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Green, Sydor win nationals

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Whistler riders near the top in their divisions

Roland Green gave up his hold on the World Cup leaders’ jersey last weekend, opting to compete in the Tim Horton’s National Mountain Bike Championships at Sun Peaks instead of the sixth World Cup of the season in Switzerland.

After dropping out of the nationals last year with mechanical problems on the first lap, the 26-year-old rider from Victoria was all business. He pulled away from the pack on his first lap, and continued to build on his lead until he crossed the finish line of the 32.5 kilometre race in 1 hour 42 minutes 59 seconds.

Only Kamloops rider Chris Sheppard and Ontario’s Seamus McGrath could keep Green in their sights, finishing 1 minute 44 seconds and 2:12 back of the lead respectively. Canadian national team riders Geoff Kabush and Andreas Hestler, both Victoria riders, finished fourth and fifth.

Whistler’s Chad Miles, the reigning national champion, had to settle for seventh place overall.

The woman’s title once again went to North Vancouver’s Alison Sydor, a three time world champion and an Olympic silver medalist in Atlanta, with a time of 1:40:43 over 26 km. Although she has been off her pace recently on the World Cup circuit, a win at the nationals re-establishes Sydor’s position as the top female rider in Canada.

Kiara Bisaro, another Victoria racer, finished almost two and a half minutes back of Sydor to take the silver medal. Ontario’s Chrissy Redden was third. Trish Sinclair of Victoria and Marie-Helene Premont of Quebec rounded out the top five.

Whistler’s Lisa Dickson finished 21 st in the women’s Pro Elite Race out of more than 40 competitors.

In the Junior Expert Men, Whistler put two racers in the top five with Tyler West taking the bronze medal and Will Routley finishing less than 10 seconds later to take fourth.

It was a close race from the very beginning, with Saskatchewan phenom Adam Coates taking the lead early on and fighting to keep it all for the duration. Coates finished the 26 km course in 1:33.49, just 43 seconds ahead of Frederic Bussieres of Quebec. West finished just over 16 seconds back of Bussieres. With fifth place finisher Shawn Bunnin of Saskatchewan crossing the line 20 seconds back of Routley, less than 1:40 separated first from fifth.

Whistler’s Angela Teng finished second in the Senior Expert Women’s race, and Brook Baker was fourth in the Junior Expert Women.

In the Master Men 40 to 49, three Whistler riders finished in the top five.

Eric Crowe took the silver, Tony Routley the bronze, and Robert McSkimming finished in fifth place overall.

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