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Steve Smith to Defend Canadian Mountain Bike DH Championships Title

release by Cycling Canada

July 09, 2014 (Ottawa, ON) – The 2014 Canadian Mountain Bike Downhill Championships will take place near Kamloops, BC, at the Sun Peaks Resort this coming weekend. Canada’s Steve Smith of Nanaimo, BC (Devinci Global Racing) and Micayla Gatto of North Vancouver, BC will both be looking to defend their titles from 2013.

The Canadian Championships is the most important one-day race of the season for the top Canadian stars, with the highly-coveted Maple Leaf Jersey on the line. The National Champion jersey is a symbol of pride and achievement that a rider will wear for the following year, and is what drives many cyclists in their competitive career.

“If you are looking for an adrenaline rush from start to finish, then mountain bike downhill is your top cycling sport to watch. The course will be spectacular for these Championships, and expect the tightest battle all way to the finish line,” said Nicholas Vipond, Competitions Coordinator at Cycling Canada. “The Canadian Championships crown the best this country has to offer, and this year will be no exception.”

The Downhill race course starts on the aptly named “DH” trail, a relatively steep descent winding in and out of sub-alpine forest offering steeps, fast and flowing berms, and some epic singletrack that will challenge the riders.

Steve Smith on his way to winning at last year's DH Nats  ©  Ryan Kuhn

“Holy Rollers” is the next section on the menu, with a more mellow grade that will force pedalling to reach maximum velocity. This section is wider with tons of berms and small hits along the way that will leave participants balancing speed and style, leading in to the final section of the course.

The notorious “Arm Pump” holds this honour and is definitely the most technical section of the course. Fun and flowing singletrack with roots, rocks, and some new berms and drops added this summer to keep speeds up as riders race towards the finish line below.

“Sun Peaks has been a favourite course of many riders on the racing circuit for the last couple of years and we are really excited to welcome top racers from across the nation to what will be an entertaining and action packed weekend. ‘Canada’s Alpine Village’ is the perfect setting for the National Championships this year,” said Henry Pejril, race organizer.

In 2013, Steve Smith took these Championships by storm, winning the men’s elite race and the coveted sleeve in a dominating fashion. The downhill veteran and crowd favorite won the race with a four second lead. Coming back from injury, Smith will compete against the likes of Kyle Sangers, Rob Fraser, Mckay Vezina, Kirk McDowall, Samuel Thibeault, Mark Wallace, and Matt Beer just to name a few contenders for the title.

In the women’s race, veteran Micayla Gatto, a multiple medallist at World Championships, took the title with a three-second lead last year. A win for her this year would represent her career fourth Canadian Championships downhill title. Vaea Verbeek, Denise Uyesugi, and Kirby McLean are all expected to provide a stiff competition to the defending champion in the women’s elite race.

As in 2013, there will be medals and jerseys awarded to the winner of each race the Cadet (U17), Junior (U19), Elite and Master categories for both Men and Women.

The timed sessions are scheduled to take place on Saturday, while the Canadian Championships races will be presented on Sunday.

Online Registration is open until July 10, 6pm Mountain Time. Elite and Junior Expert categories must register a minimum of 48 hours before the event here.

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