While the overall mens win and World Cup glory went to Canadian home boy Trek’s Roland Green, Britain’s women had a superb event.
The Womens XC event saw our regular writer Caroline Alexander take the lead with her Specializedteam mate (and already confirmed World Cup Champion) Barbara Blatter before pulling away on the third lap.
As Blatter faded, third placed Gary Fisher / Subaru rider Chrissy Redden chased hard to catch and then drop her in front of a roaring home crowd. She had halved her minute deficit to Alexander by the sixth and final lap. The Canadian trail spirits were obviously on Redden’s side too as Caroline dropped her chain at the start of the final long climb, with Chrissy closing further on the following technical descent. “All of a sudden I felt better. I thought I could catch her on the second climb.” Redden commented, and that’s exactly what happened with home support giving her the boost to gap Alexander by 23 seconds before the finish.
“It was special to win here in Canada,” said Redden. “People were cheering, and running with me! Now I’m looking forward to Worlds.”
“I am really disappointed,” said Alexander after the race. “But Vail worlds are really my focus this season. And if I ride like I rode today, no one will catch me – not at 9,000 feet elevation. I rode really well today, and was competent on my bike.”
Roland Green made it a clean Canadian XC sweep as well as wrapping up the overall title which he thought he’d surrendered by missing the recent Euro rounds.
Rather than his usual ‘from the gun’ style, Green took three laps to catch early leader Michael Rasmussen together with series leader Miguel Martinez. Rasmussen dropped back as Green applied the pressure and then Martinez popped too, “In lap four my legs came around and then they felt great – I didn’t even feel them on the last lap” said Green afterwards. Green’s fellow Canadian training partner Ryder Hesjedal attacked the chasing group on the final climb as Martinez plummeted backwards through the field to 36th, leaving him 3rd overall. The ease of Green’s victory was demonstrated as he lofted his OCLV-HC hardtail over his head after crossing the line, 40 seconds ahead of Hesjedal and then Hermida, who was delighted to take 2nd overall.
On the gravity side of things British women shone again.
After a stunningly consistent season Ffionn Griffiths finished 1.5 seconds behind first time Sabrina Jonnier and completes the season ranked fifth overall. Expected winners Chausson and Giove both crashed during their final runs (as did Griffiths) with Chausson unable to continue but still taking the overall series by a large margin.
Slightly further down the finish list Tracy Moseley took 8th just ahead of Helen Mortimer in 9th with Helen Gaskell taking 17th place to round up an excellent weekend.
In the men’s event, Rob Warner was first Brit in 9th as Australian Chris Kovarik took his first ever win for Intense. The Commonwealth cleaned up as Greg Minaar took second place and the overall mens title from under the nose of third placed Nico Vouilloz by a mere second. Will Longden also had a good run to take 15th.
In the Dual, Eric Carter took the victory after confirmed Champion Lopes was eliminated in the quarter-finals by Mike King while Scott Beaumont had been taken out by Carter in the 1/8 finals. Leigh Donovan took the title by qualifying fastest even before the first head to head, and then beat Tara Llanes in the women’s final. Donovan gets the perfect end to her career winning both the World Cup and her final race, before hanging up her race numbers for the last time.
For full race results check the UCI website.