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Simms earns fifth national title

Wendy Simms (Ridley) won a hard fought battle in the Elite women's race to take her first Canadian title since 2008. The 20 rider field had serious depth, and no clear favourite.

Defending champion Alison Sydor was missing (retired), but Simms had to go up against top ranked Natasha Elliott (Garneau- Club Chaussures- Ogilvy Renault), Alberta's Pepper Harlton and Katy Curtis, and world number one ranked mountain biker Catharine Pendrel (Luna). Simms, back in competition after missing last year due to having her first child (son Tycho), wasted no time in showing her competition that she was there to win, with an attack on the opening half lap.

Harlton led the chase back to Simms, with Curtis and Elliott on her wheel. Pendrel was back in seventh, perhaps not used to the super fast starts of short 'cross racing. Simms continued to set the pace through most of the race, with Harlton and Curtis following, as Elliott dropped back. Pendrel was moving up, in fifth after two laps and fourth (ahead of Elliott) after three laps. With a lap and a half to go, Harlton slid out in a gravely corner after the finish straight, allowing Simms to open a gap.

The Vancouver Island rider did not hesitate to attack, and only Curtis was able to claw her way back to the front as the race entered the final lap. Simms kept the pace high, worried about the climbing ability of the smaller Albertan, but Curtis was unable to come by her rival, and was gapped in a final half lap surge that enabled Simms to regain her crown. Pendrel, continuing to improve as the race went on, moved past Harlton in the last kilometre to take the bronze medal.

"That was tough, those girls were really pushing me," commented Simms. "I wanted to get out in front early, get away from any potential bottlenecks. When it was just me with the two Alberta riders I was a little worried, but when one of them [Harlton] had that problem, I just took the opportunity. Katie certainly gets the Most Improved award; coming from last unlapped rider last year to second this year."

Full Results
1Wendy Simms (Ridley - FSA from Nanaimo)0:41:08
2Katy Curtis (Team Alberta from Calgary)0:00:01
3Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team from Kamloops)0:00:22
4Pepper Harlton (Team Alberta : Juventus Cycling Club)0:00:26
5Natasha Elliott (Garneau-Club Chaussures-Ogilvy Renault)0:00:59
6Mical Dyck (Trek Canada from Victoria)0:02:26
7Emily Batty (Trek World Racing/Brooklin)0:02:54
8Amanda Sin (3 Rox Racing from Collingwood)0:03:44
9Leigh Hobson (The Hub Race Team/Cambridge)0:03:47
10Melissa Bunn (Stevens Racing P/B The Cyclery)0:04:13
11Laura Bietola (3 Rox Racing from Greenwood)0:04:43
12Sophie Matte (Stevens Racing P/B The Cyclery)0:04:57
13Joanne Thomson (Ride With Rendall from Chelsea)0:05:26
14Amanda Wakeling (Trail Bicycles from Courtenay)0:07:06
15Véronique Labonté (Team Nanoblur - Gears/Montréal)0:07:41
16Vicki Thomas (
17Emily Flynn (EMD Serono - Specialized CC)0:08:38
18Alison Beamish (from Kingston)0:08:44
19Briana Illingworth (True North Cycles Race Team)-1lap
DNFJenny Dalton (The Cyclery from Ottawa)

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