Locals among World Cup competitors at Grouse
Last year Victorias Roland Green was in the lead heading into the final stretch of the Grouse Mountain World Cup cross-country race when he flatted out. Despite the fact that he had the problem fixed with a record pit stop, it was enough time for Swiss rider Christoph Sauser to take the lead by 11 seconds.
A frustrated Green settled for silver, but was comforted by the fact that a second-place finish increased his lead in the overall World Cup standings. Also for Canada, Ryder Hesjedal was fifth and Geoff Kabush seventh to round out the top 10.
In the womens race, the technical difficulties worked in favour of Ontarios Chrissy Redden. Redden jumped into second place when leader Annabella Stropparo of Italy threw her chain, and Mary Grigson of Australia flatted out on the second last lap. Alison Sydor, a favourite going into the race, settled for sixth place.
This weekend, Green and Sydor, and the entire Canadian field will be gunning for the top spot on the podium before the hometown crowd at Grouse Mountain. More than 10,000 spectators are expected on both days of the competition, including the womens World Cup competition on July 6 and the junior expert, senior expert and mens World Cup competitions on July 7.
As of press time, only the womens field had been finalized. Joining Sydor, who lives and trains in North Vancouver, are 20 Canadian racers.
They are Kiara Bisaro of Vancouver; Madelaine Bouz of Calgary; Eron Chorney of Vancouver; Marie-Helene Cote of Rimouski, Quebec; Erica Drew of Victoria; Martina Feldmann of Quesnel; Anne-Marie Jobin of Quebec; Selena Lawrie of Vancouver; Christina Piccone; Marie-Helene Premont of Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec; Chrissy Redden of Campbellville, Ontario; Linda Robichaud of Victoria; Julie Sanders of Quebec; Michelle Scheiber of Vancouver; Wendy Simms of North Vancouver; Trish Sinclair of Victoria; Nikola Starko of Vancouver; Lesley Tomlinson of Vancouver; Claire Townsend of Victoria and Sandra Walter of Coquitlam.
With the downhill and 4-cross events cancelled due to a heavy snowpack, the Whistler field at the Grouse World Cup will likely be limited to Tyler West, a member of the national team who is competing as a junior expert.