Posted by Editoress on 07/18/04
Race Notes from Mont Ste Anne
One of the pre-race favourites in the men's race, Mat Toulouse (GearsRacing.com), was out in the first lap after breaking his chain. "I was up with the front group and my chain got jammed, after I got it unstuck I tried shifting on the grassy climb, and I guess that it was weakened, because it just came apart at one of the links."
Chris Sheppard (Haro-Adidas) was looking very strong out in front in the early going, going for his first national title since 1991. However, it was not to be. "I was feeling pretty good. I flatted on the second lap and used a quick fill, and then I had to stop on the third lap and replace the tube."
He was still in the lead at the start of the fourth lap, barely, but couldn't re-establish a gap. "I was just blown from trying to get back the lead, and I crashed really hard on my right hip. I really wanted that national championship, but there was no love out there today."
He also commented on the mud and traffic (from the elite women and junior men, who were both on the course at the same time): "There's nothing like having a running course for the national championships..."
It was good to see Chrissy Redden (Subaru-Gary Fisher) riding strongly after a long struggle back from her broken wrist at the Worlds last fall, and illness during the World Cup circuit in the spring. Premont commented "Chrissy was riding very strongly today, and I am happy to see that."
Redden will head to Europe to train with Olympian (and training partner) Kiara Bisaro (GearsRacing.com), to help Kiara prepare, and to prepare herself for the Worlds.
Peter Wedge (Kona) is another rider happy to be back after a season plagued by illness. He suffered from tonsillitis all through the spring, and finally went into hospital to have his tonsils removed last month. Now, despite his strong showing at Nationals, his chances of making the Worlds squad are iffy. Federau and the two Olympians (Ryder Hesjedal and Seamus McGrath) are automatic. Geoff Kabush and Chris Sheppard, with their World Cup placings and UCI rankings are also pretty much assured a spot. Andreas Hestler also has a good chance, and Roland Green cannot be ruled out (although it appears at this point he has brought his season to a close, as he tries to get healthy).
Canada has a new team manager for cycling in Athens - CCA High Performance Coordinator Sean O'Donnell. O'Donnell takes over from Yvan Waddell, who stepped aside, citing commitments to GP Cycliste de Beauce and the Quebec bid for the opening stages of the 2008 Tour de France.
This bid is far from dead, by the way, despite some negative comments from one French official. According to Patrice Drouin of Gestev (who are heavily involved in the bid), negotiations are proceeding well. Drouin claims that the Tour organization is still very interested in bringing the Tour to Quebec, and that "it is only a few old style conservatives who don't want it to happen. The flying and jet lag are not major obstacles."
There was one appeal filed in the Olympic selection process, by Charles Dionne for a spot on the men's road squad. The appeal was heard by the ARD, who determined that the selection process was fair and equitable (ie, Dionne was not unfairly left off the team).
The CCA expects to hear within the next week or so about the possibility of a time trial spot opening up in the men's category, as the UCI reviews which countries have not used all their allotted spots. At this point, there is no strong indication that Canada will receive a spot (and an insider to the selection process said that the possibility was not a factor in the decision to pick Eric Wohlberg over Charles Dionne).
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