Batty wins Canadian cross country title

Walter and Sin round out top three

Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing) took the first elite cross country title of her career at the Canadian National Championships on Saturday, at the Hardwood Mountain Bike Centre, one hour north of Toronto.

After energy-sapping temperatures in the mid-30s (Celcius) and high humidity all week, thunderstorms blew through overnight Friday, knocking the temperature down to a more reasonable mid-20s and dampening down the dust which was choking riders during training. Organizers were out in the early hours removing downed branches and cleaning up the course before racing began. The six-kilometre course won praise from riders for offering a a mixture of technical singletrack and open passing sections, with short, punchy climbs to separate out the potential winners.

Given the absence of defending champion Catharine Pendrel (Luna), recovering from a broken clavicle, Batty was the prohibitive favourite on what is, essentially, her home course. A sizable contingent of family and friends came out to cheer on the 2012 Olympian, who did not disappoint. Batty's family even erected a huge (10 metre by six metre) Canadian flag, with the words "Go Emily Go" painted on, at the top of one of the climbs.

By the halfway point of the first lap, Batty already had a 20-second gap, and it continued to grow through the race. Sandra Walter (Liv/Giant) took up the chase in second and held on through the race, despite a late charge by Amanda Sin (Scott-3Rox) on lap four of the five-lap race, which brought her to within 15 seconds of Walter. However, that was as close as Sin could get, and she faded slightly in the last lap but held in for third.

First year elite rider Andréanne Pichette (Opus/OGC) was a strong fourth, followed by eliminator national champion Jean Ann Berkenpas (Xprezo-Borsao) in fifth. Unfortunately, Mikaela Kofman (Scott-3Rox) crashed on lap three while in fifth and dislocated her shoulder as well as suffering a mechanical.

"Going down the Coffee Run, I was going a bit too fast," said Kofman. "It was pretty loose and a bit wet there today. I just lost control and went over the handlebars and dislocated my shoulder. I popped it back in when I was out there. Felt good out there otherwise. Had a mechanical at the same time. Went to the tech zone and got my bike fixed and tried to ride but I was kind of crooked on my bike. I couldn’t ride; I had no control. There’s always going to be tough days."

For Batty, it was special to win in front of family and friends, but she also admitted it was disappointing not to race against Pendrel.

"I've been wanting this for a while," Batty said, "so I'm super happy and honoured to win. Everything went great, even though I woke up with a really sore throat this morning, which threw a little bit of a stick in the spokes. It was a great race. The girls kept the pressure on, so I could never let my guard down. But I found a really good rhythm right from the start and this being my local stomping grounds, and having all of my family out here, it was a really great day."

"Catharine [Pendrel] and I were really looking forward to racing one another, and I think it would have been an awesome battle. I think we were all heartbroken when we heard the news, and I can definitely relate [Batty broke her clavicle just before the Olympics last year]. But there's always next year, so we'll get to battle it out."

For Sandra Walter, second was satisfactory. "I knew it would take something incredible to win today. I felt really strong and gave it my all. I didn’t win but I still feel really satisfied; really pleased. It was a great battle. Amanda [Sin] was chasing me the whole time. She made me push past my limit. I took two tumbles. Normally I'm a calm, technical rider, but today I was above my limit, but that's what I want to do. Sometimes you take some risks, but I didn't injure myself or hurt my bike. I managed to get back up again and defend second place."

Full Results

Elite women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing)  
2Sandra Walter (Liv / giant)  
3Amanda Sin (Scott - 3 Rox Racing)  
4Andréanne Pichette (Opus / OGC)  
5Jean Ann Berkenpas (Xprezo-Borsa)  
6Sue Haviland (Norco Evolution)  
7Rebecca Beaumont (Cyclone d’Alma: Ekoï Devinci/Alma)  
8Mandy Dreyer (TUF RACK Racing)  
9Wendy Simms (Kona from Nanaimo)  
10Heather Gray (CSAJCC p/b Norco LG/Kanata)  
11Rhonda Stickle (Team Bikeland)  
12Cindy Montambault (CVM 2 VALS)  
13Annick Chrétien (ADF Ultime Vélo/Aston-Jonction)  
14Denise Hill (Cyclemeisters / Bow Cycle)  
DNFMikaela Kofman (Scott - 3 Rox Racing)  
DNFSusan Stephens  
DNFAshley Barson ( Velikonja)  
DNFJulie Lafrenière (Ride with Rendall)  
U23 women
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Frédérique Trudel (Specialized Racing Canada)  
2Andréane Lanthier Nadeau (Rocky Mountain Bicycles Factory Team)  
3Maghalie Rochette (PowerWatts - Nord)  
4Cayley Brooks (Trek Canada Mountain Bike Team)  
5Laurence Harvey (Rocky Mountain Bicycles)  
6Haley Smith (Norco Factory Team)  
7Catherine Fleury (Cyclone d’Alma)  
8Valérie Meunier (Devinci)  
9Katlyn Dundas (Trek Store C.C.)  
10Elyse Nieuwold (Team Spoke O`Motion)  
11Laura Bietola (RealDeal/Gears p/b Fieldgate)  
12Kristina Laforge (Cyclone d’Alma)  
13Frédérique Larose-Gingras (Opus / OGC)  
14Anna Schappert (Team Manitoba)  
15Rosalie Auger (CVM 2 VALS from Landrienne)  
16Samantha Wagler (Two Wheel Racing)  
17Veronica Huggard (Team Yukon)  
18Catherine Harnden  
DNFKarlee Gendron (Trek Canada Mountain Bike Team)  


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