Posted by Editoress on 07/11/09
The Canadian National Mountain Bike Championships always feature world class competitors, and this year saw a race to the wire in the men's field and a dominating performance in the women's. Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) took his fifth consecutive men's title (and the sixth of his career) in a hard fought, four-way battle, while Catharine Pendrel (Luna) came out from behind the shadow of Marie-Helene Premont (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) with a convincing victory.
The Nationals came to St-Felicien, Quebec for 2009; the site of a World Cup two years earlier that received strong reviews from the teams for both its course and organization. This year was no different, with riders universally praising the course. "This is real mountain biking," commented Seamus McGrath (Jamis).
After Junior and Cadet aged riders rode in the morning (with Evan Guthrie (Team BC) successfully defending his Junior men's title, and Laura Bietola (3 Rox Racing) winning the Junior women's title), it was the turn of the Elite and U23 women. Emily Batty (Toronto Trek Store) was the clear U23 favourite, and she did not disappoint, easily repeating as champion, and catching all but the first three Elite women, despite starting a minute behind them.
The Elite women's race was an interesting one: a showdown between the six time defending champion Premont and Pendrel, who has been, until now, a regular second place finisher. This year look to be possibly different - Pendrel was coming off a strong victory in the BC Bike Race, is the number one ranked rider in the world, and has been a consistent top finisher in the World Cup this season. Premont, on the other hand, has not raced since her second place finish in the Madrid World Cup at the end of May, as she builds for her hometown Mont Ste Anne World Cup race in a couple of weeks.
Shortly after the women started their four lap race, rain began to fall, making the dirt and the rooted sections more slippery. The course is one that suits Pendrel (her first breakthrough ride occurred her at the 2007 World Cup), and she took to the front immediately after the start loop.
"I was trying to get a gap on Marie-Helene, and initially she kept coming back to me, but when we got into the singletrack climbing I was able to open it up a bit."
By the end of the first lap, Pendrel was nearly 40 seconds ahead, and pulling away, eventually winning by nearly three minutes over Premont, with third placed Amanda Sin (3 Rox Racing) five and a half minutes in arrears.
"Winning a World Cup is pretty big," agreed Pendrel, "but this is way up there, to win my first national title and to be able to wear the jersey for the Canadian World Cups in a couple of weeks."
Premont was gracious in defeat, and philosophical. "The national title was not as big a priority for me this year, and I just have come off a big three week training session as I get ready for Mont Ste Anne. I knew this morning that my legs were heavy, and that it would be very hard to the defend the title. But I'm very happy for Catharine, she rode a very strong race and she deserves to be the champion."
The men's race pitted Kabush against U.S. National series leader Max Plaxton (Sho-Air/Specialized), Canada Cup series leader Derek Zandstra (3 Rox Racing) and BC Bike Race winner Seamus McGrath. Kabush has had a roller coaster season, so he looked to be more vulnerable than usual.
Team Ontario's Andrew Watson got the hole shot out of the start loop, as the men began their five lap race. The rain had stopped by the start of the men's race, although it would come back briefly in the middle of the race. Watson was overtaken by Zandstra shortly into the first lap, who was taking a more aggressive strategy than usual for the race.
"I decided to race it a little differently, to be the pace setter," explained Zandstra. "Geoff and I raced together for the entire Canada Cup in Canmore a few weeks ago, so I knew that I could stay with him."
For most of the first four laps, it was Zandstra leading Plaxton, Kabush and McGrath, with Watson yo-yoing some 15-25 seconds behind the group. It wasn't until late in the fourth lap that Plaxton finally made a move that split things up, when he attacked on the final climb of the lap.
"I was surprised that it held together so long," commented Kabush. "Derek and Max kept making these little surges, but it wasn't enough to really split it up, so i was just hanging in behind them. Max was the guy I was worried about the most, because he has been riding really well this year, but I was also concerned about Seamus because he was hanging out at the back, and I didn't know if he was saving himself for a big attack."
It turned out that McGrath was at his limit, because when Plaxton jumped, only Zandstra and Kabush could respond. The trio stayed together - with Zandstra and Plaxton making small feints - until shortly before the singletrack climb, when Kabush launched a huge attack that no one could respond to.
