Pro Team Race Reports
Another Bronze for Georgia at the UCI World Championships!
Photo: Rob Jones
Saalfelden, Austria (September 8, 2012) LUNA’s Georgia Gould followed up her amazing Olympic bronze medal with another amazing bronze medal, this time at mountain bike’s most prestigious event, the UCI World Championships.
Current World Cup champion and defending 2011 World Champion Catharine Pendrel took 15th place. LUNA Pro teammate Katerina Nash rode into 21st. Freshly crowned Olympic champ Julie Bresset became the 2012 World Champion, and Norwegian Gunn Rita Dahle earned the silver medal.
Gould was elated with her bronze, only three weeks after winning the Olympic bronze. "Right now women's racing internationally is so competitive," said Gould. "Obviously you want to win the race, but there are so many tough women. I was just kind of riding my own race. I'm sure it was boring to watch. For me, all I could do was ride as fast as I could. If they caught me, then I'd deal with that then."
Catharine Pendrel, who had the honor of lining up first at the start, admitted to losing speed towards the end: “I had the opportunity to defend my World Championship title. The course was fun and hard and I had some really good sensations on the bike for much of the race, but faded considerably on the last 2 laps.”
Catharine elaborated, “It wasn't the season as a whole that I was looking for, but thanks to all the hard work of everyone at Luna I was able to achieve three World cup wins and the overall title this year. I'm looking forward to recharging and then another 4 years on our fantastic team.”
Austria last hosted the world championships in 2002 in Kaprun. Saalfelden was also the venue for this year's team relay, cross-country and the first-ever eliminator. The 4.5km course in Saalfelden, took the women approximately 15 minutes per lap. It consisted 180 meters of altitude variation per lap, with two primary climbs. Steep downhill’s, drops and river crossings were featured, and the practically vertical descent like the “Mine Shaft” had over 43 degree drops.
Georgia started off steadily, sitting in 13th in the start loop but quickly moving to 4th place. Pendrel sat around 15th early on and Katerina was riding well, and pulling chasers to the front in 6th place.
"I had no expectations about the course," said Gould to Cyclingnews. " I expected it to be the same people (up front), but I never count anyone out. You never know at the big races and everyone has a breakout race sometimes."
Catharine told Cyclingnews, "I led out the start for a little while and I thought 'This is unusual, did I go too hard,’" said Pendrel, noting her recent slower starts. "I eased off a bit and suddenly 20 girls went by me. I was feeling good and started making up spots. It was hard to keep that pace going. I made some good efforts."
Like good teammates, Georgia and Katerina worked well together in some of the second half, building a large gap from the chasers in 4th and 5th respectively. But Katerina started to experience recurring dabs, bobbles and step-offs, upsetting her rhythm Katerina has also been experiencing some hip problems, so that may have come into play). Catharine also started to fall off the pace.
Later in the second half, Gould found herself suddenly alone in third place, passing Katerina along the way. Gould and her Orbea 29-er hard tail chased Dahle Flesjaa, who was hunting down leader Bresset. Now the chasers behind Georgia were Esther Süss, Irina Kalentieva, Pendrel, and Nash.
Pendrel commented, "Georgia stayed in sight for a long time, and I thought maybe that getting up to bronze was possible. I had some good strength, but I couldn't use them because I got caught behind people. I kept getting caught behind one girl on the same descent and probably lost 20 seconds over the course of the race cumulatively. It's hard to stay on the pace when you're forced to sit in. That's something I'll have to figure out."
With about one lap to go, Bresset led Dahle Flesjaa by 1:26 and Gould by 2:56.
Mindful of nearby racers within seconds of her wheel, Georgia kept her head cool with positive thoughts, while keeping her body fueled with Clif Shots. At the finish line, Georgia took bronze medal, even after coming off on the final descent to let the close field get even closer (within 10 seconds!).
"I crashed on the last rock drop during the last lap the last time," said Gould. "I don't know I guess I was just nervous. I went over the bars and my bike landed on top of me. Luckily I was able to get back up quickly and on my bike again."
“This is a great way for Georgia to finish up her season,” said USA Cycling’s Mountain Bike Program Director, Marc Gullickson. “To be able to back up her bronze medal ride in London with a podium result at the Worlds is proof that she has found her place in the very top tier of women’s mountain bike racing.”
Georgia commented to Velonews.com, “A solid support network is so critical that, according to Gould, “I can’t attribute it all to myself… definitely having really great people around me has really helped me out.” Georgia Gould (Luna Chix) has had, by almost any measure, a stellar 2012 season.”
One to laugh at occasional poor performance, Georgia conjured up the “Heckle Me” contest in 2011, inviting fans to taunt her publicly in creative and outlandish ways.
But this year, no one is heckling Georgia.
Julie Bressett (France) 1:32:25
Gunn-Rita Dahle (Norway) 1:47
Georgia Gould (USA) 3:12
Esther Suss (Switzerland) 3:22
Irina Kalentieva (Russian Federation) 3:23
The LUNA Pros get to relax slightly and travel to Las Vegas, NV for the 2012 Interbike trade show, September 18th-21st. On that Wednesday night, Georgia and Katerina will line up with young LUNA Pro teammate Teal Stetson Lee at Vegas’ premiere cyclocross race, aptly titled “Cross Vegas”.
Georgia enjoys another moment in the sun
Catharine Pendrel takes a little time out here, but hey, she's the 2012 World Cup Champion!
Photo: Rob Jones
Katerina Nash has had a great season, despite experiencing some hip problems
photo: Colin Meagher
Katerina Nash rode strongly much of the race
Photo: Rob Jones
The LUNA Boyz: team manager Waldek Stepniowski, and mechanics Chris Mathis and Zak Demeritt
Team LUNA Chix Blogs
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