Premont, Dahle continue battle 

After upsetting Gunn-Rita Dahle of Norway in the first World Cup mountain bike race of the season Quebec’s Marie-Helene Premont found herself back in second after last weekend’s race in Madrid.

Premont, who prefers technical courses, went into the race knowing that the course favoured Dahle. The Norwegian had won every race for the past two seasons until Premont’s win at the start of the season.

Premont finished 42 seconds back of Dahle in Madrid, almost the same gap she had on the Norwegian cyclist the previous week.

According to Dahle, "the biggest difference was my legs. Two weeks ago I had no feeling in my legs (after a previous race), but today I could feel that my legs were good. This is a hard, hard course, very fast, and no room to make any errors. But this will not be the end… I think I will have to battle Marie-Helene all season."

North Vancouver’s Alison Sydor almost made it two Canadians on the podium, but lost the battle for third place at the halfway point and fell back to sixth. Sabine Spitz of Germany took third, followed by Irina Kalentieva of Norway and Marga Fullana of Spain.

Sydor was suffering from an illness, and was still tired from a May 2 marathon cross-country race where she finished fifth overall.

Also for Canada, Kiara Bisaro of Courtenay was 18 th , Trish Sinclair 25 th and Sandra Walter 45 th .

In the men’s race, Julien Absalon of France took his second win of the season, followed by Christoph Sauser of Switzerland, and Jose Hermida of Spain. It was an exciting race with a group of five leaders heading into the last lap.

Max Plaxton, Canada’s only entry in the race, did not finish for the second World Cup in a row.

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