Posted by Editoress on 09/22/21
For the first time since 2019, new Canadian national titles for Cross-country (XCO) will be awarded, as well as new ones for Short Track (XCC). The competition will take place in Baie-Saint-Paul, approximately one hour east of Quebec City, on the north shore of the St Lawrence Seaway. Junior, Under-23 and Elite XCO titles will be awarded on Friday, XCC - open women's and men's races - on Saturday, and the XCO Masters titles on Sunday.
Riders can expect rough and rooty courses, with some new features added. It will almost certainly be wet and muddy as well, with forecasts calling for extended rain.
The fields - especially Elite - are on the small side, with the event coming at the end of a long international season that included the Olympics. The Elite women race has only eight entrants, and will not include Emily Batty (Canyon Collective), who ended her season just before last weekend's World Cup Final at Snowshoe. Batty, like many riders who did not race at Snowshoe, explained that she is mentally and physically fatigued.
This means that there will be a new national champion, since Batty was the defending champion. There are a number of strong contenders, including Catharine Pendrel (Clif Pro), who retired from international competition at Snowshoe last weekend, still the top Canadian in 15th place. She will get competition from Norco Factory riders Jenn Jackson and Haley Smith, as well as Sandra Walter, who has had a strong World Cup season. One contender who is only a 'maybe' starter is Laurie Arseneault (Canyon Collective), who is still recovering from a bad crash in the opening 100 metres of the Snowshoe race.
Marc Andre Fortier
The Elite Men's field is a bit larger then the women, at 21 riders, including defending champion and Tokyo Olympian Peter Disera (Norco Factory). The favourite is probably Leandre Bouchard (Pivot-OTE), who has consistently been the top Canadian at Recent World Cups and the world championships. Remarkably, Bouchard has never won the Elite XCO title - this could be the year. Other strong podium possibilities include Quinton Disera (Norco Factory)Tyler Orschel and Marc Andre Fortier (Pivot-OTE).
In the Under-23 categories, Marianne Theberge (Pivot-OTE) and Emilly Johnston (Pendrel Racing) are the strong favourites for the title, while the men's side should be a battle between Carter Woods (Norco Factory) and Gunnar Holmgren (Pivot-OTE).
The action gets underway Friday morning, and Canadian Cyclist will be there providing updates. as always.
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