August 6/01 2:43 am - MTB Nationals
Posted by Editoress on 08/6/01
Canadian National Mountain Bike Championships - Cross Country
Alison Sydor and Roland Green confirmed their status as Canada's top mountain bike racers by winning the Canadian National Mountain Bike Championships cross-country titles on Sunday, held at the Sun Peaks ski resort. The two Victoria-based professionals, who are team mates on the U.S. Trek-VW squad, convincingly beat the strongest fields ever assembled for a national championship.
Green took the lead early in the 5 lap, 32.5 kilometre men's event, with only Seamus McGrath (Haro-Lee Dungarees) able to hold his wheel on the steep climbs the riders had to contend with. The duo gradually opened a gap on a chasing group of local favourite Chris Sheppard (Haro-Lee Dungarees), Geoff Kabush (Kona) and Andreas Hestler (Rocky Mountain).
Green then rode away from McGrath with two laps remaining, to win his third national title with a time of one hour, 42 minutes and 59 seconds. Sheppard caught his team mate McGrath on the final lap, when the Ontario rider was suffering from mechanical problems, and took second place, one minute and 44 seconds behind Green. McGrath hung on for third, ahead of Kabush.
Green did not confirm his attendance at the national championships until 48 hours before the start. " I am focussed on preparing for the World's right now, but this is the Nationals. The Canadian title has a lot of respect in the world of racing these days, and I can't come all this way and not race."
Sydor, a three time world champion, was the class of the field, leading from the first technical section of the women's 4 lap, 26 kilometre race to win with a time of one hour, 40 minutes and 43 seconds. However, she made note of an up and coming talent from Courtney, BC who finished second - Kiara Bisaro (Trek-Smith). The 26 year old Bisaro finished two minutes and 27 seconds behind, the only rider able to stay with Sydor through the first section of singletrack.
"I've ridden against her in some BC races, and I know how good she is becoming. Usually I can get an advantage on the descents, but I knew I couldn't get away from Kiara there, so I pushed hard on the climbs. It has been a couple of years since I was able to attend nationals, so it was nice to be able to start my end of season preparation off on such a good note."
Behind Bisaro, Chrissy Redden (Subaru-Gary Fisher) started slow, but moved up steadily through the field from 13th place to pass Trish Sinclair (Ford-Devinci) for third place in the final half lap.
- Federau moved into the lead after pre-race favourite Ryder Hesjedal (Subaru-Gary Fisher) dropped out after one lap and quickly left the race.