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Cycling Canada Cyclisme – (Baie-Saint-Paul, QC – July 16, 2016) Eight National titles were awarded on Saturday at the 2016 Canadian MTB XCO Championships, in Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec.  The marquee Elite titles were won by Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) of Brooklin, Ontario, for the women, and Derek Zandstra (Scott-3Rox), of Trenton, Ontario, for the men.
The 5.9-kilometre circuit challenged both the technical skills and endurance of the riders, in hot and humid conditions.  Riders had little chance to recover from the climbs before having to focus on the technical descents, covered in roots and rocks.
Batty, who will represent Canada at the Rio Olympic Games, came into the women’s race as the favourite, after a bronze medal performance at the world championships two weeks earlier.  She and Sandra Walter (Liv Giant), of Coquitlam, BC, dropped the rest of the field on the first lap, and then Batty rode Walter off her wheel to record her second national title.  Cindy Montambault (Equipe du Quebec), of Val-David, Quebec, took the bronze medal.
“It’s been a few years since I’ve been here in Baie-Saint-Paul, so it was fun to be back,” said Batty. “It’s a unique course and you always have to be focussed.  I was able to pull off a good result, but unfortunately [defending champion] Catharine [Pendrel] decided not to race, and I was looking forward to that battle.  But I still had a great race, so I’m happy.”
The Elite men’s race quickly came down to three riders – Zandstra, defending champion Raphael Gagne (Cannondale 360Fly p/b Sugoi) of Quebec City, and Leandre Bouchard (Cyclone d’Alma-Devinci) of Alma, Quebec.  By the halfway mark, Gagne was falling back, since he is still recovering form illness, leaving just Zandstra and Bouchard at the front.  Zandstra was riding aggressively at the front on all the climbs, and opened a gap on Bouchard with a lap and a half to go, extending his lead through the final lap to finish 42 seconds in front.  Geoff Kabush (Scott-3Rox) of Courtney, BC, overtook Gagne on the final lap for the bronze medal.
“I had some good feelings going into the this,” stated Zandstra. “Training has been going really well, and the whole race, right from the go, the pace felt light to me.  So on the second lap I took the lead on the big climb and really pushed the pace.  It felt really good and I could see I was getting gaps on the climb, so I knew as long as I was in front on the climb at the end, I could get it.”
In other championship races, Peter Disera (Team Ontario) of Barrie, Ontario, took the men’s Under-23 title, and Catharine Fleury (Cyclone d’Alma) of Alma, Quebec won the Under-23 women.  In the Junior category (17-18 years), Sean Fincham (Cycling BC) of Squamish, BC, was the men’s champion and Emily Handford (Rocky Mountain Factory) of West Vancouver, BC, won the women’s title.  Roxane Vermette (Equipe du Quebec) of Mont-Ste-Anne, Quebec, won the Cadet women’s title and Tyler Clark (Team Ontario) of Orillia, Ontario, was the Cadet men’s champion.
Cycling Canada is the governing body for competitive cycling in Canada. Founded in 1882, Cycling Canada aims to create and sustain an effective system that develops talented Canadian cyclists to achieve Olympic, Paralympic, and World Championship medal performances. With the vision of being a leading competitive cycling nation by 2020 celebrating enhanced international success, increased national participation and world class event hosting, Cycling Canada manages the High-Performance team, hosts national and international events and administers community programs to promote Cycling in Canada. For more information, please visit:
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Guy Napert-Frenette
Cycling Canada Cyclisme
Cell. 403 669-5015