September 1/00 8:41 am - Masters DH Story
Posted by Editor on 09/1/00
11 World Champions Crowned in Bromont
11 world champions were crowned today in Bromont, Quebec, the site of the UCI World Masters Championships in mountain biking. Ranging in age from 30 to 69, the downhill age group racers may not have been professionals, but they were as intense as any other competitor in their pursuit of a world title. Canada finished third in the medal count, with two gold and one silver, behind the United States (6 gold, 7 silver and 4 bronze) and France (2 gold, 3 silver, 1 bronze). 97 competitors from 11 countries participated in the event, the official age group world championships for mountain biking.
Canada's first world title was won by Cecile Gambin of Milton, Ontario in the women's 30-34 age category. "I wanted that blue jersey" stated Gambin after her ride. "I've been peaking for this event all season, and it all came together just in time for this race." The 34 year old school teacher follows the Canada Cup national series circuit, and has won her share of national and provincial events, but the world title in Bromont is definitely her biggest victory. "I'm so glad it all came together," she beamed. "Two months ago I was thinking of dropping downhill, because my results were going nowhere." No talk of that after today.
Francois Soucy of Quebec was Canada's other winner, taking the title in the largest field of the day - the men's 30-34 age group. Soucy came down third from last, after qualifying third fastest in morning seeding runs. He knew that a medal was guaranteed after his run, but expected one of the two remaining riders on the course to beat him. "I had stopped racing this year, because I have two small children. So I only concentrated on this race all year." However, both remaining riders (Canadians Chris Lawrence and Guy Roberge) crashed during their runs, and Soucy threw his arms in the air and danced around the finishing area. The former Quebec champion, who was also second at the national championships last year, practically lived on the Bromont course, completing an astounding 250 practice runs during his preparation.
Among the other winners was the oldest competitor in the event - 69 year old Albert Piemme of California. "I said before the start that I may be the last starter, but I won't be the last finisher." Piemme was true to his word, catching the only other rider in his class - 65 year old Jacques Houot of France.
The Masters World Championships continue tomorrow at the 1976 Olympic Equestrian Centre with the cross-country races. Over 300 competitors from 21 countries are expected to participate.