Canada Cup kicks off this weekend

The 2013 Mountain Bike (MTB) Canada Cup Cycling Series is back for another summer, with cross country and downhill mountain bike races to be disputed in three different provinces, starting this weekend.

The mountain bike series, in its 22nd edition, will feature four cross country and three downhill races in 2013, hosted in three provinces throughout the summer, travelling to Québec, Ontario and British Columbia, with the finals hosted in Whistler British Columbia.

2011 world champion Catharine Pendrel labels the Canada Cup series as critical to her international success. "The Canada Cup was a critical stepping stone in my development. The courses were challenging technically and physically, and by racing Canada Cup races, I met the racers that pushed and inspired me to improve. Learning to race for the win on World class course at home allowed me to transition to success at the international level."

Geoff Kabush, who was Canada's top mountain biker at the 2012 Olympic Games and posted the country's top result in its history at the Olympic Games, also credits the Canada Cup in his international success. "The Canada Cup was definitely a major stepping stone in my career. The Canada Cups refined my skills, taught me valuable racing lessons, and gave me the confidence I needed to progress to the World Cup. I still remember the accomplishment I felt in 1997 when I won my first Canada Cup in Bromont."

Neither Pendrel nor Kabush is expected at the Canada Cup opener, due to a schedule conflict with the UCI World Cup opener in Albstadt, Germany. Pendrel is the defending World Cup champion.

In the 2012 Canada Cup, Raphael Gagné took the title in elite men's cross country, while Sandra Walter took the overall title in the elite women's cross country category. Mark Wallace won the overall downhill series of the elite men's category, while Danielle Uyesugi was proclaimed the elite women's downhill champion.

Former Canada Cup Cross Country Series include Olympic medallist Marie-Hélène Prémont, Olympian Emily Batty, and current national team members, Sandra Walter, Raphael Gagné, Derek Zandstra, Mikaela Kofman and Jean Ann Berkenpas (McKirdy).

The Canada Cup series is designed to provide competitive opportunities to the next generation of cyclists, transitioning from provincial race series to international competitions.

Hosted in partnership between Cycling Canada, its provincial sport organizations and local organizing committee, the Canada Cup Cycling Series is sanctioned by the International Cycling Union.

2013 Canada Cup Series
May 18 - Mont-Tremblant, Quebec [cross country]
May 19 - Mont-Tremblant, Quebec [downhill]
May 25 - Baie-St-Paul, Quebec [cross country]
July 7 - Sun Peaks, British Columbia [downhill]
July 14 - Sudbury, Ontario [cross country]
August 17 - Whistler, British Columbia [cross country]
August 18 - Whistler, British Columbia [downhill]


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