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MTB World Cup XC #6 & DH #4 - CDM

Mont Sainte Anne, Canada, July 25-27, 2008

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Race 6 - July 27: Elite women cross country

Premont solos to win at home

By Sue George in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Québec

Marie-Helene Premont (Rocky Mountain) wins
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

Racing near her home, Canadian Marie-Helene Premont (Rocky Mountain) rode away from her competition on the first lap and never looked back on her way to victory in the cross country at the Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup. She was followed by Catherine Pendrel (Luna Women's MTB Team), another Canadian riding solo to a second place. Norwegian Lene Byberg (Specialized Factory Racing) rode steadily to a strong third place finish.

"It was really crazy to win here at home," said Premont. "The crowd was here for me and it really helped." Premont's popularity drew many spectators – it appeared there were more out to watch the women's race than the men's race. Cheers followed her around the course; it was easy to tell when Premont was coming by the reactions of her fans, many of whom were carrying and waving signs with Premont's photo.

Premont got a good start, but she also looked strong throughout the race. "My strategy was to be fast at the beginning and try to get that gap and to be careful after that," she said. In a clean ride finished up in 2:06:30, she had no mechanicals or crashes and her solid technical skills enabled her to ride everything.

Going into the first technical section on the initial lap, Premont led, followed by Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida) and Pendrel.

Canadian Catherine Pendrel (Luna Women's MTB)
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

"I had the best World Cup start I've ever had in my life," said Pendrel. "We were all close at the top of the first climb, but I wasn't aggressive enough and I went into the woods third wheel instead of on Marie's. That allowed a gap to form between us, and Marie started to pull away in the first woods section."

Pendrel said it was helpful for the two Canadians to have raced the same course one week ago for their national championships. "Both of us love this course and we were out there having fun. Mentally, we know we can do well here and that works to our advantage."

Pendrel caught and passed Dahle Flesjaa and spent the rest of the race pursuing Premont. "I was able to settle into my rhythm. She was very strong on the last section on the course - I knew it from nationals. On the first half of the course, I'd close on Marie, on the second half, she'd close to me. On the fourth lap, she opened it up. I knew I had enough to finish strong, but that I probably wouldn't catch her." She would end up 2:53 behind the winner.

Byberg surprised many with her third place. Clad in an almost fluorescent pink team uniform, the Norwegian started out in fifth early on the first lap and moved into fourth going into the second lap. At the end of lap two, she passed Dahle-Flesjaa for third, a spot she would hold until the end, when she finished 4:28 behind Premont.

Georgia Gould (Luna Women's MTB team) passed Dahle Flesjaa with 1.5 laps to go. The American and the Norwegian would hold their spots for the duration, finishing fourth and fifth to round out the podium.

Lene Byberg (Specialized)
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

Gould didn't let a poor start deter her from her best-ever World Cup finish. "I kind of got stuck behind a bunch of junk at the start, but I knew it would be a long race and I was able to move up. The first corner in the start loop, people were not holding their lines in the corner and I had to cut over to avoid crashing," said Gould, who added that the other women were so nervous they were executing crazy passes on the downhills. "I knew I didn't want to get hurt. I have to the Olympics next month."

Gould rode well technically and considered the race good preparation for the Olympics next month. "It's always good to practice handling your bike even if the course in Beijing isn't technical."

Dahle Flesjaa faded from second to fifth during the race, but was happy with her race, which occurred in the middle of a significant training block leading up to the Olympics. "I had to put in more training after the worlds. Since I was out last year, I haven't been able really to train much the last month," said world marathon champion Dahle Flesjaa, who was on a fishing trip while recovering from illness one year ago instead of racing the circuit. "We all have to think about Beijing now. It's great to be top five in a World Cup."

The top riders spoke positively of the challenging course with many steep climbs, short steep descents and technical rocky and rooty sections, some of which were slick with rains from the night before.

US National Champion Mary McConneloug (Kenda / Seven), who finished sixth, was one of the few top women to ride a full suspension. "I chose to ride the dually for the first time in six years. It really allowed me to rest on the descents and not get all beat up and then I could just focus on climbing."

