June is the month of mountain bike world cups. First there was Champéry, Switzerland. Next come two back to back weekends in Canada - one at the popular Mont Sainte Anne venue on June 24 and one at St Felicien next weekend.
The two Canada World Cups should suit Rocky Mountain Haywood's Marie Helene Prémont just fine. Prémont finished second at round two in Offenburg, Germany, and third in Champéry, Switzerland. Now she gets to race on home turf, where she'll defend her Mont Sainte Anne victories of 2005 and 2006. She's also won on the St Felicien course.
Prémont is currently in third place overall in the World Cup standings with 490 points. She's in a tight race with Irina Kalentieva of Russia (514 points), and Marga Fullana (560 points) of Spain.
As she proved on a slick course in Offenburg, Prémont does well on technical terrain, but sometimes, she has a little more trouble with steep climbs.
Referring to Champéry, she said she was struggling on the climb. "I woke up with a headache, from the altitude I think, but it was more that this climb was too steep for me. I like climbs, but the speed was very fast on the first laps and I overpaced myself. Then I made a mistake in the roots and they (Kalentyeva and Sabine Spitz) got a gap on me." But on the slippery, technical course in Champéry, she recovered to finish strong.