May 19, 2005 —- After the long winter months of waiting for all mountain bike riders, the 2005 Canada Cup season kicks off this weekend in Bromont.
The Canada Cup is a series of six cross-country (XC) and four downhill (DH) events from coast to coast. The series is dedicated specifically to junior and elite men’s and women’s categories and all events are sanctioned by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). The series visits Bromont, Mont-Tremblant (XC#2 — DH#3), Hardwood Hills (XC#3), Fernie (XC#4 — DH#3 — XC#5) and Sun Peaks (XC#6 — DH#4). Close to $35,000 in prizes will be awarded throughout the season.
The Canada Cup is designed to help develop young athletes, and over the years such stars as Marie-HÃ©lÃ¨ne PrÃ©mont, Roland Green and Alison Sydor have graduated from the series.
In the junior women’s category, the 2004 series champion Emily Batty (Gearsracing.com) starts the season as top favorite. Count on the reigning national champion Olivia GagnÃ© (Vie Sportive) fighting for the title as well.
The junior men’s events will showcase the incredible talent of RaphaÃ«l GagnÃ© (Vie Sportive). As a first year junior last year, he won the Canada Cup title and the national championship, and finished 7th at his first ever world championship.
On the elite women’s side, it will interesting to see if the rule changes to the series standings will allow Mical Dyck (Terrascape Racing) to repeat as overall championl. The final event not being mandatory in 2005, riders like Karen DeWolf of New Brunswick (2 wins in 3 races in 2004) will see their early-season results reflected in the final rankings.
National champion and Athens medalist Marie-HÃ©lÃ¨ne PrÃ©mont and her teammate Alyson Sydor (Rocky Mountain Business Object) are expected to take part in certain events in the series. Both are using Canada Cup events as part of their preparation for the UCI World Cup and world championships.
A hot battle for the elite men’s title is expected between 2004 winner Roddi Lega (Norco Factory) and the current Canadian champion Ricky Federeau (Gearsracing.com). Both are hungry for wins.
In junior men’s downhill, a duel is expected between Andrew Mitchell (Norco/Oak Bay Bikes) and Ontarian Justin Brown (Norco Factory).
On the elite women’s side, the “crazy canuck” Danika Schroeter should be in front all year. She won all Canada Cup events in 2004.
Four riders should race for the elite men’s title: Geoff Pendrel (Devinci), Eric Goss (Giant), Mike Jones (Norco Factory) and the national champion Mathieu Laurin (Devinci) can all finish at the top of the ranking.
The season will conclude August 13-14 with the Finals in Sun Peaks resort, where new winner will be crowned. Meanwhile, check www.canadian-cycling.ca for all Canada Cup details during the season.