July 2, 2011 (Mont Sainte-Anne, QC) – It’s a beautiful day for the U23 Men’s XC race soon underway at Mont Sainte-Anne for round #4 of the UCI MTB WCup. There are few clouds in the sky with a light breeze and the temperature is around 20 degrees. The course is drying out altho some sections remain wet with puddles as the U23 men will complete 5 laps of the 4.5km XC course. Canada has 10 riders on the start line with 38 riders entered including Jared Stafford, Leandre Bouchard, Evan Guthrie, Andrew L’Esperance, Jeremy Martin, Zach Hughes, Tyson Wagler, Mitchell Bailey, Evan McNeely, and Steven Noble.
Fabien Canal (Fra) Gt Skoda Chamonix is out front by 6s at the 1/2 way point thru the first lap with Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Ita) Tx Active Bianchi chasing in second. At 22s in third is Marek Konwa (Pol) Milka Trek Mtb Racing Team.
Canada’s Leandre Bouchard is with 2 other riders at 45s – the pack is strung out behind…
Matthias Stirnemann (Sui) Thoemus Racing Team has moved up to join Konwa as Kerschbaumer catches on to Canal as the lap ends.
Canal and Kerschbaumer come thru together to start the second of five laps. Konwa and Stirnemann are at 25s while Stephen Ettinger (Usa) is 5th, Ruben Scheire (Bel) Mpl Specialized Mtb Team is 6th and Bouchard is in 7th as they’re together at about 1min. Evan McNeely is just behind them in 11th.
Half way thru the lap Canal attacks but Kerschbaumer is right behind him – at 40s Stirnemann takes over 3rd but Konwa is also close behind him.
Further back at about 2 min are Scheire in 5th now, Sebastien Carabin (Bel) Versluys – Evenza Team in 6th, Ettinger in 7th, Italy’s Diego Rosa (Giant Italia Team) now in 8th followed by Canada’s McNeely in 9th with Bouchard in 10th.
Stirnemann has bridged to Canal and Kerschbaumer at the end of lap 2 as they come thru to start the third lap. Konwa has been joined by Scheire in 4th and 5th.
Behind it’s the USA’s Ettinger in 6th, Carabin in 7th, Rosa in 8th, McNeely is holding on to 9th but David Fletcher (Gbr) is now in 10th followed by Zsolt Juhasz (Hun) Euro One – Cube Mtb Team in 11th with Bouchard in 13th.
At the half way point it’s Kerschbaumer taking over the lead with a 6s gap on Canal as the two of them have dropped Stirnemann in 3rd at 45s. Behind them it’s Konwa and Ettinger together – we don’t see Scheire (crash?).
Further back it’s Carabin in 6th, Fletcher in 7th, McNeely is now in 8th, Rosa is 9th, Juhasz is 10th and Bouchard is 11th… the rest of the field is much further back. We estimate Jared Stafford is at 8min.
No change at the front of the race as the three leading riders continue to expand their gap over the chasers.
Kerschbaumer has attacked and now firmly in the lead with Canal in 2nd at 50s… they have really opened the race as Stirnemann is now about 3:30 behind with Carabin taking over 4th and he could catch him.
The next group of three riders includes Ettinger, Konwa and Fletcher… the others are further back.
Lap 5 Final
Kerschbaumer has started his final lap with a 1:02 lead and barring any mishap will take the win over Canal who is in danger of being caught by Stirnemann only 30s behind him.
Carabin in 4th is no longer a threat now at 1:45 behind Stirnemann and 3:30 behind the leader… then it’s Ettinger in 5th, Fletcher in 6th, Konwa in 7th, Russell Finsterwald (Usa) Subaru – Trek is now in 8th, Juhasz is 9th and it looks like Bouchard is holding his own in 10th… we don’t see McNeely.
1. Gerhard Kerschbaumer (Ita) TX Active Bianchi 1:23:56
2. Fabien Canal (Fra) GT Skoda Chamonix 1:31
3. Matthias Stirnemann (Sui) Thoemus Racing Team 2:15
4. Sebastien Carabin (Bel) Versluys – Evenza Team 3:37
5. Stephen Ettinger (USA) US National Team 4:37
6. David Fletcher (Gbr) British National Team 5:16
7. Marek Konwa (Pol) Milka Trek MTB Racing Team 6:06
8. Russell Finsterwald (USA) Subaru – Trek 7:00
9. Ruben Scheire (Bel) MPL Specialized MTB Team 7:20
10. Leandre Bouchard (Can) Team Canada
16. Jeremy Martin (Can) Team Canada 9:08
18. Evan Guthrie (Can) Team Canada 10:13
19. Tyson Wagler (Can) Team Canada 10:38
20. Evan McNeely (Can) Team Canada 11:07
26. Andrew L’Esperance (Can) Team Canada 12:55
27. Mitchell Bailey (Can) Team Canada 12:55
29. Jared Stafford (Can) Team Canada 14:24
31. Steven Noble (Can) Team Canada 16:04
34. Zach Hughes (Can) Team Canada 18:59