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Canadian mountain bikers headed to Europe for the World Cup

Raphael Gagne, right, is headed to Europe for the World Cup
Raphael Gagne, right, is headed to Europe for the World Cup

Tuesday, Cycling Canada announced that seven Canadian mountain bikers will soon be on their way to Europe. Their destination: Nové Mĕsto Na Moravĕ, Czech Republic and Albstadt, Germany. Their mission: to participate in the two opening mountain bike cross country World Cup circuits of UCI’s 2015 season. The two locales are the sites of the 2015 mountain bike World Cup series, each hosting the cross country legs of the competition.

“The main objectives for the team [are] to earn UCI points for Olympic qualification,” said Dan Proulx, the Canadian mountain bike team’s head coach, “and acquire more World Cup experience for our younger riders.” Improving World Cup and UCI rankings for the team are critical objectives of the competition, of course, but it goes beyond that. As a World Cup-level event, there’s also a proving opportunity. “Our expectations,” Proulx added, “[are to] provide an opportunity to test the fitness at the World Cup level for all athletes.”

Among the Canadians taking the flight to Europe are Léandre Bouchard, who makes his debut in the elite category; Raphaël Gagné, currently leading the Canada Cup in the Elite Men’s series; and Sandra Walter, racing in the elite women’s race. In the under 23 category, Peter Disera and Marc-André Fortier will race for the Canadian males, while Haley Smith and Catherine Fleury will represent the women.