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Ottawa, ON (July 24, 2023) – A decorated field took to the mixed terrain and elevation of Kentville, NS, to determine the 2023 Canadian XCO & XCC MTB Champions on July 20-23.

Cross-country short track (XCC) competition was first to get underway on July 20, with the addition of new U17 and Junior categories. Rafaëlle Carrier (CVM Sigma Assurance) claimed the U17 Women’s jersey while for the men, Nicolas Gauthier (Ride with Rendall P/B Biemme) held on to an early breakaway to secure the title. Stimulus Orbea Racing Team had a great Junior showing with Marin Lowe claiming her second consecutive gold medal (Women) and Ian Ackert (Men) adding to his 2021 Cross-country Olympic (XCO) and 2022 Cyclo-cross Championships before moving onwards to the U23 category next year.

Defending Elite Champions Laurie Arseneault (Pittstop Racing Team – Women) and Carter Woods (Giant Factory Off Road Team – Men) managed to hold on to their titles with competitive, strategic racing. Arseneault commented, “It was a hard race, the pace was very high from the beginning so I had to work my way up. It was a very hard season until now, I had a lot of injuries and sickness so it felt good to be in the game again, have that win and wear the maple leaf again for the rest of the season. I love racing out east. The course is nice, people are nice, the organization is very, very good so good job to everyone.”

July 22’s XCO competition saw many athletes claim back-to-back championships including Lowe (Junior Women), Ackert (Junior Men), Carrier (U17 Women) and Woods (Elite Men).

“I felt like I had a pretty good shot at the Elite title and now I get to bring the jersey next year, too,” said Woods, who recently nabbed two Val di Sole World Cup wins as an U23 in the Mountain Bike World Series. “This is the first time where I’m feeling very confident and having some good training leading into [the UCI Cycling World Championships]. I didn’t put a lot of pressure on this week because I’ve had a couple good weeks of training so this is a complete bonus to come here and have two really, really solid rides. Back home for another two and a half weeks of focus and then I’m hoping to finish out my U23 year with a good Worlds.”

Rounding out the XCO men’s podiums were Emilien Belzile (Siboire QuiRoule – U17) and Cole Punchard (Hockley Valley Resort Armada – U23). Women’s U23 Champion Emilly Johnston (TREK Future) brought her experience to bear after winning bronze at the 2023 Nove Mesto Na Morave XCO World Cup and Jennifer Jackson (Liv Factory Racing) reclaimed the Elite Women’s title that she last held in 2021.

Jackson commented, “I’m really proud to race in the [Championship] jersey. It helps me believe that I can be the best Canadian and I want to show that on the world stage…. Championship races, there’s not a lot of them. There’s only one a year for your nation and one for the world. I set realistic goals and being national champion is a challenging but attainable goal. This is one of the milestones that I want to have to my name and carry proudly. Being able to double down and ride away with it today, I’m like, this is real, I can own this and I’m really happy about that.”

Masters also raced the XCO track. Winners included Peter Glassford (Trek Barrie-Aurora – 35-44 Men), Sue Haviland (Durham Shredders Mountain Bike Team – 35-44 Women), Aroussen Laflamme (Ponsse MTB Team – 45-54 Men), Annik Belanger (Explore Velo – 45-54 Women), Lorenzo Caterini (Hub Cycles Cycling – 55+ Men) and Lyne Nepton (Accro Velo – 55+ Women)

Competition concluded on July 23 with Provincial/Territorial Sport Organizations (PTSOs) and Cycling Canada Trade Teams competing in the Team Relay. Pivot Cycles OTE emerged victorious due to the combined efforts of Carrier, Peter Disera, Mathis Duval and Vincent Thiboutot. Anchor Disera clinched the title over defending champions Team Ontario #1 after a back-and-forth battle to the finish line against Punchard.

The full list of results can be found here. Next up on the Canadian Championships calendar are the Canadian Enduro Championships, which will be held on July 30 in Whistler, BC. The full calendar of national events can be found on the Cycling Canada website.

About Cycling Canada
Cycling Canada is the nation’s oldest National Sport Organization and has one simple purpose – to inspire Canadians to cycle. Our mandate is to holistically develop the sport in partnership with our 11 Provincial/Territorial Sport Organizations, putting more Canadians on bikes from coast-to-coast and on podiums around the world.

Source: Cycling Canada  
Information: Caroline Soble | Cycling Canada |