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Haley Smith third in XCC opener at Tropical Mountain Bike Challenge

Canadians gear up for Sunday's HC XCO with short track racing in Puerto Rico

Haley Smith’s 2023 race debut was both similar and wildly different to how she ended her 2022 season. The Canadian ended her 2022 race calendar on the podium, winning the Life Time Grand Prix. This weekend, she was again on the podium at the Tropical Mountain Bike Challenge in Puerto Rico. But, unlike the multi-hour efforts of gravel racing, this podium came via a 20-minute high-intensity effort in Saturday’s short track cross country (XCC) event.

Tropical Mountain Bike Challenge racing continues on Sunday in Puerto Rico with the Hors Categorie (HC) ranked XCO event, also part of the UCI Junior Series.

Elite Women’s XCC: Tropical Mountain Bike Challenge

Smith finished third behind a U.S. duo in the elite women’s XCC on Saturday. Gwendalyn Gibson, Trek Factory Racing’s latest signing, took the win. Hannah Otto followed in second place.

Other Canadians in the race were Cindy Montambault in eighth, Emily Batty in 10th, Juliette Larose Gingras in 16th and Julianne Sarrazin in 18th.

Elite Men’s XCC: Tropical Mountain Bike Challenge

Six Canadians sped into the top 10 in Saturday’s elite men’s XCC race in Puerto Rico. It was Chilean sensation Martin Vidaurre Kossmann (Specialized Factory Racing) that landed the win, racing aboard a new prototype cross country bike sheathed in a piece of fabric to conceal the rear shock linkage.

Léandre Bouchard (Forreco Holdings ProCo RL Pro Team) was the first Canadian across the line. Bouchard finished fourth behind Vidaurre, Mexico’s World Cup winner Jose Ulloa Arevalo and the U.S.A.’s Riley Amos (Trek Factory Racing).

Andrew L’Esperance (Maxxis Factory Racing), Cole Punchard (CHC Armada), Quinton Disera (Pivot Cycles-OTE), Tyler Orschel (Zerouno Factory Racing), and Raphael Auclair (Pivot Cycles-OTE) followed Bouchard in that order, taking places five through nine at the finish line.

Full Canadian men’s results include Owen Clark (CHC Armada) in 12th, Noah Ramsay in 13th, Victor Verreault (Forresco Holdings ProCo RL Pro Team) 15th, Tyler Clark (CHC Armada) 17th and Malcom Barton (Zerouno Factory Racing) in 22nd. Simon Ruelland, William Cote and Zachary Brunelle placed 34th, 35th and 36th, while Xavier Roy rounded out the Canadian effort in 40th.