By Paul Verkuylen, Cyclingnews.com
Sunday, August 31, 2008 3.00pm
Rachel Atherton pipped by a skinsuit
Tracey Moseley broke out the go-fast skinsuit Mark Gunter/www.pbase.com/gunterphotograph
Great Britain's Tracy Moseley outclassed her compatriot Rachael Atherton to take the Australian round of the 2008 world cup in wet and slippery conditions. Moseley was the last to start after taking the fastest time in the semi finals earlier in the day.
With the rain having only set in overnight the semi-final was the first and only opportunity to ride the course in wet conditions after training all week was held on a dry and dusty track. "It kind of makes you feel like 'what's the point in training all week?' At least you know your lines. ... It rained so much since the qualifier it was hard to know how much to push [in the finals]."
In the end Moseley (Kona) finished over four seconds ahead of Atherton (Animal Commencal), who was just 15 one-hundredths of a second faster than Sabrina Jonnier (Team Maxxis) in third.
Atherton was disappointed, but admitted that a number of mistakes at the top of the course cost her a win.
"I had a pretty bad top section," Atherton told Cyclingnews. "I messed up at the start and then down in the second rock garden I came off line. It was a little bit slipperier than normal and I rode a line that was different than normal. Stuff like this happens and you have to deal with it.
"Tracey is so strong and you know that she is willing to wear skinsuits and the like to win. I gave it my best shot and came out in second. I guess it is good enough for the points but I wanted to win at the end of the day."
Moseley's skinsuit was a point of contention for Atherton who believes that skill, training and bike set-up should dictate who wins, not clothing. "It is a bit of a touchy subject," Atherton said. "If you ask any of the girls, you don't see them busting out skinsuits 'cause that's not what we feel like doing. If you win we want it to be on skill and training and stuff like that.
"Fair enough to Tracey if she wants to do that to win, but for the sport and the longevity of the sport, to wear cool race kit and to make an image for yourself is more important than the odd win here and there."
Moseley disagreed and saw her skinsuit as merely another weapon in her arsenal to fight for world cup wins. "Wearing a skinsuit makes a difference, but is a bit controversial," she explained. "Most of the riders don't like wearing them, but I know that it is an advantage and I am prepared to take the slack to win a world cup race.
"The others don't wear them because it isn't cool. Mountain biking is very image driven. I make that choice and I get shit for it for the rest of the year but..."
The battle for the world cup remains close. Atherton still leads after placing second, but anything could happen at the world cup final in two weeks.
For full results, report and photos, visit Cyclingnews.com.