It’s been a long time since the East Coast played host to a Canada Cup race, but Kentville, Nova Scotia hosted the final round in the national cross country series on Sunday.
Forward Racing-Norco went 1-2 in the Men’s race, with Under-23 national champion Sean Fincham leading his teammate, and Nova Scotia local Andrew L’Esperance. After an early battle with Jenn Jackson, Norco Factory Team’s Haley Smith won the Elite women’s race at the final Canada Cup of the year.
Canada Cup Series – XCO Elite Champions
After seven races spanning six months from March to August and ranging from Vancouver Island on the West Coast to Kentville on the East Coast, series champions were crowned for 2018 following the final event. Jenn Jackson’s (AWI Racing) second place finish, her fifth in the six races she attended, was enough to take the Women’s overall series title. Smith’s win put her in second in the series, with Elyse Nieuwold (Pendrel Racing) placing third.
While absent from Kentville, the Men’s overall series was won by Felix Burke (Rocky Mountain). Burke won two of the six rounds he raced, and had enough of a lead going into the final race weekend to stay ahead Andrew L’Esperance, who finished second overall, and Sean Fincham, who’s win put him into third overall.
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Nothing but gratitude for the last two weeks in Nova Scotia and all the people that made it great. Thanks. Traveling to Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec today for the WC this weekend. ✊ | PC @lesperancetim #ForwardRacingMTB #KentvilleCanadaCup #TownOfKentville #BreathOfFreshAir #NorcoBicycles
Kentville Canada Cup – Elite races
In the Elite Women’s race, Canada Cup series leader Jenn Jackson set pace in the early laps, before Haley Smith caught up and rode away to the win. “It was a good race,” said Smith. “It was pretty slick out there, very, very rooty, and it rained! Jenn [Jackson] put a lot of pressure on for the first two laps, and I didn’t know if had the energy to match it, but I was able to catch her on the descent and then I was able to ride away.” Local Under-23 racer Mackenzie Myatt (Cyclesmith) was third in the race.
With Forward Racing-Norco’s co-founder Andrew L’Esperance hailing from the Eastern province, the two person team clearly intended to put on a show for L’Esperence’s home crowd. Fincham and L’Esperance didn’t waste any time didn’t waste any time, separating themselves from the field early on. “Sean was killing it the first few laps,” said L’Esperance, “and then I had a small crash and he got a gap, and he just rolled with it.” With Forward-Racing Norco claiming the top two spots, the battle for third came down to two other teammates, Norco Facotry Team’s Disera brothers. U23 racer Quinton Disera just edged out his older brother and Elite national champion Peter Disera.
“We’re really happy to go 1-2 here, and I’m happy for Sean to get his first Canada Cup win,” L’Esperance said after the race. “It’s really cool to have a Canada Cup back here [in Nova Scotia] after 16 years and to be able to race in front of friends and family. Thanks to the organizers for bringing this event back, and hopefully it will continue for years to come.”
Kentville Canada Cup Series – Juniors
Krystel Gagnon (Centre du vélo Mascouche) won the Junior Women’s race, followed by local Nova Scotia racer Madison Baudoux (Pictou County Cycle). Gagnon’s win moves her into fifth in the overall points race.
Marianne Theberge (Equipe du Quebec/Mathieu Performance) won the overall title, which was decided based on each racers best four of seven finishes. Just five points separated Mireille Larose Gingras (Equipe du Quebec/Sigma), who finishes second at 290 points, and national champion Roxanne Vermette (Mont Ste Anne) in third at 285 points.
William Cote (Equipe du Quebec) took a commanding win in the Junior Men’s race, finishing ahead of Zachary Brunelle (Dalbix Siboire), with Dylan Kerr (AJ’s Evolution) in third. Cote’s win pushed him ahead of early series contenders Tyler Clark (Team Ontario) and Charles Antoine St. Onge (Equipe du Quebec-Dalbix).
Carter Woods (Dodge City Cycles/Rocky Mountain/CyclingBC) and Holden Jones (Pendrel Racing) tied in series points, each with 370 after four rounds of racing. With each rider having two wins and two second places, the series title goes to the rider with the most recent win. Woods’ win in Whistler means he adds the series title to the national championship title he claimed in Canmore.
Kentville Canada Cup Series – Under-17
The Under-17 category was a new addition to the Canada Cup calendar for 2018. Emilly Johnston (Trek BC Devo) and Jakob Yells (River City CC), both of Vancouver Island, B.C., become the first U17 Canada Cup champions. Johnston earned her fourth win of the season to finish with a perfect 400 points. Juliette Larose-Gingras (Velo Cartel-BL Coaching) finishes second and Nicole Bradbury (NCCH p/b Franklin Tempelton Investments), each with one win this year.
Jakob Yells and Owen Clark (Homestead Racing) tied in points, each with 355 points, but Yells’ two victories means he takes the first U17 Canada Cup title. Jérémy La Grenade (Skinouk-VDM) had three wins in the series, but finished in third overall with 327 points.
Emilly Johnston won the Kentville U17 Women’s race, followed by Julianne Sarrazin (Vélo Pays-D’En-Haut/PG) in second and Chloe McKenzie (The Cyclery) in third. Dalbix Siboire swept the U17 Men’s podium in Kentville, with Emrick Vincent leading ahead of teammate Zack Duval and Charles Antoine Coté.