Canada names Olympic mountain bike team

Prémont clear favourite in women's cross country

The Canadian Cycling Association (CCA) announced its mountain bike team of two men and two women for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing in August: Marie-Hélène Prémont, Catharine Pendrel, Geoff Kabush and Seamus McGrath. The women and men will race August 22 and 23, respectively.

In mid-June, Prémont finished fourth at the World Championships in Val di Sole, Italy. Showing her consistency on the international scene, she also medalled at all five World Cup events this season so far. In 2004, she won silver at the Olympics in Athens.

"There's more attention on me than four years ago," said Prémont according to the Canadian Cycling Association's website. "But I'm prepared and I will go there to do the best I can. That's the approach I had in Athens and I hope it'll work again this time too. But this year I know what the Olympic Games are about and I think I’ll be more relaxed and more confident."

Her Olympic team-mate Pendrel finished sixth at the World Championships. Pendrel raced last year's Test Event in Beijing and liked the course. "It's physically demanding, there's absolutely no rest on it," she said.

The North American country will field two men with proven international records. Although battling a recent cold at the World Championships, Kabush placed as high as third in a World Cup round earlier this season while McGrath claimed ninth at the Olympics four years ago.

Sean O'Donnel, the CCA's High Performance Manager, believes the team has plenty of potential. "We go into Beijing with a strong chance of earning at least one medal in both the men's and women's event. It's a very experienced team and a very strong team and that bodes well for Canada."

Canada's Olympic mountain bike cross country team roster:

Marie-Hélène Prémont, Catharine Pendrel, Geoff Kabush and Seamus McGrath. 

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