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Neal Kindree to miss out on Swiss trip

Squamish rider added, then dropped from team



First he was on the team and now he isn't.

International calibre mountain bike rider Neal Kindree won't be competing with Team Canada's cross-country development squad at the world mountain bike championships in Champéry, Switzerland next weekend.

Two riders who attended more national level races than Kindree successfully appealed his appointment to the team. Kindree raced at the national championships in Canmore and placed fourth just under five minutes behind race winner Max Plaxton and three minutes behind seven-time national champion Geoff Kabush but that result wasn't enough.

"The fact of the matter is, I'm riding stronger than both of those two with no question," Kindree said after the decision was handed down. "I wouldn't be remotely uncomfortable saying that with absolute confidence, but they were right in appealing it."

Kindree agreed with the Canadian Cycling Association that "it wasn't just" to award him a spot on the team based on one result.

He said he would have liked to make the trip but, he added, that it wouldn't have helped him develop his skills anyway because he would have started at the back of the world-class pack.

"At the world championship, those 120 people I start behind are as fast as me, impossible to get by them," he said. "Without a good start position your almost doomed from the beginning."

Kindree said he is now looking for work and sponsors.

While Kindree works on his plans for next season Claire Buchar of Whistler and Lauren Rosser of Squamish are preparing to meet up with Squamish's Miranda Miller in Switzerland.

Buchar claimed her spot on the national downhill team for the tenth consecutive year after winning the national championships at Panorama in July.

Going into the world championships Buchar said she is aiming for a solid top 10 finish, but she added that she feels capable of finishing in the top five. Buchar's best ever previous world championship placing was sixth.

The Canadian Cycling Association declared Buchar a top tier athlete and has fully funded her trip.

"This is a HUGE step in the right direction and in support of Canadian DH athletes! And an absolute first," Buchar wrote on her blog.

Buchar helped raise nearly $1,500 on Aug. 17 at a fundraising event for fellow downhill riders Miller and Casey Brown of Revelstoke.

Miller went to Italy earlier this month to race at Val di Sole. She described it as a tough course. During qualifying Miller said she went off course and didn't make the finals.

Miller is also looking for a top 10 finish at the worlds.

"I'm working on taking it weekend-to-weekend, focusing on the present tasks and just learning everything you possibly can from good and bad performances, looking to better myself for the next," she wrote in an email from Italy. "World Championships is just another race."

At 19, Rosser will be making her last appearance as a junior racer.

The defending junior world downhill champion said her biggest competition this year is expected to be Manon Carpenter of Great Britain. Carpenter was injured last year and didn't compete at the world championship race.

"I compared some times and it is probably going to be close," Rosser said of Carpenter.

Rosser also qualified to race in the junior cross-country competition.

The world championship racing in Champéry begins Aug. 31 and continues until Sept. 4.




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