Disappointing weekend for Canadians at Calgary World Cup 

Whistler rider Claire Buchar 11th in downhill, four-cross

Rain and cold played havoc with the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup at Canada Olympic Park last weekend in the first of three years that the venue will host the event. The COP races were previously held at Grouse Mountain before being moved by the event producers.

Courses that were dry and dusty quickly turned to mud, causing problems for both the cross-country and downhill riders.

When all was said and done, it was a disappointing weekend for Canadians with cross-country athlete Marie-Helene Premont the top finisher, fourth in the women’s cross country.

The action got underway on Friday with the four-cross (4X). The win went to Michal Prokop of the Czech Republic, followed by Roger Rinderknecht of Switzerland, Eric Carter of the U.S. and Wade Bootes of Australia. The top Canadian was Dustin Adams in 23 rd .

In the women’s 4X it was Sabrina Jonnier of France, followed by Jill Kinter and Tara Llanes of the U.S., and Celine Gros of France.

Whistler’s Claire Buchar reached the quarter-finals where she finished 11 th .

The action continued on Saturday with the men’s and women’s cross-country races.

The sun was shining at the start, but the course was still wet from a heavy downpour that continued until half an hour before the start of the women’s competition.

For a lot of riders the day came down to making the right tire choice – slick tires if you thought the course was going to dry up and bumpy tires if you thought it would stay wet. Bumpy was the way to go.

At the end of the race it was Norway’s Gunn-Rita Dahle – the most dominant woman in the history of the sport with a record 10 consecutive World Cup gold medals – who finished at the front of the pack. North Vancouver’s Alison Sydor was in first place after the climb, and then backed off a little which allowed Dahle to take over the lead. Sydor then got entangled with Germany’s Yvonne Kraft and they both crashed well off the course. Sydor and Kraft already have some bad blood after a shoving match in Madrid earlier this season.

"(Kraft) squeezed by me at a bad moment and then promptly crashed," Sydor told Canadian Cyclist. "I crashed into her and we fell off the trail, all tangled up, and went down over the bank. It took a little bit of time to get untangled and I lost about 12 spots. Riders should show some respect for others when they are racing.

Sydor managed to work her way back up to eighth, but never saw the lead group again. Luckily one Canadian managed to stay with the leader, as Premont of Quebec worked her way through the group to finish in fourth behind Dahle, Mary McConneloug of the U.S. and Annabella Stropparo of Italy.

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