Posted by Editoress on 05/18/08
Bromont Canada Cup DH #1 Bromont QC
Micayla Gatto (Commencal-Marzocchi) and Steve Smith (Cove Bikes) proved once again that they are Canada's top downhillers by taking the leader's jerseys in the opening round of the Canada Cup in Bromont, Quebec on Sunday. Gatto won the women's race, while Smith finished second to American Geritt Beytagh (Morewood Bikes) after crashing in the lower part of the course while holding a commanding lead. As the top Canadian man, he takes the leader's jersey.
The course won praise from all riders, with Smith calling it "sick, just sick".
The weather also cooperated, with the dark clouds of the evening before giving way sun and a slight breeze, which kept the black flies off the spectators in the woods.
Danice Uyesugi (Pinkbike.com), in her first eastern Canada Cup, was the first woman out of the gate, and set the fast time of 3:15.172, which stood up until Gatto came down last, and obliterated it with a 3:06.155 . Miranda Miller (Mad March Racing) finished two and a half seconds behind Uyesugi for third. Miller also won the Junior Expert women's category, ahead of Anne Laplante (Equipe Grounded).
"It was a great run," said Gatto. "My new Commencal bike was perfect, and I had no problems on the way down. I just wanted to put together a clean run and hopefully take the leader's jersey, so everything was good."
U.S. rider Trevyn Newpher (Snowshoe/Marin/MMR) set the first fast time for the Elite men at 2:50.264, which ended up being good enough for a very respectable 15th. Twenty two riders later, another American - Curtis Keene (Specialized) - knocked nearly six seconds off of Newpher's time, and that time would hold up for nearly 50 riders to cut the electronic finish line.
Beytagh then took the time way down - over seven seconds faster than Keene. Keene eventually took fourth, less than a second behind Charles-Alexandre Dube (Intersport/DHRacer), who finally put Canada in the medals, with a time of 2:43.707 .
However, there was Canada's best and brightest hope still to come - Steve Smith. Smith was clearly on a superb run, completely jumping rocky wood sections that other riders were bouncing through. It was after all of the technical stuff was finished, and Smith was heading down the fast finishing section that disaster struck.
"There was a section in the swoopy turns with a couple of bumps that you jumped," Smith explained. "I went too far and my front wheel went into a hole. I slammed into the bars with my chest, and then over and landed on my head, it was totally my mistake."
Despite the crash, Smith finished a little over three seconds behind Beytagh.
Yann Gauvin (Mathieu Performance/R-Solution) was the top Junior Expert man, finishing a strong ninth among the Elite riders.
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