Haley Smith and her Norco Factory Team crew are off to a flying start in 2019.
The Canadian swept all four stages of the Salamina Epic mountain bike stage race in Greece to win the Women’s overall at the early-season race. Smith finished in front of Blaza Pintaric of Slovenia, and World Cup winner Yana Belomoina of Ukraine to claim the top podium spot. It’s a great start for the Smith, who had a career best 6th place at world championships to finish off her 2018 season.
Cindy Montambault was the only other Canadian woman in the event. She finished 9th on the fourth and final day and in the overall behind Smith.
No easy ride on Salamina is complete without a few dog evasion sprints. At least the legs are getting flushed out?
Second round of the Salamina Epic starts tomorrow 🤙
— Haley Smith (@hale_smith) February 11, 2019
Canadian XCO national champion Peter Disera and new Norco Factory Team member Andrew L’Esperance kicked off their 2019 campaign in Greece as well. L’Esperance raced to 7th in the final, 65km day of racing. It was enough to bump him up in the overall, where he finished 8th. After struggling on the 35km second stage, Disera fought back to finish 10th on the final day, ranking him 11th overall in Greece.
Raphaël Gagné was the final Canadian racing the Salamina Epic, but only finished three of the four stages. His season started off much better under more typically Canadian conditions, when he was second overall in the Swiss Gstaad snow bike race in January.
American Keegan Swenson won Stage four of the Men’s Salamina Epic, but it was Russian National Team racer Timofey Ivanov claiming the overall victory.
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Fighting for those wheels in the opening laps of today's XCO day at Salamina Epic. First few laps were solid however a subtle mistake had me fighting for the next 5 laps. Interesting to see how the body and mind responds to the very intense stages back to back. Great place to learn and expose gaps in performance to take forward in the season. // 10th on GC heading into the final stage, a 66 km XCM, wish me luck. ⚡ #NorcoBicycles #NorcoFactoryTeam
The Norco Factory Team riders and Cindy Montambault continue their warm-weather racing with Round 2 of the Salamina Epic series. It started on Tuesday, February 12. Smith again won the opening stage, with Montambault 9th. Peter Disera started off on the right foot, with a 9th in the opening stage of this second round of racing, while L’Esperance settled into 19th on the first stage. Alexandre Vialle, racing for Toyota St-Eustache, made his Salamina Epic #2 debut in 22nd.