Albstadt, Germany, May 21, 2018 – Canadian riders had some strong results at the second round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Albstadt, Germany, on May 19-20. In Elite women, Emily Batty (Trek Factory) finished 13th and Sandra Walter (Canadian National Team) 15th – her best-ever European World Cup result. In the Elite men’s race, national champion Peter Disera (Norco Factory) cracked the top-30, finishing 28th, while Canadian Under-23 champion Sean Fincham was 21st in the Under-23 men’s race.
Rain through the week made the circuit muddy and slick, with almost every rider in the Under-23 and Elite women’s races crashing at least once on the steep and technical descents. By the time the Elite men rode on Sunday afternoon, the track was starting to dry up a bit and they did not face the same conditions.
World champion Jolanda Neff of Switzerland dominated the Elite women’s race, leading from start to finish. Canada’s Catharine Pendrel (Clif Pro Team) had a strong start, and was in seventh place after the start loop, but went down hard on one of the drop offs, falling to the mid-teens before finishing 19th. Batty rode a consistent race in the low-teens, with one crash of her own, while Walter moved up from 46th on the start grid to the top-25 in the start loop. A strong second lap put her into 16th, and she maintained her standing for the remainder of the race.
“That was the definition of thick, heavy mud,” said Batty. “I think my bike is weighing at least 29-30 pounds right now. It was a solid race; I was in the top spots but I was riding pretty clean with only one mistake. Through the race the mud got more dry and tacky, so the wheels were so heavy and you had to muscle the bike around. All in all, I thought it was a pretty decent race.”
“I ride in the mud all winter,” said Walter, “so when it starts getting crazy I know these are my conditions. I had a lot of fun out there. I definitely didn’t race a super clean race, but I felt confident and didn’t make too many mistakes. I’m really excited [with 15th] and thankful to the Canadian team and the staff for making it such a great project.”
In other Canadian results, Cindy Montambault was 42nd, Haley Smith (Norco Factory), who crashed hard on one of the drops, was 50th, and Catherine Fleury (Canadian National) was 64th.
Batty moves up one spot to 13th in the World Cup standings, while Pendrel drops from seventh to 14th. Smith drops from 23rd to 34th, Walter debuts at 37th and Montambault is 39th.
In the Under-23 women, world champion Sina Frei of Switzerland took the lead from the start and never looked back, setting the fastest lap times on all but one lap. Laurie Arseneault was the top Canadian in 27th, followed by Juliette Tetreault in 32nd, Mackenzie Myatt (Canadian National Team) 40th and Anne Julie Tremblay (Canadian National Team) 48th.
The Elite men’s race saw world champion and defending World Cup champion Nino Schurter of Switzerland win his first World Cup of the year. Disera moved up steadily through the entire race, from 46th after the start loop, to 40th after Lap 1, then 34th, 30th and into 28th with two laps to go. Leandre Bouchard (KMC-Ekoi-SR Suntour) lost places on the start loop, but began to pull back spots in the second half of the race, to finish 34th. Raphael Gagne (Silverback OMX) was 57th and Andrew L’Esperance (Canadian National Team) 66th.
“It was pretty wild,” said Disera, “Haley [Smith] told the traction was pretty good, which made me happy, because here with the steep track, if it gets slippery it can be quite tricky. I rode well, except for an encounter with a tree, which caused me to lose six spots. I just continually fought and moved through groups. I’m happy with today, for sure.”
Schurter leads the standings with 450 points. Disera moves up from 45th to 38th and Bouchard drops from 36th to 39th. L’Esperance is 75th and Gagne 76th.
In the Under-23 men’s race, Fincham, riding for the national team, rode up through the field to finish 21st after starting on the fifth row of the starting grid. He had two very strong laps to move into the top-20 and continued to advance over the next two laps, moving as high as 16th, before fading slightly in the last lap. Marc Andre Fortier (Pivot-OTE) also had a strong race, finishing 24th, followed by his team mate Raphael Auclair in 30th and Quinton Disera (Norco Factory) in 31st.
In other Canadian results, Gunnar Holmgren (Canadian National) rode up through the field from 120th on the start line to finish 63rd, with Felix Belhumeur (Pivot-OTE) 76th and Brody Sanderson 114th.