Georgia Gould (Luna Women's MTB)
Photo ©: Dave McElwaine
(Click for larger image)

Her decision may have come after seeing the course. "I was really happy to come to Mont-Sainte-Anne and see that the course was made more technical compared to last year. They changed it and added more sections that gave the course so much flow. This is now my favourite race course!" she said after finishing sixth, a performance that showed her form is coming on strong with just weeks to go until the Olympics.

Katerina Nash started the race well and was in fourth place for a time on the first lap, but it wasn't her day and she fell back a few places, finishing in seventh. "I was climbing well, but not descending well. It was one of those days when I didn't have it all together so I made some mistakes on the slick roots."

Notably absent from the race were current World Champion Marga Fullana, former World Champion Irina Kalentieva and Sabine Spitz, who finished second at both cross country and marathon worlds earlier this year.

Dahle Flesjaa was surprised that the other favourites were not in attendance. "I can't really understand why they are not here. World Cup races are big and important for the sponsors and for the teams," she said. "Especially for Marga, being the World champion, she should be here showing the rainbow jersey. When I had the World Champion's jersey, I felt that was part of promoting my sport," before adding with a shrug, "We all have different views of that."

Race notes

- The Canadians had a stellar day of racing on home soil. They placed six riders in the top 20 (Premont - first, Pendrel - second, Amanda Sin - 10th, Wendy Simms - 13th, Emily Batty - 17th and Jean Ann McKirdy - 20th).

- The next round of the World Cup heads south, but stays in Quebec. Round seven will happen in Bromont next weekend, August 1-3.

- Mont-Sainte-Anne will host the World Championships in 2010.


For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here

Images by Dave McElwaine/www.trailwatch.net


1 Marie-Helene Premont (Can) Rocky Mountain                     2.06.30
2 Catherine Pendrel (Can) Luna Womens MTB Team                     2.54
3 Lene Byberg (Nor) Specialized Factory Racing                     4.29
4 Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Womens MTB Team                         5.07
5 Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Nor) Multivan Merida Biking Team        5.24
6 Mary McConneloug (USA) Kenda / Seven                             6.28
7 Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Womens MTB Team                         7.33
8 Elisabeth Osl (Aut) Team Ghost International                     8.42
9 Sabrina Enaux (Fra) Team Lapierre International                 11.33
10 Amanda Sin (Can)                                               12.15
11 Lea Davison (USA) Trek-VW                                      12.44
12 Katrin Leumann (Swi)                                           13.30
13 Wendy Simms (Can) Kona                                         13.52
14 Willow Koerber (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher                        15.25
15 Tereza Hurikova (Cze) Ceska Sporitelna MTB                     16.43
16 Laura Metzler (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour                             17.44
17 Emily Batty (Can)                                              18.00
18 Laura Turpijn (Ned)                                            18.19
19 Laura Lorenza Morfin Macouzet (Mex)                            19.46
20 Jean Ann McKirdy (Can) Rocky Mountain                          20.14
21 Jaqueline Mourao (Bra)                                         22.32
22 Julie Krasniak (Fra) Team Lapierre International               23.06
23 Sandra Walter (Can)                                            23.33
24 Karine Travaillaud (Can)                                       25.14
25 Cécile Rode Ravanel (Fra) Team Lapierre International          25.59
26 Marie-Claude Surprenant (Can)                                  26.26

Behind one lap

27 Caroline Villeneuve (Can)                                           
28 Helene Marcouyre (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour                               
29 Mical Dyck (Can)                                                    
30 Mikaela Kofman (Can)                                                
31 Heather Irmiger (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher                            
32 Carla Salgado Gonzalez (Mex)                                        
33 Joanna Harrington (Aus)                                             
34 Rie Katayama (Jpn)                                                  
35 Marie Allaire (Can)                                                 
36 Véronique Fournier (Can)                                            
37 Jamie Dinkins (USA)                                                 
38 Kathleen Villeneuve (Can)                                           

Behind two laps

39 Marie Kunst (Den)                                                   
40 Caitlyn Tuel (USA)                                                  
41 Lisa Morgan (NZl)                                                   
42 Catherine Vipond (Can)                                              
43 Julie Sanders (Can)                                                 
44 Kyia Anderson (USA)                                                 
45 Kaitlin Michener (Can)  


