Canada has always fielded a good squad for the cross country team relay and this year's mountain bike world championship is no exception. Catharine Pendrel, Max Plaxton, Evan McNeely and Alexandre Vialle will represent Canada in the event on Wednesday afternoon in Champéry, Switzerland.
Canada won the team relay world championship titles in 2001, 2002 and 2004, took silver in 2009 and bronze in 2003. They will take on home favorites Switzerland, who won in 2006, 2007 and 2010. France, Italy, Germany and the Czech Republic are also likely to field top teams based on past results.
Each team relay team includes four riders including a minimum of one woman. It also includes an elite man, junior man and under 23 man. The event is scheduled for the opening day of the World Championships, immediately after the junior women's cross country race.
Pendrel won the recent Val di Sole World Cup and finished second overall, while Plaxton won the US Pro XCT. Both are current national champions.
Changes to the Canadian team
There have been several changes to the initial selection list published earlier this summer by the Canadian Cycling Association, especially in the downhill and four cross categories.
In cross country, Andrew Watson of Barrie, Ontario, will be racing in the elite men's category. Neal Kindree will not be competing.
In downhill, 2010 silver medallist Steve Smith of Cassidy, British Columbia, will not be racing as he suffered an injury prior to the last World Cup of the 2011 season in Val di Sole, Italy. Micayla Gatto of Garibaldi Highlands, British Columbia, will also miss the competition as she is healing an injury occurred at the 2011 Canadian BMX Championships.
Andrew Mitchell will be absent, so is Yann Gauvin in the elite men's downhill. Remi Gauvin of Nanoose Bay. British Columbia, only related to Yann by their mutual passion for downhill racing, will be competing for the World title. Anne Laplante of Gatineau, Quebec, who was selected to race in both the downhill and the four cross, elected not to make the trip overseas. Denise Uyseugi, who was to race in the elite women's category, is also not part of the Canadian delegation in Champéry.
In four cross, only Harold Woolnough of Toronto, Ontario, will be the only Canadian in the contest as Matt Zdriulk and Kye Walstrom both chose not to race.