Posted by Editoress on 08/9/13
Mont Ste Anne is the longest running event in the Mountain Bike World Cup, and this year the only event outside of Europe. The event - known as MSA to long time attendees - has run every year since the World Cup began in 1991, with the exception of the two years it hosted the world championships, in 1998 and 2010. Since 2003, it has been incorporated into a festival called Velirium, running over two weekends, and including mass participation rides, concerts and domestic level races. The event has become known as a true classic of mountain biking for both cross-country and downhill, famous for its root-filled technical courses and superb organization; it is one event that every rider wants to add to their resume.
For 2013, MSA is not resting on its laurels, with redesigned courses to challenge riders in both Round Five of the Cross-country and Round Four of the Downhill, on August 10-11. Course designer Patrice Drouin explained that this is due to both heavy erosion in certain areas during the spring snow melt, and a desire to try some different options in the courses.
Beatrice has been removed
The Zig Zag is now the main climb
The cross-country has had the most significant changes; shortened by almost 20% with the removal of the usual long opening climb and the famous 'Beatrice' rock garden descent. After the start loop, riders now head straight into what was the second main climb of the circuit, the 'Zig Zag'. They then hit the first of many wooded singletrack sections as they traverse the top of the course before dropping into singletrack descent back down to near the start/finish area.
There is a lot of singletrack - descending and climbing
After passing through the technical/feed zone for the first time it is back into the woods for almost the entire second half of the lap. Stretches of fast, smooth single track are interspersed with rocky and rooty sections. At the far end of the course, the riders hit a loose and steep chute descent followed by a steep switchback climb, and then more singletrack back to the technical/feed zone for a second time before finishing the lap.
Raph Gagne on one of the new open rock sections
While not as technical as previous years, riders can get into serious difficulty if they aren't paying attention in the singletrack. One mistake and gaps can open that will be hard to close.
Down the chute at the far end of the course
However, reaction from some riders has been less favourable. Canadian men top hopes Geoff Kabush (Scott 3Rox) and Max Plaxton (Cannondale Sho Air) said:
Kabush: "When I heard the whole challenging "La Beatrice" section and singletrack was taken out I was a little disappointed. They didn't add any new technical features to replace it but the course still has it's challenges. On previous versions of the course I've always raced my full suspension but it is a pretty easy decision to race my Scale 900 hardtail this time around."
Plaxton: "Yeah personally I'd have to say I'm a bit disappointed in the new course here in MSA. For however long I can remember this was usually regarded as one of the toughest tracks on the circuit but now it has a lot more a European feel. And with such short laps and a fair bit of tight singletrack its going to be really tough for those starting further back, so the first lap will be key, although from what I've heard the start loop is rather sketchy. A World Cup no matter what, the course is always tough, but the new shortened track is definitely a bit of a change from the classic tough and challenging MSA course."
Mathias Flückiger was more blunt: "The most traditional track in the World Cup was castrated."
The Elite women's field will be missing two big names - Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida) and round four winner Sabine Spitz (Sabine Spitz Haibike). However, MSA will see the return to competition of defending World Cup champion Catharine Pendrel (Luna), after her broken clavicle in June. World Cup leader Tanja Zakelj (Unior Tools), with two wins this season, won't be threatened for the overall lead, but was put under pressure in the last round, barely making the podium. Pendrel's team mate, Katerina Nash, after coming so close in Vallnord, Andorra, last month, is still looking for her first World Cup win, and Maja Wloszczowska (Giant Pro) will be a big threat, as will Round One winner Eva Lechner (Colnago Sudtirol), second in the overall standings.
Catharine Pendrel and World Cup leader Tanja Zakelj
On the men's side, we can expect to see a resumption of the continuing battle between World Cup leader Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) and Julien Absalon (BMC). Schurter is looking for his fourth consecutive win of the season, which will lock up the title. However, Absalon is sure to be determined to take his first World Cup win of the season, after a mechanical put him out of contention in Andorra. Others who could do well on this faster MSA course include the Cannondale riders Marco Fontana and Manuel Fumic.
