Chased by Nino Schurter

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CONTENTS - by Matthew Pioro

Anne-julie Trem­blay’s 2017 sea­son was full of many highs. She was the top Cana­dian at two early cross coun­try World Cup races. She won three gold medals at this past sum­mer’s Canada Games. At the world cham­pi­onships, she found her­self chased by Nino Schurter, Manuel Fu­mic and oth­ers in the team re­lay. When Trem­blay jock­eys for po­si­tion with the best in the world, she def­i­nitely holds her ground.

How did you get into rac­ing moun­tain bikes? When I was younger, I did short­track speed skat­ing. In the sum­mer, I wanted to train so I rode moun­tain bikes with a friend. Later, I pre­ferred moun­tain bik­ing to speed skat­ing. I did both sports for two years, but I got bet­ter re­sults on the bike.

Tell me about your first moun­tain bike World Cup at Nové Město in May. It was re­ally great. I had ob­jec­tives, but no pres­sure. I just wanted to do my best. Af­ter, I was re­ally happy about my race. And the course was re­ally cool.

Af­ter the World Cups at Nové Město and Alb­stadt, which you did with rid­ers from Que­bec, you got an in­vite from the na­tional team to race with them in Vall­nord and Len­z­er­heide. Were you sur­prised by that in­vite? Yes and no. I had the best Cana­dian re­sults for the un­der-23 races at the first two World Cups. I thought that the na­tional team might in­vite me for the two other races. When I re­ceived my ini­ti­a­tion, I was re­ally happy. What hap­pened at na­tion­als? It wasn’t a good day for me. Af­ter the World Cups, I was tired. It was a big begin­ning of the sea­son for me. At na­tion­als, my legs weren’t there. I made some lit­tle mis­takes in the tech­ni­cal sec­tions. I knew that the week af­ter, I’d do the Canada Games, so I didn’t want to fall. I just stopped rac­ing.

Were your three gold medals at the Canada Games – in cross coun­try, team re­lay and elim­i­na­tor – re­venge for na­tion­als? Yes. Ab­so­lutely.

The team re­lay race at the world cham­pi­onships fea­tured Peter Dis­era, Raphaël Gagné, Holden Jones and Catharine Pen­drel. You were the last rider. Can you tell me how that played out? The plan was to put the guys at the start so we wouldn’t be in traf­fic later. Catharine got into first. When I took over from her, I had to go as quickly as I could. I had a lit­tle pres­sure on me; I was only about a minute ahead of Nino. I knew he was go­ing to pass me, but I wasn’t go­ing to say, “OK, you can go ahead of me.” I was go­ing to take my place.

What was it like hav­ing Nino Schurter chas­ing you? I was a lit­tle bit stressed. There were at least five guys on my wheel who are usu­ally top-10 in the World Cup. Manuel Fu­mic had a fall on a tech­ni­cal de­scent. He tried to pass me, prob­a­bly thought I’d let him by. But he went over his bars. He fell, but I was OK. He put a pic­ture of it up on In­sta­gram.

You were quite ag­gres­sive? I don’t think I was ag­gres­sive. Like I said, I was just keep­ing my place.

What are some of your plans for 2018? Will you bal­ance your en­gi­neer­ing stud­ies at École de tech­nolo­gie supérieure in Mon­treal with train­ing? Now I’m at school full-time. Later in the win­ter, I won’t be. I’ll prob­a­bly do a train­ing camp. Maybe, if I get in in­vi­ta­tion, I could do the train­ing camp with the na­tional team in Vic­to­ria. I’d also like to go to California to get in some vol­ume.

“I knew he was go­ing to pass me, but I wasn’t go­ing to say, ‘OK, you can go ahead of me.’”

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