Green, Redden finish season on top with dramatic wins at home
For Canadian cross country mountain bikers Roland Green and Chrissy Redden, Aug. 27 was a big day, to say the least.
Green of Victoria, 27, came from behind in the World Cup finals in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, to win both the race and the Union Cycliste Internationale World Cup title.
Underdog Chrissy Redden of Ontario, 35, also came from behind to win the first World Cup race of her career.
Some 37,000 spectators turned out to the event, getting louder and prouder as the Canadian riders hammered into the lead.
Although Allison Sydor of Victoria has two World Cup titles under her belt for Canada, Green is the first male to win the title.
He had a convincing lead in the points standings when he opted to miss the sixth and seventh World Cup races of the season in Europe to train with teammate Ryder Hesjedal and win the Canadian nationals in Kamloops. Two Europeans pulled ahead in the overall rankings during Green?s absence. Miguel Martinez of France led the World Cup standings and Jose Hermida of Spain was in second as racing began at Mont-Sainte Anne.
"It was a hard decision to stay at home from the two European World Cups, but now it seems like the right one," Green told a UCI reporter.
Green, an accomplished road racer, concentrated on keeping the leader, 1999 world champion Michael Rasmussen of Denmark, in sight. He waited until the third lap to take the lead when Rasmussen struggled with drivetrain problems.
Martinez kept up with the lead pack, needing to finish in the top three to guarantee himself the championship. He started to fade after the fourth lap, however, and in the next three laps fell all the way back to 36 th place.
Green built upon his lead and coasted to the finish line where he dismounted and walked across the line with his bike hoisted in the air. Even then, his closest chaser was 40 seconds back.
"In the beginning of the race I didn?t feel that good, but I saw that Rasmussen was riding fast so my tactic was to stay up front with him," said Green. "I wanted to keep contact with Michael, and with Martinez up there also the pace actually slowed down a bit.
"In lap four my legs came around and then they felt great ? I didn?t even feel them on the last lap."
That rider 40 seconds back of Green happened to be Hesjedal, who dropped into fourth at one stage but recovered on the last lap by passing the other competitors, including Hermida, on his last time up the steep uphill section. Hermida finished 15 seconds back of Hesjedal to claim third, and second overall in the World Cup standings.