Race Report: Vallee de Joux
Inaugural Race Proves Problematic for World Inline Cup
The normally well-run World Inline Cup suffered some road rash of its own Saturday at the new Vallee de Joux marathon in Switzerland.
The day before the race, the organizers decided the planned racecourse was too dangerous, due to poor road conditions.
Rather than scratch the race, they revised the racecourse, shrinking it from 46 to 33 kilometers.
But that didn't fix all the problems.
Lots of skaters reportedly fell during the race. Going around a tight corner on the last downhill, one skater's fall triggered a pileup that brought down some 20 elite racers.
Other skaters, swerving to avoid the pileup, crashed into spectators.
After the treacherous corner, the survivors arrived at the finish line in a pack with only two seconds separating the first 14.
Rollerblade's Jorge Botero won the sprint to claim his second gold medal of the season.
Fila's Max Presti and Luca Saggiorato took the silver and gold.
After the race, according to Bont's Bill Begg, arguments broke out between team skaters.
In the women's race, Rollerblade had a stellar day, helped out by the fact that the powerful Kia team and the top Hyper skaters skipped the subclass event.
Laura Lardani and Angele Vaudan, both from Rollerblade's World team, finished first and second.
Andrea Harrichellar of the Athleticum Rollerblade team finished third.
And Rollerblade World's Michaela Neuling finished fourth.
World Cup organizer Coni Altherr may not have been able to devote as much attention as usual to the preparations for the Vallee de Joux event.
His mother died in mid-June.
Copyright © 2006 by Robert Burnson