The top cross country mountain bikers of Canada will compete this week for the ultimate domestic prize, the coveted Red and White jersey.
In the elite women's category, all eyes will be turned on Ontario cyclist Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing), of Brooklyn, who has an open door to win her first elite title with the absence of reigning Canadian Champion Catharine Pendrel, who has recently been sidelined with a fractured collarbone, and Marie-Hélène Prémont, who is on a maternity leave. Other challengers include Sandra Walters, who has been perfect so far this season on the Canada Cup tour, Amanda Sin, Andreanne Pichette, Mikaela Kofman and many others.
Batty, a four-time Canadian U23 Champion, rebounded this season after recovering from a broken collarbone while training at the Olympic Games, and stepped once on the World Cup podium this campaign. Batty, along with Pendrel, represented Canada at the last Olympic Games in London.
In the elite men's race, Max Plaxton (Sho-Air/Cannondale) will be looking to win his third straight title, having won back-to-back titles in the lead up of the Olympic Games. Racing with Canadian-based Scott-3RoxRacing team, Geoff Kabush is coming to Barrie with the ambition to regain the title and win back the jersey he owned for six consecutive years. Both Kabush and Plaxton represented Canada in London at the Olympic Games last summer.
Derek Zandstra is always a rider to watch for at Canadian Championships, as he's very consistent. Other young riders such as Raphael Gagné and Evan McNeely will be providing some stiff competition.
The reigning Canadian Champions in the U23 categories, Mikaela Kofman and Léandre Bouchard, will both be defending their titles.
The 2013 Canada Cup Series leaders entering the Canadian Championships week are Antoine Caron and Sandra Walter in the elite categories, and Felix Burke and Rachel Pageau in the junior category.
Eliminator makes debut At Canadian Championships
The week of Championships activities at Hardwood start on Thursday with the presentation of the eliminator race, which is held of the first time at Canadian Championships. The eliminator is presented for its first season on the UCI World Cup Tour, and Canadians fared well in the short-race, elimination format.
Racers will enjoy a break in the schedule on Friday, with a training session, followed by all the championships races for Elite, U23, Junior, and Cadet to be held on Saturday. Masters will hit the course on Sunday to close out the event.