26 year-old former Canadian national champion Ricky Federau is among those riders chasing a spot on the Canadian team for the Olympic Games in Beijing. In order to qualify for the selection pool, he will need to earn a top 16 placing in a World Cup competition prior to the end of May 2008. Should he make the list, Federau will be up against the already qualified Geoff Kabush and Seamus McGrath.
"When I compare my results to the other guys, I know that I am as fast or faster then any of them on any given day," said the optimistic Federau. "Seamus had that awesome result (16th) at Mount St. Anne last summer and Geoff is one of the best in North America. When I look at lap times from St Felicien where I was 21st and less then two minutes out of the top 16, I know that I am capable of a good result."
Federau has a season of highs and lows in 2007. He did well in early competition at home and in Poland, then returned to Canada for both World Cups, where he raced strongly enough to earn a berth on the Canadian Pan Am Games team bound for Brazil.
Unfortunately, Federau's luck turned. "My year went way down hill after that! I double flatted in Brazil and picked up a bug that kept me out of the Canadian Nationals. The form never returned for the remaining World Cups and World Championships." He lost his Sport Canada funding used to pay for travel and entries and is now raising the travel money himself.
Federau's season will start on the road around Fraser Valley. His mountain bike season will kick off at the NMBS race in Fontana, California. April will see him lining up against the best in the world in Belgium, Germany and Spain.
"I really can't say what I'll be doing after the World Cups," said Federau "I'll either be in the pool for selection to Beijing or looking for motivation to finishing up the season domestically. There are a couple of big multi-day events I would like to do in British Columbia and Alberta, but I don't know if the spark will be there."