Bouchard repeated his XCE win © Peter Kraiker
July 17, 2014 (Barrie, ON) – Léandre Bouchard (QC) Equipe du Québec/Devinci defended his Eliminator men’s title while Elodie Bernier (QC) Specialized/Equipe du Québec is the new women’s champ. Both riders topped the Qualifications earlier today on their way to taking home the titles.
Superb race conditions greeted riders for the Eliminator, the opening event of the 2014 Canadian MTB Nationals being held Hardwood Ski and Bike Named Mountain Bike, named today as the MTB venue for 2015 Pan Am Games.
Winners Bouchard (l) and Bernier © Peter Kraiker
The cross-country Eliminator is a relatively new cycling event on the national and international scene. The Union Cycliste Internationale adopted the Eliminator as a World Championship cycling event in 2012 with the first event being held in Saalfelden, Austria. Cycling Canada introduced the event to the Canadian MTB Championships in 2013. The event now in its second year features spirited spectator-friendly racing at its best.
The new race format, contended by both men and women, takes place on a one-kilometre timed course which truncates many of the features of a cross-country race. The top 32 qualifiers in the timed event move on to the main heats. The single lap races that follow are contested by four riders in heats with the top 2 riders in the heat advancing to the next round. The top four riders in the final heat of the day battle it out to become the Canadian Eliminator champs.
(l-r) Toronto Pan-AM CEO Saad Rafi, Hardwood GM Jack Sasseville and Oro-Medonte Mayor Harry Hughes. © Peter Kraiker
The championship course as the TO2015 Pan Am Games MTB venue was officially launched by Toronto Pan-AM CEO Saad Rafi, along with Hardwood Ski and Bike’s GM Jack Sasseville and Oro-Medonte’s Mayor Harry Hughes.
Bernier had enough in her legs to fend off Cindy Montambault (CVM 2 VALS) © Peter Kraiker
As the action got underway the women’s field saw Bernier qualify first, followed by Cindy Montambault (QC) Équipe du Québec and Andreane Lanthier-Nadeau (QC) Rocky Mountain Factory Team. Defending champ, Jean Ann Berkenpas (BC) Xprezo-Borsao, qualified 11th but was eliminated in the second heat of the competition.
When the dust settled in the women’s heats the final saw Bernier, Montambault, Catherine Fleury (QC) Cyclone da’Alma/Equipe du Quebec and Anne-Julie Tremblay (QC) Cyclone d’Alma on the start line.
Women’s podium (l-r) Montambault 2nd, Bernier 1st, Fleury 3rd © Peter Kraiker
Bernier remained unbeatable and moved to the front early in the final battle. At hundred meters from the finish it was clear that the chasers Montambault and Fluery would not be able to catch her as they ended up second and third respectively with Trembly fourth. Bernier crossed the finish line with a big smile on her face as the new women’s 2014 Canadian Eliminator champion.
“I’m happy, I did not expect this win. I am very impressed. This is my first experience in the Eliminator. I am the current Quebec provincial champion in the sprint event, but it was very different here. I’m happy,” said Bernier, visibly thrilled with the performances on the track today. “There were good athletes here, including the 2013 Canadian champion. I trained hard for this race because it was my goal. I did a lot of intervals, and I practiced my starts a lot too.”
Bouchard was equally untouchable in the men’s competition as he faced off against three worthy challengers in the final including Rhys Verner (BC) Cycling BC, Adam Morka (ON) WFP Coaching / Trek Bicycle and Samuel Tremblay (QC) Rocky Mountain Procycle.
The gravel corners were a real factor in the race © Peter Kraiker
Bouchard, the defending champ, bolted off the front to take an early lead and never looked back becoming the Canadian Eliminator men’s champion for a second time. The battle for silver and bronze was a close affair between as Verner edged out Morka for the silver with Tremblay fourth.
Men’s podium (l-r) Tremblay 2nd, Bouchard 1st, Morka 3rd © Peter Kraiker
“The goal was to get to the final the easiest way possible, by winning each heat. I crashed in the quarter finals but I didn’t lose a spot. The final was really challenging with a lot of fast guys. It feels good to win again here,” said Bouchard.
- Elodie Bernier (Specialized) led each of her heats © Peter Kraiker
- Bernier had enough in her legs to fend off Cindy Montambault (CVM 2 VALS) © Peter Kraiker
- Bouchard repeated his XCE win © Peter Kraiker
- Peter Disera (Norco Factory Team) looks back at a chasing Isaac Niles (Bicisport) © Peter Kraiker
- Paige Foxcroft (Cycle Solutions / Angry Johnny’s) leading Xprezo’s Jean Ann Berkenpas through Last Chance © Peter Kraiker
- The gravel corners were a real factor in the race © Peter Kraiker
- Men’s podium (l-r) Tremblay 2nd, Bouchard 1st, Morka 3rd © Peter Kraiker
- Women’s podium (l-r) Montambault 2nd, Bernier 1st, Fleury 3rd © Peter Kraiker
- Rachel Pageau (Cyclone d’Alma) and Rosalie Auger (CVM 2 VALS) come through the tunnel © Peter Kraiker
- Samuel Tremblay (Rocky Mountain) jump in front at the start of his heat © Peter Kraiker
- Jack Sasseville of Hardwood Hills give local dignitaries and Toronto 2015 Pan-AM Games representatives a tour of the venue © Peter Kraiker
- Ethan Toom (Cycling BC) takes a tumble as Quinton Disera (Cycle Solutions / Angry Johnny’s)) slips past him © Peter Kraiker
- Tremblay and Adam Morka (Trek Canada) started fast in the men’s final © Peter Kraiker
- Verner had the early lead in the final © Peter Kraiker
- Rhys Verner (Cycling BC) ahead of Leandre Bouchard (Cyclone d’Alma) © Peter Kraiker
- The women’s final was a contest between four Quebec racers © Peter Kraiker
- (l-r) Toronto Pan-AM CEO Saad Rafi, Hardwood GM Jack Sasseville and Oro-Medonte Mayor Harry Hughes. © Peter Kraiker
- Winners Bouchard (l) and Bernier © Peter Kraiker
- Bouchard Bernier 2014-07-17_IMG_7421.3
1. Elodie Bernier (QC) Specialized/Equipe du Québec
2. Cindy Montambault (QC) CVM 2 VALS
3. Catherine Fleury (QC) Cyclone da’Alma/Equipe du Quebec
Final results here
1. Léandre Bouchard (QC) Equipe du Québec/Devinci
2. Rhys Verner (BC) Cycling BC
3. Adam Morka (ON) WFP Coaching / Trek Bikes
Final results here