May 21/04 11:10 am - Madrid World Cup Preview
Posted by Editoress on 05/21/04
Madrid World Cup
World Cup coverage sponsored by Vélirium 2004 and ORYX
We are on site at the first mountain bike World Cup of the 2004 season - Casa de Campo park on the outskirts of Madrid. This was also the first race of the season in 2002. The course has not changed much, we are told, covering 8 kilometres, with the main obstacles being a hard, steep climb, a very technical descent, and a set of stairs the riders have to go up and down. We won't know number of laps until after the manager's meeting tomorrow. Two years ago, it was very dusty and hot, and we expect the same this year, although it has been raining off and on today; just enough to keep the dust down. This location also adds some "local colour" - the racing community discovered in 2002 that parts of the course wound its way through areas where the "local talent" ply their trade. That apparently has not changed, according to riders who ran across transactions underway while training...
The other news item of interest is the wedding tomorrow (Saturday) of Crown Prince Filipe. The downtown core is already closed to vehicular traffic, in preparation for the celebration and parade.
One of the first people I ran into was Quebec coach Michel Leblanc, who is here looking after a number of Canadian riders who do not have team support at this race. Michel said that there is a sizable Canadian contingent:
Michel is looking after McGrath, Federau, Toulouse, Bisaro, Premont, Sinclair, McQuaid. Ricky Federau has already suffered a blow to his chances of doing well, after a crash in training today resulted in 3 staples in his left calf. Federau washed out his front wheel in a corner and went down, unluckily catching his leg on one of the posts used to mark the trail. There is no muscle or tendon damage, but the skin was peeled back, and he has a lot of soreness and some stiffening of the quad muscle. He plans on starting on Sunday.
Tomorrow the Juniors and Masters race - and there are no surprise Canadian entries like Max Plaxton two years ago... On Sunday the women race at 10 am local time (4:00 am EDT, 1:00 am PDT) and the men at 1:00 pm local (7:00 am EDT, 4:00 am PDT). We will be providing live, lap-by-lap coverage for both races.
The World Cup is always important, but this year it is even more crucial as riders from all nations fight for points for Olympic qualification. Within the Canadian ranks, Green, Hesjedal, Kabush and McGrath are fighting for two men's spots, and Bisaro, Redden and Premont are fighting for two women's spots (Alison Sydor has an automatic spot).