July 22/06 9:36 am - Whistler Canada Cup Preview
Posted by Editoress on 07/22/06
Later today Canada's top cross-country riders will line up for round four of the Canada Cup series here in Whistler. Coming one week after the cross-country national championships at Sun Peaks, many of the top riders have stayed around to race in Whistler. Marie-Helene Premont (Rocky Mountain-Business Objects), Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain-Business Objects), Kiara Bisaro (Team R.A.C.E.), Catherine Pendrel (Norco) and Wendy Simms (Velo Bela-Kona) are all here for the women's race, and have been joined by American stars Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven Cycles), Willow Koerber and Kelli Emmett.
On the men's side, Seamus McGrath (Felt) is the only top Canadian man missing from the starting list, which is led by national champion Geoff Kabush (Maxxis), Ricky Federau (Team R.A.C.E.), Mat Toulouse (Maxxis), Max Plaxton (Rocky Mountain-Business Objects) and national Espoir champion Neal Kindree (Kona). A couple of American World Cup riders have also signed on - Adam Craig (Giant) and Michael Broderick (Kenda-Seven). Kabush is a slight question mark; only one week removed from the concussion he suffered when he crashed at the Nationals. Yesterday he said that he was taking his first mountain bike ride of the week, but planned to compete.
The 8 kilometre circuit doesn't have any major climbs, but a series of short, sharp climbs, singletrack and bumps make it a course where there is nowhere to rest. Probably the biggest factor in the race is going to be the heat. Yesterday it was 36 Celcius, and it is expected to be at least as hot today when the top categories go off at 1:00 pm (4:00 pm EDT). The men will do 5 laps and the women (and Junior men) 4. The Junior women will do 3 laps.
Besides the Canada Cup and UCI points on offer, this race is the final qualifying event for the Worlds team. The Elite categories have been virtually decided, but riders will be vying for spots in the Espoir and Junior categories.
Check back this afternoon for live coverage.