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By Rob Jones , VeloNews correspondent
Alison Sydor and Roland Green confirmed their status as Canada’s top mountain bike racers when they won the Canadian National Mountain Bike Championships cross-country titles Sunday. At the Sun Peaks ski resort in Kamloops, British Columbia, the two Victoria-based professionals, teammates on the U.S.-based Trek-Volkswagen squad, convincingly beat the strongest fields ever assembled for a Canadian championship.
Green took the lead early in the 5 lap, 32.5km men’s event, with only Seamus McGrath (Haro-Lee Dungarees) able to hold his wheel on the steep climbs. The duo gradually opened a gap on a chase group of local favorite Chris Sheppard (Haro-Lee Dungarees), Geoff Kabush (Kona) and Andreas Hestler (Rocky Mountain).
Green then rode away from McGrath with two laps remaining, to win his third national title with a time of 1:42:59. Sheppard caught his teammate McGrath on the final lap, when the Ontario rider was suffering from mechanical problems, to take second place, 1:44 behind Green. McGrath hung on for third, ahead of Kabush.
Green didn’t confirm his attendance at the national championships until 48 hours before the start.
“I am focussed on preparing for the world’s right now, but this is the nationals,” Green said. “The Canadian title has a lot of respect in the world of racing these days, and I can’t come all this way and not race.”
Sydor, a three time world champion, was the class of the field, leading from the first technical section of the women’s 4 lap, 26km race, to win with a time of 1:40:43. However, Sydor made note of an up and coming talent from Courtney, B.C., who finished second : Kiara Bisaro (Trek-Smith). The 26-year-old Bisaro finished 2:27 back and was the only rider able to stay with Sydor through the first section of single track.
“I’ve ridden against her in some B.C. races, and I know how good she is becoming,” Sydor said. “Usually I can get an advantage on the descents, but I knew I couldn’t get away from Kiara there, so I pushed hard on the climbs.”
Behond Bisaro, Chrissy Redden (Subaru-Gary Fisher) started slow, but moved up steadily through the field from 13th place to pass TrishSinclair (Ford-Devinci) for third place in the final half lap.
In other categories, Adam Coates of Saskatoon won the Junior men’s race, Martina Feldmann (Fact) the junior women’s and Ricky Federau (Rocky Mountain) took the Under-23 men’s title.
CANADIAN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS, Kamloops, British Columbia, August 5-6. ;
Pro Men: 1. Roland Green, Trek Volkswagen, 32.5km in 1:42:59; 2. Chris Sheppard, Haro-Lee Dungarees, at 1:44; 3. Seamus McGrath, Haro Lee Dungarees, at 2:12; 4. Geoff Kabush, Kona, at 2:26; 5. Andreas Hestler, Rocky Mountain, at 3:53; 6. Matt Toulouse, Ford Devinci, at 4:28; 7. Chad Miles, ROACH, at 6:48; 8. Peter Wedge, Kona, at 7:22; 9. Eric Tourville, ORYX, at 8:31; 10. Carter Hovey, Bolla/Bianchi, at 8:43.;
Pro Women: 1. Alison Sydor, Trek Volkswagen, 26km in 1:40:43; 2. Kiara Bisaro, Trek, at 2:27; 3. Chrissy Redden, Subaru-Gary Fisher, at 4:51; 4. Trish Sinclair, Ford Devinci, at 5:49; 5. Marie-Helene Premont, ORYX, at 6:25; 6. Lesley Tomlinson, Rocky Mountain, at 8:22; 7. Claire Townsend, ORYX, at 9:27; 8. Wendy Sims, Steed Cycles, at 10:34; 9. Lisa Savage, Nelson Cycles, at 10:51; 10. Sandra Walter, Speed Queens, at 11:02; 11. Sue Trimble, Gears, at 11:24.;
Espoir Men: 1. Ricky Federau, Rocky Mountain, 32.5km in 1:50:08;
2. Jean-Francois Larouche, Ford Devinci, at 7:12; 3. Dylan Sebel, Kenwood, at 9:01; 4. Kris Sneddon, Kona, at 9:29; 5. Jean-Philippe Provost, Andre Lalonde, at 11:06.;
Junior Men: 1. Adam Coates, 26km in 1:33:49; 2. Frederic Bussieres, Durand Sport, at 0:43; 3. Tyler West, Flash 5/EZ Up/ProLab, at 1:00; 4. Will Routley, Rocky Mountain, at 1:10; 5. Shawn Bunnin, Trek, at 1:39.;
Junior Women: 1. Martina Feldmann, 19.5km in 1:29.50; 2. Jean Ann McKirdy, at 0:32; 3. Anne-Marie Jobin, Durand Sport, at 1:24; 4. Brook Baker, at 3:57; 5. Katarin Henry, Green Mtn Cycle, at 4:48.