Posted by Editoress on 07/25/08
Canadian Cycling Team Uniform Unveiled for Beijing Olympics
"It's really hitting home now that I'm going to the Olympics."
So said Catharine Pendrel as she was photographed with the new Canadian Olympic Cycling Team uniform manufactured by Quebec-based Louis Garneau. Also on hand were Geoff Kabush and Seamus McGrath, with Marie-Hélène Premont unavailable until later this afternoon.
The new uniform is a huge departure from our old National uniform. The old blue, red and white uniform is now officially dead and gone. This time we get white with red accents. According to Kabush, the riders had seen some preliminary designs via e-mail, but they didn't know exactly which one had been selected. He was pleased with the results.
"The design is nice and simple. We're all concerned about the heat and white is definitely the best choice."
The expected heat and humidity is weighing heavily on the riders' minds. Louis Garneau heard this loud and clear, and has worked very hard to create a new fabric that should provide some significant advantages to the Canadian athletes.
The new fabric is called "Carbon Ion". It is a fabric that incorporates a carbon weave but there is much more to it than that. The Carbon Ion is antistatic, it is extremely breathable, hypoallergenic, and it is claimed to improve blood circulation. Kabush was very enthusiastic about this new material.
"I had a chance to race short track events in the U.S. with this jersey. It is easily three times cooler than a lycra jersey. You can just feel the wind go right through it. It's pretty amazing."
One of the immediate things that we noticed on the uniform were the distinctive shorts. The leg gripper band is very wide to keep them in place. The band also featured Chinese characters on the left leg spelling out Canada. We had to get official confirmation from Garneau staff because we, of course, started to speculate on what it said. "Don't Eat Dogs" was suggested but quickly rejected.
Unlike a typical trade team jersey there are many restrictions on what logos appear on an Olympic uniform. Only the garment manufacturer's mark is permitted on a uniform as mandated by the International Olympic Committee. For some individuality our MTB team had some unique shoes. McGrath was showing some custom Shimano shoes sporting the Canadian Flag and his name. Pendrel had a stunning set of Mavic shoes in a day-glo yellow. Geoff Kabush has his national champion's red and white shoes ready to go as well.
MSA World Cup Preview
The question on everyone's mind is the weather. Eastern Canada has been having an exceedingly wet summer to date. The Nationals, which were here at MSA over the past 2 weeks, featured very soggy conditions. Everyone is hoping for a bit of a break from the wet. However, true to form we had sun, rain, clouds, more sun, wind and more rain. At present the sky is clear but the forecast is calling for a chance of thunders torms tomorrow afternoon (DH race) with Sunday looking somewhat better.
However, damage was done over the past few days. The 4-Cross qualifiers scheduled for this evening have been cancelled. There are a couple of sections on the course that are muddy and they need to be reworked. Instead of qualifiers this evening and finals tomorrow, the riders will go straight from the downhill into 4-Cross training at 4:30 pm EDT, followed by Qualifying at 6:00 pm and the Finals immediately after at 7:00 pm.
Premont actually hoped it would rain, which is probably in the minority view. "If it starts to dry out then the mud is going to turn into peanut butter. At least if it's raining it isn't as sticky. The course is okay right now but it is much rougher than even for the Nationals. More rocks are up now (soil has been washed away) so you have to be careful. There has been some work done on the course as well so some of the lines are a bit different."
Premont hopes to extend her lead in the World Cup standings, especially given tha absence of her main rival Marga Fullana (Massi).
All the Canadians we spoke with loved the course (as they did for the Nationals). Current planning by officials is for five laps for the women and six for the men.
Two top cross-country riders who said adamantly at the Worlds that they would not be coming to Canada are now here. World Cup leader and world champion Christoph Sauser (Specialized) is here (along with his te am mates Liam Killeen and Lene Byberg), and defending Olympic champion Julien Absalon (Orbea) has also made the trip to Mont Ste Anne. Absalon and Killeen are also scheduled to race Bromont next weekend, but Sauser will apparently head back to Europe.
The Downhill has received some tweaks from previous years (and the Nationals two weeks ago). It starts higher up the hill, and some of the lines have been redrawn. However, it will be the weather that plays the main role, with slick muddy sections and rocks in the woods likely leading to crashes tomorrow. Semifinal qualifying runs take place at starting at 11:00 am EDT, with the Finals at 2:00 pm.
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