June 27/04 9:25 am - Mont Ste Anne World Cup
Posted by Editoress on 06/27/04
Mont Ste Anne World Cup - XC Preview
by Mike Badyk
Unlike the glorious sun that we've experienced here for the past 3 days, today is somewhat overcast, windy and cool. The local weather report is listing a 40% chance of rain. We're hoping it holds off, but it is difficult to see what may be coming over Mont Ste-Anne.
As reported earlier, this is a new race course for this venue at 5.4 km per lap. Despite the reduced length, the racers are just loving it, especially the Canadians. They tend to like more technical courses, and this one certainly offers that aspect. There is a brand new section of single track to the west of the finish that brings the riders twisting and turning over roots and rocks for almost 1.5 km. Most of this section is downhill and wouldn't be out of place in a free ride park. Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain), who has been known to love rough courses, said "It's great. They've made the course with less climbing and more descending. I'm really looking forward to it."
Lap times are still a bit of guess work. Chris Sheppard and Seamus McGrath (Haro-adidas) were suggesting 21-22 minute lap times as of Friday afternoon, but the course has dried out considerably since then so the times should improve. As it stands this morning women will do 4 laps plus 2 laps of the start loop, and men will do 6 laps plus 2 laps of the start loop. This is of course subject to change.
The start loop is quite interesting as the field will begin going backwards on the course from the Finish, somewhat uphill for a short bit, then left onto a cross-path above the feed zone. They then turn left again and drop back down to the Finish and up again. At the end of the second journey on the cross-path they will turn right and begin the long, gravel road climb up the west side of the course. We expect lots of dicing on the climb because the tight single track, with limited passing opportunities, is just after the end of the climb. Lots of strategy will undoubtedly come into play.
We are especially looking forward to the women's race considering the excellent placings (2nd, 3rd and 4th) of Canadian women at Fort William, Scotland. Marie-Helene Premont will be the one to watch as this is essentially a home-town crowd for her, and she has the new team (Rocky Mountain Ë† Business Objects) to race for. We wish all of our Canadian competitors the best of luck.