UCI MTB World Cup 2017 Update
XCO RACE SERIES CHAMPIONS CROWNED
The six-event Canada MTB Cup XCO series kicked off in
March again at Bear Mountain in Victoria, BC, and concluded in June at Whistler, BC, crowning this season’s champions. For downhillers, the action got under way with round one at MontTremblant, Que., round two at Blue Mountain, Ont., and then headed west to conclude at Whistler in August.
Soren Meeuwisse (ON, Trek Canada) claimed the overall honours in the elite women’s category thanks to exceptional rides in only her second year as a U23, including a second place on her home trails at Hardwood Ski and Bike at round five and third place in rounds three and four in Baie-St-Paul, Que., and Horseshoe Valley, Ont., respectively. Despite being absent in Whistler, she collected enough points to bag her first elite Canada MTB Cup title.
In the elite men’s ranks, Evan Guthrie (BC, Pivot/RaceFace/Kal Tire) nabbed the series win, having posted some blistering early-season races, including a win at round two in Mont-Tremblant, second in round three, and a couple of thirds in rounds five and six. “My races were far from perfect this year, but with the help of many I was able to clinch the Series,” he said after the winners were announced.
Leya Masson (QC, CC Mont-Ste-Anne) and Gunnar Holmgren (ON, Centurion NextWave) took home the junior women’s and men’s titles in spite of sitting out the final, having won two races apiece. Masson’s teammate Roxane Vermette (QC, CC Mont-Ste-Anne) and Alberta’s Sidney McGill (AB, Focus CX Team) also took turns standing at the top of the podium in the junior women’s series. On the junior men’s side, Holden Jones (BC, Cycling BC) and Brody Sanderson (ON, Centurion NextWave) secured a win each, while local rippers Julia Long (BC, Cycling BC) and Jones used their home dirt advantage to win the junior races in Whistler.
Veterans Catharine Pendrel (BC, Clif Pro Team) and Geoff Kabush (BC, Scott-Maxxis) used their vast experience to overcome the competition and a hot and punishing course at the Whistler final, but for most of the season it was a story of breakout performances by up-and-comers.
Jayne Rossworn (BC, RaceFace/Pendrel Racing) picked things up at round two, speeding to her first elite women’s Canada Cup win and straight into the leader’s jersey in her first season of national competition. She was followed closely in second by downhill-skier-turned-biker Emily Unterberger (BC, Cycling BC), who is also fresh on the Canadian MTB racing scene. Rossworn and Unterberger podiumed again in the finale, placing second and third, respectively.
The third event of the series in Baie-StPaul saw Maghalie Rochette (QC, Clif Pro Team) taker her first-ever elite women’s Canada MTB Cup victory, while Haley Smith (ON, Norco Factory Team) grabbed her inaugural win of the season in the fourth round at Horseshoe Valley Resort. Cindy Montambault (QC, Trek GPL) pedaled to gold the following weekend at the penultimate round on Hardwood’s fast and flowy trails.
The elite men’s category also saw a bunch of young guns making their marks with podium rides. Raphael Auclair (QC, Pivot-OTE) earned a third place in Tremblant, while Quinton Disera (ON, Norco Factory Team) powered to first in Baie-St-Paul, followed by Guthrie in second and young dark horse Davis Ross (ON, AWI Racing) in third. Quinton Disera went on to nab fourth on his home trails in Horseshoe Valley, as his big brother, Peter Disera (ON, Norco Factory Team), secured the “W”. Andrew L’Esperance (NS, Forward Racing) showed his strength at Hardwood, taking his second career elite men’s Canada Cup victory and his first with his newly formed squad, while U23 speedsters Marc-Andre Fortier (QC, Pivot-OTE) and Sean Fincham (BC, Forward Racing) threw down huge rides to pull off fourth and fifth in the elite competition, respectively.
With only three downhill rounds on the Canada Cup schedule this season, the pressure was on to make every race count. It was Sarah Konefal (QC, Independent) who took charge of the elite women’s field from the start in Mont-Tremblant to be the first to don the 2017 series leader’s jersey, posting the fastest run of the day, 2.128 seconds quicker than second place Audrée Vaillancourt (QC, Pivot Cycles/Trees/FiveTeam). Konefal held on to the series lead in round two at Blue Mountain on May 28, despite a third-place finish behind winner American Ella Skalwold (USA, Vermont Mountain Bike Tours/POC/ RaceFace). Skalwold absolutely blew away the competition, finishing more than 20 seconds ahead of second place, Vaillancourt. With a mere five points separating Konefal and Vaillancourt, it will all come down to the final in Whistler.
Samuel Thibault (QC, Independent) threw down the fastest elite men’s run in the opening round at Mont-Tremblant, with a time of 3:18.605 that was four seconds speedier than second place, Jonathan Lefrancois
(QC, Devinci). With another silver medal in round two, Lefrancois’ consistency paid off in the form of the leader’s jersey with only one event left, although Hugo Langevin (QC, Devinci/Troy Lee/Cycles St-Onge/S4) earned the title of fastest man on the day.
Quinton Disera takes Baie-St-Paul
Final overall series winners (l-r) Holmgren, Masson, Meeuwisse, Guthrie.
Cindy Montambault triumphs at Hardwood
L’Esperance wins at Hardwood
Samuel Thibault and Sarah Konefal took an early lead in the DH Series.