Julien Absalon will be looking for his first win of the season
Geoff Kabush has been on the podium at MSA
Kabush will be looking to come back from what was a disappointing race in Andorra, while Plaxton has stated earlier in the season that MSA is one of his major goals for the season. Both riders have finished on the podium here in the past.
The Downhill has not had the same changes as the Cross-country, however, riders are noticing the difference. Some of the previous rocky sections are now smoother and faster, and jumps have been added to the bottom, which finishes further up the hill than previously. Recent rain - and the expectation of more through the weekend - have made it very fast and very slippery. Riders will have balance on the ragged edge of speed versus control.
Rachel Atherton has won 3 straight
For the women, it is still a question of whether Rachel Atherton (GT Factory) can be beaten; after three straight wins on three very different tracks, Atherton is having a superb season. The rider who has come closest is her countrywoman Manon Carpenter (Madison Saracen); she was the only one to come less than ten seconds behind Atherton at the last round. A number of top Canadian women are out with injuries, but new national champion Micayla Gatto will be the top ranked Canadian.
Rachel Atherton's brother Gee (GT Factory) was beaten at the last round in Vallnord, by first time winner Remi Thirion (Commencal/Riding Addiction), although he still holds a commanding lead in the overall standings. Canadian champion Steve Smith (Devinci Global Racing), second in the overall standings, will be trying hard for a win on home turf, as will world champion Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) and Australia's Sam Hill (Chain Reaction Cycles.com/Nukeproof). Minnaar and Hill both have multiple wins at Mont Ste Anne, while Smith finished second here at the 2010 world championships.
Steve Smith is currently 2nd in the overall standings
Cycling Canada is sending a very large team to compete at the 2013 UCI Mountain Bike World Cup stop in Mont-Sainte-Anne, QC, competing in both cross country and downhill races. The weekend races are the only North American races of the 2013 World Cup calendar.
National development coach Ian Hughes takes riders around the course
A total of 95 Canadian athletes – 67 in cross country and 28 in downhill (50 wearing the National Team kit) – will be racing over the weekend at one of the favourite World Cup stops on the calendar for many riders from across the World.
The cross-country races will all be held on Saturday, while the Downhill seeding runs will take place Friday, with the Finals on Sunday. Every race will happen at the Mont-Sainte-Anne ski resort, located east of Quebec City.
Mathieu Bélanger-Barrette (Québec, QC) National Team
Raphael Gagné (Québec, QC) Rocky Mountain Bicycles Factory Team
Cameron Jette (Toronto, ON) SCOTT-3Rox Racing
Geoff Kabush (Courtenay, BC) SCOTT-3Rox Racing
Max Plaxton (Victoria, BC) Sho-Air/Cannondale
Jean-Philippe Thibault-Roberge (Orford, QC) National Team
Andrew Watson (Barrie, ON) Norco Factory Team
Derek Zandstra (Trenton, ON) SCOTT-3Rox Racing
Emily Batty (Brooklin, ON) Trek Factory Racing
Rebecca Beaumont (Alma, QC) National Team
Annick Chretien (Aston-Jonction, QC) ADF Ultime Vélo
Mandy Dreyer (Dundas, ON) Tuf Rak Racing
Mikaëla Kofman (Toronto, ON) SCOTT-3Rox Racing
Cindy Montambault (Val-David, QC) CVM 2 Vals
Catharine Pendrel (Kamloops, BC) Team LUNA Pro
Andréanne Pichette (Québec, QC) Opus-OCG
Amanda Sin (Collingwood, ON) SCOTT-3 Rox Racing
