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Green is golden again

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Green, Hesjedal in medals at World Championships

Victoria’s Roland Green captured his second UCI Mountain Bike World Championship cross-country title in as many years on Sept. 1 in Kaprun, Austria.

While dirt is the name of the game, light rains throughout the day made for some heavy mud as the track was chewed up by the women, juniors and espoir racers earlier in the day. Green was barely recognizable as he crossed the finish line in two hours, 19 minutes and two seconds.

Although he fell short of winning his second consecutive World Cup title, finishing fifth in the overall Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) rankings, the 28-year-old showed why he is still one of the top mountain bikers in the world.

Nineteen seconds after Green, Filip Meirhaeghe of Belgium – the World Cup title winner for the 2002 season – crossed the line to earn a silver medal in 2:19:21. Third place went to Thomas Frischknecht of Switzerland, almost a minute and a half back of Meirhaeghe.

Also for Canada, Seamus McGrath of Ontario finished in eighth place, national champion Geoff Kabush finished 17 th , Chris Sheppard of Kamloops was 25 th , Peter Wedge of New Brunswick was 38 th , and Andreas Hestler of Victoria was 62 nd .

The women’s race went to Gunn-Rita Dahle of Norway in 2:14:05. Anna Szafraniec of Poland was second in 2:15:28, followed by Sabine Spitz of Germany in 2:16:53.

North Vancouver’s Alison Sydor missed the podium by less than a minute to finish fourth overall in the championships in 2:17:41.

The 36-year-old edged out some of the top riders in the world in some of the most challenging conditions of the season. Like Green, she also finished fifth overall on the World Cup circuit.

Two other Canadians finished in the top 10 at the world championships. Chrissy Redden of Ontario was seventh in 2:24:02 and Kiara Bisaro of Courtenay was eighth in 2:24:44.

Other Canadians included Marie-Helene Premont of Quebec in 2:20:16, Trish Sinclair of Victoria in 31 st , Eron Chorney of North Vancouver in 34 th and Sandra Walter of Victoria in 53 rd .

In the Under 23 Espoir category, Victoria’s Ryder Hesjedal won the bronze medal with his time of 2:02:34. Julien Absalon of France took the gold in 1:59:01, and Ralph Naef of Switzerland earned took silver in 2:01:33.

Ricky Federau of Abbotsford was 37 th , and Kris Sneddon of Sechelt was 42 nd .

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