The best way to report a race is to watch it, not race it. That hurts! OK, I was taking a close look at the riders on the course today and it looks like Day Three is a deciding day in the 2009 Red Bull Romaniacs. In the beginning it was clear that the top three were pushing and each to their own level. But pressure was coming from the back too.
[NOTE: since this posting the results have changes since the review of the GPS information where it was shown that Faja Beltran missed a CP and one other CP was thrown out. This makes Paul Bolton the Stage Three winner...]
Starting five minutes apart the top riders have little idea how each other is doing, but the ones behind for sure have a better view of where the front runners are. Cyril Despres pushed hard from the third starting position and the pressure must have been working as top seated and first on the course, Xavier Gallindo crashed hard on a steep climb onto a road and broke his leg. Andreas Lettenbichler lost about six minutes on the day to Despres as well. But the real pushing came from the back with riders Chris Birch, Daryll Curtis and Andy Bolton all running towards the front in the middle of the day. The news was reaching the front riders causing them to ride faster, but all of these mid-pack guys, except Curtis would run into issues. New Zealander Birch caught a huge cable in his rear wheel and it requires ten minutes to remove, taking the whole wheel off the bike and ditching the disc rotor in the process. Brit Bolton flipped over the front of the bike no less than three times in a section called “five Hours River.” South African Curtis has had his best day so far saying he just put it all togther and didn’t mess up, which says a lot about with the difficulty of the tracks. He for sure will be bummed to see that it was only such a short time that would have brought him a stage victory. That went to Spanish Gas Gas rider Faja Beltran who makes a grand appearance in the field with the stage win. The top eight riders all finished within five minutes of each other.
The rest of my day conisted of reading loose translations from the live bloggers and trying to make them into proper English, then shooting some photos on my Husaberg so I have the pictures to make a story.
Meanwhile Chris Denison and Alexander Smith finished the day in second position in the Team Expert class and sit in third in the overall standings for the class.
For the most up to date results and some pretty wild video, check out www.redbullromaniacs.com