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Canada’s McGill 21st in Junior Women’s XCO Race @MTB Worlds 2016 – Jansson Wins + PHOTOS

by pedalmag.com
Sidney McGill  ©
July 01, 2016 (Nové Mesto, CZE) – Canada’s Sidney McGill was the top Canadian in 21st as Sweden’s Ida Jansson led wire-to-wire in the the 15.1km Junior Women’s race to claim the first XCO rainbow jersey at the 2016 MTB World Championships in legendary Nové Mesto, CZE. For Jansson, it was a strong return to racing after breaking her wrist before the European Championships.

Jansson  ©  Michal Cerveny
Junior Women's podium  ©  Michal Cerveny

Austria’s Lisa Pasteiner claimed the silver while defending champ, Martina Berta (Italy), finished third. Team Canada’s Sophianne Samson placed 24th while Erica Leonard was 28th for three Canadians in the top 30 as Emily Handford suffered an unfortunate flat ending up 39th.

Junior Women's start  ©  Michal Cerveny

The junior women were in luck for their race that featured a 2.8km start loop + 3×4.1km laps as only a few clouds obscured the sky over Nové Mûsto for the opening XCO at the World Championship race on Canada Day. The temperature was also ideal at 24C, compared to the projected hotter temperatures coming on Saturday which are predicted to drop for Sunday’s final day of competition along with dire predictions of weekend rain.

Krupova leads Handford  ©  Michal Cerveny

Sweden’s Jansson took an early lead which she would never relinquish as Italy’s Berta settled into second with Pasteiner 3rd. Canada’s Handford was the top Canuck sitting in 13th following the start loop with McGill further back in the 20s.

Samson  ©  Michal Cerveny
An unfortunate flat set Handford back as McGill moved up to 19th with Leonard and Samson in 38th and 39th respectively. Jansson at the front seemed unstoppable as Pasteiner caught and passed Berta to take over second during the second lap. McGill dropped back to the low 20s as Leonard moved up to 28th with Samson 31st… as Handford fell back to 37th.

Jansson  ©  Michal Cerveny
On the final lap Jansson, who was fourth last year, could not be reeled in and took the win while Pasteiner dropped Berta for the silver as the Italian settled for the bronze. Sophie Wright (Great Britain) moved her way up steadily to claim fourth.

By the finish, the top Canadian, McGill, retained her 21st place spot while Samson gained momentum and moved up significantly over the second half of the race to finish 24th with Leonard also gaining ground in 28th across the line. Handford was the final Canuck in 39th.

W Canada  ©  Michal Cerveny

“It was a tough race as I was coming in already feeling sick but I was happy to finish strong and overall had a good time out on course,” commented McGill. “My main goal coming in was just to enjoy the experience and learn lots. As a first-year junior, I haven’t been to World Championships before and was just looking to learn as much as I could. It is really a different experience than I am used to back home in Alberta, between the amount of spectators and noise, and the intense and intimidating start. But it was awesome to race so many fast juniors from around the world, and with my Canadian teammates.”

Handford was hoping for more as this was her first flat. “I know at one point in the start loop I was riding in 9th which was incredible for me,” said Handford post-race hoping to improve on last year’s 35th at the Worlds. “I rode out the flat for the better part of the first lap but the change meant I dropped so many places,” she explained. “It was so discouraging for me to have gone from such a good start position and then have such bad luck—I’ve never flatted in a race before.”

Many riders spoke of the fabulous venue at Nove Mesto and the crowds including Leonard. “It was an amazing race – the energy and excitement from the crowd itself was enough to get my heart racing,” said Leonard. “The course was demanding, with almost 200 meters of climbing per lap, rock features and a blistering fast start loop. The start was a bit shocking for my legs, even though I expected the speed, but soon enough I settled into a good pace and felt as if I was gaining speed throughout the race!

“I finished sprinting against Olga Igoshina – legs feeling numb but content knowing I gave it my all,” she added. “It was such an amazing experience being able to race against the best in the world. It really is inspiring to be a part of such an elite level in my sport and to be able to compare myself to world-class athletes… I’m so proud of our team’s performance today, as well as my own!”

Results here.

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