Elite Women's Cross Country Results
The 2005 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships concluded on Sunday as Mary McConneloug (Chilmark, Mass.) placed seventh in the elite women's cross country race.
McConneloug's seventh-place effort came amongst a solid 82-rider field and signifies her first career top-ten finish at the world championships.
Despite a conservative start for McConneloug, she was on the fringe of cracking the podium, running fourth after the first time check before a minor disruption caused her to lose a couple of spots.
"I was running fourth, but then I dropped my chain and two women got by me and I just kind of settled in," McConneloug explained. "I think I could have been in the top four or five today if I didn't have my problems but it's alright, I'm psyched."
Defending world champion, Athens Olympic gold medalist and heavy favorite Gunn-Rita Dahle (NOR) led from start to finish, taking the world title by a 2:09 margin over last year's silver medalist Maja Wloszczowska (POL) while Petra Henzi (SUI) completed the podium with a bronze medal.
Throughout much of the race, McConneloug rode in a small three-woman group that also included three-time world champion Alison Sydor (CAN) and Irina Kalentieva (RUS). Ahead of the trio, Dahle, Wloszczowska, Henzi, Marie-Helene Premont (CAN) and Sabine Spitz (GER) looked to have a lock on the top five spots leaving McConneloug to battle it out for sixth.
"No one would pull on the flats so I just stayed at my own pace and give it on the climbs. Alison and I dropped Kalentieva who's a really strong climber and then Alison just got away from me a bit on the descent and I could never quite bridge up to her."
2005 NORBA National Mountain Bike Series champion, Shonny Vanlandingham (Durango, Colo.) also turned in a strong performance, placing 12th despite starting in 45th position.
"I came around the first loop in 30th or so and just gradually worked my way up, so I'm pretty happy," Said Vanlandingham. "I climbed really well and I was hoping for a top-ten finish but I have to do more world cups to get better start position."
Willow Koerber (Ashville, N.C.) placed 26th as the next American and Kelli Emmett (Colorado Springs, Colo.) and Heather Irmiger (Boulder, Colo.) placed 35th and 37th respectively.
1. Gunn-Rita Dahle (NOR) 1:47.19
2. Maja Wloszczowska (POL) +2:09
3. Petra Henzi (SUI) +3:07
7. Mary McConneloug (Chilmark, Mass.) +6:14
12. Shonny Vanlandingham (Durango, Colo.) +9:36
26. Willow Koerber (Ashville, N.C.) +13:45
35. Kelli Emmett (Colorado Springs, Colo.) +17.24
37. Heather Irmiger (Boulder, Colo.) +17.55
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