Posted by Editoress on 07/15/16
This weekend will see Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec, host the biggest event on the domestic mountain bike calendar - the national cross-country championships (followed a week later by the biggest event on the domestic gravity calendar - the Downhill Nationals in Sun Peaks, BC).
Baie-Saint-Paul, 90 minutes east of Quebec City on the north shore of the St Lawrence, is no newcomer to mountain bike racing, having hosted Canada Cups and Quebec Cups for the last 17 years. However, surprisingly, this is the first time it has hosted the Nationals.
"Canada's top riders will be welcomed to a challenging and fun course in a staple venue within the Canadian Mountain Biking scene. With a trusted organizer with over 17 years of experience of hosting Quebec and Canada Cup events, this event promises to be exciting and action-packed," said Mathieu Boucher, Director of Performance Development at Cycling Canada.
The Elite Women's race was expected to be another showdown between defending champion Catharine Pendrel (Luna) and Emily Batty (Trek Factory). Pendrel has the edge in wins, however, Batty has shown the strongest form recently, finishing third at the Worlds. Unfortunately, we will not see that showdown, since Pendrel has decided to skip the Nationals to prepare for the Olympics. This makes Batty (also attending the Rio Games) the prohibitive favourite to take her second national title. Others to watch for on the podium are Sandra Walter (Liv Giant), Cindy Montambault (Équipe du Québec : Trek GPL) and Haley Smith (Norco Factory).
In the Elite Men's race, defending champion Raphael Gagne (Cannondale 360fly, powered by Sugoi) goes up against his fellow Rio Olympian Leandre Bouchard (Cyclone d'Alma), plus the Scott-3Rox duo of Derek Zandstra and Geoff Kabush. Gagne has the best results of the season on paper, but Bouchard has been pushing hard, and this could be a battle. Expect to see three of these four riders on the podium.
The cross-country (XCO) takes place Saturday, so stay tuned here and on our Twitter site (@cdncyclistlive ) for all the up-to-date information.
Junior Men & Women: 9AM ET
Elite & U23 Women: 11AM ET
Elite & U23 Men:1PM ET
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