Sandra Walter (Coquitlam, BC) Liv / Giant
Espoir - U23 Men
Mitchell Bailey (Barrie, ON) Trek Canada Mountain Bike Team
Emmanuel Boily (Alma, QC) National Team
Léandre Bouchard (Alma, QC) Cyclone d’Alma
Antoine Caron (Stoneham, QC) Specialized Racing Canada
Patrick Chartrand (Piedmont, QC) Les Yables
Julien Gagné (Sherbrooke, QC) National Team
Evan Guthrie (Peachland, BC) Norco Factory Team
Andrew L’Esperance (Halifax, NS) Norco Factory Team
Kevin Massicotte (Toronto, ON) National Team
Jérémy Martin (Boischatel, QC) Rocky Mountain Bicycles Factory Team
Evan Mcneely (Ottawa, ON) Norco Factory Team
Steven Noble (Glencairn, ON) Opus-OCG
Marc-Antoine Nadon (Timmins, ON) National Team
Davis Ross (Wyevale, ON) National Team
Alexandre Vialle (Prévost, QC) National Team
Espoir - U23 Women
Rosalie Auger (Landrienne, QC) National Team
Laura Bietola (Greenwood, ON) RealDeal Gears/Fieldgate
Cayley Brooks (New Lowell, ON) Trek Canada MTB Team
Katlyn Dundas (St. Catharines, ON) National Team
Catherine Fleury (Alma, QC) Cyclones d’Alma
Karlee Gendron (Winnipeg, MB) Trek Canada MTB Team
Laurence Harvey (St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, QC) National Team
Andréane Lanthier-Nadeau (Québec, QC) Rocky Mountain Bicycle Factory Team
Kristina Laforge (Alma, QC) National Team
Frédérique Larose-Gingras (Lac Beauport, QC) National Team
Valérie Meunier (Chicoutimi QC) Devinci
Elyse Nieuwold (Newmarket, ON) National Team
Maghalie Rochette (St-Jérome, QC) PowerWatts-Nord
Haley Smith (Uxbridge, ON) Norco Factory Team
Frédérique Trudel (Breakeyville, QC) Specialized Racing Canada
Junior (U19) Men
Félix Belhumeur (Québec, QC) National Team
Félix Burke (Mont-Tremblant, QC) National Team
Peter Disera (Barrie, ON) National Team
Charles Faucher-Robert (Québec, QC) National Team
Marc-André Fortier (Victoriaville, QC) National Team
Guillaume Larose-Gingras (Lac-Beauport, QC) National Team
Trevor O’Donnell (Barrie, ON) National Team
Matthew Turcotte (Québec, QC) National Team
Junior (U19) Women
Gabrielle April (Québec, QC) National Team
Alexandra Bernier (Québec, QC) National Team
Sarah-Claudie Dostie-Ménard (Gatineau, QC) National Team
Haley Golding (Newcastle, ON) National Team
Gillian Hague (Whitby, ON) National Team
Siobhan Kelly (London, ON) National Team
Marine Lewis (St-Sauveur, QC) National Team
Kayla Morin-Blanchette (Val-David, QC) National Team
Rachel Pageau (Chicoutimi, QC) National Team
Anne-Julie Tremblay (Chicoutimi Nord, QC) National Team
Stéphanie Tremblay (Alma, QC) National Team
Adriano Digiancinto (North Vancouver, BC)
Rob Fraser (Pickering, ON)
James Frost (Collingwood, ON)
Remi Gauvin (Nanoose Bay, BC)
Hans Lambert (St-Bruno, QC)
Julien Laramée (Ste-Melanie, QC)
Kirk Mcdowall (Anmore, BC)
Forrest Riesco (Gibsons, BC)
Benoit Rioux (Cowansville, QC)
Kyle Sangers (Kingston, ON)
Sidney Slotegraaf (Hamilton, ON)
Steve Smith (Cassidy, BC) Devinci Global Racing
Samuel Thibault (Chambly, QC)
Kristen Courtney (Ottawa, ON)
Micayla Gatto (North Vancouver, BC)
Jaime Hill (Pemberton, BC)
Vaea Verbeeck (Grandby, QC)
Junior (U19) Men
Chris Bennett (Calgary, AB)
Benjamin Després-Morin (Montreal, QC)
Alexander Geddes (Whistler, BC)
Matt Hardwick (West Vancouver, BC)
Jack Iles (Whistler, BC)
Bowen Irvine (Whistler, BC)
Lee Jackson (Squamish, BC)
Hugon Langevin (Ste-Catherine, QC)
Mitchell O’Keefe (Calgary, AB)
Mckay Vezina (Newbury Park, CA)
Mark Wallace (Can) Devinci Global Racing
Dan Proulx, Head coach
Ian Hughes, Development coach
Tara Lazarski, Physiotherapist
Adam Trotter, Mechanic
Andy Anchuff, Mechanic
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