The Canadian National Mountain Bike Championships always feature world class competitors, and this year saw a race to the wire in the men's field. Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) took his fifth consecutive men's title, and the sixth of his career, in a hard-fought, four-way battle.
The nationals came to St-Felicien, Quebec for 2009; the site of a World Cup two years earlier that received strong reviews from the teams for both its course and organisation. This year was no different, with riders universally praising the course. "This is real mountain biking," commented Seamus McGrath (Jamis).
After Junior and Cadet aged riders rode in the morning, the Elite and U23 men were the final event of the day.
The men's race pitted Kabush against U.S. National series leader Max Plaxton (Sho-Air/Specialized), Canada Cup series leader Derek Zandstra (3 Rox Racing) and BC Bike Race winner McGrath. Kabush has had a roller coaster season, so he looked to be more vulnerable than usual.
Team Ontario's Andrew Watson got the hole shot out of the start loop, as the men began their five lap race. The rain had stopped by the start of the men's race, although it would come back briefly in the middle of the race. Watson was overtaken by Zandstra shortly into the first lap, who was taking a more aggressive strategy than usual for the race.
"I decided to race it a little differently, to be the pace setter," explained Zandstra. "Geoff and I raced together for the entire Canada Cup in Canmore a few weeks ago, so I knew that I could stay with him."
For most of the first four laps it was Zandstra leading Plaxton, Kabush and McGrath, with Watson yo-yoing some 15-25 seconds behind the group. It wasn't until late in the fourth lap that Plaxton finally made a move that split things up, when he attacked on the final climb of the lap.
"I was surprised that it held together so long," said Kabush. "Derek and Max kept making these little surges, but it wasn't enough to really split it up, so I was just hanging in behind them. Max was the guy I was worried about the most, because he has been riding really well this year, but I was also concerned about Seamus because he was hanging out at the back, and I didn't know if he was saving himself for a big attack."
It turned out that McGrath was at his limit, because when Plaxton jumped, only Zandstra and Kabush could respond. The trio stayed together - with Zandstra and Plaxton making small feints - until shortly before the singletrack climb, when Kabush launched a huge attack that no one could respond to.
He immediately took 12 seconds out of Plaxton, who fought back over the final two kilometres, but couldn't close the gap. He eventually finished nine seconds back, with Zandstra taking the bronze medal at 42 seconds.
In the Under 23 race Raphael Gagne (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) was in a class of his own, starting one minute behind the elite field and still finishing eighth across the line. Cameron Jette (Toronto Trek Store) took silver and Cody canning (Team Alberta) bronze.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain||1:42:51|
|2||Max Plaxton (Can) Specialized||0:00:08|
|3||Derek Zandstra (Can) 3 Rox Racing||0:00:42|
|4||Seamus McGrath (Can) Jamis / Oakley||0:01:27|
|5||Andrew Watson (Can) Norco Factory Team||0:01:40|
