MTB World Cup XC #7 / DH #5

Bromont to host second consecutive Canadian World Cup

Quebec, Canada, will host its second of two UCI World Cups this weekend in Bromont, just one week after the last round in Mont-Sainte-Anne.

Gravity racers will tackle round five while cross country racers will contest round seven. Bromont is 86km east of Montreal and 290km from Mont-Sainte-Anne.

World Cup racing has previously come to Bromont, but not for nine years. The town has also hosted the elite and masters World Championships as well as a total of four World Cups. This visit will see all-new courses at the Versant du Lac section of the Bromont skiing area.

Four cross

Racing action will kick off with the 4X with qualifying on Friday evening and finals on Saturday evening. After their wins one week ago in Mont-Sainte-Anne, World champions Melissa Buhl (KHS) and Rafael Alvarez De Lara Luca are the top favourites.

In the women's race, Dutch woman Anneke Beerten (MS Intense Factory Racing), who is ranked number one in the world, will look to make up for last weekend's race, in which she crashed during the Big Final, taking fourth. Both Japan's Mio Suemasa (MS Intense Factory Racing) and Great Britain's Fionn Griffiths (Norco World team) are likely to challenge for podium spots, but also look out for Austrian Anita Molcik (4 Elements Yeti/Hotec/RSP) and Australian Caroline Buchanan.

On the men's side Spaniard Alvarez de Lara Lu will face France's young Romain Saladin (Team Sunn), who last weekend returned to racing with a second place finish following a hand injury this spring. Guido Tschugg may have crashed in the Big Final along with Frenchman Cédric Gracia (Commencal - Furious - Oakley Team), but both can't be counted out for this round. Joost Wichman (Cannondale Factory Racing) and Dan Atherton (Animal Commencal), who returned to competition last week, are also among the favourites.

Downhill

Downhill racing will happen Saturday, with qualifying in the morning and finals in the evening. The nearly one-kilometre course drops from 550m to 250m over its length.

World Champion Rachel Atherton (Animal Commencal) won in Mont-Sainte-Anne and will be looking for another trip to the top of the podium, but Sabrina Jonnier (Maxxis) came within two seconds in a close finale last weekend and will have other plans in mind.

Tracey Moseley (Kona), Mio Suemasa (MS Intense Factory Racing) and Fionn Griffiths (Norco World Team) rounded out the podium last week and may make another trip in Bromont. Melissa Buhl, who suffered a mechanical during qualifying last weekend, is also a favourite.

The French have some other cards up their sleeves in addition to Jonnier. Look out also for Emmeline Ragot (SuspensionCenter) and Floriane Pugin (Playbiker - Iron Horse), both proven talents.

If Mont-Sainte-Anne is any indicator of what's to come in Bromont, racers and spectators alike will be treated to a close competition in the men's downhill. Greg Minnaar (Santa Cruz Syndicate) came out on top last weekend, but Sam Hill (Monster Energy / Iron Horse), world champion Gee Atherton (Animal Commencal) and Steve Peat (Santa Cruz Syndicate) were all within three seconds of Minnaar's time.

Other podium contenders include Fabien Barel (Subaru Mountain Bike Pro Team), Samuel Blenkinsop (Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team) and Nathan Rennie (Santa Cruz Syndicate), Justin Leov (Yeti Fox Shox Factory Race Team ), Matti Lehikoinen (Ms-Intense Factory-Racing), Brendan Fairclough (Monster Energy / Iron Horse), Josh Bryceland (Santa Cruz Syndicate) and Mitchell Delfs (Kenda Tomac), just to name a few.

Cross Country

Cross country racers will meet for the last time in a World Cup before the Olympic Games in Beijing, China. As they proved last weekend, many of the Olympic contenders are in fine form.

Canadian National Champion Marie Helen Premont (RockyMountain) dominated the women's race last weekend from start to finish and goes into this weekend's race as the number one favourite. Her compatriot, Catherine Pendrel (Luna Women's MTB), runner-up at Mont-Sainte-Anne is another favourite. Lene Byberg (Specialized) and Georgia Gould (Luna MTB Women's) tied or had their best-ever World Cup finishes last weekend and one can never count out the experienced Gunn-Rita Dahle Flesjaa (Multivan Merida), who ended up fifth last weekend with a strong ride in the midst of a training block.

Absent last weekend and likely to be so again this week were World Champion and Spaniard Margarita Fullana, seven-time German National Champion Sabine Spitz, who finished second at marathon and cross country worlds, and former world champion Irina Kalentieva. The Chinese women are also not expected to attend.

On the North American front, look out for Willow Koerber (Subaru / Gary Fisher), Lea Davison (Trek / VW), Heather Irminger (Subaru / Gary Fisher), Kelli Emmett (Giant), Amanda Sin, Wendy Simms (Kona), Emily Batty and Jean Ann McKirdy (Rocky Mountain)

In the men's race, Julien Absalon (Orbea) is the man to beat after a win in Mont-Sainte-Anne showed the world he is back on form after a poor showing at the World Championships and injuries this spring. Last weekend's Geoff Kabush (Maxxis) will enjoy a "local" advantage racing in his home country.

World Champion Christoph Sauser (Specialized) is not expected to race this round as he finishes up preparations for Beijing.

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