Green ready to defend title this weekend
Team Canada finished third in the team relay at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Switzerland on Sept. 3, giving up the title it won last year to Poland. The home team of Swiss riders was second.
Raced on a 6.2 km course, the team relay event consists of male and female elite racers, as well as a male espoir (under 23) and a junior. The course was tough and technical, and there were only a few places to pass.
Victorias Roland Green kicked off the relay and finished the lap in third place, just 25 seconds back of the lead.
"At the beginning there was a lot of traffic and it was pretty tough to move up," Green told Canadian Cyclist (www.canadiancyclist.com).
Ricky Federau of Abbotsford dropped one place into fourth, but finished the second lap within 12 seconds of third. Seventeen-year-old Max Plaxton, who dominated in B.C. and Canada this season, put in the fastest lap of any junior rider and put Canada back in first place heading into the last lap by just one second.
"I was hoping to give Chrissy (Redden) a bigger gap, so she would have clear trail in front of her, but I had some trouble with the Swiss rider," Plaxton said. "I got stuck behind him and he wouldnt let me pass until he crashed, then he managed to get on my wheel and I couldnt drop him. Im feeling really good right now, and had a good ride today. I think I have a good shot on Friday."
Redden raced against Barb Blatter of Switzerland, who is one of the top riders on the World Cup circuit this season.
While they battled, Polish Junior Kyrspin Pyrgies gained on the lead group.
"I got the hole shot, but then I made a little mistake and she got ahead," said Redden. "We were switching back and forth. But then she suddenly got off her bike on the technical descent, and I had to get off as well, which really put me off my rhythm, and she got a gap on the pavement climb which I couldnt close."
The polish junior pulled ahead at around the same time, and went on to pass Blatter. Canada finished one minute and 43 seconds back of the Polish team, and 20 seconds back of the Swiss.
Although Canada would have liked to have won, Green said he was happy with the result.
"Anytime you can win a medal at the worlds you have to be happy," he said. "I think it says a lot about our program third straight time in the medals."
Green, the reigning world champion for two years running, came into the world championships with a few health problems. He had chicken pox, shingles and a prostate infection.
But even with all of his troubles, he says he is ready for the world championship race this weekend.
A Whistler rider also participated in the first day of world championship racing. Brook Baker raced in the junior womens cross-country championship, finishing 24 th . Kylie Case of North Vancouver was the top Canadian in 16 th place.
For daily results from the world championships, visit www.canadiancyclist.com.