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Why the next batch of national champions will be unlucky victors

The 2021 top cyclists in Canada will have as little as five months to savour their titles

On Tuesday, the 2021 Canadian road championships for elite, junior and para athletes were rescheduled once more, though only by one week. The announcement comes one day after Cycling Canada confirmed the 2022 Canadian championships calendars for the road, track, mountain bike, para-cycling, BMX and cyclocross disciplines.

While the 2019 national champions wore the maple-leaf for more than 25 months, this year’s nationals winners will have much less time to savour their victory, with gaps as small as five months between 2021 and 2022 national championships. On the other hand, as Karol-Ann Canuel recently noted on the Canadian Cycling Magazine Podcast, the 2019 nationals winners lost the chance to compete in many races due to the pandemic, so their unexpectedly long incumbency as reigning champions was somewhat balanced out.

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Nine months of victory

Initially scheduled to take place over the same weekend as the Masters Canadian road championships on Sep. 3-6, 2021, the national championships event for elite, junior and para athletes will now be scheduled in lieu of the Grands Prix Cyclistes de Québec et de Montréal (GPCQM) on the weekend of Sept. 10-12, 2021 in Beauce, Qc.

The road nationals winners will only hold the title for nine months before the 2022 championships and, due to “circumstances surrounding the pandemic,” there will be no criterium races as part of this year’s competition programme.

On June 21-26, 2022 the Canadian road championships for Elite, Junior and Para athletes will return to Edmonton, Alb. for the first time since 2010. Cycling Canada says the host venues will take advantage of “both urban and rural circuits similar to those seen in past editions of the Canadian Championships and the Tour of Alberta.” The following weekend, the Canadian Road Championships for Masters athletes will head to Victoriaville, Qc. from June 30 to July 3. The event will be organized by the Classique des Appalaches under its Vélo.Victo.Fest. programming, which also includes Canada’s only UCI Gran Fondo World Series qualifier event in 2022.

2021 and 2022 XCO nationals

The 2021 XCO champs will have one month more than the roadies to savour their title, with 10 months between national championships. This year, the XCO Mountain Bike calendar will return to the site of the 2016 Canadian XCO Championships and long-time Canada Cup venue, Baie-Saint-Paul on Sept. 24-26, 2021. The 2021 event was originally scheduled to be hosted by Pulse Racing at Hardwood Ski & Bike in Ontario, but restrictions forced a venue change. Hardwood Ski & Bike will return to the calendar as the XCO Championship host on July 23-24, 2022.

Short track winnings

Young track stars will truly get the short end of the stick, with just under five months between championships. The 2021 junior/U17 Canadian track championships will take place on Nov. 12-14, while the 2022 Canadian championships calendar will kick off with the track championships for under-17 and Junior athletes, to be hosted by Cycling Canada at the Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton, On. from April 8-10 2022.

Elite/para/masters track championships will award a 2021 title on Jan. 7-9, 2022 and the 2022 title seven months later on Sept. 1-3, 2022 in Milton, On.

Unchanged events

The 2021 downhill, BMX and cyclocross national championships escaped relatively unscathed from the cancellations and reschedulings. The Canadian DH championships retain their originally planned 2021 dates (July 24-25) at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort in BC. The championships will come back to the same venue almost exactly one year later, July 23-24, 2022.

The BMX Calendar will move forward with the Canadian BMX championships/Canada Cup #7 on its originally scheduled Aug. 28-29, 2021 date, and will be held in Calgary, Alb. Aug. 27-28 the following year.

Finally, cyclocross also remains unchanged, with the Canadian cyclocross championships and Bear Crossing UCI C2 events occurring Nov. 27-28, 2021 in Langford, B.C. Cycling Canada says the 2022 date for the Canadian cyclocross championships will be announced in fall 2021.