|6||Matthew Hadley (Can) Xprezo||0:06:04|
|7||Julien Fillion (Can) Devinci||0:06:57|
|8||Eric Batty (Can) Trek Toronto||0:07:25|
|9||Stefan Widmer (Can) cky Mountain Bicycles Factory Te||0:07:37|
|10||Peter Glassford (Can) Trek Store - Team Ontario||0:08:03|
|11||Adam Morka (Can) ek Store Race Team/Team Ontar||0:08:22|
|12||Craig Richey (Can) Blue Competition Cycles||0:09:49|
|13||Kristofor Sneddon (Can) KONA||0:10:11|
|14||Marty Lazarski (Can) cky Mountain Bicycles Factory Te||0:10:28|
|15||Thomas Skinner (Can) Oak Bay Bikes/Specialized||0:12:45|
|16||Benoit Simard (Can) Indépendant||0:13:33|
|17||Daniel Sessford (Can) Blue Competition Cycles||0:14:04|
|18||Marc-André Daigle (Can) Warrior Racing||0:14:57|
|19||Simon Happy (Can) RST Vélosports||0:15:58|
|20||Olivier Bordeleau (Can) Xprezo||0:17:05|
|21||Marc Plante (Can) LÉlite Vélozone||0:18:06|
|22||Shane Hollingshead (Can) Norco Factory Team||0:18:24|
|23||Imad El-Ghazal (Can) jamis bikes||0:21:39|
|24||Luc Boily (Can) Vélo 2 Max (St-Félicien)||0:21:56|
|25||Pierre-Yves Nadeau (Can) Lessard Bicycles||0:22:05|
|26||Mark Batty (Can) Planet Energy||0:23:01|
|27||Tim Carleton (Can) Trek Store Race Team||0:23:49|
|28||Ben Dawson (Can) Angry Johnnys/Cycle Solutions||0:24:15|
|29||Stu Alp (Can) Norco Factory Team||0:25:04|
|30||Brian Bain (Can) CMC/Bowcycle||0:25:46|
|-1lap||Pascal Dumaresq (Can) CVM Normandin|
|-1lap||Julien Marceau (Can) CVM Subway-Génétik|
|-1lap||Matthew Paziuk (Can) Norco Evolution Team|
|-1lap||François-Charles Dumas (Can) Performance Vélo Lévy Honda|
|-1lap||Frédéric Langevin (Can) Gaspésien|
|-1lap||Luc Doiron (Can) Marin Bikes|
|-1lap||Guy VanKrimpen (Can)|
|DNF||Kyle Douglas (Can) 3 Rox Racing|
|DNF||Gino Ricci (Can) Biogen Idec|
|DNF||Roddi Lega (Can) Pedalhead Bicycle Works|
|DNF||Patrick Mimeault (Can) La Vie Sportive|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Raphaël Gagné (Can) m MAXXIS-Rocky Mountain Bicy||1:50:37|
|2||Cameron Jette (Can) Trek Store Race Team||0:03:46|
|3||Cody Canning (Can) Team Alberta||0:04:44|
|4||Ryan Atkins (Can) m Ontario - EMD Serono Speciali||0:05:10|
|5||Léni Trudel (Can) Specialized||0:08:56|
|6||Zachary Hughes (Can) Norco Evolution||0:10:04|
|7||Sébastien Cadieux-Duval (Can) CVM Val-David||0:11:02|
|8||Pierre-Louis Chamberland (Can) CVM Val-David||0:11:58|
|9||Jon Kinsie (Can) Team Ontario||0:13:00|
|10||Andrew Thomas (Can) Team SASK||0:13:16|
|11||Francis Morin (Can) Specialized/Équipe du Québec||0:13:26|
|12||Nicolas Maltais (Can) Cyclone dAlma||0:13:34|
|13||Frédéric Forgues-Lapointe (Can) CCS/Dalbix||0:13:55|
|14||Félix Côté (Can) CVM Val-David||0:14:17|
|15||Zach Winn (Can) Cylce Solution Angry Johnnys||0:15:03|
|16||Haydn Boucher (Can) 3 Rox Racing||0:15:14|
|17||Simon Lalancette (Can) Devinci||0:15:18|
|18||Charles Blanchet-Levesque (Can) CVM Subway-Génétik||0:16:12|
|19||Olivier Robidoux (Can) CCS/Dalbix||0:16:16|
|20||Steve Caillé (Can) La Cordée||0:17:06|
|21||Jonathan Boucher (Can) CVM Subway-Génétik||0:17:23|
|22||Jacob McClelland (Can) Team Hardwood-Trek||0:18:00|
|23||Mathieu Bélanger Barrette (Can) CVM Subway-Génétik||0:22:10|
|24||Cory Hancock (Can) 3 Rox Racing||0:23:32|
|25||Justin Middleton (Can) Team Alberta||0:24:33|
|DNF||Jean-Philippe Thibault-Roberge (Can) CCS/Dalbix|
|DNF||Bailey McKnight (Can) synergy racing cycle club|
|DNF||Mathieu Boily-Tremblay (Can) Marin Bikes|