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Canadians @ MTB Worlds 2016 – Quotes and Photos

by pedalmag.com
Emily Batty  ©  Michal Cerveny
July 06, 2016 (Nove Mesto, Czech Republic) – Team Canada brought home a bronze medal from the Elite Women’s race courtesy of Emily Batty along with some career-best results including Leandre Bouchard’s 20th in the Elite Men’s race. Andrew L’Esperance moved up 48 spots setting the passing record at this year’s Worlds while the Junior men stormed their race with Sean Fincham delivering a stellar 8th place finish with Quinton Disera 12th and Gunnar Holmgren 16th. We heard from many riders but couldn’t include all quotes with our coverage due to timing etc. Check them out below and congrats to everyone including the support crews behind our Canadian athletes.

Emily Batty (l) battles Maja Wloszczowska sprinting for the bronze  ©  Michal Cerveny

Elite Women XCO

Emily Batty – Bronze
Coming into the last 300 or 400 metres I saw Maja [Wloszczowska] in the pit with a rear flat. I knew I had to leave it all out there, because this is a bronze medal. Maja was able to bridge back up and I knew she was behind me, and getting a draft. But I was running a bigger gear selection than usual, so I was able to lead the sprint out and still win by a few inches. I’m ecstatic, I can’t even describe what this feels like.

Neff, Nash, Pendrel and Langvad (r)  ©  Michal Cerveny

Catharine Pendrel – 5th
I had a great start and felt strong. When Annika [Langvad] got a gap, the other girls seemed content to race for second, so I ended up driving the pace. I think I overpaced for the heat though and was seeing starts a bit. It was tough to drop out of the medals but happy I kept driving forward and I feel good for the World Cup next weekend. The end was exciting. You never want to see people lose a medal because of a mechanical, but it was cool to see Lea [Davison] and Emily rewarded for their perseverance.

Sandra Walter  ©  Andrew Rogers file photo

Sandra Walter – 29th
Today was a great day for the Canadian team. I’m so happy for Emily, achieving her first World Championship medal, and Catharine [Pendrel] for a very good ride as well. It’s gearing up to be a very exciting Olympics for us with the potential for two medals for the women. It’s crazy! I had a solid day, finishing 29th. It was such a tough course and I definitely had a low point where I was quite far back and losing spots, but luckily I was able to turn it around and finish strong. I just kept thinking about the course in sections and focusing on riding each one well. It’s such a fun track and I think it really suits me, as it’s very technical and rooty with some fun rock features and really cool jumps. It’s great to see the depth and level of the Canadian women’s program: we had six women at the race! Haley [Smith] had a tough day, but it’s her first World Championships in the elite category and she has so much time ahead of her. She definitely has the drive and the attitude to go the distance. I’m just really proud of how we represented our country and I’m grateful to the staff who have done an awesome job of supporting us leading up the event. The vibe on the squad is really positive and light and I think it creates an atmosphere of success.

Cindy Montambault  ©  Peter Kraiker
Cindy Montambault – 36th
This was my first experience for the World Championships. There were so many fans – Europeans and Canadians – that I couldn’t hear myself breathe and my ears were hurt because of the noise they were all making. It gave me a lot of strength, especially on the climbs! There was a crash at the start, but I managed to avoid it. Then I slipped into the top 10. I have no idea how I did that but I looks like I had good opportunities and I took them! After the start loop, I was around 25th place. It was really my plan to go fast on the start lap. There are so many racers and often it gets blocked in the single track section and we have to walk, so we lose a lot of time. But with my good start, I did not have a lot of traffic inconvenience in the technical sections. I ended up in 36th place and I’m really proud of my first experience of the World Championships. I fought the entire race to win every second. The climbs were short and steep, but I choose a bigger ring in front so I had to push a little more in the climbs. And technically, I had very good lines everywhere. I was catching a lot of people who descended less well or who did not have the correct lines. The course is really but really fun to race. I am very happy of my 36th place and couldn’t ask for more for this first.

Haley Smith  ©  Michal Cerveny

Haley Smith – 42nd
The race was pretty rough for me. I got caught behind a bad start crash with Gunn-Rita [Dahle]… I honestly don’t know how I escaped that one with all of my skin. This put me into dead last, so I didn’t get off on the best footing. I chased as hard as I could, but it took a few laps to get my legs into gear. It was a disappointing day for me personally, but Emily and Catharine’s successes made for a great silver lining.

Elite Men XCO

Leandre Bouchard  ©
Leandre Bouchard – 20th
It’s been my best year so far. I was a little bit back at the start because of my plate number [64], but I am normally a good starter, so with the long start loop I knew that I could move up. It feels awesome to be in the top 20. The crowd here is so noisy it just makes you push and push. I’m really happy with this race and meeting my objectives. I’m looking forward to representing Canada in Rio at the Olympic Games.

Zandstra  ©  Michal Cerveny
Derek Zandstra – 33rd
I had kind of a crappy start and didn’t get any luck choosing the right lines at the beginning. I got into my rhythm after the start loop and started picking off guys, but I had a crash on the fourth lap which lost me some spots. I carried on and then suffered a rear mechanical the next lap and had to run into the tech zone. After that it was hard going, but I gave it my all.

L'Esperance  ©  Pasquale Stalteri
Andrew L’Esperance – 53rd
It was an honour to be representing Canada at these World Championships. My last MTB Worlds were six years ago in Mont-Sainte-Anne. Everything just worked today. I had awesome legs, the Norco Revolver was absolutely dialed and the support from Team Canada was top notch. I started number 101 and finished up 53rd, 48 passes! I took a moment after the race to just sit and take in the atmosphere. It is an amazing venue and the fans were wild. Amazing experience.

Kabush  ©  Andrew Rogers
Geoff Kabush – 68th
I’m always really proud to wear the maple leaf and today was definitely one of the best crowds and atmospheres I’ve seen in recent memory (Kabush recently tweeted that he’s now raced at 21 World Championships). I was happy with my start and the first half of the race today battling traffic up to the forties midway. It was my fault but unfortunately I tipped over fighting for position on one of the technical uphill climbs and bent my dropout. Things kind of spiraled downhill a bit from there trying to fix things trail side but I still really enjoyed racing in front of the incredible crowds. Thanks to everyone at Team Canada for the support.

Evan McNeely wins  ©  Pasquale Stalteri
Evan McNeely – DNF
The start stretch in Nove Mesto is one of the fastest and scariest on the circuit. I was able to gain a few spots and really started to feel good, through the first lap, after the start loop. Unfortunately, some unpredictable mechanicals forced me to pull out of the race early.

U23 Men XCO

Fortier and Proulx at the finish  ©
Marc-Andre Fortier – 36th
The start was not too good for me, but I kept my concentration and just worked on catching people all race long. But the feelings were good, and the crowds here in the Czech are amazing! I’m always proud to race for Canada, and this was the big goal of the year so I am satisfied.

Peter Disera  ©  Michal Cerveny
Peter Disera – 41st
Nove Mesto is my favourite World Championship venue so far. The atmosphere was electric, with 20,000 fans spilling into the stadium and surrounding forests. Racing at Worlds this year was exciting despite the fact that my legs didn’t co-operate. I had a tough battle with myself knowing that I wasn’t at my best. The descents were super fun and I made sure to get super rowdy on them!


Nadon  ©  Andrew Rogers
Marc-Antoine Nadon – 52nd
This was one of the craziest start I’ve ever taken part in. 104 guys all aiming at coming out on top! The first 45 seconds were incredibly nerve-wracking, the sounds of brakes screaming, tires screeching on the pavement, guys screaming, the smells of burnt rubber and overheating brake pads-it reminded me of a road race crash. By the end of the start loop, I was within the top 35 and was feeling really good, everything was firing on all cylinders, Nadon explains. I had a chain drop on me on the rutty decent at the beginning of the first lap, and it broke the flow of things a bit. As the race progressed it seemed that more and more people were gathering on the sidelines. It was the most defining cheering I’ve ever heard. My ears are still ringing! The course was spectacular. The climbs were extremely steep and littered with roots. I raced my Rocky Mountain Element and was very happy on the dual suspension! The man-made features made for pinpoint accuracy, and there were no second chances.

Alexandre Vialle  ©  Andrew Rogers
Alexandre Vialle – 68th
It’s always a huge honour to wear the national jersey for the World Championship. I’m always really exited! The crowd in the Czech Republic is the best I’ve ever seen, and especially this year with the World Championship-I think I’ll be deaf for the next days!  Unfortunately, my race was full of bad luck hanging at the start where I lost lot of time, flat tire, and others smalls mechanicals that cost me time.

U23 Women XCO

Fleury  ©  Michal Cerveny
Catherine Fleury – 22nd
I haven’t raced since Albstadt [World Cup], and with my ankle it was hard to run on some of the steep climbs. I gave everything that I had for today. I’m a little bit disappointed about my result and how I felt out there, but days like this happen, and for me it was today.

Soren Meeuwisse  ©  Michal Cerveny file photo
Soren Meeuwisse – 30th
Crossing the finish line after four laps of my World Championship race, I was flooded with disappointed emotions. From start to finish I just could not find any power in my legs. The past two World Cups I was gaining time on the climbs, but here in Nove Mesto I was constantly getting passed on the climbs, feeling like I had no spark in my legs. On the bright side, I felt great technically and nailed the downhills in front of the biggest crowds I’ve ever seen. The course had about five 1:30 minute, steep climbs followed by rocky, root-y features great for spectators. Overall, the course was very bumpy but I still loved it on my Trek Procaliber hardtail… My new favourite course for sure! There were many features and opportunities to jump and get air time. One of the most fun parts of my race was in my last lap when I was going down the BMX section and I aired a big gap and got a massive cheer from the crowd! The Expert Climb #2 was the most difficult climb with so many slippery roots… I only made it up clean twice! But there was another massive crowd there that gave me energy to power up.

Junior Women XCO

Sidney McGill  ©
Sidney McGill – 21st
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. 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.

Samson  ©  Michal Cerveny
Sophianne Samson – 24th
As a first international race on my side, I had no strategy heading into the race. I knew it was going to be hard, but giving it my best was what I wanted to do! I had a really bad start-the speed certainly caught me by surprise. I ended up being 40th after the starting the loop, but knew I could catch up. I kept cool mentally which is probably what helped me gain momentum to eventually rise up to 24th. I felt stronger and stronger as the race went on. Racing Worlds is certainly an experience of a lifetime. I learned so much about myself in just one race. The start and the course itself were both certainly intimidating! Seeing so many crazy people cheer made me love this sport that much more. After crossing the finish line, I was proud of what I had accomplished. I knew I had given it my all. I was so glad to be able to compare myself against the best in the world. These were my first World Championships and I hope there will be many more!

Erica Leonard  ©  Ivan Rupes
Erica Leonard – 28th
It was an amazing race. The energy and excitement from the crowd itself was enough to get my heart racing. 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. 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!

Krupova leads Handford  ©  Michal Cerveny
Emily Handford – 39th
I know at one point in the start loop I was riding in 9th which was incredible for me. I rode out the flat for the better part of the lap but the flat 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!

Junior Men XCO

Sean Fincham  ©  Michal Cerveny
Sean Fincham – 8th
I can’t believe, I’m so happy to get top ten. My goal was top-15 and I beat it; I can’t believe it. I had a bad start and got pushed into the fencing and fell back, but I just kept hammering and picking people off. The climbs are so steep, but there are so many fans cheering you on and pumping you up that you can get through it. This is a highlight, for sure.

Quinton Disera  ©  Michal Cerveny
Quinton Disera – 12th
In the start, I found it kind of slow, but I had a super fast start! Felt really good in the start loop and first lap being in the top five. There were some attacks that I wasn’t able to follow. I found I was climbing tempo and didn’t have that extra kick after the start lap. The mid-race was a hurter, for sure. I was really trying to just minimize my losses. In the last lap, I was ready to fight for everything and just felt like I was balls-to-the-wall on everything! In the end, it was bittersweet. But I’m happy about the certain sections in my race, and I rode really clean as well. 12th is still freaking awesome and I’m glad I could do that with the maple leaf on my chest.

Victor Verreault – 33rd
I was on the sixth row at the start with the plate 43 out of 99 riders of worldwide. The start was really fast but I was able to keep my place to the single track, until my chain decide to fall of my gear. I was passed by almost 30 people-and now my race started for real! I was passing people everywhere to try to have a good place in the singletrack. I ended with a 33rd place on a sprint finish just in front the big stadium full of people cheering as everywhere in the course! I’m really happy about my performance and about the amazing experience. My feeling at the end was: I did it! Big thanks to Cycling Canada and my coach Alexandre Villeneuve Gagne – I want more! Hopefully next year.

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