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Sydor still going strong off-road

Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain Haywood)

Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain Haywood) (Image credit: Mitch Clinton)

41 year-old Alison Sydor is one elite cyclist who keeps going and going. Formerly a respected road racer, the three-time world mountain bike champion is also racing cyclo-cross and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.

Instead of following the World Cup mountain bike circuit this year, Sydor raced a full schedule of stage races and marathons world-wide. She and Rocky Mountain / Haywood team-mate Carsten Bresser won the mixed category at the TransGermany and the TransAlp this summer. This fall, Sydor made several trips to the cyclo-cross podium and finished second overall in the USGP after last weekend's final rounds in Portland, Oregon.

"It was a nice surprise," she said of her 'cross racing performance to the Vancouver Sun. "I was just doing it for fun."

The 1996 Olympic silver medalist (in mountain biking), who lives in British Columbia, attributed her enduring success across disciplines to "good luck and good genetics". She's also finished in the top five at the Olympics in Sydney and Athens. In 2008, Canada will send two female mountain bikers to Beijing, but Sydor said she has not yet made a decision about an attempt to qualify.

"I have to get a few things straightened out, sit down and see if that's what I want to do. For sure, whether I'm looking at the Olympics or not, I do want to do more stage racing. Everything is still possible," said Sydor.

Sydor has been in the right time and place to experience the meteoric rises in popularity of both mountain bike and cyclo-cross racing. "When I came into mountain biking (from road cycling), there was a real excitement being part of a young sport that was changing all the time. I've seen significant changes over the years. It's not just same old, same old all the time. It's a sport of revolution, not just evolution."

The British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame will induct Sydor as a member in May 2008.

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Sue George is an editor at Cyclingnews.  She coordinates all of the site's mountain bike race coverage and assists with the road, 'cross and track coverage.