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Leandre Bouchard defends his Canadian eliminator title

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.


Elite men eliminator
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Leandre Bouchard (Cyclone d’Alma)
2Rhys Verner (Cycling BC)
3Adam Morka (WFP Coaching / Trek Bikes)
4Samuel Tremblay (Rocky Mountain/Procycle)
5Peter Disera (Norco Factory Team)
6Emmanuel Boily (Cyclone d’Alma)
7Isaac Niles (bicisport)
8Luke Di Marzo (Cycling BC)
9Ethan Toom (Cycling BC : Team Squamish)
10Andrew Watson (Norco Factory Team)
11Colin Pendziwol (Blacksheep Mountain Bike Club)
12Brandon Curry (Cycle Solutions)
13Andrew L'esperance (Norco Factory Team)
14Quinton Disera (Cycle Solutions Angry Johnny`sCC p/b Norco LG)
15Mathieu Belanger Barrette (Opus/OGC)
16Vincent Belhumeur (Lessard Bicycles)
17Spencer Skerget
18Jean-Daniel Boily (Cyclone d’Alma)
19Braedyn Kozman (TUF RACK Racing)
20Sean Germaine (Team Alberta)
21Alex Lefebvre (
22Jared Fawcett (Team Manitoba)
23Felix Burke (Opus/OGC)
24Tyler Orschel (Trek Store C.C.)
25Luc Boily (CVM 2 VALS)
26William Clarke (Team Bikeland)
27Emile Perreault (CVM 2 VALS)
28Reed Godfrey
29Jacob Howard (Team Alberta)
30Jörn Schumann (Team Sask)
31Jeff Fawcett (Bikes and Beyond)
DNSMitchell Bailey (Trek Canada Mountain Bike Team)
DNSAustin Reith (Team Whistler)

Elite women eliminator
#Rider Name (Country) Team
1Elodie Bernier (Specialized : Équipe du Québec)
2Cindy Montambault (CVM 2 VALS)
3Catherine Fleury (Cyclone d’Alma : Équipe du Québec)
4Anne-Julie Tremblay (Cyclone d’Alma)
5Paige Foxcroft (Cycle Solutions Angry Johnny`sCC p/b Norco LG)
6Rosalie Auger (CVM 2 VALS)
7Rachel Pageau (Cyclone d’Alma : Devinci / Ekoï)
8Jennifer Mctavish
9Liah Harvie (Team Alberta)
10Jean Ann Berkenpas
11Robin Pollard
12Siobhan Kelly (ToWheels/EpicSport/BCC)
13Andreane Lanthier-Nadeau (Rocky Mountain Bicycles Factory Team)
14Karlee Gendron (Trek Canada Mountain Bike Team : Team NCCH p/b DEC)
15Victoria Giangrande (Trek Store C.C.)
16Julianne Engelhardt (Winsport Academy Mountain Bike Club)
17Kelsey Macdonald (Cycling BC)
18Andréanne Pichette (Opus/OGC)
DNSEmily Batty (Trek Factory Racing)
DNSSarah-Claudie Dostie-Menard
DNSSidney Mcgill
DNSSkye Follas (The Hub Race Team)

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