Posted by Editoress on 03/31/14
Canada competed on the weekend at the 2014 UCI Mountain Bike Pan-American Championships, and fared well, winning four medals, one in each of the categories with Canadian representation.
Raphael Gagné of Québec City rode to the bronze medal in the Men Elite race, crossing the finish line with a time of 1:45:12, just ahead of countryman and reigning Canadian Champion Derek Zandstra of Trenton, ON, who took fourth place after a crash derailed his medal hopes.
"I came here to defend my second place from last year, but my goal was for a Top-5," explained Gagné.
"I gave all I had today, so I am pleased with third. I had logisitical problems in my travels, but thanks to the support from the national team program and the will do to well, I am very happy to have persevered and make it here to these Championships."
In the men’s Espoirs (U23) race, Antoine Caron of Stoneham, QC, finished third with a time of 1:31:15. Caron was involved in a tight race for the silver medal, finishing just six seconds behind the silver medallist.
"The race went better than planned, given my left scaphoid injury (wrist). The heat made the race very tough, but I was able to stay hydrated and my pacing strategy paid off at the end. On last lap, I was really close to the Brazilian rider to finish second, but he still had some legs in him," said Caron.
In the Elite Women's category, Mikaela Kofman of Toronto, ON, was also riding with the hopes to medal at these championships after stepping on the podium last season. In hot conditions, she managed to move up in the second half of the race to take the silver medal, posting a time of 1:45:09.
"It was definitely a hard, hot and long race. I went off the start knowing that I had to race smart, hoping that some riders would fade. Mary [McConneloug, USA] went off and I thought she could hold the lead, but she faded. With two laps to go, I was feeling good and was able to distance Mary. Danielle [Campuzano of Mexico, the winner] was strong today!"
Frédérique Trudel of Breakeyville, QC, the 2013 U23 Canadian Champion, was also a contender for a medal at this event, and did not disappoint. The young rider started with a fast pace, but couldn't hold on to the top spot and had to settle for the bronze medal.
"This was a tough first race of the season for me. I started out strong and faded in the last two laps," commented Trudel. "It was getting hot out there and I should have drank a little bit more. Overall, I'm happy with my result!"
Report by Cycling Canada
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