The Canadian Cycling Association named the national team for the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Champéry, Switzerland, from August 31-September 4. Canada will bring to the start lines some of the best riders in the world, including all of its newly-crowned Canadian Champions and Canada Cup Champions, in all categories.
Amongst the star-studded line up in elite women's cross country category are three-time Canadian Champion and 2010 World Cup Champion Catharine Pendrel (Team Luna Pro), five-time Canadian champion and 2009 World Cup champion Marie-Hélène Prémont (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) and a four-time U23 Canadian Champion now racing in the elite category Emily Batty (Subaru-Trek).
Canada's Pendrel and Prémont currently sit second and third in the UCI World Cup rankings. Thanks to the performances from Pendrel, Prémont and Batty notably, Canada is ranked number 1 in the world in the elite women's UCI Olympic Qualification rankings.
Six-time Canadian Champion and Olympian Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) and the new Canadian Champion and US Pro XCT series champion Max Plaxton (Specialized Factory Team) will be Canada's top riders in the elite men's cross country category.
"The World Championships in Champery will be another great chance for our athletes to fine tune their performances before the 2012 Olympic Summer Games London," said Dan Proulx, Head Coach of the Canadian Mountain Bike program.
"Our women's program is very strong right now and we have some talented young riders coming up through the ranks. Our men's program is also increasing in strength and depth from the elite level down to junior. We saw some very intense battles in every category at Canadian Championships in Canmore earlier in July."
Proulx said, "We have some fantastic role models and leaders in our elite team. They are eager to see the program succeed at the international level. Their success at the top of the sport has raised the bar for our younger riders. Every member of the team seems more and more driven to be the best. It's an honor to work with such an ambitious group. It's a very exciting time for the mountain bike program."
Both Canada Cup Cross Country Champions will be racing at the 2011 UCI World Championships with the wedded couple of Matthew Hadley and Catherine Vipond making the trek oversee to wear Canada's maple leaf on their back.
Juniors Canadian champions and 2011 Canada Cup champions Frédérique Trudel and Marc-Antoine will both be new to mountain bike Worlds.
The downhill riders selected to represent Canada at Worlds will be named next week.
Canadian Cross Country National Team for 2011 UCI Mountain Bike Worlds
Elite women: Catharine Pendrel, Marie-Hélène Prémont, Emily Batty, Amanda Sin, Catherine Vipond (development), Jean Anne Berkenpas (development)
Elite men: Geoff Kabush, Derek Zandstra, Max Plaxton, Matthew Hadley, Adam Morka (development), Neal Kindree (development)
Under 23 women: Mikaela Kofman, Rebecca Beaumont, Laura Bietola, Andréanne Pichette (development)
Under 23 men: Evan McNeely, Léandre Bouchard, Mitchell Bailey, Jérémy Martin (development), Evan Guthrie (development), Antoine Caron (development)
Junior women: Frédérique Trudel, Hayley Smith, Andréanne Lanthier-Nadeau, Lauren Rosser
Junior men: Marc-Antoine Nadon, Thomas Néron, Alexandre Vialle