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Kabush remains Canadian king

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The party gets underway on the Under 23 Men's podium.

The party gets underway on the Under 23 Men's podium. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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The elite men's race gets underway.

The elite men's race gets underway. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Seamus McGrath (Jamis / Oakley) finished fourth 1:27 minutes down.

Seamus McGrath (Jamis / Oakley) finished fourth 1:27 minutes down. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Derek Zandstra (3 Rox Racing) was third, just 42 seconds behind.

Derek Zandstra (3 Rox Racing) was third, just 42 seconds behind. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Max Plaxton (Specialized/Sho-Air/ Specialized) climbs on his way to second place.

Max Plaxton (Specialized/Sho-Air/ Specialized) climbs on his way to second place. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) on his way to a sixth title.

Geoff Kabush (Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) on his way to a sixth title. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Elite Men's podium: Seamus McGrath, Max Plaxton, Geoff Kabush, Derek Zandstra, Andrew Watson

Elite Men's podium: Seamus McGrath, Max Plaxton, Geoff Kabush, Derek Zandstra, Andrew Watson (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Raphaël Gagné (Team MAXXIS-Rocky Mountain Bicycles) climbing during the race.

Raphaël Gagné (Team MAXXIS-Rocky Mountain Bicycles) climbing during the race. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)
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Raphaël Gagné (Team MAXXIS-Rocky Mountain Bicycles) wins the Under 23 men's race.

Raphaël Gagné (Team MAXXIS-Rocky Mountain Bicycles) wins the Under 23 men's race. (Image credit: Tour of Japan)

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.

 

Results

Elite men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Geoff Kabush (Can) Team Maxxis-Rocky Mountain1:42:51
2Max Plaxton (Can) Specialized0:00:08
3Derek Zandstra (Can) 3 Rox Racing0:00:42
4Seamus McGrath (Can) Jamis / Oakley0:01:27
5Andrew Watson (Can) Norco Factory Team0:01:40
6Matthew Hadley (Can) Xprezo0:06:04
7Julien Fillion (Can) Devinci0:06:57
8Eric Batty (Can) Trek Toronto0:07:25
9Stefan Widmer (Can) cky Mountain Bicycles Factory Te0:07:37
10Peter Glassford (Can) Trek Store - Team Ontario0:08:03
11Adam Morka (Can) ek Store Race Team/Team Ontar0:08:22
12Craig Richey (Can) Blue Competition Cycles0:09:49
13Kristofor Sneddon (Can) KONA0:10:11
14Marty Lazarski (Can) cky Mountain Bicycles Factory Te0:10:28
15Thomas Skinner (Can) Oak Bay Bikes/Specialized0:12:45
16Benoit Simard (Can) Indépendant0:13:33
17Daniel Sessford (Can) Blue Competition Cycles0:14:04
18Marc-André Daigle (Can) Warrior Racing0:14:57
19Simon Happy (Can) RST Vélosports0:15:58
20Olivier Bordeleau (Can) Xprezo0:17:05
21Marc Plante (Can) LÉlite Vélozone0:18:06
22Shane Hollingshead (Can) Norco Factory Team0:18:24
23Imad El-Ghazal (Can) jamis bikes0:21:39
24Luc Boily (Can) Vélo 2 Max (St-Félicien)0:21:56
25Pierre-Yves Nadeau (Can) Lessard Bicycles0:22:05
26Mark Batty (Can) Planet Energy0:23:01
27Tim Carleton (Can) Trek Store Race Team0:23:49
28Ben Dawson (Can) Angry Johnnys/Cycle Solutions0:24:15
29Stu Alp (Can) Norco Factory Team0:25:04
30Brian Bain (Can) CMC/Bowcycle0:25:46
-1lapPascal Dumaresq (Can) CVM Normandin
-1lapJulien Marceau (Can) CVM Subway-Génétik
-1lapMatthew Paziuk (Can) Norco Evolution Team
-1lapFrançois-Charles Dumas (Can) Performance Vélo Lévy Honda
-1lapFrédéric Langevin (Can) Gaspésien
-1lapLuc Doiron (Can) Marin Bikes
-1lapGuy VanKrimpen (Can)
DNFKyle Douglas (Can) 3 Rox Racing
DNFGino Ricci (Can) Biogen Idec
DNFRoddi Lega (Can) Pedalhead Bicycle Works
DNFPatrick Mimeault (Can) La Vie Sportive

Under 23 men
#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Raphaël Gagné (Can) m MAXXIS-Rocky Mountain Bicy1:50:37
2Cameron Jette (Can) Trek Store Race Team0:03:46
3Cody Canning (Can) Team Alberta0:04:44
4Ryan Atkins (Can) m Ontario - EMD Serono Speciali0:05:10
5Léni Trudel (Can) Specialized0:08:56
6Zachary Hughes (Can) Norco Evolution0:10:04
7Sébastien Cadieux-Duval (Can) CVM Val-David0:11:02
8Pierre-Louis Chamberland (Can) CVM Val-David0:11:58
9Jon Kinsie (Can) Team Ontario0:13:00
10Andrew Thomas (Can) Team SASK0:13:16
11Francis Morin (Can) Specialized/Équipe du Québec0:13:26
12Nicolas Maltais (Can) Cyclone dAlma0:13:34
13Frédéric Forgues-Lapointe (Can) CCS/Dalbix0:13:55
14Félix Côté (Can) CVM Val-David0:14:17
15Zach Winn (Can) Cylce Solution Angry Johnnys0:15:03
16Haydn Boucher (Can) 3 Rox Racing0:15:14
17Simon Lalancette (Can) Devinci0:15:18
18Charles Blanchet-Levesque (Can) CVM Subway-Génétik0:16:12
19Olivier Robidoux (Can) CCS/Dalbix0:16:16
20Steve Caillé (Can) La Cordée0:17:06
21Jonathan Boucher (Can) CVM Subway-Génétik0:17:23
22Jacob McClelland (Can) Team Hardwood-Trek0:18:00
23Mathieu Bélanger Barrette (Can) CVM Subway-Génétik0:22:10
24Cory Hancock (Can) 3 Rox Racing0:23:32
25Justin Middleton (Can) Team Alberta0:24:33
DNFJean-Philippe Thibault-Roberge (Can) CCS/Dalbix
DNFBailey McKnight (Can) synergy racing cycle club
DNFMathieu Boily-Tremblay (Can) Marin Bikes

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