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Team Canada CX Worlds 2017 Preview Interviews – Junior Men

by Ben Andrew

January 24, 2017 (Luxembourg) – With the 2017 Cyclocross World Championships taking place this coming weekend, Jan. 28-29, in Bieles, Luxembourg, we caught up with Team Canada’s mix of 11 riders for a preview of this marquee event on the cyclocross calendar and asked them the same questions including everyone’s fave… Frites with Mayo or a Belgian Waffle? Throughout the week as we approach the Worlds, Pedalmag will release short preview interviews on each of the athletes that will be representing Canada. To kick things off, here are the young guns who will be in the Junior Men’s race on Jan. 28 – read the Team Canada announcement here.

Gunnar Holmgren [P] Peter Kraiker file photo
Gunnar Holmgren – Junior Men

What are your personal ambitions heading into the 2017 World Championships?
Gunnar Holmgren: I’ve been racing well during my Euro campaign so far and have gained a lot of experience thanks to starting with the fastest on the front row and racing such a variety of courses. As a placement goal, I will be satisfied with finishing inside the top ten, but as always I will be racing for more.

Have you heard much about the course in Bieles? Any thoughts about the course heading into the Championships?
GH: I haven’t heard much about the course but it would be safe to say that it will be muddy. However, this year has been a bit cooler than normal and because the juniors race earlier in the morning, the course is still frozen from the low temperatures at night. Thankfully I’ve been able to train on the course in Baal which is currently frozen and full of ruts that are rock hard.

Gunnar Holmgren [P] Garneau-Easton
What type of course best suits your skills as a racer?
GH: A course that has many climbs and technical features, but one that also has sections where you can put the power down confidently.

What has been your best Cyclocross experience to date?
GH: Starting on the front line at the Zolder World Cup was very cool. It was amazing to compare watching the front row of the elite men’s race in the same place the year before and then to be on the front row yourself. Also, having my dad/coach there to take my jersey was pretty special.

Frites with Mayo or a Belgian Waffle?
GH: To be honest, I haven’t had many Belgian waffles so I’ll have to say frites with the classic mayo!

Brody Sanderson – Junior Men

Brody Sanderson [P] @cyclingcanadacx
What are your personal ambitions heading into the 2017 World Championships?
Brody Sanderson: Honestly, for me cross is such an unpredictable, chaotic sport with millions of variables. It makes it extremely hard putting a place that would make me happy.  With that being said, if everything falls into my favour, a top-15 at the World Championships would make me extremely happy.

Have you heard much about the course in Bieles? Any thoughts about the course heading into the Championships?
BSI haven’t heard too much about the course so far.  But if it is anything like any of the Belgian races so far, it’s going to be extremely muddy and extremely challenging.

Brody Sanderson [P] @cyclingcanadacx
What type of course best suits your skills as a racer?
BS: I’m not usually one of the bigger guys on the course, so if a course is more finesse and skill based as opposed to just a pure power course, I’m generally a pretty happy guy.

What has been your best Cyclocross experience to date?
BS: My best cyclocross experience so far would have to be on the Cycling Canada cyclocross camp.  It is such a talented, friendly and approachable group of athletes.  Everyone just wants to help everyone; whether it’s pre-riding, doing dishes, dinner, someone will be there to help.  It’s an awesome atmosphere for a junior athlete like myself to come up through in the amazing sport of cycling.

Noah Simms [P] cyclocrosscanadacx
Noah Simms – Junior Men

What are your personal ambitions heading into the 2017 World Championships?
Noah Simms: Just as usual, I hope to have a solid race overall with good legs but since I have yet to be immersed into the European Cyclocross culture, it is difficult to say exactly what my expectations should be. With Hoogerheide this weekend I hope to find exactly where I fit into the field, only then will I have a goal for the World Championships in Luxembourg.

Have you heard much about the course in Bieles? Any thoughts about the course heading into the Championships?
NS: I have seen a Youtube video of the course in Bieles, but it is difficult to really get a feel for it until you’re there in person. There’s lots of off-camber which could potentially get slippery when wet. Since cyclocross is so weather dependent, the conditions can change at any time. In the Cycling Canada house, we’ve all been closely weather watching to see exactly what we’ll get heading into the event.

 Graydon Staples (l) and winner Noah Simms [P] Ivan Rupes
What type of course best suits your skills as a racer?
NS: I grew up racing on my mountain bike, so naturally I’d be happier with a more technical course. I love a track that has lots of up and down with a few open up the gas sections where you can get into ‘Time Trial’ mode. Personally, the more chaos the better.

What has been your best Cyclocross experience to date?
NS: Cyclocross Nationals in Sherbrooke was both my favorite course and my best race of the season. It was basically a muddy slip n’ slide. The legs, along with the conditions were all perfect, so I took advantage.

Frites with Mayo or a Belgian Waffle?
NS: Am I allowed Maple Syrup? If so, then definitely the Belgian Waffle





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