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These Canadians are in Europe for the last Olympic qualifier races

Strong contingent of Canucks preparing for return of World Cup XCO

Catharine Pendrel Photo by: Nick Iwanyshyn

World Cup cross country racing is about to return and the Canadians are ready. There’s a strong group of Canucks in, or travelling to Germany for the return of racing in Albstadt, Germany on May 8-9. Some are chasing their last chance to qualify for the Tokyo 2021 Olympics. Others are looking to move up the international ranks

Two chances at Tokyo

The first two World Cup races of 2021, Albstadt and then Nove Mesto Na Morave, Czech Republic on May 15-16, are also the last two chances for Canadians to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. An elite roster is vying for Canada’s three spots in Japan.

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Emily Batty, Haley Smith and Catharine Pendrel are competing for two spots in the women’s cross country event. Léandre Bouchard and Peter Disera are the top contenders for the lone men’s cross country position.

“I’m really excited to get back to world cup racing,” said 2016 Olympic medalist Catharine Pendrel, who is returning after the birth of her first child earlier this year. “My progress postpartum has been great with lots of room also to keep improving. I know some of that improvement can only come through racing, so I’m looking forward to getting to work and seeing what we can make happen!”

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Emily Batty’s charging into 2021 with a new team. Photo: Adam Morka

Eyes on 2024

While Canada’s current stars are in the final stages of preparations for this Olympic cycle, a larger group of riders is racing the first two World Cup’s with eyes on the next quadrennial. Some of these riders have already raced overseas this year as part of their preparations for the first World Cups. Others are just arriving.

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Most Canadian riders will represent their trade teams in Albstadt and Nove Mesto. Six elite and under-23 athletes will be competing under Team Canada colours.

“We have a solid team of development riders that have been selected to represent Canada at these world cups,” said Dan Proulx, Head Mountain Bike Coach at Cycling Canada. “We have a lot of strong riders in our system. This is a new beginning of sorts – a chance to help our athletes learn what it takes to be successful on the world stage. We’re very excited to be back in Europe and racing on the world cup circuit again!”

2021 Team Canada XCO entries

Quinton Disera – Barrie, ON [Elite Men] Jenn Jackson – Barrie, ON [Elite Women] Mackenzie Myatt – Musquodoboit Harbour, NS [Under-23 Women] Tyler Orschel – Uxbridge, ON [Elite Men] Julianne Sarrazin – Prévost, QC [Under-23 Women] Roxane Vermette – Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, QC [Under-23 Women]