1 Luna Womens MTB Team             89 pts
2 Rocky Mountain                   51
3 Team Lapierre International      37
4 Specialized Factory Racing       32
5 Multivan Merida Biking Team      28
6 Team Ghost International         23
7 Trek-VW                          20
8 Kona                             18
9 BH-SR. Suntour                   18
10 Subaru-Gary Fisher              17
11 Ceska Sporitelna MTB            16

World Cup standings after six rounds

1 Marie-Helene Premont (Can) Rocky Mountain                           1220 pts
2 Margarita Fullana Riera (Spa) Massi                                  910
3 Catherine Pendrel (Can) Luna Womens MTB Team                         723
4 Georgia Gould (USA) Luna Womens MTB Team                             672
5 Lene Byberg (Nor) Specialized Factory Racing                         630
6 Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Nor) Multivan Merida Biking Team            630
7 Chengyuan Ren (Chn)                                                  578
8 Ying Liu (Chn)                                                       555
9 Sabine Spitz (Ger) Central Ghost Pro Team                            535
10 Katerina Nash (Cze) Luna Womens MTB Team                            531
11 Petra Henzi (Swi) Fischer-BMC                                       522
12 Mary Mc Conneloug (USA)                                             498
13 Irina Kalentieva (Rus) Topeak Ergon Racing Team                     450
14 Tereza Hurikova (Cze) Ceska Sporitelna MTB                          448
15 Elisabeth Osl (Aut) Team Ghost International                        437
16 Katrin Leumann (Swi)                                                437
17 Nathalie Schneitter (Swi) Colnago Cap Arreghini                     435
18 Blaza Klemencic (Slo) Giant Italia Team                             434
19 Laurence Leboucher (Fra)                                            405
20 Cécile Rode Ravanel (Fra) Team Lapierre International               365
21 Sabrina Enaux (Fra) Team Lapierre International                     343
22 Eva Lechner (Ita) Colnago Cap Arreghini                             322
23 Wendy Simms (Can) Kona                                              310
24 Adelheid Morath (Ger)                                               306
25 Tanja Zakelj (Slo)                                                  290
26 Maroussia Rusca (Swi)                                               287
27 Heather Irmiger (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher                            280
28 Kiara Bisaro (Can)                                                  278
29 Sandra Walter (Can)                                                 264
30 Laura Turpijn (Ned)                                                 246
31 Maria Osl (Aut) Sunshine Racers Asv Nals                            241
32 Jingjing Wang (Chn)                                                 239
33 Nina Homovec (Slo)                                                  235
34 Willow Koerber (USA) Subaru-Gary Fisher                             218
35 Lea Davison (USA) Trek-VW                                           214
36 Anna Villar Argente (Spa) Massi                                     188
37 Esther Süss (Swi)                                                   180
38 Susan Haywood (USA) Trek-VW                                         163
39 Amanda Sin (Can)                                                    161
40 Ivonne Kraft (Ger)                                                  160
41 Mical Dyck (Can)                                                    159
42 Marielle Saner-Guinchard (Swi) Bikepark.ch BMC                      132
43 Laura Metzler (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour                                  131
44 Francisca Campos Salas (Chi) Massi                                  126
45 Githa Michiels (Bel)                                                120
46 Emiliy Batty (Can)                                                  119
47 Julie Krasniak (Fra) Team Lapierre International                    119
48 Helene Marcouyre (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour                               118
49 Alexandra Engen (Swe)                                               118
50 Dellys Starr (Aus)                                                  110
51 Julie Bresset (Fra) Breiz Mountain                                  105
52 Arielle Van Meurs (Ned)                                             101
53 Janka Stevkova (Svk)                                                 96
54 Kate Potter (Aus)                                                    85
55 Maja Wloszczowska (Pol) Halls Professional Mtb Team                  85
56 Katrin Schwing (Ger) Dolphin-Trek Mountainbike Racing Team           74
57 Séverine Hansen (Fra) BH-SR. Suntour                                 72
58 Maaike Polspoel (Bel)                                                71
59 Magdalena Sadlecka (Pol) Halls Professional Mtb Team                 70
60 Alison Sydor (Can) Rocky Mountain                                    69
61 Laura Lorenza Morfin Macouzet (Mex)                                  68
62 Jean Ann Mckirdy (Can) Rocky Mountain                                66
63 Sarah Koba (Swi)                                                     66
64 Jaqueline Mourao (Bra)                                               64
65 Elsbeth Van Rooij-Vink (Ned) Beone Chainreaction Mountainbiketeam    64
66 Nina Wrobel (Ger) Multivan Merida Biking Team                        64
