Posted by Editor on 08/10/98
Canada Cup #5 - Rocky Mountain House, Alberta
By Greg Flaaten
Hot and dusty conditions greeted the 59 Pro-Elite Men cross country starters of Canada Cup #5 at Rocky Mountain House, Alberta. The 5 kilometer course is short by Canada Cup standards but not lacking in technical and physical challenge. By the end of the day, there would be 20 DNFs.
Geoff Kabush (BC Kona) led the charge to the top of the first 1 kilometer climb with a string of riders trailing wheel to wheel. Heading into the first singletrack, Kabush was shadowed by Guido Visser (QC Ford/Devinci), Bill Hurley (QC Oryx), Adam Walker (AB Rip'n Hammer/Fisher), George Visser (QC Specialized), Martin Nuckle (PQ Ford/Devinci) and Chad Miles (BC).
Chad Miles put his technical skills to work immediately upon entering the singletrack and quickly moved from seventh position into first. Miles led the climb into the second lap with Walker and George Visser in tow. Hurley and Lucas Curren (ON Valu-Net) trailed another fifteen seconds down .
"I knew I was strong on the long climbs," said Miles after the race. " I just wanted to get a good start because I thought I had a good chance here on the downhills."
While Miles was establishing his lead, Eric Tourville (PQ Oryx) and Marc Sonntag (BC John Henry) were rapidly advancing through the pack after suffering from poor starts. A kilometer into the second lap, Tourville and Sonntag had caught Kabush who was riding with Niklas Christopherson (AB Tatonka) and Guido Visser just five seconds behind Hurley and Curren.
Miles hammered through the technical sections and immediately began to gap the chasers. By the third lap, he had established a fifty second lead over George Visser and Adam Walker who were now dogged by Tourville and Sonntag just ten seconds behind them. The four established a chase group but Miles had extended his lead to a minute by the beginning of lap four.
Walker sensed that it was time to turn up the heat. " I was just laying low out there," explained Walker. "I just bided my time; I knew if I rode smart for the first half of the race, I could save something for later on."
Heading into the fourth lap singletrack, Walker broke away from George Visser, Tourville and Sonntag. He quickly made up the minute on Miles and began to put distance on him. After the big climb on the fifth lap, Walker had established a forty-five second lead on Miles. Tourville could not match the pace of Walker but had closed to within five seconds of Miles while George Visser and Sonntag were well back at one minute thirty and two minutes behind the blazing Walker.
Walker motored on unchallenged for the remaining one and a half laps of the race to claim his first Canada Cup victory of the year by a margin of 51.49 seconds. Meanwhile, Miles had his hands full fighting off the charging Tourville.
"This is a learning year for me," said Miles after the race. "I'll be very happy with a top ten in the Canada Cup this year." Tourville was never able to close the gap and finished 18 seconds down on Miles. George Visser and Marc Sonntag held on for fourth and fifth.
In the Women's Pro-Elite field, upstart Amber Chorney (BC Bean Around the World Coffees) led Trish Sinclair (BC Kona/Shimano), Lisa McGilvray (ON Schwinn), Marie-Helene Premont (QC Ford/Devinci) and Christine Platt (BC Schwinn) through the first climb and into the singletrack.
"I knew I needed a good start because there was a technical section just after the first climb," said Chorney who is still breaking in her new Gary Fisher after having had her race bike stolen in Vancouver.
Chorney quickly gapped the pack and had established a two minute lead on Sinclair and McGilvray after just one lap. Meanwhile, Leslie Greene (ON GT Canada), had worked her way into fourth from ninth position and trailed by two minutes and forty-five seconds, fifteen seconds ahead of Marie-Helene Premont.
Chorney set a blistering pace and had put four minutes on Sinclair going into the third lap. McGilvray had given up thirty seconds to Sinclair and was joined by Leslie Greene. McGilvray and Greene rode in tandem for the better part of the race, while Premont soloed in fifth.
Chorney surprised a lot of people at Canada Cup #2 in Canmore earlier this year. After having led for the entire Canmore race, she was caught only by Sinclair and then only on the last lap. With Rocky Mountain House being only her second appearance in the series, Chorney seemed intent to prove that her Canmore performance was no fluke. Going into the fourth of five and a half laps, her lead had grown to seven minutes over Sinclair.
"She's a strong singletrack rider," noted Sinclair of the Canada Cup newcomer. " It's good to know that there are talented riders coming up."
While Chorney extended her lead, Leslie Greene managed to break away from McGilvray and caught up to Sinclair with a lap remaining. After a brief encounter, Sinclair pulled away while Greene stayed to true to her race strategy.
"I just wanted to set an even pace and try and hold it," noted Greene who is aiming for a spot on the National Team. Pleased with today's results, Greene feels that she may be at her seasonal peak for next week's Nationals in Silverstar BC.
At the end of the day, it was Chorney by almost fourteen minutes over Trish Sinclair, with Leslie Greene down another minute and nine seconds. Lisa McGilvray finished one minute and forty-three seconds behind Greene and Marie-Helen Premont was seventeen minutes and nine seconds off the leader's pace.
In the Junior MenÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s race, Ryder Hesjedal (BC Kona) was, once again, the dominant competitor, with a six and a half minute gap on second place finisher Ryan Dey (ON Rocky Mountain). Winnipeger Adrian Alphonso (MN Manitoba Team) was third, a further 40 seconds in arrears. Alberta local Carrie Tuck (AB OGC/Oakley) was the Junior WomenÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s champion, 2:22 ahead of QuÃƒÂ©bec racer Marisol Bernier (PQ Oryx). Another Alberta rider, Rachel Morris (AB Rocky Mountain Riders) finished third, only 12 seconds behind Bernier.
- We are waiting for electronic results, and will then publish completeresults for all categories. They should arrive later today.
- This is the first race where riders discard their worst result from the Canada Cup series, so it will take a little longer to get current standings up.
- Besides the downhill protest, the talk was about the fires in B.C., and whether it will affect the running of the Nationals next weekend in Silverstar. We will keep you posted.
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