He immediately took 12 seconds out of Plaxton, who fought back over the final two kilometres, but couldn't close the gap, eventually finishing nine seconds back, with Zandstra taking the bronze medal at 42 seconds.
In the U23 race, Raphael Gagne (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) was in a class of his own, starting one minute behind the elite field and still finishing eighth across the line. Cameron Jette (Toronto Trek Store) took silver and Cody Canning (Team Alberta) bronze.
|1 Catharine Pendrel (BC) Luna Pro Team||1:36:47|
|2 Marie-Hélène Prémont (QC) Team MAXXIS-Rocky Mountain Bicycles||at 2:51|
|3 Amanda Sin (ON) 3 Rox Racing||5:30|
|4 Mical Dyck (AB) Trek Toronto||7:59|
|5 Karine Travaillaud (QC) Specialized||9:56|
|6 Caroline Villeneuve (QC) Norco Factory Team||10:57|
|7 Sandra Walter (BC) LOCAL RIDE WOMEN'S MTB||12:51|
|8 Cindy Montambault (QC) Accro Vélo Val-d'Or||13:30|
|9 Kathleen Villeneuve (QC) Cycles des Monts||15:08|
|10 Josiane Mathieu (QC) Demers-Specialized||16:39|
|11 Marie Allaire (QC) XPREZO||29:55|
|DNF Catherine Vipond (ON) Norco Factory Team|
|DNF Anne-Marie Jobin (QC) Warrior Racing|
|1 Emily Batty (ON) TREK STORE RACE TEAM||1:44:23|
|2 Mikaela Kofman (QC) 3 Rox Racing||at 4:18|
|3 Rébecca Beaumont (QC) Cyclone d'Alma/Équipe du Québec||12:13|
|4 Stéphanie Lacoursière (QC) Cyclone d'Alma/Équipe Québec||14:02|
|5 Ashley Barson (QC) CoachChris.ca/Ted Velikonja||14:21|
|6 Andréanne Pichette (QC) CVM Subway-Génétik||14:44|
|7 Kaitlin Michener (ON) TEAM ONTARIO||17:53|
|8 Sarah Moore (QC) CVM Val-David||29:31|
|9 Cassandre Olivier-Lapierre (QC) CVM Subway-Génétik||31:52|
|10 Krysten Ong (AB) Team Alberta||-1 Lap|
|DNF Marie-Claude Surprenant (QC) XPREZO|
|DNF Kelly Hall (AB) Team Alberta|
|DNS Bianca Adolf (BC) Cycling BC|
|1 Geoff Kabush (BC) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain||1:42:50|
|2 Max Plaxton (BC) Specialized/Sho-Air/ Specialized||at 0:09|
|3 Derek Zandstra (ON) 3 Rox Racing||0:42|
|4 Seamus McGrath (BC) Jamis / Oakley||1:27|
|5 Andrew Watson (ON) Norco Factory Team||1:41|
|6 Matthew Hadley (NB) XPREZO||6:04|
|7 Julien Fillion (QC) Devinci||6:58|
|8 Eric Batty (ON) Trek Toronto||7:26|
|9 Stefan Widmer (BC) Rocky Mountain Bicycles Factory Team||7:38|
|10 Peter Glassford (ON) Trek Store - Team Ontario||8:04|
|11 Adam Morka (ON) Trek Store Race Team/Team Ontario||8:23|
|12 Craig Richey (BC) Blue Competition Cycles||9:49|
|13 Kristofor Sneddon (BC) KONA||10:11|
|14 Marty Lazarski (BC) Rocky Mountain Bicycles Factory Team||10:28|
|15 Thomas Skinner (BC) Oak Bay Bikes/Specialized||12:46|
|16 Benoit Simard (QC) Équipe du Québec -EMD Serono- Specialized||13:33|
|17 Daniel Sessford (BC) Blue Competition Cycles||14:05|
|18 Marc-André Daigle (QC) Warrior Racing||14:58|
|19 Simon Happy (QC) RST Vélosports||15:59|
