ILES WINS DH WORLD CUP ON CANADA DAY, BATTY FIFTH IN XC
Canadian world champion Finnley Iles (Specialized Gravity) took his third Downhill World Cup victory of the season in the Junior Men’s category on Saturday at Round 4 in Vallnord, Andorra. In other Canadian results, Mark Wallace (Canyon Factory) was seventh in Elite Men and Vaea Verbeeck 10th in Elite Women.
Iles was the fastest at every checkpoint in the Junior Men’s race, finishing 4.973 seconds ahead of perennial rival Matt Walker (Madison Saracen), with Kade Edwards (Trek Factory) third. The Whistler-based rider now leads the standings with 220 points to Walker’s 140, followed by Edwards at 105.
“When I was at the top, [my manager] said ‘It’s Canada Day, put it down’, and I tried to ride as fast as I could,” said Iles. “I’m happy with my time; it was a good day. There was a section where I thought I had screwed up, but I was able to just carry speed out of it. I’d say it was definitely one of my better runs this year and I’m really happy with the result.”
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In the Elite Women’s race, Miranda Miller (Specialized Gravity), back in her first World Cup after injuring her leg at Fort William, managed 11th, just behind fellow Canadian Vaea Verbeeck, who took her first top-10 of the season. Miller is 13th in the standings followed by Verbeeck in 14th.
In the Elite Men’s race, Wallace started 13th from the end, setting the fastest time at that point and moving into the Hot Seat. He held the lead until six riders to go, before eventually finishing seventh. Wallace drops one spot in the overall standings, to seventh, but is only 12 points out of the top five.
“I’m happy with the run, it’s a good Canada Day result,” said Wallace. “I think Finn [Iles] beat me this time. The run was mostly what I wanted; smooth and good. There were a few spots at the bottom where it got a bit scary, but that’s normal here.”
Canadian champion Emily Batty (Trek Factory) took her first World Cup podium of 2017 on Sunday at Round 3, with a fifth place result in the Elite Women. Peter Disera (Norco Factory) finished just off the podium in the Under-23 Men’s race, with a seventh place result.
In the six lap women’s race, Ukrainian rider Yana Belomoina took her second straight victory, and the second of her career. Batty had caught and dropped Swiss rider Linda Indergand to move up to fourth but, with a less than half a lap to go, the Canadian crashed, allowing the Swiss rider to get by her. In other Canadian results, defending World Cup champion Catharine Pendrel (Clif Pro Team) had a rare off day, finishing 16th, and Sandra Walter (Canadian National) was 28th. In the overall standings, Batty moves up from 12th to 10th and Pendrel remains in 17th place.
“I’m enthusiastic with riding myself onto the World Cup podium after my performance at the first two rounds was far below my expectations,” said Batty. “I had a clean race today despite a last lap crash that lost me fourth place. I had been working hard the entire race and that likely caught up to me. I’m happy that my performance is moving in the right direction for the latter half of the season. I wanted to use this race to regain some confidence, hopefully build on this result in Switzerland and see what I can do in Mont-Saint-Anne, Canada, for round five of the World Cup.”
In the Elite Men’s race, won by world and Olympic champion Nino Schurter of Switzerland, Canada had only two riders entered, with Leandre Bouchard (BH SR Suntour KMC) finishing 26th and Andrew L’Esperance (Canadian National) finishing 69th. Bouchard is the top Canadian in the standings after Andorra, moving up to 22nd overall from 25th.
“I did a good race with a stronger second part of the race,” commented Bouchard. “I paid the price for a fast start in Laps 2 and 3, but after I recovered, I was able to stay with the riders and then pass them in the last laps when I found my pace. The altitude definitely makes it harder and challenging. I’m happy to finish close to my goal of top-20 and to see consistency in my season.”
Peter Disera was part of the lead group in the Under-23 Men’s race, despite suffering from an upset stomach. He dropped back as the chase group splintered, but still hung on for seventh place; another top-10 result to go with his third place in Round 2 and eighth in Round 1. Disera improved to fourth from sixth in the overall standings.
“It was an immensely hard day here in Andorra with the altitude, slippery conditions and me not totally feeling ‘on’,” said Disera. “I rode a good race with a few mistakes, but the real hindrance came from the body; just felt like I couldn’t get my superman legs. Still, in the end, 7th is not a bad day and it boosts my confidence that I am a top-10 rider with podium potential.”
Canadian champion Soren Meeuwisse (Canadian National) was the top Canadian rider in the Under-23 Women’s race, finishing in 35th place, followed by Amelie Simard in 42nd.
About Cycling Canada
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 programs to promote and grow cycling across the country. Cycling Canada programs are made possible through the support of its valued corporate partners – Global Relay, Lexus Canada, Mattamy Homes, Louis Garneau and Bear Mountain Resort – along with the Government of Canada, Own The Podium, the Canadian Olympic Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee.
Source: Cycling Canada
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