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MTB World Cup XC #2 — Preview

May 28, 2005 (Houffalize, Belgium) – The world’s top riders hit the dirt tomorrow on Houffalize, Belgium’s flowy 6.6-kilometre course. The UCI named Houffalize the best World Cup cross-country event of 2004 and many riders and spectators claim it’s the best World Cup venue ever, because of the great course, atmosphere, spectators and, of course, beer. The region is world famous for its brew, Chouffe, which is deceptively strong with a smooth taste.

Over 30,000 Belgian cycling fans are expected to watch tomorrow’s race. The weather forecast is calling for cloudy skies with sunny periods and a high of 24 degrees Celsius in the morning with a risk of thundershowers in the afternoon. It has been hot and sunny for the past few days. The course is mostly dry with several fast, dusty descents. A full-suspension could be an advantage towards the end of the race when riders start to tire, as the downhills are filled with arm-rattling stutter bumps.

Alison Sydor (CAN, Rocky Mountain-Business Objects), Marie-Helene Premont (CAN, Rocky Mountain-Business Objects), Kiara Bisaro (CAN, Gears Racing), Trish Sinclair (CAN, Scott USA) and Sandra Walter (CAN, AdventureBound.ca) are representing Canada in the women’s race, which has 84 entrants. Of the 215 entrants in the men’s race, there are no Canadians registered.

The women will do a modified lap plus four full laps. They start at 11:00 a.m. The men will do a modified lap plus six full laps. They take off at 2:00 p.m.





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MTB World Cup XC #2 — Preview

May 7, 2005 (Madrid, Spain) — Here’s a quick preview of round #2 of MTB World Cup taking place tomorrow in Madrid, Spain. The course is 7K loop in Casa de Campo, a park right inside the city, and they’re expecting a high of 27 degrees in the shade tomorrow – today it was over 30 in the sun. The course is super dry and fast with loose, sandy sections and several downhills that have significant braking bumps and ruts. It will be full-hammer all the time as the DH’s aren’t long enough for recovery and there are several open, dirt road sections. The climbs are generally steep and short.

Canada is represented as follows:
Men: Max Plaxton (Maxxis);
Women: Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain-Business Objects); Marie-Hélène Prémont (Rocky Mountain-Business Objects); Kiara Bisaro (Gears Racing); Trish Sinclair (Scott USA); Sandra Walter (AdventureBound.ca)

Other top riders include:
Men: Christoph Sauser (SUI, Siemens Mobile-Cannondale); Julien Absalon (FRA, Bianchi-Agos); Bart Brentjens (NED, Giant); Jose Antonio (ESP, Multivan-Merida); Roel Paulissen (BEL, Giant); Jean-Christophe Peraud (FRA, Lapierre); Miguel Martinez (FRA, Commencal-Oxbow)

Women: Gunn-Rita Dahle (NOR, Multivan-Merida; Sabine Spitz (GER, Specialized); Irina Kalentieva (RUS, Multivan-Merida); Marga Fullana (ESP, K2-Zero Rh+).

This venue will be the Summer Olympic 2012 site if Madrid wins the bid – the decision will be made later this year. The 2012 Madrid Bid is making a huge advertising push in the city, with banners, a sculpture of an Olypmic torch in the middle of a roundabout (right by my hotel – I’m in a suburb). The Bid is one of the major sponsors of the World Cup this weekend.

Women’s start tomorrow: 10:00 a.m. – Men’s start: 1:00 p.m. More tomorrow after the races!





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