|20 Olivier Bordeleau (QC) XPREZO||17:06|
|1 Raphaël Gagné (QC) Team MAXXIS-Rocky Mountain Bicycles||1:50:37|
|2 Cameron Jette (ON) TREK STORE RACE TEAM||at 3:46|
|3 Cody Canning (AB) Team Alberta||4:43|
|4 Ryan Atkins (ON) Team Ontario - EMD Serono Specialized||5:10|
|5 Léni Trudel (QC) Specialized||8:56|
|6 Zachary Hughes (ON) Norco Evolution||10:03|
|7 Sébastien Cadieux-Duval (QC) CVM Val-David||11:02|
|8 Pierre-Louis Chamberland (QC) CVM Val-David||11:57|
|9 Jon Kinsie (ON) Team Ontario||13:00|
|10 Andrew Thomas (SK) Team SASK||13:16|
|1 Laura Bietola (ON) 3 Rox Racing||1:16:04|
|2 Samantha Grover (AB) Hardcore||at 1:52|
|3 Cayley Brooks (ON) Trek/Hardwood||2:44|
|4 Anna Schappert (QC) Ind||3:46|
|5 Natasha Oldcorn (ON) Team Ontario||5:09|
|6 Kristina Laforge (QC) Cyclone d'Alma||6:50|
|7 Valérie Meunier (QC) Cyclone d'Alma/Équipe du Québec||8:18|
|8 Marjorie Lavoie (QC) CVM Val-David||20:25|
|9 Caeli Barron (AB) Team Alberta||22:47|
|DNF Stéphanie Vialle (QC) CVM Val-David|
|DNF Justine Morin (QC) CCS/Dalbix|
|Junior Expert Men|
|1 Evan Guthrie (BC) Rocky Mountain Factory Team/Cycling BC||1:21:49|
|2 Tyler Allison (BC) Cycling BC||at 0:58|
|3 Mitch Bailey (ON) Team Ontario||1:31|
|4 Patrick Chartrand (QC) CVM Val-David||1:48|
|5 Jérémy Martin (QC) Lessard Bicycles/Équipe du Québec||2:02|
|6 Andrew L'Espérance (NS) Cyclesmith/Kona||2:52|
|7 Steven Noble (ON) Team Ontario||2:56|
|8 Léandre Bouchard (QC) Cyclone d'Alma||2:57|
|9 Tyson Wagler (ON) Two Wheel Express||3:20|
|10 Nicolas Tremblay (QC) Specialized/Équipe du Québec)||5:08|
|1 Lauren Rosser (BC) Cycling BC||0:54:00|
|2 Andréane Lanthier-Nadeau (QC) Lessard Bicycles||at 1:22|
|3 Emily Fisher (ON) CYCLESOLUTION/ANGRYJOHNNYS||2:19|
|4 Laurence Harvey (QC) CVM Subway-Génétik||3:52|
|5 Malia Poulin (QC) Charlevoix||4:00|
|6 Frédérique Trudel (QC) CVM Subway-Génétik||4:28|
|7 Frédérique Larose-Gingras (QC) CVM Subway-Génétik||5:39|
|8 Isabelle Turcotte (QC) Spin Sport Inc.||5:52|
|9 Emily Flynn (ON) Ride with Rendall||8:13|
|10 Samantha Wagler (ON) Two Wheel Express||8:39|
|11 Joanie Langevin (QC) Lessard Bicycles||9:36|
|12 Stacey Forbes (ON) Team Ontario - CoachChris.ca/Ted Velikonja||9:49|
|13 Rosalie Auger (QC) D'Amos||14:01|
|14 Justine Desmarais (QC) CVM Val-David||29:59|
|1 Mo Lawrence (BC) Cycling BC||1:05:28|
|2 Nicolas Gagné (QC) CVM Val-David||at 0:40|
|3 Daniel Varga (ON) Team Ontario/Jet Power||2:34|
|4 Thomas Néron (QC) CVM Subway-Génétik||3:54|
|5 Nicholas Geddes (BC) Norco Factory Team/Cycling BC||4:04|
|6 Alexandre Vialle (QC) CVM Val-David||5:12|
|7 Samuel Tremblay (QC)||5:21|
|8 Bretton Matthews (ON) Jetpower/Team Ontario||5:26|
|9 Antoine Perreault (QC) Accro Vélo Val-d'Or||5:32|
|10 Samuel Waterhouse (QC) CVM Val-David||6:26|
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