June 30/02 10:40 am - MSA XC World Cup Preview
Posted by Editoress on 06/30/02
Mont Sainte-Anne Cross Country Preview
by Mike Badyk
For today's cross country races the competitors will be facing a new and very tough course. The long gravel climb on the western portion is still there, but it is the new climb just above the start/finish that will prove to be a significant test. Racers pass under the main chairlift and then up one of the ski runs - this is just a prelude to the true climb. They pass under a bridge and then the course gets much steeper and large rocks jut out from the grass. It twists and turns several times before levelling out to cross a mud filled ditch. This is the entry to a generally uphill, root and mud filled forest section. After the tough climb out in the hot sun the racers would appreciate some sort of rest, but none is to found. The forest section finally ends with a tricky descent down a sloping rock face. Its not that dangerous, but it will be sure to be a spot that will attract many spectators.
After traversing the ski hill, the course drops down into a long stretch of forested single track with several chutes and short steep climbs. There is one last climb on the ski runs before the racers drop into the finish.
If there is a significant factor to today's race it is the hot sun. Although not as sunny as yesterday (there is some thin cloud), when the sun is out the temperature soars. This is especially true on the climbs on the ski runs - the trees block what little wind there is today. As well, there is a lot of dust which may cause some breathing difficulties.
The start list shows 51 women and 93 men competitors for the competition. One notable absence is World Cup Points leader Marga Fullana. She won't come to North America because of her well known fear of travel so there will be a new World Cup leader by the end of the women's race.