Canada's best downhillers compete for national titles in Edmonton

Micala Gatto crossing the flyover

Micala Gatto crossing the flyover (Image credit: Dave McElwaine)

The weekend promises lots of exciting action in mountain biking, with the top downhillers in Canada going head to head and looking to grab the coveted Canadian titles in the U17, juniors, elite, and masters categories at Panorama Mountain Village in Edmonton, Alberta.

Held for the second consecutive season at Panorama Mountain Village, the Canadian downhill Championships are the top UCI-sanctioned event in the country. Three-time Canadian Champion Andrew Mitchell of Victoria, BC will be strongly defending his 2010 title, but he will have to face an increasingly improving field with riders such as Dean Tennant of Sidney, BC and Jamie Biluk of Winnipeg, MB, both on the podium last year.

Steve Smith, Canada's top rider in the World Cup rankings and silver medallist at the 2010 UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in downhill, is a notable absentee in the men's elite race.

In the women's race, Micayla Gatto of Garibaldi Heights, BC, Canada's top performer on the international scene is the defending champion. Last year on the same course, she won the title with a margin of over seven seconds on the second place Miranda Miller of Squamish, BC, who will certainly attempt to close the gap this year. Claire Buchar, the 2009 Canadian Champion, will also be in contention, amongst others, to dethrone Gatto at the top.

World Junior Champion Lauren Rosser of Squamish, BC is currently leading the Canada Cup series in the women's category followed closely by Miller in second place, while Mitchell and Tennant are neck to neck in the men's Canada Cup standings after two of three races.

Racing at Panorama Mountain Village will be held on the slightly modified course from last year's Canadian Championships and starts on Saturday with the presentation of the seeding runs, where riders will attempt fast times for the championships race on Sunday.

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