Victorias Roland Green, the reigning world cross-country mountain bike champion, took one for his team by spending 10 gruelling days in the saddle of his road bike in the Malaysia Tour de Langkawi 2003.
Although he had a bad experience in the race six years ago and vowed never to return, when the UCI opened up a few spots at the last minute Green decided he would give the race another chance not for himself, but for Canada.
Canada did not have one single entry in the road cycling championship in 2002. With the 2003 championships taking place in Hamilton, Ontario this fall, he was determined to win a spot for a Canadian, even though he probably wont be able to fill it himself.
Green learned a few lessons about the Tour de Langkawi the first time around, and focussed on trying to keep up with the lead pack as best as he could until they reached the climbing stage, where he figured he could gain some ground and maybe even pull ahead.
The 10-stage race is 1,343 kilometres and was held from Jan. 31 to Feb. 9. During the first few stages, Green established himself as a contender, moving up into second position in general classification after the first five stages.
On the sixth stage he suffered a flat tire, and was bumped back into 63 rd position. He made up some ground on the seventh stage, was bumped back again in the eighth, then dug deep in the ninth and 10th stages to literally climb back into fourth place.
The race went to American Tom Danielson in 31 hours, 54 minutes and nine seconds. Green was just over two minutes back of that time.
Because of his finish, Green earned a spot for Canada in the world road championships this fall.
Although he will continue to concentrate on mountain-biking, Green says the result gives him confidence for future road races. In the past he has even hinted that one day he can see himself racing in the Tour de France.
"I feel really good about my race, I know that I had the form to win the race," Green told the Canadian Press. "All my career people have been telling me that I cant climb, that I am too big, and now I have proved that I can do it. This sets the stage for me to move on to do bigger races in the future."
As the best hill climber, Green earned the polka-dot jersey presented each year to the King of the Mountain.
Seamus McGrath and Peter Wedge, both mountain bike competitors with the national team, finished 23 rd and 57 th in the race for Canada.