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Canada’s 2021 cross country mountain bike national championships are almost here

The country's top competitors are headed to Baie- Saint-Paul, Qc.

Canada’s top mountain bike racers won’t have much time to rest after the conclusion of the 2021 World Cup season in Snowshoe, USA, last weekend.

The nation’s strongest riders are headed to Baie-Saint-Paul, Qc., from Sept. 24-26 for the Canadian XCO Championships this weekend. As with road nationals, all participants will be required to show proof of vaccination when they arrive at the event.

Local organizers and the Federation Quebeqoise des Sports Cyclistes stepped up to take over the 2021 XCO nationals at the last minute from Hardwood Ski & Bike in Ontario, who will try to return to the calendar again in 2022. Cycling Canada says the course will be challenging for the athletes, who will be tackling newly added climbs and technical sections.

Elite, U23, junior and cadet

Cross-country championships for cadet (under-17), junior (under-19), under-23 and elite men and women will all take place on Friday, Sept. 24. The women’s elite title will likely come down to a battle between returning current national champion Emily Batty, former world champion and Olympic bronze medallist Catharine Pendrel, Tokyo 2020 Olympian Haley Smith and cyclocross star Jenn Jackson.

The defending men’s elite champion (and Tokyo 2020 Olympian) Peter Disera will also be back at the race and trying for a third consecutive national title. Léandre Bouchard, Andrew L’Esperance, 2019 U23 Canadian champion Quinton Disera and U23 world cup medallist Carter Woods will make the competition tough and exciting.

Short track

On Saturday, Sept. 25, the first-ever Short Track (XCC) Canadian titles will be awarded in the elite men’s and women’s categories.

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All masters categories will compete on Sunday, Sept. 26.  The cross country mountain bike national championships schedule will also include two Quebec Cups, with XCT races taking place on Saturday and the XCO races on Sunday.

“We are thrilled to return to Baie-Saint-Paul for the 2021 Canadian XCO Championships,” said Cycling Canada’s events and officials manager, Jolène Dupuis. “Baie-Saint-Paul is no stranger to hosting the highest level of Canadian mountain bike racing, having played host to both Canada Cups and Canadian Championships in years past. The addition of Elite men’s and women’s Short Track Canadian champion titles is an exciting new development in the event program which speaks to the evolution of the sport in Canada both from an athlete and an event organization standpoint.”