Mountain Biking: The Stair Master

Outside magazine, July 1994


Mountain Biking: The Stair Master
By Todd Balf (with Derek Rielly)


From the give-the-people-what-they-want department: There's nothing like a no-holds-barred sprint-finish down multiple flights of steep wooden stairs to make 50,000 Spanish fans scream their lungs out. Switzerland's Thomas Frischknecht and Americans Tinker Juarez and John Tomac reached the stairs, the final stretch of the 4.3-mile Casa del Campo course, three abreast; then Tomac, regarded as the sport's best descender, blitzed them as Frischknecht struggled momentarily to shift onto his big chainring. Tomac finished the six-lap race in 2:11:05, two seconds up on the Swiss rider and 12 seconds ahead of Juarez. In the women's race, Juli Furtado looked vulnerable, beating Britain's Caroline Alexander by a slim four seconds. Sure enough, Furtado's ten-race unbeaten streak came to an end two weeks later, when Canadian Alison Sydor defeated her in Italy.

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