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Canada MTB Cup / O-Cup #4 XC Report and Photos

by pedalmag.com
Jerseys (l-r) Batty, Handford, Disera, Guthrie [P] Peter Kraiker
June 13, 2016 (Barrie, ON) – Windy conditions coupled with sunshine were the order of the day at Round #4 of Canada MTB Cup / O-Cup Mountain at Hardwood Ski and Bike as Evan Guthrie (BC) Norco Factory Team and Emily Batty (ON) Trek Factory Racing took charge in the Elite competitions.

Ontario’s Quinton Disera (Angry Johnny’s p/b Norco & Garneau) held court in the Junior Men’s race and Emily Handford (BC) Rocky Mountain Factory Team battled to victory in the Junior Women’s competition.

While the weather may have made riding at Hardwood Ski and Bike a bit more challenging racers were undeterred by the sometimes-brutal wind as riders pummeled their way around the rocky, rooty and wickedly technical blend of singletrack, short, punchy climbs, and grueling stretches of doubletrack.

More than one racer was overheard saying that the course offered no recovery, and judging by the pain faces during and long after the races, this was a course for the record books.

Evan Guthrie [P] Peter Kraiker
Elite Men’s Race
In the 36km elite men’s 6-lap race, last week’s winner at Horseshoe Resort, Peter Disera (Norco Factory Team), had some bad luck on the first lap, flatting early. But his teammate Guthrie was taking no prisoners as he attacked from the start, creating an early separation between himself, Scott-3Rox’s Derek Zandstra and Guthrie’s two teammates, Evan McNeely, the series leader, and Andrew L’Esperance.

As the tension mounted announcers questioned whether Guthrie had the strength to hold his gap for the duration of the highly technical race. But Guthrie had is own ideas and continued to power smoothly around the course. Despite Zandstra’s efforts, he was unable to close the gap.

Elite Men's podium (l-r) Peter Disera 4th, Zandstra 2nd, Guthrie 1st, McNeely 3rd, Ross 5th [P] Peter Kraiker
McNeely ultimately claimed third as he outpaced L’Esperance who faded over the course of the race. Meanwhile their teammate, Disera recovered from his flat and managed to ride his way back to fourth place by the end of the race. In the end, Guthrie held off Zandstra for the win by over 10 seconds, while McNeely soloed in taking third place with Disera fourth. Davis Ross (AWI Racing) had a fantastic finish taking home fifth after an extremely consistent race.

Emily Batty [P] Peter Kraiker
Elite Women’s Race
In the women’s field, it was admittedly almost a forgone conclusion that Batty was unstoppable. The seasoned Pro also knows the the Hardwood trails which is arguably her “home course”. She grabbed the holeshot at the start with Cindy Montambault (Équipe du Québec : Trek GPL) following her wheel. By halfway mark of the first lap, Batty had opened a gap, and Montambault was battling for second with Jena Greaser (Women’s Project Pedal) just behind.

Elite Women's podium (l-r) Rochette 4th, Montambault 2nd, Batty 1st, Greaser 3rd, Nieuwold 5th [P] Peter Kraiker
Over the 5-lap 30km race Batty continued to extend her lead while Montambault was able to gap Greaser, who had her own troubles as she was being dogged by several challengers including Soren Meeuwisse (Trek Canada Mountain Bike Team), who recently moved up to the Elite category. Ultimately, it was Batty, Montambault, and Greaser taking the top-3 podium spots, with Maghalie Rochette (Luna Pro Team) in fourth and Elyse Nieuwold (PHI Hotel Group) in fifth.

Quinton Disera [P] Peter Kraiker
Junior Men’s Race
The junior men’s 4-lap 24km race was dominated from the opening lap by Quinton Disera who also calls Hardwood home. Trying to contain him were Sean Fincham (Cycling BC) and Quebec’s Felix Longpré. But Disera’s lap speeds were impressive enough to move him into the top 20 men in the Elite men’s field before his race was over, despite starting two minutes behind them.

Longpré and Finchamp dueled in the beginning, but by the end of the fourth lap, Finchamp was able to comfortably cruise in for second with a wide gap to third. Fellow Hardwood local Tyler Orschel (Trek Canada Mountain Bike Team) trailed behind them in fourth for much of the race, staying comfortably away from the rest of the pack with Victor Verreault (Vélo 2 Max St. Félicien) in 5th.

Emily Handford [P] Peter Kraiker
Junior Women’s Race
The junior women’s 18km race featured the tightest battle of the day as Handford, who has been leading the Canada Cup series and has been described as a bit of a phenom, met a valiant challenge from Dana Gilligan (Angry Johnny’s p/b Norco & Garneau), a local from the Hardwood area. Gilligan steadily worked her way through the group over the three laps and moving into position behind Handford with half a lap to go.

Junior Women's podium (l-r) McGill 4th, Gilligan 2nd, Handford 1st, Samson 3rd, Leonard 5th [P] Peter Kraiker
Then she launched a few attacks, and at one point, led Handford. But the series leader was wary and by the finishing straight, a last dig from Handford put her in the winner’s jersey circle again, with Gilligan in second a few bike lengths behind. Taking a stron third was Sophianne Samson (CVM Sigma Assurances), who rode a consistent race. Sidney McGill (Juventus Cycling Club) finished 4th and Erica Leonard (Angry Johnny’s p/b Norco & Garneau) claimed 5th.

When the dust settled the leader’s jerseys remained unchanged. Next stop is round #5 in St-Felicien on July 23 and the series wraps up in Whistler on Aug. 12-13 – full results here.





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