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Canada MTB Cup XC #1 Baie-Saint-Paul – Preview

by Sandra Walter

May 16, 2009 (Baie-Saint-Paul, QC) – Over 460 riders are registered to race the first Canada MTB Cup XC of the season, which takes place on Sunday in Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec, about an hour northeast Quebec City on the Saint Lawrence. This is the first year the town will host a Canada MTB Cup event, but it has a long Quebec Cup history. This year it is a UCI C1 event, which will attract plenty of Canada’s top riders due to the availability of valuable UCI points.

The 5km course is super, according to riders who took to the rooty, rocky, singletrack-laden route to pre-ride this morning. There is lots of new, loamy trail with many quick direction changes, bridges, and variety. Conditions are mostly dry with a few brief muddy sections, but that could all change tonight as the forecast is anticipating showers this evening and overnight, with a big drop in temperature. For tomorrow, race day, highs of only 9 degrees are expected.

All of the Canada MTB Cup championship categories take off at noon tomorrow, including the Elite Women, Elite Men, Junior Women, and Junior Men. Elite Women and Junior Men will likely do five laps, while the Elite Men are expected to complete six laps, with the Junior Women’s race consisting of four laps.

The Elite Women’s field will be competitive, with Emily Batty (ON) Trek Store Toronto expected to continue her streak of incredibly strong finishes, after she earned a top 10 at the first World Cup in Offenburg, Germany at the end of last month. Other contenders include Amanda Sin (ON) 3 Rox Racing, last year’s Canada Cup champ Jean Ann McKirdy (BC) Local Ride Women’s MTB, Catherine Vipond (BC) Norco Factory Team, and Caroline Villeneuve (QC) Norco Factory Team.

The large Elite Men’s field includes last year’s Canada Cup Champion, Raphaël Gagné (QC) Maxxis-Rocky Mountain, National Championships runner-up Derek Zandstra (ON) 3 Rox Racing, Stefan Widmer (BC) Rocky Mountain Factory, Matt Hadley (NB) Xprezo, Andrew Watson (ON) Norco Factory Team, and Adam Morka (ON) Trek Store Toronto.

Tyson Wagler (ON) Two Wheel Express, Mitch Bailey (ON) Team Ontario, and Nicolas Tremblay (QC) Independent are some of the riders to watch in the Junior Men’s race, but a lot of new faces mean anything can happen.

In the Junior Women’s ranks, most of last year’s top riders have moved up to U23, which means the race is wide open among the field of 10 riders.

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