Carter, Kintner repeat mountain cross titles

Carter got the early jump on Lopes and held on to repeat his '05 title (photo: Tom Moran)
Sonoma, Calif. (July 15, 2006)—Gravity riders took center stage today at the 2006 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships brought to you by X-Fusion as Eric Carter (Temecula, Calif./Mongoose) and Jill Kintner (Seattle, Wash./GT Bicycles) successfully defended their pro mountain cross titles.

Carter edged world champion and top-seeded Brian Lopes (Temecula, Calif.) by a matter of inches after a flawless start gave the 36-year-old veteran position into the first turn. The minimal gap was all Carter needed to hold off a hard-charging Lopes at the line.

Carter qualified third and credited his lane choice as one of the factors that contributed to his win over Lopes.

“I knew I wasn’t going to outride Brian this week,” explained Carter. “He smoked me in qualifying by a full second. I can’t hope that I’m going to catch him, so I have to get him at the gate. He took lane one, which fortunately was the longest route to the first turn. I took lane four which was the shortest and got the hole shot.”

Once the gate dropped, Carter took the early lead and never looked back despite Lopes’ looming presence behind.

“He was definitely coming the whole race. I felt him all the way. I had the shortest distance and I had the hole shot and he still almost beat me. Luckily I was able to shut him down. We all know that once Brian gets out running he’s darn near impossible to catch. He get’s going like a freight train."

“Eric anticipated the gate and I think he was going for broke and got a great start ,” said Lopes, one of the most decorated gravity riders in history with three world titles and nine national championships. “I just followed him and took a different line through the last rhythm section. It was definitely faster, but I guess he got me.”

Kintner held on to claim a stars and stripes jersey to go with her world champion's rainbow jersey (photo: Tom Moran)
In the pro women’s race, a similar upset almost unfolded after Tara Llanes (Los Alamitos, Calif./Giant) took the early advantage over reigning world champion Kintner. With only a smooth ride between her and a stars-and-stripes jersey, Llanes tangled with Melissa Buhl (Chandler, Ariz.) and was forced off course, surrending both her early lead and any chance of claiming the win.

After the mishap, Kintner easily sailed to a win ahead of Leanna Gerrard (Lake Tapps, Wash./Bear Naked-Cannondale) while Buhl and Llanes finished third and fourth respectively.

In other racing on Saturday, Adam Craig (Bend, Ore./Giant) claimed an open men’s Super D title, clocking a time of 6:13.40 to best Ross Schnell (Glenwood Springs, Colo./Trek-Volkswagen) by one second. Chris Eatough (Ellicott City, Md./Trek-Volkswagen), Mark Weir (Novato, Calif./WTB) and Curtis Beaver (San Jose, Calif./WTB) rounded out the podium.

Sue Haywood (Davis, W. Va./Trek-Volkswagen) captured the open women’s Super D crown, clocking a time of 6:47.56 to edge Kelli Emmett (Colorado Springs, Colo./Ford Cycling) by 0.30 seconds. Marla Streb (Los Osos, Calif./Luna), Jamie Whitmore (Mt. Aukum, Calif./Felt) and Kristy Lanier-Mantz (Marlinton, W. Va.) completed the top five.

The 2006 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships brought to you by X-Fusion concludes on Sunday as pro men’s and women’s short track cross country racing and pro men’s and women’s downhill highlight the schedule.


About USA Cycling
Recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, USA Cycling promotes American cycling through its 54,000 members and 2,000 annual events. USA Cycling associations include the BMX Association (BMX), National Off-Road Bicycle Association (mountain bike), U.S. Cycling Federation (road/track), the National Collegiate Cycling Association and the U.S. Professional Racing Organization (professional men’s road). For more information visit or contact, USA Cycling Director of Marketing and Communications, Andy Lee at 719-866-4867.

This Article Published July 15, 2006 For more information contact: