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MTB Canada Cup #1 — Pre-Race Report

May 20, 2005 – The Canada Cup mountain bike series kicks off with the cross-country races tomorrow in Bromont, Que. The downhill gets underway on Sunday.

Last year’s cross-country series winners, Roddi Lega (AB, Norco), Mical Dyck (AB, Terrascape Racing), Raphaël Gagné (QC, La Vie Sportive) and Olivia Gagné (QC, La Vie Sportive), will be on the start line as try to for repeat victories in the Elite Men’s and Women’s and Junior Men’s and Women’s categories. Gagné is now a senior so the Junior Women’s category is up for grabs.

The forecast is calling for a 40% chance of rain on a course that is drying quickly after wet weather earlier in the week. There are only a few puddles left. The 2005 course is considerably faster and more flowing than last year, with a short, punchy climb and descent to start, followed by a loop around the ski village and then a big climb up the ski hill.

According to Andrew Kyle (BC, Sugoi), who will battle it out in the Elite Men’s competition, the race will be won on this main climb, as the last few hundred meters are a tough push before diving down into the singletrack.

The singletrack descent is fun, with a couple of switchback climbs thrown in to destroy any strength left in the legs. The loop finishes through a tricky rock garden and then heads back to the village. If the weather stays dry, the course should be around 22 minutes per lap, so five or six are in order (for the Pro/Elite Men). The race will be really interesting if it rains as there are lots of slippery roots and rocks on the course and several loamy short climbs that will turn into hike-a-bikes.

The Elite Men and Women and Junior Expert Men start at 12 p.m. EST and the Junior Women start at 10 a.m.

The Downhill course is currently dry, but according to weather forecasters, rain is imminent for race day, Sunday.

Last year’s favourites will be careening down the ski run, including Geoff Pendrel (NB, Devinci), Eric Goss (NB, Giant), Mike Jones (BC, Norco) and Mathieu Laurin (QC, Devinci) on the Elite Men’s side and Elite Woman Danika Schroeter (BC, Giant).

The gravity action begins at 1 p.m. EST on Sunday, May 22.

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