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Gallery: Pendrel and Absalon victorious at Mont-Sainte-Anne cross country World Cup

Batty third as Canada's Olympic women make their final preparations for Rio

The Villerium mountain bike festival and Mont-Sainte-Anne played host to the 26th edition of the UCI mountain bike World Cup in Quebec this weekend. Monte-Sainte-Anne is always a popular stop on the circuit, and with both downhill and cross country races on the schedule the weekend was jammed packed with excitement.

With the Rio Olympic mountain bike event only two weeks away, many riders were using the Mont-Sainte-Anne race as a primer for the games. However for some, the games have already begun. Yolanda Neff was a notable absentee from the start line having already made the trip to Rio to compete in the women’s road event. Otherwise all of the main contenders including hometown hero’s Catharine Pendrel and Emily Batty were there as well as world champion Annika Langvad and the always consistent Gunn-Rita Dahle.

The women’s race began up the long starting loop climb and before the race entered into singletrack German favourite Sabine Spitz was literally spit out the back of the pack when her chain broke. She would however recover and work her way up to a 22nd place finish. At the end of the first lap it was Pendrel with a sizeable lead with many of the main contenders close behind. Over the course of the race Pendrel managed to extend her lead on the chasing group that included Emily Batty who made a key pass late in the race to grab the third podium spot. This is the second time this year Pendrel and Batty have shared the podium, and everyone has their fingers crossed they can doit again in Rio.

Women’s Final Results:

1. Catharine Pendrel
2. Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa
3. Emily Batty
4. Annika Langvad
5. Katerina Nash

Ten minutes before the start of the men’s race the heavens opened and we were treated to a downpour, which had pit crews second guessing course conditions and tire selection. Luckily the showers subsided and the mens race started under sunny skies. World champion Nino Schurter did not make the trip toMtSt Anne, but his fellow countryman Mathias Fluckiger sprinted off the line and led the race until Julien Absalon made a late surge and took the lead all the way into the finish. Derek Zandstra was the top Canadian finisher in 32nd place with Rio hopeful Raphaël Gagné finishing 45th right in front of Geoff Kabush.

Mens Results:

1. Julien Absalon
2. Victor Koretzky
3. Mathias Flockiger
4. Matthias Stirnmann
5. Jordan Sarrou