By Andrew Mitchell
WhistlerÕs Will Routley shook off a disappointing Tour de Georgia to represent Canada at the Pan-American Championships at Mae Del Plata, Argentina in the Espoir (Under 23) road race category. Routley finished seventh in the field.
Riders from Argentina and Uruguay took the top podium spots, with Maximiliano Richeze of Argentina finishing the hilly 144 km course in three hours, 24 minutes and eight seconds. Routley, the top North American, was just 44 seconds back of that time.
His Canadian teammates, Kevin Lacombe and Phil Abbot, were 12 th and 13 th with the next group, more than four minutes back.
In the womenÕs 84 km road race, RoutleyÕs Symmetrics Cycling teammate Mandy Poitras was ninth overall, just seconds back of the winner, Tina Pic of the U.S.
Buchar 15 th at World Cup downhill
WhistlerÕs Claire Buchar kicked off her World Cup downhill season in Vigo, Spain with a 15 th place finish on a short but technical course. The win went to Sabrina Jonnier of France, followed by Tracy Moseley of Great Britain and Kathy Pruitt of the U.S.
The menÕs downhill went to Steve Peat of Great Britain, followed by Greg Minnaar of Russia and Samuel Hill of Australia.
Buchar was the only Canadian in the race.
The week before QuebecÕs Marie-Helene Premont won the womenÕs cross-country opener, handing Gunn-Rita Dahle of Norway her first World Cup loss in over two years. Premont also finished second to Dahle in the 2004 Olympic mountain bike race.
According to the race report, Premont had about 20 seconds on Dahle at the halfway point, and continued to build on that lead with strong technical climbing and perfect descents to finish first by a gap of 43 seconds.
Kiara Bisaro of Courtenay was the next best Canadian in 24 th place.
In the menÕs race, Julien Absalon of France destroyed the competition to finish more than a minute ahead of Roel Paulissen of Belgium. Max Plaxton, the only Canadian in the race, did not finish.