A day of firsts for Green in World Cup XC 

Victoria’s Roland Green set the World Cup mountain bike circuit on its ear by capturing both first place and the lead in the overall points standings with a comfortable win in Houffalize, Belgium on May 20.

He also became the first Canadian male to win a World Cup cross country race, and first competitor to win a cross country race on a full-suspension bike.

Green is now officially on a roll. Last week in Sarentino, Italy, the 26-year-old former road racer finished second behind World and Olympic Champion Miguel Martinez of France after crashing in sight of the finish line.

At Houffalize, Green kept his head down and cycled five hard laps around the 8 kilometre, relatively flat course to finish in a time of one hour 51 minutes 3 seconds – 1:06 ahead of Bas Van Dooran of the Netherlands, and 1:15 up on Jose Antonio Hermida of Spain.

"I don’t think it’s sunk in yet," said Green, who’s best finish to date was a silver medal in the world championships at Sierra Nevada, Spain, in 2000. "I’ve been working for this my whole life, to win a World Cup race. I didn’t think it was going to happen today.

"I thought I had a flat tire early in the race, but the tube was just a bit low."

Green, true to form, cycled with the pack until the fourth lap when he made his move and put some distance between himself and the leaders.

The victory in Belgium gave Green 250 points and the overall lead with 521 points. Hermida is a close second with 515, and Martinez is comfortably in third with 437.

Green isn’t the only Canadian in the hunt – Ryder Hesjedal, one of Green’s training partners in Victoria, finished 12 th , and sits in 16 th place overall. Olympian Geoff Kabush, another Victoria racer, finished 49 th out of 112 Sunday, and currently sits in 38 th position.

The women weren’t as fortunate in Belgium. Former world champion Alison Sydor of North Vancouver finished eighth. Nadine Petit placed 51 st out of 54 finishers, and Chrissy Redden of Campbellville, Ontario, had technical problems and didn’t finish.

World champion Marga Fullana of Spain took her second checkered flag in a row, finishing more than a minute ahead of Olympic silver medalist Barbara Blatter of Switzlerland. Alison Dunlap of the U.S. finished third.

The next stage of the eight race World Cup series will take place at Grouse Mountain on July 7.

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