July 27/08 10:52 am - MSA World Cup: XC Preview
Posted by Editoress on 07/27/08
b>MSA World Cup
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Although the rain held off for the DH and 4-Cross, the skies opened up once night fell. Lots of rain and wind and some lightning. Everything is soaked needless to say. The XC riders who have been here for most of the week have done most of their practice laps in the wet so this will be no surprise. As Premont said on Friday it might be better when its really wet since the mud is thin and therefore doesn't slow you down as much as when it starts to dry and it becomes thick and sticky.
The conditions now are cloud with the odd sunny break. The top of MSA is lost in the clouds and there are patches of mist hanging above the trees along the XC course. The local weather calls for 24C with a humidex of 31 thanks to last nights rain. There is a 40% of thunderstorms for the afternoon, with the risk increasing later in the day.
The race course has been slightly modified from last weekend's Canadian Nationals. Length has been added at both ends of the course which makes it about 500m longer overall. The biggest change over years past is that the course dips into the Expo area just before the finish. This section is tight and has a large, and very steep, wooden bridge over a spectator path. It would be very difficult to pass anyone in this section. A close battle between the racers could hinge on success in this zone.
We have 6 laps for the men and 5 for the women. Unlike the Canadian Nationals there is a start loop.
On the women's side, many are absent in preparation for the Olympics. Of particular note is the absence of the new World Champion Marga Fullana. She is the only real rival that Premont has in the World Cup Points Series. With Fullana not here Premont will likely extend her Points lead further. Catharine Pendrel, after her close battle with Premont at the Nationals has to be considered a strong podium threat.
For the men we have the unexpected appearance of World Champion Christophe Sauser, who is also leading the World Cup Points Series. Also on hand is his chief rival Julien Absalon. Top Canadian hopes are Olympians Geoff Kabush and Seamus McGrath.