20.4.2009 The debut season for Trek World Racing continues to bring quality results, this weekend at the Sea Otter Classic here in Monterey, California. Unseasonal heat this weekend further dried out an already dusty and windblown track that hasn't changed in years. In fact, the only change this year to the 2 minute sprint track was a quick mow of the grass on the edges of the well worn track.
Some teams opted for shorter travel bikes, but as in years past, the downhill bikes dominated the podium with Trek World Racing's Tracy Moseley again climbing to the top spot on the podium with a time that put many of the men's field behind her. The time of 2m 21.6secs was just enough to secure the win over 4X World Champion Melissa Buhl of the USA.
In the men's race, many of the world's best were on hand to take on the sprint track, including reigning World Champion Gee Atherton, and 2 time World Champion Sam Hill, both of whom were beaten by the TWR riders on their lightweight Session 88's. The only two riders to do better than Andrew and Justin were the in-form riders from last weekend's World Cup, Mick Hannah (AUS) and Greg Minnaar (RSA).
Mick Hannah came down the course early and posted a fast time which stood all afternoon to give him a win at Sea Otter, something he did in the Dual Slalom as a junior back in 2001. Greg Minnaar, nursing an injured leg from the previous day's slalom race, came in just one tenth behind, and only six tenths ahead of compatriot Andrew Neethling. Justin Leov rounded out the top 4 just 2 tenths behind his team mate.
Tracy Moseley said: "I had a pretty bad run today. I messed up quite a few sections and honestly thought I'd lost any chance of a win. This was a training week for me so I spent a lot of time in the gym and I'm aching all over, so to be honest, a win was not on the cards, so this is a really nice surprise; I'll take it for sure!"
Andrew Neethling said: "Take that Sea Otter!!" (laughing) "Normally most people expect a stronger or bigger guy than me to do well here, but I feel so vindicated after having bad luck in the World Cup last week, to be so close to Mick and Greg on this type of course, it gives me confidence that my training has been right all along, and it was just human error that robbed me of a podium last week."
Justin Leov said: "A podium is good for sure, but I just wish I'd had a cleaner run. I hit some things awkwardly and lost momentum in a couple of sections. You have to have a perfect run here to be in with a shot of a win, but yeah, that's a good result. My partner Tory was here this week over from New Zealand and it was cool to race knowing she was at the finish line!"
1. Mick Hannah (AUS) – 2m 08.1secs
2. Greg Minnaar (RSA) – 2m 08.2secs
3. Andrew Neethling (Trek World Racing) – 2m 08.8secs
4. Justin Leov (Trek World Racing) – 2m 09.0secs
5. Brian Lopes (USA) – 2m 09.2secs
Video releases are now posted on the team website from World Cup Round 1, and remember to check in during the coming week for the video release from Sea Otter:
The cross country riders are busy preparing for next weekend's World Cup Cross Country Round 2 next week in Offenburg, Germany.