Bishop takes first top 10 for U.S. since '95

Jeremiah Bishop gave the U.S. its best finish since 1995 (photo: Rob Jones)
Auckland, New Zealand (August 27, 2006)Jeremiah Bishop (Harrisonburg, Va./Trek-Volkswagen) gave the United States its first top-ten finish in an elite men’s world championship cross country race in 11 years Sunday, finishing eighth in a race that was otherwise plagued by crashes and mechanical failure for the U.S. National Mountain Bike Team.

The 2006 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships concluded Sunday in Rotorua, New Zealand with Bishop’s stellar performance and a 17th-place effort courtesy of Adam Craig (Bend, Ore./Giant) that left many wondering what could have been after a second-lap mechanical mishap relegated him to the back of the 79-rider field. Despite spending considerable time off his bike in the technical support zone fixing a broken seat post, Craig rebounded nicely and posted some of the day’s fastest lap times on his way to making up lost ground.

The performance of the American duo gave Team USA two additional top-20 finishes after the women’s squad illustrated its depth earlier in the day by putting four riders in the top 20.

Bishop’s infiltration of the top ten was the best result for an American male since 1995 when Tinker Juarez placed fourth in Kirchzarten, Germany.

Frenchman Julien Absalon rode to his third consecutive world title, beating Christophe Sauser of Switzerland by 43 seconds in the 25.2-mile race. Fredrik Kessiakoff of Sweden placed third, 1:58 off the winning pace.

Coming off a dominating performance at the National Mountain Bike Series finale in Aspen, Colo. two weeks ago, Bishop was on top of his form and pulled no punches in the sport’s most prestigious annual event.

Adam Craig rebounded from an early-race mechanical to place 17th (photo: Rob Jones)
When asked if he’d gone harder today than he’s gone in a long time, Bishop responded, “without a doubt. I raced like it was five laps.”

Starting in 34th position based on his world ranking, Bishop moved up to 16th by the end of the first lap and then settled into a spot in the top eight for the next three. At the end of the fifth lap, Bishop had ascended to as high as sixth-place while in a group with Thomas Frischknecht (SUI) and Filip Meirhaeghe (BEL). Ahead, the three eventual medalists, fourth-place finisher Ralph Naf or Switzerland and Hector Paez Leon of Colombia kept the pressure on. By the end of the sixth lap, Frischknecht and Meirhaeghe dropped Bishop who managed to hold on to his eighth position throughout the seventh and final lap by 40 seconds over ninth-place finisher Jean Christophe Peraud of France.

“This result ranks very highly in my career,” Bishop commented afterwards. “The world championships is just another level. My preparation went really well and I’ve really been gearing up for the late season and it’s been paying off big time. I’m super, super happy.”

Craig started 23rd, but quickly drifted back after his early-race mishap. At the end of the second lap, he was running 54th. Over the course of the next three laps, Craig consistently posted the fourth-fastest lap time on each lap, making up considerable ground and passing 28 riders. By the finish he passed an additional six to end up 17th. A quick look at his split times revealed that without the mechanical problem early on, Craig was on pace for a finish in the top six.

The day started on a bad note for the seven-man American squad as top-ranked rider Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, Colo./Subaru-Gary Fisher) broke a chain on the opening lap. Ranked 10th in the world, Horgan-Kobelski represented one of the best possible finishes for the U.S., but he was forced to abandon the race after falling too far back. Also on the opening lap, reigning U.S. national champion Ryan Trebon (Ventura, Calif./Kona-Les Gets) was forced to retire after a crash resulted in some minor injuries.

Another victim of a mechanical, Broderick finished 61st (photo: Rob Jones)
On the second lap of the 3.6-mile circuit, Todd Wells (Durango, Colo./GT-Hyundai) was the next victim, breaking a chain and eventually falling too far off the pace. With an 80 percent time cut rule in effect, race officials pulled Wells after a significant enough gap opened up between him and the leaders.

Michael Broderick (Chilmark, Mass/Kenda-Seven) suffered a loosened bottom bracket midway through the race and was the next rider to be pulled after a couple of minutes in the pits caused him to fall outside the time window.

One of the few riders not to be affected by neither mechanical failure nor a crash was Barry Wicks (Corvallis, Ore./Kona-Les Gets). Wicks placed 47th, after being pulled with one lap remaining.

Despite being pulled by officials, Broderick was credited with 61st place and Wells 65th.

The 2006 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships conclude with the U.S. National Team earning one medal and one world title. Jill Kintner (Seattle, Wash./GT Bicycles) successfully defended her 2005 women’s 4-cross world championship with a victory Friday.

Switzerland dominated the medal tally with nine – three gold, three silver and three bronze.

2006 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships
Rotorua, New Zealand
August 22-27

Elite Men’s Cross Country Race
1. Julien Absalon (FRA)2:09.07
2. Christophe Sauser (SUI) +0:43
3. Fredrik Kessiakoff (SWE) +1:58
8. Jeremiah Bishop (Harrisonburg, Va.) +6:21
17. Adam Craig (Bend, Ore.) +9:16
47. Barry Wicks (Corvallis, Ore.) -1 Lap
61. Michael Broderick (Chilmark, Mass.) -2 Laps
65. Todd Wells (Durango, Colo.) -3 Laps
DNF. Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, Colo.)
DNF. Ryan Trebon (Ventura, Calif.)

About USA Cycling
Recognized by the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, USA Cycling promotes American cycling through its 56,000 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 August 27, 2006 For more information contact: