May 24, 2010 (Mont Tremblant, QC) – The second round of the Canada Cup XC MTB series saw the driest course conditions in history on the challenging 7km circuit. Lap times were fast due to manicured and well maintained trails, making riding rocks, roots, and drops at high speed one of the defining skills, along with the ability to hammer out sustained climbs. Heat was never a huge factor, but it was warm on open sections of the course. Catherine Vipond (ON) Norco Factory, Max Plaxton (BC) Sho-Air/Specialized, Laura Bietola (ON) 3 Rox Racing, and Leandre Bouchard (QC) Cyclone d’Alma took top honours in their respective categories – full results and more photos here.
The four-lap elite women’s race was very close and exciting with the top six all finishing within 1:46 of each other. Vipond was the surprise winner after getting off to a conservative start and then charging through the field in the second half of the race. She admitted she got too excited in race #1 in Baie-St-Paul last weekend, going out too hard, and then fading hard as well. She made sure not to make the same mistake today. Eventual second place finisher Mical Dyck (AB) Trek Canada led out explosively, but couldn’t hold off Vipond in the end. Dyck also punctured and crashed and had to fight hard to stay ahead of Aleksandra Mooradian (POL) K.Bedford/Verge/Spin, who finished third only 12s behind the Trek Canada rider. Last weekend’s winner and Canada Cup leader Mikaela Kofman (ON) 3 Rox Racing grabbed fourth spot, followed by Jean Ann McKirdy (BC) Local Ride Women’s MTB in fifth and her team mate Sandra Walter (BC) in sixth. “It was such a close race,” said McKirdy. “I could see everyone on the climbs, but I just didn’t have the legs to close the gap.”
The top three in the elite men’s race was a carbon copy of last weekend: Max Plaxton (BC) Sho-Air/Specialized solidified his series lead with his second win in as many weeks, while Andrew Watson (ON) Norco Factory took the first runner-up prize again, with Raphael Gagne (QC) Rocky Mountain grabbing third. Kris Sneddon (BC) Kona cruised to fourth with Matt Hadley (NB) Xprezo-Borsao rounding out the top five. “I had a pretty good ride,” he said. “I had lots of fun on the downhills; I’d let a gap form and then close it again quite easily.”
Laura Bietola (ON) 3 Rox Racing led the junior expert women’s race from the start, finishing the three laps ahead of second place, Kristina Laforge (QC) Cyclone d’Alma, and third place, Lauren Rosser (BC) Team BC.
The junior expert men’s top three was also the same as last weekend in Baie Ste-Paul, with Canada Cup leader Leandre Bouchard (QC) Cyclone d’Alma taking a repeat win, followed by Ontario’s Mitch Bailey (ON) in second, and Evan McNeely (ON) EMD Serono Specialized in third after four laps of racing.
The next Canada MTB Cup takes place on May 30 at Hardwood Ski and Bike in Oro-Medonte, Ontario. With no big conflicting UCI races on the calendar, round three should enjoy a competitive field, including Emily Batty (ON) Trek World Team and Amanda Sin (ON) 3 Rox Racing on the elite women’s side, and Derek Zandstra (ON) 3 Rox Racing joining the men’s battle.