August 15/99 6:04 am - XC Nationals Story
Posted by Editor on 08/15/99
Eric Tourville (Oryx) put together his best ride of the year, and Chrissy Redden (Ritchey-Yahoo!) finally won a national title at the Canadian Mountain Bike Championships in Camp Fortune, Quebec. The weather was perfect, the course was superb, the racing some of the best ever at a Nationals - too bad the timing equipment led to repeated delays and mistakes.
The absence of world number one Alison Sydor (Volvo-Cannondale), the 4 time defending champion (currently road racing in France) opened the women's race right up. Redden was the favourite, having finished second to Sydor in each of the past two years, but Lesley Tomlinson (RLX Polo Sport), Melanie McQuaid (Rocky Mountain), Melanie Dorion (Ford-Devinci) and Amber Chorney (Fisher-Saab) were strong threats.
Redden left nothing to chance, bolting into the lead early, and building up a gap of a minute by the third of 5 laps. "I wanted to be first into the singletrack. After that it was just a matter of riding steady and strong through the race." Behind her, Tomlinson and McQuaid got held up briefly by Dorion, who flatted on the first lap. McQuaid then charged by Tomlinson on one of the climbs to take second place for two laps. Chorney, Trish Sinclair (Marin) and Dorion chased Tomlinson, with Dorion eventually dropping the other two. Sinclair was having her own shifting problems, but would hang on for fifth place. Tomlinson eventually passed a fading McQuaid, as did Dorion. Tomlinson would bring back some time on Redden in the final few kilometres, but it was Redden's race from start to finish, and the beaming grin she sported coming over the line showed that the effort was worth it.
The men's race was probably one of the finest national championship competition ever held. Among the favourites were Roland Green (Team GT), Seamus McGrath (Haro), Chris Sheppard (Catera-Klein), Andreas Hestler (RLX Polo Sport) and Peter Wedge (Mapei-Kona). Hestler bolted off the front of the 6 lap race to build an early lead during the first two laps. He then started to fade, as a chase group came up. Green had flatted duriing the first lap, dropping him back into the mid 30s, and then did an incredible ride up through the field, making it into the top ten by the end of the second lap, and then to second place a lap later.
Hestler had dropped back by this point and Georges Visser (Xenacom) was riding up front, just 15 seconds ahead of Green. Everyone expected to see Green come storming by in the lead on the next lap, but instead it was Visser and Tourville, 14 seconds in front of a chase group containing McGrath, Hestler, Wedge and Australian Craig Gordon (Australia). Green had suffered another flat, and was out of the race. "The tube split along the seam. It was so frustrating, since I was feeling good." Tourville agreed "Roland was so strong today, he was just toying with us out there."
Tourville then dropped Visser and rode away from the chasers with a lap and a half to go, taking his second national title (his previous win was in Å’94). Craig Gordon rolled across the finish line in second, followed by Geoff Kabush (Kona) - (the first espoir rider), Visser, Peter Wedge and Seamus McGrath. Hestler, the early leader, had flatted in the final lap, and rolled in well back. Sheppard also had a poor day, suffering from stomach cramps and never really getting going.
1. Eric Tourville (Oryx)
2. Craig Gordon (Australia)
3. Geoff Kabush (Kona)
4. Georges Visser (Xenacom)
5. Peter Wedge (Mapei-Kona)
6. Seamus McGrath (Haro)
Bill Hurley (Oryx)
1. Chrissy Redden (Ritchey-Yahoo!)
2. Lesley Tomlinson (RLX Polo Sport)
3. Melanie Dorion (Ford-Devinci)
4. Melanie McQuaid (Rocky Mountain)
5. Trish Sinclair (Marin)
6. Kiara Bisaro
7. Amber Chorney
8. Leslie Greene
9. Linda Robichaud
10. Claire Townsend
Note corrected women's results.
1. Ricky Federo (Rocky Mountain)
2. Jamie Douglas
3. Kevin Gallant