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Team Canada’s Christmas ‘Cross Report

release by Canadian Cyclo-Cross Working Group

January 16, 2017 – This was the second consecutive year that a Canadian Cyclo-cross team has traveled to Belgium to contest races during the Christmas ‘Cross period. The latter half of December is a busy month on the international Cyclo-cross calendar and the Canadians competed in six races over a two-week period.

Gunnar Holmgren  ©  Garneau-Easton
Increased exposure to quality racing is an essential step in ensuring athletes are able to compete with the best in the world and there is no better opportunity to do this then the Christmas ‘Cross period in Belgium. Two of the mandates of the Cyclo-Cross working group are to introduce developing athletes to international competition and to provide continued support to Elite athletes at select international races; this annual project represents an important step in realizing those goals.

Brody Sanderson  ©  @cyclingcanadacx
We saw great performances from all the Canadian athletes with some standout performances from our Junior riders.

Last year, when Gunnar Holmgren and Brody Sanderson lined up at the Zolder World Cup, it was their first European racing experience. Both did not have a single UCI point and were called up last. They went on to finish 61st and 63rd respectively.

Brody Sanderson and Gunner Holmgren  ©  Cycling Canada
This year, armed with more UCI points, better call ups, another year of hard work and the experience gained from racing in 2015, they improved upon their results with Gunnar finishing 11th and Brody finishing 21st at Zolder.

Trevor O’Donnell, racing in what is arguably the deepest and most competitive category, had some great races against the other U23s. A notable result for him was his 46th place in Bredene, racing against the Elites.

Trevor ODonnell  ©  Cyclocrosscanada
Mark McConnell has spent the past few years racing extensively in Belgium and has quickly become a crowd favorite amongst the Belgian cycling fans. After a career best start at Loenhout, which saw him battling it out with the eventual winner (and current World Champion) Wout van Aert, he rolled to an impressive 36th place finish.

Mark McConnell  ©  Pasquale Stalteri
Multiple-time National Champ Geoff Kabush competed in the first three races of the Christmas project with the team and had a standout result at Diegem where he finished 23rd. The young riders were especially grateful for the time he spent with them at the Namur World cup, riding multiple laps of the course with them in pre-ride and imparting some of the experience he has gained over a storied career.

Geoff Kabush  ©  Pasquale Stalteri
Following the Christmas project, the Canadian riders moved south to Tuscany for two weeks of training overseen by former two-time National Champion Mike Garrigan. Next up is the Rome World Cup and then back to Belgium to meet up with the rest of the National team for the Hoogerheide World Cup and World Championships in Biels, Luxembourg.

Christmas ‘Cross Results

Dec. 18 – Namur World Cup
13. Gunnar Holmgren
36. Geoff Kabush
51. Mark McConnell

Dec. 23 – Superprestige Diegem
8. Gunnar Holmgren (Last year’s result: 57th)
23. Geoff Kabush
30. Brody Sanderson (Last year’s result: 48th)
35. Mark McConnell
46. Trevor O’Donnell

Dec. 26 – Zolder World Cup
11. Gunnar Holmgren (Last year’s result: 61st)
21. Brody Sanderson (Last year’s result: 63rd)
42. Geoff Kabush
47. Trevor O’Donnell
57. Mark McConnell

Dec. 29 – BPost Bank Trofee Apencross Loenhout
12. Gunnar Holmgren
27. Brody Sanderson
36. Mark McConnell
41. Trevor O’Donnell

Dec. 30 – Versluys CX Bredene
12. Brody Sanderson
23. Gunnar Holmgren
46. Trevor O’Donnell

Jan. 1 – BPost Banke Trofee GP Sven Nys Baal
7. Gunnar Holmgren (Last year’s result: 16th)
18. Brody Sanderson (Last year’s result: 26th)
26. Mark McConnell
32. Trevor O’Donnell

Cycling Canada does not receive government funding for Cyclo-Cross programs. This means all projects are funded through sponsorships, private donations or by the athletes themselves. Any amount donated has a direct impact on the development of this sport in Canada. As a not-for-profit organization, Cycling Canada can issue tax receipts for any donation greater than $25.Please visit the following link to donate here.If you are interested in sponsorship opportunities please contact Scott Kelly at scott@dundasspeedshop.com.

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