September 3/03 3:50 am - Junior Women XC/Team Relay Preview
Posted by Editor on 09/3/03
Junior Women's XC and Team Relay Preview
It is approximately 1hour to the start of the first cross-country event of the 2003 Worlds in lugano, Switzerland. The weather is perfect - sunny, not too hot, with a bit of a breeze. The Junior Women do the 6.2 kilometre course four times, starting at 10:30 am local (4:30 am EDT).
The favourite is defending world champion Lisa Mathison of Australia, who, an Australian journalist tells me, is going very well. Also Elisabeth Osl (Austria) and Bettina Schmid (Switzerland), the European Champion.
There are 4 Canadians in the race - Brook Baker, Kylie Case, Olivia Gagne and Catherine Vipond. Our national champion, Emily Batty, is too young to compete this year. ("Just what we need, more strong Canadians", groaned the Australian journalist when I told her to watch for Emily in the future).
Canada faces a tough race to win its third consecutive Team Relay title, especially after losing Ryder Hesjedal to the Elite ranks. Canada will field Chrissy Redden, Roland Green, Ricky Federau and Max Plaxton (Women, Elite Man, Espoir Man, Junior Man). Other strong teams are the European champion Swiss (Barb Blatter, Ralph Naf, Balz Weber and Nino Schurter), Germany (Sabine Spitz, Lado Fumic, Manuel Lado and Florian Ackermann) and the Poles (Anna Szafraniec, Marcin Karcznski, Piotr Formicki and Kryspin Pyrgies). Each rider does one lap of the course.
The course is technically tough, especially on the downhills, with no single long climb to break things up (only 180 metres of vertical per lap). It is an up and down rolling circuit, with lots of rocks. Maybe a course for full suspension. A course for power riders