67 Sandra Santanyes Murillo (Spa) Cemelorca-Seguros10.Com               63
68 Vera Andreeva (Rus)                                                  63
69 Aleksandra Dawidowicz (Pol) Halls Professional Mtb Team              63
70 Karine Travaillaud (Can)                                             58
71 Marie-Claude Surprenant (Can)                                        54
72 Caroline Villeneuve (Can)                                            52
73 Zoe King (Aus)                                                       50
74 Anna Szafraniec (Pol) Halls Professional Mtb Team                    48
75 Mikaela Kofman (Can)                                                 46
76 Caroline Mani (Fra)                                                  44
77 Carla Salgado Gonzalez (Mex)                                         42
78 Fiona Macdermid (GBr)                                                41
79 Joanna Harrington (Aus)                                              40
80 Nataliya Krompets (Ukr)                                              39
81 Rie Katayama (Jpn)                                                   38
82 Cristina Mascarreras Sabria (Spa) Conor - Camping La Siesta          38
83 Marie Allaire (Can)                                                  36
84 Véronique Fournier (Can)                                             34
85 Emma Colson (Aus)                                                    34
86 Daniella Bunzli Rojas (Chi)                                          33
87 Jamie Dinkins (USA)                                                  32
88 Rocio Gamonal Ferrera (Spa)                                          32
89 Kathleen Villeneuve (Can)                                            30
90 Bernardine Boog-Rauwerda (Ned)                                       30
91 Marie Kunst (Den)                                                    29
92 Ruth Moll Marques (Spa)                                              29
93 Caitlyn Tuel (USA)                                                   28
94 Kaytee Boyd (NZl)                                                    28
95 Lisa Morgan (NZl)                                                    27
96 Asa Maria Erlandsson (Swe) Subaru-Gary Fisher                        27
97 Catherine Vipond (Can)                                               26
98 Sarka Chmurova (Cze) Max Cursor                                      26
99 Julie Sanders (Can)                                                  25
100 Kyia Anderson (USA)                                                 24
101 Maria Kalnes (Nor)                                                  24
102 Sandra Araujo (Por)                                                 24
103 Kaitlin Michener (Can)                                              23
104 Neus Parcerissas (Spa)                                              23
105 Anja Mcdonald (NZl)                                                 21
106 Laure Boulay (Fra) Team CIBF Keops                                  21
107 Sandra Dolcerocca (Den)                                             17
108 Claudia Seidel (Ger)                                                17
109 Rocio Martin Rodriguez (Spa)                                        15
110 Jennifer Fischer (Fra) Team CIBF Keops                              14
111 Liliana Alejandr Uzcategui Vasquez (Ven)                            12
112 Athina Chatzistyli (Gre)                                            10
113 Yolande Speedy (RSA)                                                10
114 Stephanie Wiedner (Aut)                                              9
115 Hanna Klein (Ger)                                                    9
116 Rowena Fry (Aus)                                                     8
Team standings

1 Luna Womens MTB Team                                                 382 pts
2 Rocky Mountain                                                       225
3 Massi                                                                183
4 Colnago Cap Arreghini                                                136
5 Specialized Factory Racing                                           129
6 Multivan Merida Biking Team                                          127
7 Team Lapierre International                                          120
8 Central Ghost Pro Team                                               109
9 Fischer-BMC                                                          108
10 Team Ghost International                                             91
11 Ceska Sporitelna MTB                                                 91
12 Giant Italia Team                                                    90
13 Topeak Ergon Racing Team                                             75
14 Subaru-Gary Fisher                                                   58
15 Trek-VW                                                              38
16 Kona                                                                 33
17 Sunshine Racers ASV Nals                                             20
18 Halls Professional MTB Team                                          20
19 BH-SR. Suntour                                                       18
20 Beone Chainreaction Mountainbiketeam                                 10
21 Bikepark.ch BMC                                                       6
22 Breiz Mountain                                                        3
23 Cemelorca-Seguros10.com                                               1