Derek Zandstra (Scott-3Rox) took an impressive win on Saturday in the Elite men's competition at the Canadian XCO National Championships in Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec. Zandstra beat Rio-bound Leandre Bouchard (Cyclone d'Alma-Devinci), with Scott-3Rox teammate Geoff Kabush taking third.
The 5.9 kilometre circuit challenged both the technical skills and endurance of the riders, in hot and humid conditions. Riders had little chance to recover from the climbs before having to focus on the technical descents, covered in roots and rocks.
The Elite men's race quickly came down to three riders - Zandstra, defending champion Raphael Gagne (Cannondale 360Fly p/b Sugoi) and Bouchard. For Zandstra, it was possibly a chance of payback for losing the Olympic selection to Bouchard.
The three riders opened a gap on a chase group containing Kabush, Jeremy Martin (Focus XC) and Davis Ross (AWI Racing). However, by the halfway mark, Gagne was falling back, since he is still recovering from illness, leaving just Zandstra and Bouchard at the front. Zandstra was riding aggressively at the front on all the climbs, and opened a gap on Bouchard with a lap and a half to go, extending his lead through the final lap to finish 42 seconds in front. Kabush overtook Gagne in the final lap to take the final podium spot.
"I had some good feelings going into the this," stated Zandstra. "I felt I had something to prove, and training has been going really well, and the whole race, right from the go, the pace felt light to me. So on the second lap I took the lead on the big climb and really pushed the pace. It felt really good and I could see I was getting gaps on the climb, although 'Dre [Leandre] was getting back on, on the descents. So I knew as long as I was in front on the climb at the end, I could get it."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Derek Zandstra (Can) Scott-3Rox Racing||1:33:22|
|2||Leandre Bouchard (Can) Cyclone D'alma||0:00:43|
|3||Geoff Kabush (Can) Scott-3Rox Racing||0:02:16|
|4||Raphael Gagne (Can) Cannondale 360Fly p/b Sugoi||0:02:20|
|5||Davis Ross (Can) AWI Racing||0:02:27|
|6||Jeremy Martin (Can) Focus Bikes - Iwill Cycling Team||0:02:42|
|7||Evan Guthrie (Can) Norco Factory Team||0:04:56|
|8||Andrew L'Esperance (Can) Norco Factory Team||0:05:16|
|9||Peter Glassford (Can) Trek Canada||0:06:23|
|10||Evan McNeely (Can) Norco Factory Team||0:08:12|
|11||Andrew Watson (Can) Awi Racing||0:08:37|
|12||Kelsey Krushel (Can) Team Progressive p/b 3Rox/Maverix Racing||0:09:24|
|13||Aroussen Laflamme (Can) Trek-GPL||0:10:01|
|14||Mathieu Belanger-Barrette (Can) Pivot Cycles - On The Edge||0:10:24|
|15||Marc-Andre Daigle (Can) Garneau||0:11:44|
|16||Brandon Curry (Can) Banks Bikes||0:13:53|
|17||Mitchell Bailey (Can) Trek Canada Mountain Bike Team||0:14:24|
|18||Jason Wiebe (Can) Country Cycle||0:15:09|
|19||Jon Slaughter (Can) Angry Johnny's CCp/b Norco LG||0:15:38|
|20||Luca Serli (Can) La Vie Sportive||0:18:42|
|21||Jason Cote (Can) Vo2 Cafe Summum||0:59:05|
|22||Jasmin Cantin (Can) Club Velo Extreme Saint-Raymond|
|23||Chris Fruetel (Can) Team Progressive p/b 3Rox/Maverix Racing||0:59:08|
|24||Samuel Tremblay (Can) Cyclone D'alma||0:59:11|
|25||Brendan Mackillop (Can) Team Progressive p/b 3Rox/Maverix Racing||1:38:45|
|DNF||Alex Schmidt (Can) Phi Hotel Groupp-K Express Pb Holiday Inn EX|