Less than a second separated Melissa Buhl (KHS Bicycles) and Kathy Pruitt (Jamis) in the elite women's downhill race at the US National Championships in Granby, Colorado, on Sunday.
Buhl, who also qualified fastest, came down the run last. En route to the win, she knocked Pruitt out of the hot seat by a mere seven one hundredths of a second.
"My final run was more tentative than my qualifying," said Buhl. "I think I was nervous. I came out of my pedal up there in that one berm and went off a little lip, but I got it back and had a smooth run otherwise."
Buhl's win more than made up for losing the four cross the previous night to Jill Kintner. "I love four cross and I wanted to do well in it, but my heart's been more in downhill this year, so winning this is great," said Buhl.
Pruitt was disappointed with her near miss - the second one in recent weeks. "Melissa and I have never been that close before at a race, but I lost my last race by six hundredths of a second."
Pruitt said she had a good final run after flatting qualifying.
Lisa Myklak (Fox Racing Shox) finished third, also with a smooth run. "There were little bobbles here and there," she said, "but it was a good one." Commenting on the course, she said, "There was no time to take a break, you had to hold it together the whole time."
Jacqueline Harmony (Vixen Racing/Loeka), who occupied the hot seat at one point, finished fourth, and Katie Holden (Specialized) was fifth.
|1||Melissa Buhl (KHS Bicycles)||0:02:41|
|2||Kathy Pruitt (Jamis)||0:00:00|
|3||Lisa Myklak (Fox Racing Shox)||0:00:07|
|4||Jacqueline Harmony (Vixen Racing/Loeka)||0:00:11|
|5||Katie Holden (Specialized)||0:00:14|
|6||Darian Harvey (Cannondale Factory)||0:00:19|
|7||Rachel Bauer (Banshee)||0:00:20|
|8||Jennifer Wolf (Vixen Racing)||0:00:38|
|9||Jennifer Whalen (Jenxracer.com)||0:00:38|
|10||Stephanie Leonard (Crested Butte)||0:00:41|
|11||Julie Olsen (Recycle Ski)||0:01:12|
|12||Connie Misket (Velo Bella Ellsworth)||0:01:18|
|13||C Michelle Rivera (Steven K Sports)||0:01:31|
|DNF||Neven Steinmetz (Team Totally Wired)|
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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews. She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.
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