Posted by Editor on 07/6/97
Canada Cup # 4, Canmore, Race Report by Greg Flaaten
Weather conditions were perfect for Saturday's Canada Cup #4 at the Canmore Nordic Centre. Dry conditions, something of a rarity for this event, allowed riders every opportunity to prove their skills on this 9K mountainous alpine circuit. Technical single track climbs, rolling high speed down hills and signature features such as a screaming root and rock infested downhill single track section called "Terminator 2" make this Canada Cup venue one of the rider's favorites. Technical sections such as "Skull Mountain" and "The Gorge," which some riders prefer to walk, were popular viewing locations for the many race fans who turned out to enjoy the day-long Alberta sunshine. Fortunately for the riders, heat would not be a factor as it had been in Monte-Sainte-Anne.
In the Men's Pro/Elite race, Andreas Hestler (BC Rocky Mountain) broke away from Roland Green (BC Kona) as the riders approached the first climbing section that stretches three and one half K in to the course before launching them in to the twisting Terminator 2. Green was able to take over and gap the string of riders in the first lap and had established a thirty second lead going in to lap two. Hestler and Peter Wedge (NB Kona) dueled for most of the day as the pair exchanged positions countless times throughout the 5 lap 45K event.
Green extended his lead to one minute and forty seconds over Hestler and Wedge by the end of the third lap. Meanwhile, Jason Crookham (ON Rocky Mountain), Keith Stark (BC Norco) and Eric Tourville (QC Oryx) tried to bridge the gap between Wedge, Hestler and themselves.
Canada Cup series leader Bill Hurley (NS Schwinn) struggled with technical difficulties. A flat early in the race put him well back in the pack. Hurley would apparently run in to more technical problems later in the race and was seen leaving the Georgetown Stadium feed-zone to begin his final lap as Green crossed the finish line uncontested. Unofficial results reported Hurdy as a DQ. The DQ, while unofficial at this point, is rumored to involve a rules infraction related to his technical difficulties. (According to the organizer, Hurley was caught - on video - using a wheel from an outside source after his second flat)
Wedge and Hestler continued with their display of good old fashioned bicycle racing as they diced for position throughout the fourth and fifth laps to the delight of race fans. Wedge was able to gap Hestler on one of the final climbs in the last lap. He paid the price, however, when he saw some "big air" on his final assault of Skull Mountain; a very steep, technical, rocky section of the race course. Having left some skin behind, Wedge recovered quickly and went on to finish well ahead of Hestler who lost steam as he battled the altitude of the Nordic Centre.
Hestler had tried to drop Wedge on the fourth lap but "he came right back like the tenacious rider that he is," said Hestler. Andreas will be spending the next five days in the Canmore area and he hopes training at altitude will help with next week's World Cup at Vail, Colorado. He is pleased with his results this year and is well on track to attaining his goals of establishing himself on the World Cup and NORBA circuits with Rocky Mountain.
This was a big day for Kona as they took 1-2 in the Men's division. The team was clearly in good spirits following the impressive riding of Green and Wedge. The smooth Green acknowledges that his World Cup experience is paying off as he continues to see improvement in his riding.
In the Women's Pro/Elite division, Trish Sinclair (BC Kona) exploded out of the gate to lead the field through the 1K Georgetown Stadium parade lap with Melanie Dorion (PQ Scott) and Melanie McQuaid (BC Rocky Mountain) in tow as they approached the first three and one half K of mostly single track climbing.
Dorion hammered in to the stadium after the first lap of the four lap 36K event and had established a twenty second lead over McQuaid. Sinclair followed a minute down of McQuaid. Dorion extended her lead to thirty seconds over McQuaid on the second lap and Sinclair rode smoothly about a minute and a half back.
With Dorion comfortably in the lead by two minutes and McQuaid leaving the feed-zone for her final lap, Sinclair caught a glimpse of the Rocky Mountain rider as she entered Georgetown Stadium and appeared to bear down to close the thirty second gap. McQuaid surrendered no territory, however, and went on to finish three and a half minutes behind Dorion with Sinclair forty-five seconds back.
This was an impressive victory for Dorion. In spite of running out of Power Gel, she managed to increase her lead with each lap. "I needed this one so bad," she said after the mandatory bike inspection. Spirits were high in the Scott camp today as they landed first and fourth place riders on the podium. Christine Platt (BC Scott) finished over two and one half minutes ahead of Kerri Holmes (BC DeKerf) who was fifth.
Seasoned pro Leslie Greene finished in sixth place and is pleased to see her results improving after a slow start to the season. She reports that she is "learning to live with" a chronic hip flexor injury and has been very meticulous in her stretching and massage regimen. Long road spins round out her recuperative therapy. She was especially pleased to see dry course conditions this year as it has been known to rain at the annual Canmore event.
In the Junior Expert Men, Ryder Hesjedal (Kona), was untouchable. With a new glow-yellow hair-do that looks nice with the tropical flavored Kona team colours , Hesjedal went straight to the front and no one in the field had a chance to catch him throughout the day. Gilles Corbeil (MB) was second and Dustin Adams (Norco), currently the number one Junior Expert Downhiller, was third.
At this point there is about 60 kilometres left in the 192 kilometre first stage. A breakaway group of three - Kasputis, Knaven and Colombo - have been out in front for about 40 kilometres. Their lead reached over 5 minutes before the peloton started to chase, but is dropping fast now (down to 4:15). Will the pack continue to work together and bring the trio back? Stay tuned.
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