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Hesjedal, Sydor off Commonwealth Games team

The names Ryder Hesjedal and Alison Sydor were surprisingly absent when the Canadian Cycling Association released its full Commonwealth Games roster on Thursday. Sydor had initially been an automatic selection but opted out to focus solely on this year’s world championships. "I think at the end of the day she decided that it would be too much travel," said Canadian national team coach Yurri Kasharin. "I was a little surprised, though. Sometimes you think you know an athlete, but it turns out you don’t." With Sydor out, that roster spot fell to Marie Helen-Premont, who joins Chrissy Redden

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By Jason Sumner, VeloNews Associate Editor

The names Ryder Hesjedal and Alison Sydor were surprisingly absent when the Canadian Cycling Association released its full Commonwealth Games roster on Thursday.

Sydor had initially been an automatic selection but opted out to focus solely on this year’s world championships.

“I think at the end of the day she decided that it would be too much travel,” said Canadian national team coach Yurri Kasharin. “I was a little surprised, though. Sometimes you think you know an athlete, but it turns out you don’t.” With Sydor out, that roster spot fell to Marie Helen-Premont, who joins Chrissy Redden and Kiara Bisaro.

On the men’s side the federation choose Seamus McGrath over Hesjedal in a decision that will surely raise a few eyebrows.

During the last two years, Hesjedal has shown more promise racing against the world’s elite, taking second in the final NORBA cross-country standings in 2001 and second at last year’s World Cup finals in Mont-Ste-Anne. This year the Subaru-Gary Fisher rider’s results have been erratic, though by comparison Hesjedal still looked to have an advantage over McGrath.

Race Hesjedal McGrath
NORBA XC No. 1 3rd  14th
NORBA STXC No. 1    1st 4th
World Cup No. 1   29th 13th
World Cup No. 2  16th 27th
NORBA XC No. 2  28th 5th
NORBA STXC No. 2 2nd 3rd

 “It was a hard because there was no clear cut choice,” said Kasharin, who didn’t have a vote but did provide information for the committee which made the decision. “On any given day both could do a great race. It’s just a shame there was only one spot.”

The final straw may have been Hesjedal’s decision to skip the official selection race, stop No. 3 of the Canada Cup series. McGrath did show up, finishing second to Geoff Kabush.

“I know there’s other things to consider and he didn’t have to go,” said Kasharin. “But you also have to respect the open door.”

McGrath joins Kabush and Roland Green, who were both automatic selections (Green is world champion, Kabush won the selection race).

Here’s the complete Canadian Commonwealth Games roster:Mountain Bike
Men

Roland Green
Geoff Kabush
Seamus McGrath
Women
Kiara Bisaro
Marie-Helene Premont
Chrissy Redden

Road
Men

Mark Walters
Eric Wohlberg
Gord Fraser
Mike Barry
Women
Lyne Bessette
Erin Carter
Clara Hughes
Genevieve Jeanson

Track
Men

Jim Fisher
Tyler Hansen
Lars Madsen
Steen Madsen
Women
Lori-Ann Muenzer