Posted by Editoress on 06/13/16
Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) and Evan Guthrie (Norco Factory Racing) dominated the Elite races on Sunday, at the fourth round of the 2016 Cross-country Canada Cup, at Hardwood Ski and Bike, in Oro-Medonte, Ontario.
Although dark clouds and high winds threatened rain at points, the conditions stayed dry and fast for racing. The course made considerable use of the 2015 Pan American Games circuit, on which Batty won the gold medal for Canada. While a major climb was removed, there was more than enough climbing to make the racing challenging.
Batty, fresh off a win in Round 3 of the Canada Cup a week earlier, and a third place in the World Cup two weeks before, quickly took the lead, and won by nearly three minutes. Cindy Montambault (Quebec/Trek GPL) established herself in second on the first lap and maintained a 45 second gap over chasers for most of the race. Behind, Jena Greaser (Women's Project Pedal) finished third, but only by 22 seconds over Maghalie Rochette (Luna), who had been charging up through the field.
"I would say it is 90% of the same track as the Pan Ams," commented Batty. "It's always fun to be back at Hardwood; I know this track really well. It's a great training race between La Bresse [last World Cup] and the world championships in two weeks time. World championships and Rio start lines depend on the UCI ranking, and there are some points that I was trying to accumulate. Plus, I get to enjoy being home."
Batty's second win, plus a second place in the first round, puts her firmly in first in the overall standings, with 575 points. Greaser moves into second at 450 points, and Montambault is third with 415.
The men's race saw Guthrie charge into the lead on the first lap. The B.C. rider opened up a sizable gap over Derek Zandstra (Scott-3Rox) by mid-race, but the gap began to shrink in the final two laps, with Zandstra closing to within 12 seconds on the final lap, only to fade to 21 seconds back at the finish line. Evan McNeely (Norco Factory), the Canada Cup leader, finished third, holding off a hard-charging Peter Disera (Norco Factory), the winner of Round 3, who had an impressive ride back through the field after flatting on the first lap.
"It's nice to get a win at Hardwood, I like this course a lot," said Guthrie. "I felt good this morning in warmup, and the team was talking about it ... I was a bit sick during the week so eased off and came into this race fresh, and things worked out quite nicely. I'm going to go home and prep for the second half of the season, and take a lot of confidence from this race."
McNeely continues to lead the standings after four rounds with 615 points, followed by team mate Andrew L'Esperance at 510. Zandstra is third at 505, with Guthrie at 475.
In the Junior Expert categories, both the women's and men's leaders solidified their leads with wins. Emily Handford (Rocky Mountain Factory) won the women's race by a slim two seconds over Dana Gilligan (Angry Johnny's p/b Norco & Garneau), with Sophieanne Samson (CVM Sigma Assurances) in third. Quinton Disera (Angry Johnny's p/b Norco & Garneau) took his second consecutive victory - and third in four rounds - in the men, followed by Sean Fincham (Cycling BC) and Felix Longpré (Quebec / CC Monte-Sainte-Anne). Handford leads the women's standings with 370 points to Samson's 290, while Disera has 385 points to Fincham's 270.
The Canada Cup cross-country series takes a one month hiatus, until Round 5 in Saint-Felicien, QC, on July 23rd. The Downhill series resumes on June 24th, for Round 2 at Blue Mountain, Ontario.
1 Norco Factory Team, 1055 pts
2 Scott-3ROX Racing, 770
3 Pivot Cycles-OTE, 459