The test event for the 2012 Olympic Mountain Bike races proved to be a stunning success, with the small but select fields putting on an exciting show for some 4000-plus spectators. Catharine Pendrel (Canada) and Julien Absalon (France) proved to be the strongest riders on the day, taking solo victories in the women's and men's races, respectively.
After cool weather earlier in the week, race day dawned sunny, and the wide-open venue heated up quickly, with the heat becoming a significant factor in the latter laps of the races.
Pendrel and World Cup leader Julie Bresset (France) broke away on the first lap of the women's race, as they have done at almost every World Cup this season. They were joined part way through the first lap (of six) by Pendrel's Luna teammate Georgia Gould (USA). Behind, Elisabeth Osl (Austria), Eva Lechner (Italy) and Nathalie Schneitter (Switzerland) battled for fourth, but were never in medal contention.
Pendrel attacked at the midpoint of the race, gaining 11 seconds by the time she started the fourth lap. Behind, Gould was marking Bresset, and when the French rider made no move to chase, Gould dropped her and soloed up to Pendrel. The North American pair rode together until the last half lap, when a crash in a loose, gravel corner knocked Gould out of contention. Pendrel soloed in 56 seconds ahead of Gould, with Bresset at 1:32.
"You appreciate the hardness of the climbs in race conditions," said Pendrel. "I think it races well; it's a hard course, a fast course, I think it's anyone's course. A lot of the Europeans were training through this, I think, preparing for the European championships next week, so this result is not indicative of what we will see next year."
Gould was clearly pleased with her result, despite her crash. "I was following [Catharine Pendrel] a bit too closely through a big left hand turn and I completely washed out and full-on slid on my hip for a long time. It was enough to give her that gap, and then I had to nurse it in because my brake lever broke and I had no rear brake. I was surprised at how tactical it was; there was never any section long enough that someone good at it could create an uncloseable gap, so I think it is a really exciting course."
|1||Catharine Pendrel (Canada)||1:32:04|
|2||Georgia Gould (United States Of America)||0:00:56|
|3||Julie Bresset (France)||0:01:32|
|4||Elisabeth Osl (Austria)||0:03:40|
|5||Eva Lechner (Italy)||0:03:51|
|6||Nathalie Schneitter (Switzerland)||0:04:00|
|7||Alexandra Engen (Sweden)||0:04:29|
|8||Sabine Spitz (Germany)||0:05:00|
|9||Shi Quinglan (Chile)||0:05:32|
|10||Esther Süss (Switzerland)||0:06:24|
|11||Katrin Leumann (Switzerland)||0:06:57|
|12||Annika Langvad (Denmark)||0:07:32|
|13||Rosara Joseph (New Zealand)||0:09:23|
|14||Amanda Sin (Canada)||0:10:05|
|15||Pauline Ferrand Prevot (France)||0:11:21|
|16||Angela Carolina Parra Sierra (Colombia)||0:11:53|
|17||Lisa Mitterbauer (Austria)||0:12:12|
|18||Laura Lorenza Morfin Macouzet (Mexico)||0:12:51|
|19||Melanie Spath (Germany)||0:13:38|
|20||Elisabeth Brandau (Germany)||-1lap|
|21||Serena Calvetti (Italy)|
|22||Oksana Rybakova (Russian Federation)|
|23||Rebecca Henderson (Australia)|
|24||Rozanne Slik (Netherlands)|
|25||Caitlin Elliott (Ireland)||-2laps|
|26||Jessica Roberts (Great Britain)||-3laps|
|27||Carla Haines (Great Britain)|
|DNF||Sabrina Enaux (France)|
|DNF||Maxine Filby (Great Britain)|
|DNF||Roberta Kelly Stopa (Brazil)|
|DNS||Lene Byberg (Norway)|
|DNS||Rowena Fry (Australia)|
|DNS||Maddie Horton (Great Britain)|