January 4/06 7:10 am - 2005 in Review-June
Posted by Editor on 01/4/06
2005 - A Year in Review
Yesterday we continued our review of the 2005 season with the months of April and May. Today is June - probably the busiest month on the domestic calendar.
The month opened with the Tour du Grand Montreal - it actually started on the last couple of days of May but concluded June 2nd. Genevieve Jeanson, fresh off her win in the Montreal Women's World Cup took an early lead in the race, but could not hold off the efforts of the top teams - Webcor, Quark, Nurnberger and S.A.T.S. Erinne Willock was in good position to podium until a crash took her out of contention. She finished fourth overall and Jeanson fifth.
Gord Fraser started the month off strongly with a win at the Wachovia Cycling series race in Trenton. Canadians have a history of doing well at the US Pro Championship in Philly, but not this year - Amy Moore in 11th and Dominique Perras (18th) were the top Canadian finishers. Chris Wherry gave Health Net the US Pro title.
Marie-Helene Premont racked up another podium on the World Cup circuit with a third place in Willingen, Germany (4th round). Willingen was also the site of a bizarre strike by 4-Cross riders, who refused to race when the electronic gate broke down and they were informed that manual starts would be required. None of the men started, and only six women. World Cup leader Jill Kintner even ran out in the middle of a women's heat to disrupt the action!
The UCI made itself very unpopular with track racers by announcing that the Kilo and 500 Metre time trials would be dropped for Beijing to make way for BMX. This was a blow to Canadian hopes, since Travis Smith was showing great progress in the Kilo.
The CCA experimented with a new format for Mountain Bike Nationals - Cross Country events one weekend and Downhill the next. The format avoided conflicts with World Cup events in the disciplines, and allowed for a less crammed schedule (of course, for the media it meant multiple trips to Mont Ste Anne...). The CCA will continue with the format for this year, but we have just learned (today) that there will still be conflicts for both disciplines with the Norba series, since the Americans just added another event to their schedule (after promising to "work with" the CCA to avoid such situations). I guess this is one way to ensure that American riders win at least one Norba race - schedule it while the Canadians are racing their Nationals...
Premont and Geoff Kabush won their respective cross-country titles, but not without hard fought efforts by former champions Alison Sydor and Roland Green, who finished second. The men's race was particularly interesting in that it seemed to signal a changing of the guard - three of the top-10 and eight of the top-20 riders were Espoirs, and a number of the usual suspects (McGrath, Sheppard, Hesjedal) were missing. In the Junior categories, Emily Batty was finally old enough to "legally" become national champion...
Beauce proved to be up to its usual standard, with some exceptional racing and numerous changes in the yellow jersey. Canadians held the jersey through the first five stages, with Martin Gilbert winning the opening stage, Dominique Rollin the second (and taking the lead) and Svein Tuft finishing a strong second in the time trial to Australian powerhouse Nathan O'Neill to take the lead. However, the penultimate stage in Quebec City proved to be bittersweet for the Canadians. Charles Dionne took an impressive solo win on this extremely hard stage, but O'Neill managed to drop Tuft on the final climb to take a 12 second lead in the GC, which his Navigators team easily defended on the final day. Despite the foreign win, Beauce proved to be an epic race, with many fine Canadian performances. Mark Walters finished 7th overall, and Brandon Crichton 12th, giving him the Young Rider's jersey.
At the Downhill Nationals there were new faces at the top of the podium, with Tyler Morland taking the men's title, Adrienne Miller the women's and Micayla Gatto the Junior women's.
A week later and the mountain bikers were back at Mont Ste Anne for the fifth round of the World Cup. Marie-Helene Premont did not disappoint the hometown crowd as she took the biggest win of her career, and her second World Cup win of the season in front of World and Olympic champion Gunn-Rita Dahle. With her traditional ear-to-ear smile Premont came across the line with arms in the air. She then stopped and lifted her bike above her head. "It is fantastic. All my friends are here. My mother, my sister, my brother. It is so wonderful." Shortly afterwards, Geoff Kabush finished third in the men's race and Roland Green ninth. In the Downhill, Danika Schroeter finished just off the podium in 6th place. It was a strong performance by Canada for the entire weekend.
The end of the month brought some sad news with the death of Mike Mulholland. Mike was a fixture on the Canadian cycling scene for over 25 years, as a racer and with his handbuilt Cyclops bicycles. The outpouring of stories and sympathy from the Canadian community proved to be the best memorial possible. Photo.