Posted by Editoress on 07/16/10
The 2010 Canadian Cross-Country National Championships will take place at the beautiful Canmore Nordic Ski and Mountain Bike Centre, surrounded by the Rocky Mountains at the entrance to the world-famous Banff National Park area. Canmore is one hour west of Calgary, Alberta. The Centre has played host to World Cups and Canada Cup events in the past.
The seven kilometre circuit is drawing mixed reviews from riders. It will be physically difficult, with a long series of climbs almost from the start that are a mix of gravel road, double track and some wooded twisty singletrack. The downhills, which are drawing most of the criticism, are not technical, consisting of double track gravel and fire road. There are very few of the usual technical sections. To do well will require power and endurance, but not much in technical skills. The Elite and U23 Men will do five laps, the Elite and U23 Women four laps, the Junior Men four laps and the Junior Women three laps.
Defending men's champion Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) commented "It's not a very fun course; it will be a hard race, but not too interesting."
Derek Zandstra (3 Rox Racing), one of the podium contenders for the men was more blunt: "When does it [the course] get hard?"
However, women's defending champion Catharine Pendrel (Luna) stated "I think it will be a good race course, and lead to some hard racing."
For the men's race, Kabush is the clear favourite but, in addition to Zandstra, he will face competition from Max Plaxton (Specialized-Sho Air), who has been very strong on the U.S. pro circuit this season. Andrew Watson (Norco) could also put in a strong ride to upset one of the three favoured riders.
On the women's side, Pendrel will be missing her greatest rival - Marie-Hélène Premont (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain), who has opted to pass up on the national championships due to bronchitis. Premont does plan to attend the two World Cup races the following weekends, but decided it would better to pass up on the travel out west before heading to Europe. Pendrel's greatest rivals are therefore likely to be Amanda Sin (3 Rox Racing) and Mical Dyck (Toronto Trek Store).
Racing starts tomorrow with the Junior categories at 9:00 am local time (11:00 am Eastern), followed by the U23 and Elite women at 11:45 am local (1:45 pm Eastern) and the U23 and Elite men at 2:30 pm local (4:30 pm Eastern). Canadian Cyclist will start our live, lap-by-lap coverage with the Juniors.
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