June 04, 2012 (Barrie, ON) – The third and final round of the 2012 Canada MTB Cup concluded Sunday at the Hardwood Ski and Bike venue, North of Barrie Ontario. With the overall series wrapped up on both the women’s and men’s side – Sandra Walter (Xprezo-Borsao) and Raphael Gagne (Equipe Quebec/Rocky Mountain) won rounds 1 & 2 of the series – valuable CI UCI points were on the line in Hardwood.
Unusually wet and slippery conditions were on tap for riders on Sunday and served as the first muddy race of the 2012 season for many. In the Elite Women’s field, it was Emily Batty (Subaru-Trek) who broke away from the remaining 25 women in the field to take a 3-minute victory over the 2012 Canada MTB Cup Series champion Walter.
“We went out pretty hard and marked Emily but once she gapped us it was hard to close it,” said a muddy Walter the overall CCup Series winner. “My local trails in BC helped but I didn’t pre-ride the course here in the rain before which might have helped. Still I’m happy with another podium and I guess this means I win the overall title.”
Chasing hard all race and finishing in 3rd position was Amanda Sin (SCOTT-3Rox), just over 4 minutes back of Batty. “It was muddy, wet, and slick on the course today, making it really challenging and fun,” said Sin. “I’m happy with my race despite making a few mistakes in the mud. It’s the first real mud race of the year.”
In the Elite Men’s race, it was the SCOTT – 3Rox team who dictated the pace and played the team game as it was Cameron Jette (SCOTT – 3Rox) who opened up a 10-second advantage after the opening lap as the rest of the field were eyeing Jette’s teammates Derek Zandstra and Geoff Kabush.
Off the front at the start was Trek Canada’s Adam Morka, who couldn’t keep the high pace going as the weather conditions deteriorated. “I got off to a good start leading it out and getting a bit of a gap for the first lap with Cam,” said Morka. But when it started raining harder, his tire choice of semi slicks sealed his fate for the day. “I rolled backwards each lap as I was having to be so cautious and slow on the single track.”
After some hard riding in the chase group, it was Gagne (Equipe Quebec/ Rocky Mountain) who caught up with Jette, while Kabush waited for the right moment to make his move and bridge up to the pair and now there were three leaders. From there, the SCOTT – 3Rox team hit Gagne hard with attacks: Kabush put on the pressure, forcing Gagne to chase while Jette sat on.
Kabush’s digs where too much for Gagne, and it came down to a battle for 2nd between Jette and Gagne. According to Jette, “the plan was working great until I crashed trying to overtake Raph and he was able to get a 10 or 15-second gap that I was unable to close.”
Jette was able to hold onto 3rd as he finished ahead of a hard charging Neal Kindree (Specialized / EMD Serono) and Derek Zandstra (SCOTT-3Rox). “It’s always a good feeling to be riding at the front. It’s what you train for so it’s good to see that payoff in races,” said Jette.
For Kabush, a return to Hardwood Hills and the Canada Cup series was a trip down memory lane. “Racing at Hardwood Hills definitely brought back some memories. I’ll have to look it up but I think it has been around 10 years since my last visit.”
Kabush, who’s focus for 2012 is on the World Cups and the London Olympics, found it refreshing to return to the Canada Cup series. “It was a fun weekend to come up and visit Scott-3Rox HQ, ride some local trails, enjoy camping out with the team, and do some good Canadian racing.”
Full results HERE.