2018 MTB XCO Nationals
Emily Batty and Peter Disera Headline –13 Titles Awarded
Superb conditions greeted riders, with 13 titles awarded at the 2018 Canadian XCO Championships on July 21, headlined by Emily Batty (ON, Trek Factory) and Peter Disera (ON, Norco Factory), defenders of their Elite women’s and men’s titles respectively at the Canmore Nordic Centre in Alberta.
Elite Women’s Race
BBatty was the clear favourite in the Elite women’s six-lap 22.5km race, with perennial rival Catharine Pendrel (Clif Pro Team) still recovering from an injury. Coming off three back-to-back podiums in Europe on the UCI MTB World Cup circuit, Batty gunned it from the start and took no prisoners with a 3:40 gap at the finish for her third consecutive title.
“It’s great to win the title again,” said Batty at the finish. “With lots of travel recently and having just returned from Europe, you never know, but I felt good. I was under pressure by the other girls for the first couple of laps, but I raced the course like a World Cup, as anything can go wrong.”
Sandra Walter (BC, Liv Canada) took the silver after she battled with Haley Smith (ON, Norco Factory), who was ahead during the opening laps, but flatted, opening the door for Walter, who passed Smith and hammered on to extend her lead to 2:20 over her rival. At the finish, Smith settled for the bronze.
“It’s great to have the opportunity to continue my strong results from Europe at home,” said Walter. “I was really motivated when I got by Haley following her flat, and really started pushing it until the finish.”
Elite Men’s Race
The Elite men’s seven-lap 22.5km race saw early action with defending champion Disera taking an early lead, but Raphael Gagné (QC, Silverback OMX), the winner in 2016, took over, gaining a strong gap of 52 seconds by the final lap.
Fate was not on Gagné’s side, as a flat forced him into the pits for a wheel change, with Disera passing him and solo’ing to victory to defend his National title. Gagné recovered to take the silver, while Léandre Bouchard (QC, KMCEkoi-SR Suntour) took the bronze.
“I wasn’t on today, and didn’t feel fantastic. I spent all my matches at the beginning trying to get a gap, but Raph counter-attacked and then the gap grew,” said Disera. “I wasn’t riding clean and was upset with myself the entire race. It was tough and it hurt, but it always does. Then when I finally accepted that I’d be second, I saw Raph in the pits on the last lap and gave it my all to the finish. Hats off to Raph – he rode amazing. I’m really happy with this victory, but that’s racing sometimes.”
“I have a lot of reasons to be happy, but one reason [a silver medal] that is tough to swallow,” said Gagné. “It’s going to take a while to get over this one. But I’d rather have good legs and not deliver than the opposite, so I’m happy with my fitness. Today, I was strongest. I think I proved it, but sometimes you need a bit of luck. That’s racing.”
U-23/Junior Women’s Race
Laurie Arseneault (QC, ACQ) took an early lead and never looked back to win the U-23 women’s title over Emily Unterberger (BC, Pendrel Racing), who moved up well during the race to claim second. Sophianne Samson (QC, CVM Sigma Assurance) was third. Roxanne Vermette (QC, Équipe du Québec) defended her title as the junior women’s champion.
U-23/Junior Men’s Race
In the U-23 men’s race, Sean Fincham (BC, Forward Racing Norco) was unstoppable as he quickly established a gap and moved up well through the Elite men’s field – with a two-minute gap – to finish fourth overall. Marc-André Fortier and Raphael Auclair, both with Team Pivot-OTE, were second and third respectively. In the junior men’s race, it was Carter Woods (Cycling BC) who claimed the title.
Amy Woodward-Kennedy (AB, Cyclemeisters) won the Master Expert 30-39 women’s title, while Denise Hill (AB, Bowcycle/Cyclemeisters) took home the Master Expert 40+ women’s jersey.
The Master Expert 30-39 men’s National title went to Drummond Lawson (BC, Steed Cycles), while Travis Hauck (BC) claimed the Master Expert 50+ men’s crown, with Don Larsen (BC) winning the Master Expert 50+ men’s jersey. – JC
Jersey winners at the 2018 Canadian MTB XCO Championships at Canmore, Alta.
Defending Elite men’s champion Peter Disera took home his second consecutive National jersey.
Laurie Arsenault took an early lead in the U-23 women’s raceand never looked back.
World Cup star Emily Batty handilydefended her Elite women’s title.