June 16, 2012 (Saint-Félicien, QC) – The Elite/U23 Men’s XC Championship race is soon underway in hot, sunny conditions in Saint-Félicien as all eyes will be on reigning Elite champ Max Plaxton (BC, Specialized Factory Racing) as long-time champ Geoff Kabush (BC, Scott-3RoxRacing) will be out to reclaim the title with teammate Derek Zandstra eager to win his first championship jersey. The Elite men will complete 6 laps for a total of 30km. Leandre Bouchard (Cyclone dAlma / Devinci) is the defending U23 men’s champ and he’ll be challenged by Mitch Bailey (ON, Trek Canada), Evan McNeely (ON, Specialized) and Evan Guthrie (BC, Rocky Mountain) as the U23 men will complete 5 laps…
The Elite men are off and Plaxton takes the holeshot – the pack is just behind him with Kabush and Raphaël Gagne (QC, Rocky Mountain) leading the chase – Gagne is eager to add to his Canada Cup overall title.
In the U23 Men’s race it’s Bailey getting a good start – Bouchard is just behind in the pack…
It’s very hot today in Saint-Félicien so those who like the heat will thrive, and those who don’t will suffer…
Kabush takes over the lead as he Plaxton and Gagne form a small lead group in the Elite Men’s race – Zandstra is just behind at 15seconds…
Bouchard has moved up with Norco’s Andrew L’Esperance as a group of 4-5 riders are leading the U23 men’s race.
Kabush is leading with Plaxton on his wheel and Gagne there as well… Zandstra is in 4th with teammate Cameron Jette (ON, Scott -3Rox Racing) in 5th.
At the front of the U23 race it’s Quebec’s Bouchard and Jeremy Martin (Rocky Mountain /ProCycle) with L’Esperance in third – time gaps coming… SORRY we missed Bailey who is also up with Bouchard and Martin so L’Esperance is fourth.
For trivia fans…who was on the Elite and U23 Men’s podiums in 2009 when the championships were last held in Saint-Félicien…?
Near the end of the lap Kabush and Plaxton have dropped Gagne who is now 20-30 seconds behind.
In the U23 race the lead group is down to two riders – Bailey and Martin (we believe)…
It’s a two-horse race for the Elite men’s title as Kabush and Plaxton are off the front in their own league. Gagne is third, Zandstra is 4th and Jette is 5th…
Trivia answer – Elite podium – Kabush 1st, Plaxton 2nd, Zandstra 3rd. The U23 Podium – Gagne 1st, Jette 2nd, Cody Canning 3rd.
The battle in the U23 race is back to three (3) leaders as Bailey, Martin and Bouchard are together thru the third lap of 5 with a BIG gap to the next challenger.
Kabush and Plaxton are playing cat and mouse as Kabush has been leading for most of the race but now finally Plaxton has taken over the lead… is that the veteran’s strategy ?
Bouchard has attacked and put the hammer down taking the lead by 15-20 seconds over Bailey in 2nd with Martin in 3rd.
Lap 5 – U23 FINAL
Plaxton and Kabush continue their battle at the front with Gagne over a minute behind in 3rd.
Thru the lap near the end Plaxton attacks and now has a 10-15 second gap on Kabush.
Bouchard, the defending U23 champ, begins his final 5km lap and looks good to repeat as Bailey is not making up ground in second while Jeremy Martin holds down 3rd…
1. Leandre Bouchard (Cyclone d’Alma/Devinci) 1:22:31
2. Mitch Bailey (Trek Canada) 1:23:19
3. Jeremy Martin (Rocky Mountain) 1:23:43
4. Antoine Caron (Equipe du Quebec/CVM Subway-Génétik) 1:24:28
5. Patrick Chartrand (Les Yables) 1:25:33
Lap 6 – Elite FINAL
Plaxton is driving hard to topple Kabush again and defend his title… can Kabush respond ?
Plaxton is not letting up and Kabush seems unable to counter his rival’s attack… Zandstra is gaining on Gagne.
The man from Tofino is approaching the finish line and his second consecutive title…
1. Max Plaxton (Specialized Factory Racing) 1:32:48
2. Geoff Kabush (Scott-3RoxRacing) 1:33:30
3. Derek Zandstra (Scott-3RoxRacing) 1:36:36
4. Raphaël Gagne (Rocky Mountain/ProCycle) 1:37:20
5. Cameron Jette (Scott -3Rox Racing) 1:40:28