Posted by Editoress on 06/5/08
Raphaël Gagné/Rocky Mountain Bicycles (www.raphaelgagne.blogspot.com) reports after Hardwood Hills ON (photos by Kristina Laforge)
The third Canada MTB Cup of this season was held at Hardwood Hills on almost the same course as last year. As usual, at Hardwood Hills, the course was fun with long single track sections with high speed, lots of switch backs, some flat portions and completed the 9km lap in the BMX park. It was a cloudy day with some showers at the beginning of the race so for the first time there, we raced on a partly humid course!
I defended very well my Canada Cup Leader's Jersey finishing 2nd in the Senior Elite Men's race. We completed 5 laps of an average of 22 minutes per lap and the wining time was 1 :50.
I had a good first lap in the lead group of 8-9 riders, the pace was really fast. By the second lap we were only five in the lead group. After two complete laps, Derek Zandstra slowly opened a gap of 15 seconds on the group. I had trained hard that week to prepare my race at Worlds and knowing that the long flat portions with not much technical of the Hardwood course were not my strength, so when Derek made his move, I decided to stay with the group and be conservative.
In the 3rd lap, we were 4 chasing after Zandstra and I moved at the front to increase the pace and we dropped 2 riders, only one came back (Lazarski) at the beginning of the 4th lap. After a couple of minutes, Lazarski and I moved up and worked together with (Adam) Morka chasing not far back.
Starting for the final lap, we were a minute down on Zandstra, so we worked together, hammering on the flat portions of the course. At half lap to the finish I increased the pace dropping Lazarski and crossed the finish line in 2nd place, 51 seconds slower than Zandstra. Martin Lazarski who worked with me a part of the race finished 3rd crossing the line 1min20sec after the winner.
What I can say is that it was a tight, hard and really fast race. It was definitely a good preparation for me for the World Championships that are in 2 1/2 weeks. I was happy to defend my leader's jersey at the 3rd Canada Cup of the season and surprised to have a good performance with good 'feeling' even after I had trained hard that week. This is positive for me, I feel that I can train and recover well.
I will be training hard for the next 2 weeks and will take some rest just before worlds, I am excited about this important race in Italy. I'll be racing this Sunday at the 3rd Quebec Cup in Baie-Saint-Paul and this is going to be my last race before worlds. The weather forecast is such that I expect some peanut butter mud, same as 2 years ago at that course! Stay tuned I'll update you on that race and about my performance at Worlds.
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