Dual Slalom #3
Maribor, Slovenia: June 2, 2000
Mountain bike racers (and their shadowing press) love a good race venue almost as much as we love typing the name Anne-Caroline Chausson (FRA, Volvo-Cannondale) every week. So imagine our glee at the opportunity to come back to the rolling green hills of Slovenia this year as the Tissot-UCI Mountain Bike World Cup returns to 1999's best downhill site in Maribor.
No, seriously, this is one heck of a venue and as it has for every single world cup event this season the weather has been beautiful with sunny blue skies and cool breezes. The hotel is right on the finish line, the course is the world's best (arguable with the folks from Mont Sainte-Anne), and the vibe is again all good.
Lopes beat Wade Bootes (AUS, Trek-Volkswagen) in a close final run, after the 31 men and 16 women began racing as the sun went down and the bright lights went up. Why only 31 men? Because everyone's favorite rider, Karim Amour (FRA, Vouilloz Racing Team), was DQ'd after hitting a gate in qualifying. So Lopes had a by in the first round, and then won every single race to claim his third victory in three rounds of racing.
Bootes tried and stayed close, but couldn't get by him and eventually crashed on the final turn before the double-jump finish. Eric Carter (USA, Team GT), who actually helped tweak the course, finished third after beating Mickael Deldycke (FRA, Taillefer) in the consolation round.
Women's racing was all about Chausson, who worked her way up and down the racing ladder and eventually met up with last week's rival, Leigh Donovan (USA, Schwinn/Toyota)... and again beat her in a clean and fast final run. Sabrina Jonnier (FRA, Team GT), who continues to wear the leader's jersey with Chausson hot on her heels (just ten points back), took 3rd for the women by beating Tara Llanes (USA, Subaru-Specialized) in their consolation round.
Downhill racing takes place Saturday afternoon, on a superb course here in Eastern Europe.
Ari Cheren, trying to come up with headlines as the caffeine kicks in for
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