Commonwealth Games 2006
Melbourne - MTB Event
6 laps, State Mountainbike Course, Lysterfield
Canada and New Zealand on podium
Premont won the Women’s Cross Country in decisive fashion at the event in
the newly created State Mountain Bike Course at Lysterfield National Park.
She did this despite narrowly avoiding a very large Southern Grey Kangaroo
as it passed her path as she approached the boardwalks in the grassy spur
area towards the half way point.
the race rolled out the Canadian followed the Australians and but this did
not last for long. Premont powered past the Australians who led
for the first few hundred metres. However after completing the first
900m loop before they headed out to the main part of the course Premont had
already stated her position on the race. In the end she had extended
her lead over the field to more than one minute and 27 seconds at the end of
the six-lap event, finishing in a time of one hour, 55 minutes and
course included a number of switch back climbs and trails through the trees.
It was deceptively technical at speed and had added challenges with the
granite rock garden that included a roll over rock that dropped 45 degrees
on the rock face and included a hard left turn at the bottom of the drop.
Baxter was one of the few mechanical casualties at this point of the course.
Bisaro suffered a flat tyre on the second lap, but was able to get a
event was being run under new rules. In past events, if a rider had a
mechanical fault they had to fix it themselves. However in this event a
rider who suffered a problem and and was unable to fix the problem herself,
could get to one of the technical zones along the course to get assistance.
Unfortunately for Baxter, she was forced to carry/run with her bike to one
of the three "technical zones" to get repairs made to her bike.
The repairs cost Baxter several valuable minutes, dropping her back to last
place, more than 10 minutes behind the eventual winner. If there was an
award for the most unfortunate rider Baxter would have won this. She
suffered further mechanical problems forcing her to run to the next
technical zone to avoid losing too much time.
like all of the New Zealand riders came into the race with some good form,
having won the recent Oceania mountain bike championships in Rotorua, New
Zealand. Joseph, a Rhodes Scholar who graduated top of her class from the
University of Canterbury with double degrees, will begin her Masters at
Oxford in October this year.
The Canadian, Bisaro, held on for third place and was overjoyed to have completed the race.
managed to get an immediate reaction to the win after Marie-Helene
Premont had recalled her Kangaroo experience to her team management. “I feel good it was first race this year so I wasn’t sure how I would
do. I am really happy. I got really scared and jumped when the Kangaroo
passed me. It really surprised me I never expected to run into one. I was
unnerved for a while as I was expecting another one to jump out.”
about her performance and form she added “I
rode on the big chain ring for most of the race, and only dropped it down
once. I like to power up the climbs and just go for it.”
receiving the Gold medal, “I’m
delighted to win this medal. I found the course very fast and deceivingly
technical when you are going fast. I liked the heat today but it was very
warm, it is only one degree at home a the moment”
the course technical enough? “ I
would have preferred a more technical course but the this is the first race
for me and dealing with the heat made it tough.”
on the teams performance and getting the Gold and Bronze she added “I’m
happy we won gold along with the bronze, It was a team effort.”
if she was disappointed that they did not have a full compliment of riders.
(Lynn Bessette had to withdraw after dislocating her shoulder while training
over the granite rocks). “I would have been good for Lynn to be here, she would have done well on
was asked if she was happy with her silver. “Oh definitely, the Canadians are so strong and if you have a look at the
world rankings, they’re ahead of me, so I’m very happy today.”
about her race plan, “I
just kept plugging away, the weather was awesome, a little hot, that could
have been in the Australians favour. I went out as hard as I could. In this
type of course it was imperative to be in front on the narrow trails. You
can get blocked easily so I just went out as hard as I could the whole way.
I was a little panicky early and died a bit in the middle, but just came
about falling while chasing Bisaro “That
was a bit of a mistake! I was focusing a little more on her (Bisaro) rather
than on the track and that always a bit of a mistake.”
views on the course “It was a tough race, there’s no breaks on this course and if you’re
riding fast it’s really quite technical.”
Bisaro croosed the line she hugged Premont and said “It
was so hot! I’m so proud of you.” (Premont) she said as she
crossed the line. Premont responded “I’m
proud of you.”
Hunt was pleased with her fourth place ride, “It
was tough for me. I’m not an experienced mountain biker. I have not really
ridden the mountain bike over the last year, I
would probably been a lot more comfortable if I had.”
(AUS) had a view on the race “The
crowd was fantastic, I also didn’t have any problems with the heat. The
field wasn’t as big as I would have liked but the spectators were awesome
and you would not have known the field was small there was such depth out
there. The crowd just kept cheering as we went round.”
the new course “when I first rolled around it I was a little disappointed on the
technical side but when you race it I completely changed my mind. It’s a
really tough course. There are some really fast sections that as you become
tired become more technical and really tough.”
Baxter spoke about her unfortunate race “I
bent my derailleur
hanger and I had chain stuck everywhere when crashed. I just started
running, that was my fist 2km run and then it happened again. I didn’t
crash it just derailed and I ended up running another 4km. It was just not
happening today. It’s a fast course but not when you run it.”
Colson was reasonably pleased with her ride “my
legs felt heavy all the way and I never felt like I was having a blinder. It
may have been that I was just pushing as hard as I could or that I have
never raced at that intensity. I pushed out consistent laps and made a
couple of errors but I did the best I could.”
about the course, “it was actually a lot of fun to race. If you just ride round it it would
be pretty boring but racing at high speed it was very exciting. On a
personal level I was 10% off Premont time, I have been at 17% in the
previous World Cups and that had been my best result so I am please.”
Photos Click on any image to enlarge >>
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