XC titles awarded at Sugar Mountain

Sugar Mountain, N.C. (June 10, 2006)Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, Colo. / Subaru-Gary Fisher) and Shonny Vanlandingham (Durango, Colo. / Luna) won the men’s and women’s cross country titles in dominating fashion Saturday at the National Mountain Bike Series #2 Showdown at Sugar at the Sugar Mountain Resort.

Left to right: Waite, Bishop, Horgan-Kobelski, Kabush and Federau
Fresh of his World Cup podium in Fort William, Scotland, Horgan-Kobelski finished four laps of the 6.6-mile course in 2 hours, 4 minutes and 59.1 seconds – 2 minutes and 45 seconds ahead of Jeremiah Bishop (Harrisonburg, Va. / Trek/VW) and NMBS#1 and current Canadian champion Geoff Kabush.

“When you’re on, you’re on,” Horgan-Kobelski said, noting that the nearly 1,700 feet of climbing per lap on the course played into his strength as a climber. “(I built the lead) pretty much all the way up that whole climb. I was really trying to turn over a hard gear on the steepest pitch. Going into the race today, I really decided I wanted to ride my own pace so I really made an effort to attack on the first climb of the first lap. I tried to get away so I could ride in a position all by myself.”

Horgan-Kobelski established himself early in the field of 96, finishing his first lap in just over 30 minutes. By lap two, Horgan-Kobelski had built a 20-second gap between himself and the chase group of Bishop and Kabush, and continued to build on that lead throughout the race. Horgan-Kobelski’s win puts him nine points ahead of Kabush in the NMBS series standings.

Canadian Ricky Federau and USA Cycling U-23 program graduate Nick Waite (Davis, W.V. / Kelly Benefit Strategies) rounded out the podium.

Vanlandingham captured her second NMBS title in a row for 2006 with her win. By lap two, she had built a 1:20 gap on Kelli Emmett (Colorado Springs, Colo. / Ford Cycling) and Canadian Willow Koerber. Vanlandingham completed the three laps of the course in 1:48:09.7.

“It was a long climb, you definitely had to have good legs for sure because a majority of the time you were climbing,” Vanlandingham said, adding that each lap was roughly 25-30 minutes of climbing, then 10 minutes of descent.

Left to right: Haywood, Irmiger, Vanlandingham, Bisaro and Emmett
“The descent was super technical, but it was super short. I’ve been known to be a long climber, so it’s nice to get on my original strength for sure. On the first lap I was being a little conservative on the first climb, but on the second climb I turned it up a notch and tried to ride at my highest level.”

By the end, Heather Irmiger (Boulder, Colo. / Subaru-Gary Fisher) had moved into second, just over two minutes behind Vanlandingham. Canadian Kiara Bisaro, Emmett and Sue Haywood (Harrisonburg, Va. / Trek/VW) completed the top five.

Also on slate at this NMBS was a Super D competition. Downhill rider John Kirkcaldie of New Zealand completed the 1.5 mile course in 5 minutes, 38.4 seconds for the win. Haywood took the women’s pro title in 6:43.4.

The pro dual slalom will continue Sunday as the event was postponed due to a thunderstorm.

Though the Showdown at Sugar marked its 13th run this year, the race made its debut on the NMBS calendar in 2006 as the second stop of the series. The Showdown at Sugar concludes Sunday with the downhill, pro dual slalom and short track events. For complete results, visit http://www.skisugar.com/showdown/results.phtml.

This Article Published June 10, 2006 For more information contact: