Quebec cyclists Léandre Bouchard (Equipe du Québec-Devinci) and first-year junior rider Elodie Bernier (Specialized-Équipe du Québec) both stood on the highest step of the podium on Thursday, winning the eliminator titles at the 2014 Canadian Mountain Bike Cross Country Championships at Hardwood Ski and Bike in Oro-Medonte, near Barrie, Ontario.
Léandre Bouchard won the men’s race, crossing the finish with a large margin over Rhys Verner (Cycling BC) and Adam Morka (WFP Coaching-Trek Bikes), second and third. The favorite rider entering the race as the defending champion, Bouchard easily went on to win each of his elimination rounds, after posting the fastest time in the qualifier.
"Mission accomplished. I am very satisfied with the win. The eliminator is often unpredictable. So I was a little worried. The caliber here was very strong. Even though I won all my elimination rounds, I struggled a few times," said Bouchard.
Bouchard came for this race with a target on his back, being the Canadian champion and the only Canadian to have qualified for the World Cup final in the event. "I think my World Cup results were to my advantage here. It was obvious that coming in as the favorite, and I wanted to retain the title this year. I wanted to make sure I win all my rounds arriving at the final. The most important thing for me was the last race, the final race of the day. "
In regard to the course, Bouchard found it more difficult than last year. "The course was very long, so it became a little lactic towards the end. The start was very important here, since there was not much room for passing. All the races started very quickly."
For Bouchard, the cross country race on Saturday is more important. "This year, I hope to win the title of the U23 category. It is my goal here. Early in the season, I did well, and I’m ready for the race. Everyone wants to win the Canadian title, for its prestige and for the Canadian selections that will compete at the World Championships."
Elodie Bernier, a first-year junior, competing for the very first time in the eliminator race, was the fastest women of the group, taking the title in the final race of the day. She outraced two of her teammates, Cindy Montambault (CVM 2 VALS) who came in second and Catherine Fleury (Cyclone d’Alma-Équipe du Québec) who took third place.
"I'm happy, I did not expect this win. I am very impressed. This is my first experience in the eliminator. I am the current Quebec provincial champion in the sprint event, but it was very different here. I'm happy. There were good athletes here, including the 2013 Canadian champion. I trained hard for this race because it was my goal. I did a lot of intervals, and I practiced my starts a lot too," said Bernier, visibly thrilled with the performances on the track today.
The top 16 women advanced from the qualifying session while the top 32 men qualified. Both Bouchard and Bernier posted the fastest qualifying time.
The cross country mountain bikers will have a day of rest on Friday prior to taking part in the Championships races on Saturday, for all categories. Masters will have their shot at Canadian titles on Sunday, along with the exciting team relays.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team|
|1||Leandre Bouchard (Cyclone d’Alma)|
|2||Rhys Verner (Cycling BC)|
|3||Adam Morka (WFP Coaching / Trek Bikes)|
|4||Samuel Tremblay (Rocky Mountain/Procycle)|
|5||Peter Disera (Norco Factory Team)|
|6||Emmanuel Boily (Cyclone d’Alma)|
|7||Isaac Niles (bicisport)|
|8||Luke Di Marzo (Cycling BC)|
|9||Ethan Toom (Cycling BC : Team Squamish)|
|10||Andrew Watson (Norco Factory Team)|
|11||Colin Pendziwol (Blacksheep Mountain Bike Club)|
|12||Brandon Curry (Cycle Solutions)|
|13||Andrew L'esperance (Norco Factory Team)|
|14||Quinton Disera (Cycle Solutions Angry Johnny`sCC p/b Norco LG)|
|15||Mathieu Belanger Barrette (Opus/OGC)|
|16||Vincent Belhumeur (Lessard Bicycles)|
|18||Jean-Daniel Boily (Cyclone d’Alma)|
|19||Braedyn Kozman (TUF RACK Racing)|
|20||Sean Germaine (Team Alberta)|
|21||Alex Lefebvre (Speedriver.com)|
|22||Jared Fawcett (Team Manitoba)|
|23||Felix Burke (Opus/OGC)|
|24||Tyler Orschel (Trek Store C.C.)|
|25||Luc Boily (CVM 2 VALS)|
|26||William Clarke (Team Bikeland)|
|27||Emile Perreault (CVM 2 VALS)|
|29||Jacob Howard (Team Alberta)|
|30||Jörn Schumann (Team Sask)|
|31||Jeff Fawcett (Bikes and Beyond)|
|DNS||Mitchell Bailey (Trek Canada Mountain Bike Team)|
|DNS||Austin Reith (Team Whistler)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team|
|1||Elodie Bernier (Specialized : Équipe du Québec)|
|2||Cindy Montambault (CVM 2 VALS)|
|3||Catherine Fleury (Cyclone d’Alma : Équipe du Québec)|
|4||Anne-Julie Tremblay (Cyclone d’Alma)|
|5||Paige Foxcroft (Cycle Solutions Angry Johnny`sCC p/b Norco LG)|
|6||Rosalie Auger (CVM 2 VALS)|
|7||Rachel Pageau (Cyclone d’Alma : Devinci / Ekoï)|
|9||Liah Harvie (Team Alberta)|
|10||Jean Ann Berkenpas|
|12||Siobhan Kelly (ToWheels/EpicSport/BCC)|
|13||Andreane Lanthier-Nadeau (Rocky Mountain Bicycles Factory Team)|
|14||Karlee Gendron (Trek Canada Mountain Bike Team : Team NCCH p/b DEC)|
|15||Victoria Giangrande (Trek Store C.C.)|
|16||Julianne Engelhardt (Winsport Academy Mountain Bike Club)|
|17||Kelsey Macdonald (Cycling BC)|
|18||Andréanne Pichette (Opus/OGC)|
|DNS||Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing)|
|DNS||Skye Follas (The Hub Race Team)|
Latest on Cyclingnews
Peter Sagan: I can see the end, but that's more motivating than frighteningSlovakian marks a decade in the professional peloton and looks ahead to 2020
Campenaerts: The Giro d'Italia time trials are my next big goalHour Record holder hopes strong first half of season will secure Belgium's final Olympic TT spot
Eddy Merckx 'still not 100 per cent' following bike crashFive-time Tour de France winner continuing to recover from October accident
Evenepoel youngest winner of Belgium's Kristallen Fiets awardDeceuninck-QuickStep rider voted best male Belgian racer