Posted by Editoress on 06/3/05
Tremblant Canada Cup DH #2
by Fred Belanger
Rain Wildcard in Laurin Victory
Schroeter tops Griffiths!
(Montreal) - The traveling circus known as the Canada Cup stopped in Mont Tremblant, Quebec, for the 2nd stop of the 2005 series this past weekend, and although the same course as in the last 5 years awaited racers from across Canada, most were thrilled to be racing here. Weather would once again be a factor, reminiscent of the infamous Grouse Mountain World Cup of 2003. Although rain on Friday soaked the flat course thoroughly, Saturdays sun and heat, as well as Sunday mornings, left most people wondering if the forecasted rain would come.
Gondola troubles just as the pro women were headed up the mountain to warm up caused significant delays to the start of the entire Pro field, and emergency generators were fired up to very slowly finish uploading the passengers. Using a neighboring lift to get to the top, most of the elite field milled around wondering if they would be riding a dry course, or a wet course. In an effort to pass the time, a new sport, tentatively called Boulder Rolling developed, with such notable pro-men as Eric Cseff (Rocky Mountain), Luke Kitzanuk (Giant Canada), and Justin Brown (Norco Factory) rolling large boulders down the neighboring trail, in an effort to roll theirs the farthest. The uncontested Grand-Champion of the Tremblant Boulder Roll Championship was Stuart Cooper (Kona), whos rock rolling skills blew everyone away. His chiseled rock rolled well beyond his nearest competitor. It was to be a good day for this west-coast rider, as his actual race run netted him another podium appearance, clinching third place with a time of 4:49:78.
The rain did come, but not as menacingly as anticipated. Drops started to fall soon after the 1st elite man took the start, and a steady rain increased the slickness of the course. The story of the weekend would not be the rain however: it would be Eric Goss (Giant Canada) return, having walked away unscathed from what I reported last week as a broken vertebrae. Im stiff, but otherwise feeling pretty good Im just happy to be able to be doing this still, Eric said as he was headed out for a practice run on Saturday. And pretty good he must have been feeling, as he finished the day with the second fastest time of the day.
Although some may have put into doubt his winning ability given his questionable result at Canada Cup #1 in Bromont, Mathieu Laurin (Devinci/Daredevil) made an unmistakable impression on everyone in attendance when he tore through the finish line. His time was 8 seconds faster than then closest competitor (4:35.74), on what he described as a good run. Some may question, given his performance this week, his decision last week not to ask for a rerun after a timing glitch put into doubt the accuracy of his race result.
It would be important to note that the very talented Whistler local, Tyler Morland (Cove/Sram) finished 4th and has taken the Canada Cup Leaders jersey away from Luke Kitzanuk. Tyler was the 2nd to last rider to come down the hill, and as such rode a course that had been considerably re-soaked with rain. It was the course conditions that may have cost Luke Kitzanuk his leaders jersey, as a slide-out in a muddy off-camber turn down the final pitch cost him precious seconds.
In the womens field, a surprising finish netted Giant Canadas Danika Schroeter the win, ahead of World Cup podium finisher Fionn Griffiths (Norco Factory) of the UK. I had to pass two racers on the way down my run I bobbled as I passed one of the girls, but I dont think it cost me too much time. Im really happy, Danika said after getting to the bottom.
In the juniors, the man of the hour has got to be Andrew Mitchell (Cove Bikes/Smith/DangerBoy) who ripped the course apart, crossing the finish with the 3rd fastest time of the day, all categories combined. This young gun is turning some heads, and not just the ladies.
Mike Jones (Norco) ended up fifth this week, blaming my prediction of last week as a jinx.
Jean Martin Gagne, head guy at Intense Canada and On the Edge, won the party at the Ptit Caribou on Friday night, buying shooters by the bottle and closing the bar. I heard someone say that some tourist ladies may never be the same again.
Overheard in the line yeah, I think Laurins time at the top is over. These guys from out west (Morland/Biluk/Dewar) are riding way faster than him.
Im back heard from the mouth of one racer crossing the finish line about 30 seconds off pace.
The Tremblant course has remained essentially unchanged since 2005, with most sections being taped exactly the same. Id swear theyre leaving the posts up all year, or sinking the posts in the same holes. Granted, they did some maintenance on course this year in an effort to smooth out some of the more beat up sections
Props to the FQSC this week: the line-ups were drastically reduced, and the whole registration process went much smoother.
Next stop is Mont Ste. Anne for the National Championships. What I dont get is how we can have what is supposed to be the culmination of the season 6 weeks into it? It would be like having the Superbowl midway through the NFL season.
My man Eric Cseff in the top-10: Welcome back brother.
Marc Fontaine (SantaCruz), due to scholastic obligations, showed up on race day, pre-rode the course, and finished a respectable 26th.
When is there going to be a comprehensive analysis of results and downgrading of some of the elite men. We have 70 men at Canada Cups, and 20 of them constantly finish in the last 20. Some are not good enough to win sport, so what are they doing in Pro-Elite?
About the Author:
Fred Belanger in a mountain bike racer from Montreal, Quebec, and has raced as a Pro for the last ten years, participating in World Cups, NORBA Nationals, and Canada Cups. He is presently sponsored by Intense Canada, Shimano Canada, and Manitou. Please address all comments, questions, and feedback to email@example.com.
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