At 22-years-old, Peter Disera has been racing at the under-23 level at the 2017 World Cups but on Saturday, July 22, the native of Horseshoe Valley, Ont. decided to race in the elite men’s category in hopes of securing a top-5 placing along with valuable UCI points. Against Canada’s best and most experienced XC mountain bikers some of whom have represented Canada at the Olympics, Disera who rides for the Norco Factory team emerged victorious taking a well deserved win.
In the elite men’s field top riders such as Léandre Bouchard (BH SR Suntour KMC) of Alma, Que., Raphaël Gagné (Cannondale-3Rox) of Quebec City, and defending champion Derek Zandstra (Cannondale-3Rox) of Trenton, Ont. were expected to contest the win. Disera wasn’t counted as a top favourite but four top-10 results at under-23 World Cups in 2017 were a good indication he was on good form.
Disera immediately put his good legs to work attacking on the first climb with only Bouchard able to follow. Gagné was eventually able to bridge on the second lap and on the fourth Bouchard finally tired and fell off the pace leaving Disera and Gagné to fight for the win. Neither was able to open a gap until Gagné made an error on a technical descent going down hard leaving Disera to take his first elite Canadian national title. Gagné was able to hold on for second with Bouchard riding onto the podiums last step.
“I felt really good and Dre [Bouchard] went with me,” said Disera about his first lap attack. “Coming into the second lap, Raph came out of nowhere, so there were three of us. Going into the last three laps I started throwing down attacks and Dre just fell off the back. I felt good and wanted to dictate the pace so I stayed at the front.”
Disera had good legs able to dictate the pace of the race against his more experienced Gagné who was national champion in 2015. “I knew Raph was going to attack and I was able to follow and then get to the front before the descent. Unfortunately he had a little mishap, but I was ready for a sprint.”
Earlier in the day, Sean Fincham (Forward Racing-Norco) of Squamish, B.C. took the U23 men’s championship title and Brody Sanderson of Orillia, Ont. earned the junior men’s title.