British mountain biker Liam Killeen (Specialized) took his first world cup win two weeks ago in the Mont-Sainte Anne, Quebec marathon World Cup race.
The riders were pretty lucky with the weather as the build up to the event over the past week has seen heavy rain falling all day and night, which completely water logged the course creating large and often very deep puddles, catching many riders off guard.
The field started off from the centre of Quebec City in light drizzle. On the first of many climbs, about 15km into the 96km race, the front group began to take shape with about eight riders, including the Italian squad of Full Dynamix containing the Marathon World Champion Massimo De Bertolis, as well as Liam's two team mates Australian Sid Taberlay and Austrian Alban Lakata.
Unfortunately, 30km into the race, the lead group took a wrong turn and ended up riding more than 3km in the wrong direction. By the time the error was realized and the group rejoined the correct course, they found themselves way down on the leading guys. At around 55km, what had once been the lead group with some main contenders was now a chase group, and this group began to split up on a long steep climb. Liam and de Bertolis broke away and rode together eventually catching the leaders at the 70k mark.
The final loop of the course was where the result was to be determined, as it included a steep wooded climb of more than 15km in length followed by a descent to the finish. Liam set the tempo on the second half of the long climb and managed to gap the other riders. Trying to keep it smooth all the way home, which was pretty difficult after four and half hours of tough off road racing, and a wrong turn with added distance, Liam began to pull away.
Eventually Liam crested the summit and descended to the finish line with a three minute margin over Massimo De Bertolis.
A tired but ecstatic Liam spoke shortly after the podium. "My first World Cup win! Even though it's a Marathon I feel as though this is an important stepping-stone for more important races to come."