Swiss cyclists claim cross country gold medals; French, U.S. and Aussie riders dominate downhill events
Somehow the dictionary definition of "frustration" falls short of what Canadas Roland Green must have felt crossing the finish line in the Grouse Mountain World Cup on Sunday (July 8).
After dominating the entire cross-country race and building a lead of more than a minute and a half heading into the home stretch, the 26 year old from Victoria flatted out just 1.5 kilometres from the finish.
Although he made an emergency pit stop that would have made Michael Andretti proud, Swiss rider Christoph Sauser managed to close the gap and take the lead and the gold medal. Although he held the lead for most of the races 36 kilometres, a frustrated Green crossed the line 11 seconds back of Sauser and two seconds ahead of Australian Cadel Evans.
"Its just luck," said Green, who extended his lead in the overall World Cup standings with his second place finish. "What can you say its unfortunate when it happens, especially in front of the home crowd. My front tire rolled off the rim in a singletrack section and Sauser passed me.
"Its hard to catch someone after that. Its the worst flat tire Ive had in my life."
This season, Green became the first Canadian man to win a World Cup event and to lead the overall standings. He is also the first male competitor to win a cross-country event on a dual suspension bike. A win at home, in front of thousands of supporters, would have been another first.
For his part, Sauser sympathized with Greens luck.
"I feel sorry for him, but I really needed a good result after inuring my ribs in the first round."
After a slow start and some trouble in the technical and wooded sections, Sauser was one of the only riders to match Greens pace of between 14 and 15 minutes a lap. He managed to break out of the pack at the midway point to pull into second, but he couldnt gain on Green until the Canadian flatted out.
Victorias Ryder Hesjedal, Greens training partner, posted a career-best fifth behind Miguel Martinez of France.
After four races, Green is leading the eight-race World Cup cross country season with 721 points. Jose Antonio Hermida of Spain, eighth at Grouse, is second with 600 points. Martinez is third with 587. Hesjedal has also managed to crack the top 10 with 317 total points, and currently sits in ninth overall.
Victorias Geoff Kabush finished in seventh place at Grouse, Ontarios Seamus McGrath finished 18 th , and Andreas Hestler, yet another Victoria racer, was 30 th .