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August 10/13 23:50 pm - Mont-Sainte-Anne: XC Report and Photos

Posted by Editoress on 08/10/13

Once again, Mont Ste Anne produced stellar racing at the Mountain Bike World Cup, with both the men's and women's Elite cross-country champions taking their first victories of the 2013 season.  Katerina Nash (Luna) finally won the first World Cup of her illustrious career in the women's race, while Julien Absalon (BMC) ended a rare drought with victory in the men's race - his fifth World Cup win at Mont Ste Anne, a record.  Both Tanja Zakelj (Unior Tools) and Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower) retain the overall leads in the women's and men's series, respectively.

Canada put multiple riders in the top-10, with Catharine Pendrel (Luna) showing her comeback from injury is progressing strongly by finishing eighth in the Elite women, followed by Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) in tenth.  In the men's Elite race, Max Plaxton (Sho Air Cannondale) was ninth.  Rachel Pageau (Team Canada) was third in the Junior women's race, and Peter Disera (Team Canada) dominated the Junior men, with his first World Cup competition win.  Frederique Trudel (Specialized Racing Canada) was the top Under 23 woman, in seventh place.



Julie Bresset at the front

links to more photos at bottom of page

After rain earlier in the week, race day dawned with sunny skies, and a wind that dried out the course, making the track fast.  World champion Julie Bresset (BH-SR Suntour-KMC) proved that she is back on form after an early season injury by riding away from the women's field on the first lap, opening a substantial 25 second lead by the end of the lap.



The chasers on the climb

links to more photos at bottom of page

The chasers were getting organized behind, and four riders began to reel her in over the next few laps - Nash, Eva Lechner (Colnago Sudtirol), Maja Wloszczowska (Giant Pro XC) and Zakelj.  Lechner was the first dropped, and then Zakelj was gapped by the other two.  It wasn't until lap five that Nash and Wlozczowska finally caught Bresset, and then the Luna rider attacked on the main climb of the sixth and final lap to open a gap on both riders.



Nash and Wloszczowska chase down Bresset

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Wloszczowska dropped a tiring Bresset in the chase, and the world champion was also caught by Zakelj in the last lap to eventually finish fourth.  Nash looked to be firmly in control, but she wasn't taking any chances - just a couple of weeks earlier she was caught in the final kilometre at the Andorra World Cup to finish a disappointing second.

This time there would be no disappointment, as the Czech rider cruised across the line with her arms in the air and big smile on her face; 17 seconds ahead of Wloszczowska, with a late charging Zakelj taking third at 24 seconds.



Katerina Nash - finally a win

links to more photos at bottom of page


"This is a great day," commented Nash.  "I've had seconds and thirds, and to finally win, and here in Mont Ste Anne, it is fantastic.  It has been a long time coming, but when it works out, it is pretty exciting.  At the young age of 35 I've finally put it together.  I've ridden here for ten years, and I feel like I know every rock and root here, and I was prepared for anything.  I'm not sure if I put in an attack, but I knew it was one of those chances, and I just had to go.  This is huge, you start to wonder if it's ever going to work out, but I put it together today."

Pendrel admitted that she may have been a bit cautious in the early laps, unsure of her fitness at this level, but moved from the high teens to 12th by the end of the first lap, and to ninth on the second lap, and finally into eighth on lap five.  Batty, who is rebuilding her fitness after illness, rode consistently a couple of spots further back.


Catharine Pendrel

“I’m pleased that I got around the course and felt pretty normal. I never want to get eighth, I always want to finish on the podium. I thought that was a possibility here, but I didn’t know. I went into this race a little unsure of myself today and not my usual ‘I think I’m going to be on the podium’.  This race was a good opener for me [coming back from injury], and I felt very efficient and consistent out there.”


Zakelj continues to lead the overall standings with 950 points, while Nash moves into second at 865 points, followed by Wloszczowska at 780.  Pendrel jumps from 11th to 8th in the standings, even on points with Batty, who is one position back.


[Note:  We have interviews with Nash, Pendrel and Batty which will go up shortly]



Men's start


The men's seven lap race followed what has become an established pattern - Schurter and Absalon attack, dropping the rest of the field and battling it out to the finish.  World champion Schurter holds the advantage this season, with victories in the three rounds leading up to Mont Ste Anne, while Absalon has struggled with mechanicals - a broken frame in the first round while leading, and a dropped chain in the last round.  Despite that, he has two second places for the season, and it was clear that he was the only rider capable of challenging the Swiss rider.



Nino Schurter (Scott Swisspower MTB Racing Team) and Julien Absalon (BMC Mountainbike Racing Team)

links to more photos at bottom of page


At Mont Ste Anne, it was Schurter who suffered mechanical problems on the third lap, when he flatted after Absalon attacked.  The Swiss rider admitted that he probably took too many chances in the descent trying to reel in his rival, leading to his flat and giving Absalon a clear run to victory.

After a stop in the tech zone to change wheels, Schurter joined the chase group containing Jose Hermida (Multivan Merida), Marco Fontana (Cannondale Factory) and Stephane Tempier (BH-SR Suntour-KMC).  The group made no headway in their chase of Absalon, and Hermida, the world champion at Mont Ste Anne in 2010, dropped Schurter to take second.



Julien Absalon (BMC Mountainbike Racing Team)
links to more photos at bottom of page


"I did an attack on the climb on the second lap," explained Absalon, "but I only got five seconds.  So I did it again on the next lap and I got 15 seconds to take into the technical section.  I guess Nino made some mistakes chasing me in the downhill and flatted.  This year has had some problems for me, so I am very happy to take this first win of the season, and the first win for my new team.  Mont Ste Anne is very special to me; it is where I had my first great victory, at the world championships as a Junior in 1998.  The course here is always very hard, and the organization is very good."



Max Plaxton

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Plaxton, starting in the fourth row, quickly made it up into the teens, moving into the top-10 on lap four.  He was riding with Ralph Näf (BMC), who eventually finished fourth, when he crashed, losing contact with the Swiss rider who continued to move up to finish on the podium.  In the crash, Plaxton broke the fastener on his shoe, which didn't help matters.



Julien Absalon wins

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Schurter has an almost insurmountable lead with one race remaining, leading Absalon by 220 points.  Absalon moves into second with his victory, 80 points ahead of Round One winner Daniel McConnell (Trek Factory Racing).


Max Plaxton

“It was an exciting race. At first, with the shorter course, I was a little disappointed, but it made for some interesting racing. There was a lot of shuffling around, and with that one main climb, it was really tough to get positions. I had a good start, and just moved my way up. I feel like I could have fought for a top-5, but I made a few mistakes, and had a crash which kind of disrupted my momentum.”


[Note:  We have interviews with Absalon and Plaxton, which will be posted shortly]

In the Under 23 category, Rebecca Henderson (Trek Factory Racing) took her second win of the season, to regain the lead in the women's overall standings from Yana Belomoyna (Superior Brentjens).  First year under 23 man Anton Cooper (Cannondale Factory) took his first win of the season, while Markus Schulte-Luenzum (Focus XC Team) held onto the overall lead.



Junior & U23 Women

Elite Women

Elite Men

Junior & U23 Men


Related Photo Galleries

World Cup Mont Ste Anne August 8/13 - August 11/13, Mont Ste Anne, Quebec, Canada

Elite Men XC PT1
Elite Men XC PT2
Elite Women XC PT1
Elite Women XC PT2
U23 Women XC
Junior Women XC
U23 Men XC
Junior Men XC
Junior Men DH Final
Women DH Final
Elite Men DH Final

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