Norway’s Dahle Flesjaa still looking strong and continues to gain time on the chasers. Kalentieva is still in second at 2:33 as PrÃ©mont at 2:58 continues to look good on the climbs but not the descents. She looks strong and could overtake Kalantieva for second place.
Spain’s Fullana is in 4th at 5:08 with Poland’s Wloszczowska in 5th but no sign of Sydor yet. Bisaro has moved up to 16th.
Lap 5 Final
As the riders come thru for the final lap it’s Dahle Flesjaa from Norway still leading and looking strong for the win. In 2nd it’s Russsia’s Kalentieva at 2:30 and holding fast while Canada’s PrÃ©mont now looks like she’s hurting in 3rd at 3:30.
Fullana is holding on to 4th at 5:53 with Wloszczowska in 5th at 6:24. The USA’s Mary McConnelaug has caught Sydor (Canada) and taken over 6th at 9 min. followed closely by Sydor in 7th.
1. Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Norway) 1:55:19
2. Irina Kalentieva (Russia) 2:45
3. Marie-HÃ©lÃ¨ne PrÃ©mont (Canada) 4:22
4. Margarita Fullana Riera (Spain) 6:30
5. Maja Wloszczowska (Poland) 10:08
6. Mary McConnelaug (USA)
7. Anna Szafraniec (Poland)
8. Petra Henzi (Switzerland)
9. Alison Sydor (Canada)
10. Rosara Joseph (New Zealand)
14. Kiara Bisaro (Canada)