Planet Preview: 2005 Taipei World Inline Cup
Second Stage of World Cup May Provide Clearer Picture of Season
The first stage of the World Inline Cup in Seoul last week proved that Fila International, the team that dominated the 2004 World Cup, can be beaten.
... At least in the rain.
But tomorrow, when the racers line up for the second stage of the World Cup in Taipei, the weather is expected to be near perfect.
Forecasters predict sunny skies with a temperature of 64 degrees (F) at race time: 6 a.m.
No doubt Fila International would like to show that last week was just a rain-driven fluke and reassert its dominance in the World Cup.
Although it had a relatively lackluster race last week, any other team would have been happy with its results.
It finished the wet day in Seoul only five points behind first-place Saab-Salomon in the World Cup rankings.
With a win tomorrow, the team could easily take over the lead. With a big win -- the kind it often had last year with its top three skaters finishing first, second and third -- it could even reestablish its dominance.
But most observers doubt this will happen. Due to team shufflings over the break, the teams appear to be more evenly matched this year.
Another team with something to prove tomorrow is Bont International.
It finished a distant fourth place last week, 109 points behind Saab-Salomon. But the Seoul marathon may not have provided a good gauge of the team's potential.
Team coach Bill Begg says the team found itself in a bad spot after a group of four skaters broke away from the pack about 15 kilometers into the race.
The breakaway group included members of three of the four top teams -- Saab-Salomon, Rollerblade and Fila -- but not Bont.
Because the other top teams were represented in the group, none of the other skaters in the main pack were interested in helping Bont skaters chase down the breakaway.
So "we came up empty handed," Begg says. (Here's the thread with his comments on the Bont forum.)
Copyright © 2006 by Robert Burnson