July 18/04 6:03 am - Mountain Bike National Championships
Posted by Editoress on 07/18/04
Mountain Bike National Championships - DH Final
Michelle Dumaresq (Santa Cruz) won her second consecutive national downhill title in the women's category at the Canadian National Mountain Bike Championships on Sunday at Mont Ste Anne, while Mathieu Laurin (Ironhorse) took the men's title.
Rain through the week leading up to the Championships turned the 1.7 kilometre course into a muddy mess, causing almost every rider to crash. Some sections in the woods were under nearly a foot of water. Dumaresq, who took seventh two weeks earlier in the World Cup race on the same course, was the fastest woman in qualifying and in the final run, with a time of four minutes and 5.25 seconds, 14.14 seconds ahead of second place Danika Schroeter of Whistler, B.C.
"These were super challenging conditions, to be sure. It was hard to keep your momentum going with all the rain and mud, and so easy to lose speed. My qualifying run was clean, but in the final race run I made a silly mistake - I just hit a slippery root. Fortunately I didn't go down, but I lost seven or eight seconds. Luckily for me, I had enough of a buffer on the other girls."
Dumaresq raced with 15 stitches in her left knee - a result of broken handlbars during the 4-Cross event at Mont Ste Anne. "There was no tendon damage, but I took some time off and missed Calgary to let them heal a bit."
Laurin crashed twice during his run, once going right over the handlebars, but was able to make up enough time in other sections to beat Eric Goss (Giant) by 4.59 seconds. Laurin credited his win to his decision this year to compete on the World Cup circuit, where he currently is placed 35th in the worldwide rankings.
"This is my first year to do the whole World Cup series, and it is definitely brought me a notch higher. Before the World Cup I raced the Canada Cup, and could race there at 85%, now I have learned how to race at 100%, and now I was able to win this national title. This is the most important race I have ever won, and I will wear the national champion's jersey proudly."
Both Dumaresq and Laurin automatically qualify with their wins to represent Canada at the World Championships in Les Gets, France, in September.
- Canada has become possibly the first country to award sport-specific downhill jerseys to the national title winners; no doubt prompted by the recent crackdown by the UCI on fining national champions who do not compete in their national jersey. Canadian men's DH champion Mike Jones (Norco) was dinged to the tune of 1250 Sf at Calgary (he is appealing the fine, with the assistance of the CCA).