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Weekend review: XC podiums in Puerto Rico and winning other peoples DH nationals

Very early season racing heats up

Jackson Goldstone inxpects the Red Bull Hardline course Photo by: Dan Griffiths / Red Bull Content Pool

It may still be February and very wintery here in Canada, but international racing is already underway. Canadian cross country and downhill racers are scattered around the globe chasing sun, singletrack, UCI points and, in Jackson Goldstone’s case, racking up other country’s national championships.

Canadians were in action in two downhill and two cross country races this weekend. Here’s how they fared.

Goldstone steals New Zealand DH national championships

Goldstone racks up his second consecutive successful poaching of a national championship, winning the New Zealand national champs ahead of teammate Laurie Greenland. Both are officially registered as “ghost riders,” as non-New Zealand citizens, so it is Toby Meek that gets the title and the sleeve just ahead of Sam Blenkinsop. But it is yet another a good sign for Goldstone, winning his second elite race this year and, like in Australia, against an elite field.

Puerto Rico Tropical Mountain Bike Challenge XCO (UCI HC)

Over in Puerto Rico, Canadians crowded into the top-10 positions in Sunday’s HC-ranked XCO at the Tropical Mountain Bike Challenge. As she did in Saturday’s Short Track (XCC), Haley Smith (Maxxis Factory Racing) led Canada’s results. Smith finished fourth in the elite women’s XCO behind race winner Gwen Gibson (Trek Factory Racing). Cindy Montambault (Project Dialed-In) joined Smith on the extended podium.

Juliette Larose-Gingras placed 16th in the elite women’s XCO, Emily Batty 21st and Julianne Sarrazin 22nd.

On the men’s side, Andrew L’Esperance earned another podium for the Maxxis squad, finishing fifth in Sunday’s elite men’s XCO. Jose Gerardo Ulloa bested Chilean phenom Martin Vidaurre Kossmann to take the XCO win with the U.S.A.’s Riley Amos in third.

Léandre Bouchard, Cole Punchard, Noah Ramsay and Victor Verreault joined L’Esperance in the top-10, finishing 6th, 7th, 8th and 10th, respectively, a strong showing for the Canucks in Sunday’s elite men’s XCO. Owen Clark followed in 12th, Quinton Disera 15th, Tyler Clark 18th, Raphael Auclair 20th, Tyler Orschel 23rd, William Cote 32nd, Zachary Brunelle 34th, Malcolm Barton 37th, and Simon Ruelland 40th.

Quebec’s Jacob Roy added another top 10, finishing seventh in the junior men’s XCO in Puerto Rico. Nathan Hauber followed in 12th, Ulric Doyon 15th and Alix Brunelle 17th in the 46-rider junior men’s field.

Portugal Cup DH – Downhill de Tarouca (UCI C1)

Over in Europe, Portugal Cup downhill series kicked it up a notch with the UCI C1 Downhill de Tarouca. Tegan Cruz (RockShox Trek) was the best-placed Canadian in the field. Cruz finished third among junior men and 17th overall. Junior men were run in the elite men’s field, with a separate podium.

Vali Höll (RockShox Trek), Cruz’ teammate and current elite women’s world champion, earned her first win of the year. Höll beat Veronika Widman (Continental Nukeproof) and Mikayla Parton (Resolute Racing) to earn the W.

On the men’s side, Goldstone’s junior rival Jordan Williams (Specialized Gravity) earned his first downhill win as an elite. Williams beat Rémi Thirion (Giant Factory Off-Road Team) and Ronan Dunne (Continental Nukeproof) to take the win.

Canadians Tristan Lemire (Transition Factory Team) and Bodhi Kuhn (Trek Factory Racing) both DNF’d with mechanical difficulties.

Shimano Supercup Massi – Banyoles XCO (UCI HC)

Over in Spain, several Canadians took on very stacked fields at the Shimano Supercup Massi HC-ranked XCO in Banyoles. Haley Batten (Specialized Factory Racing) earned the elite women’s win ahead of Mona Mitterwallner (Cannondale Factory Racing) and Evie Richards (Trek Factory Racing). Marie Fay St.-Onge and Ella Myers finished 41st and 43rd for Canada, with the two 19-year-olds racing against the world-class elite field.

Alan Hatherly (Cannondale Factory Racing) earned the elite men’s XCO win ahead of Luca Schwarzbauer (Canyon CLLCTV) and Titouan Carod (Team BMC). Sean Fincham was the lone Canadian, finishing 21st in his first appearance for Berria Vittoria Factory Team.

Canadian junior XCO national champ Zorak Paille (Pittstop Factory Racing) placed 19th in his first under-23 race. Alexander Woodford followed in 47th.

Merin Lowe finished 18th for Canada in the junior women’s XCO, part of the UCI junior series. Maxim St-Onge and Ian Ackert placed 22nd and 39th in the junior men’s XCO. Oskar Stick-Michasiw followed in 54th.