Pro Team Race Reports
LUNA Pros qualify for Olympics!! Katerina Nash second at UCI World Cup
photo by Rob Jones
Bresse France (May 20, 2012) Katerina Nash hustled to second place at the exciting UCI World Cup in France, nipped by winner Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa on the course’s final windy descent. Canadian LUNA Pro Catharine Pendrel settled for fourth place and Georgia Gould was the alpha American in sixth.
The Olympic Games:
This was the final event in the Olympic qualification period for the London 2012 Games for most countries. All three LUNA Pros automatically qualified for the Games at this fourth round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup, although the official announcement has not been made.
No strangers to the world’s grandest sporting event, Georgia Gould and Catharine Pendrel competed in the Beijing Olympic Games in 2008.
And for Katerina Nash, making this Olympics puts her among an elite group of athletes who have qualified in more than one discipline. Nash competed in the 2002 Winter Olympics as a cross-country skier. An earlier mountain bike schedule this year meant not much off-season for Katerina, who won a bronze medal at the cyclocross world championships in January.
The World Cup Race:
Taking advantage of others’ misfortunes during the race, Katerina Nash took to the front several times, including the final 4.8 KM lap.
But "Katka" couldn’t quite keep it together on that critical last descent, and crashed in the bushes. Bittersweet as the runner-up, Katerina’s amazing ride still allowed her to seize the spot for Czech Republic for her career third Olympics.
Catharine Pendrel played it smart despite a few crashes, and even worked with Katerina mid-race attempting to hold back World Cup leader Julie Bresset.
At one dramatic downhill section, Catharine slipped and dismounted her Orbea, causing Bresset to smash over the bars in crowd-pleasing fashion. Both tumbled down together, and Nash was able to slip by and take over the lead.
Nash passes crash
photo by Pedalmag.com
Pendrel had a resulting chain problem but managed to stay with Katerina up the last climb, with Bresset in third and Dahle Flesjaa closing in fourth.
Georgia Gould experienced some drama of her own. In her words, "I had a bad start... wasn't aggressive enough. But I felt good and was riding the technical sections well. It was a clean race, no crashes, but I really paid for all the time I lost in the first lap!" Still, Georgia earned 6th place in a world class field.
A bit of shuffling later, Nash lead on the last descent but couldn’t shake Dahle Flesjaa, one of the world’s most successful mountain bike racers. Finally, the wind and bushes conspired to take Katerina down, allowing a patient Dahle the win.
This was Dahle-Flesjaa's first World Cup win since 2008 and her 27th career total (one win short of the all-time top women's World Cup winner Juli Furtado). It was also Gunn-Rita’s first World Cup win since giving birth, over a thousand diapers ago.
1 Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Nor) 1:39:57
2 Katerina Nash (Cze) 0:00:16
3 Julie Bresset (Fra) 0:00:55
4 Catharine Pendrel (Can) 0:01:12
5 Maja Wloszczowska (Pol) 0:02:22
6 Georgia Gould (USA) 0:02:46
For great video coverage of this event, see: http://live.redbull.tv/events/52/uci-labresse-xco-women/
and also a special series here: http://www.redbull.com/en/bike/RedBullSpecialSeries/1331574850558.
Bresset still retains her lead in the overall World Cup, with 750 points to Pendrel's 690, followed by Wloszczowska at 670.
Elite Women, World Cup Standings
1 BRESSET Julie 750
2 PENDREL Catharine 690
3 WLOSZCZOWSKA Maja 670
4 DAHLE FLESJAA Gunn-Rita 538
5 BATTY Emily 515
6 NASH Katerina 509
7 KALENTIEVA Irina 425
8 GOULD Georgia 393
Katerina attacks downhill
Catharine looks sharp in white
Olympic toast.. Again!
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