2005 Seoul World Inline Cup Marathon:
Rollerblade and Saab-Salomon Put Fila on Notice That 2005 Won't Be a Cakewalk
Jorge Botero danced on the podium today after winning the rain-soaked Seoul World Inline Cup Marathon in Korea.
Botero, a member of the Rollerblade World Team, was one of four skaters who broke away from the main pack about 15 kilometers into the race.
The group built a substantial lead, which it held until the finish.
In the final sprint, Botero edged out Saab-Salomon's Franck Cardin by 20 centimeters to win the first stage of the World Inline Cup.
Behind Cardin were Fila International's Mathieu Grandgirard and the unaffiliated French skater Tristan Loy.
After the race, Botero, a 29-year-old Columbian, attributed his win, in part, to the wet roads, which he said normally give him an advantage.
"He looked very happy when he was dancing around the podium," said Donny Bae of the Korean Inline Cup.
Despite the wet conditions, 7000 skaters participated in the event, Bae said. The event included a 20 K and was held on a flat racecourse.
The Women's Race
The women's marathon was a messy affair in which the initial winner, Hyper's Cecilia Baena, and another skater were disqualified for interfering in the final sprint.
According to Bont coach Bill Begg, Baena "slung off" three skaters in the lead pack, one of whom (Begg's daughter Nicole) was also grabbed by Kia Motors' Nathalie Barbotin.
Baena was originally thought to be the winner, but later she and Barbotin were disqualified.
That gave the win to Powerslide's Sandra Gomez Lorenzo of Spain. Her young team mate, 17-year-old Brittany Bowe of the United States, finished second. Rollerblade's Laura Landini was third. (Here's Bill Begg's report on the Bont forum.)
The men's race gave credence to the idea that Fila International will have a tough time continuing its domination of the World Inline Cup.
Fila had what for any other team would be a great race: It placed skaters third, fifth, seventh and 15th in the men's World Cup division.
But compared to last year, when the team regularly placed three skaters in the top-five (often, in the top-three), it had a poor day.
Meanwhile, Saab-Salomon and Rollerblade showed that they are ready to challenge for the World Cup.
According to the Patin Carrera web site, Saab-Salomon finished the day with 210 points, giving it the lead in the new World Cup rankings.
Fila and Rollerblade were tied for second with 205 points.
Bont International had a lackluster first race. It managed to collect only 101 points with its top skater, Luca Presti, finishing 10th in the World Cup division.
Bont has to be disappointed with the race. But then again, it's too early to count the team out.
Maybe like the champion race horse that does poorly in the rain, Bont will start winning when the sun is shining.
Copyright © 2006 by Robert Burnson
Photos of the 2005 Seoul World Inline Cup