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Whistler to host national downhill camp

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The top downhillers in Canada will be in Whistler from Aug. 7 to 9 to train for the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Austria at the end of the month.

Canada will send 16 athletes to the championships, including six elite men, six elite women, four junior expert men and two junior expert women. The majority of the spots have already been awarded, and the remaining spots will be filled after the Canada Cup finals in Fernie this weekend.

At least four Whistler locals will join the downhill team in Austria.

Sylvie Allen and Claire Buchar qualified for the elite women’s team after finishing first and second overall at the Tim Hortons Canadian Mountain Bike Championships in Kamloops on July 20.

Junior Expert Jeff Beatty will be returning to the world championships for the second year in a row after finishing third in the nationals. Kwanah Sioui of Quebec and Brian Mussellam of Powell River are also guaranteed spots, finishing first and second at the nationals.

Brook Baker, in her first season competing in the downhill, won the Canadian title and earned a spot to compete in the Junior Expert races. As one of the top-ranked cross-country racers in B.C. and in the country, she also has the potential to join the Junior Expert cross-country team.

North Shore rider Jacqui Babcock, the runner-up to Baker, will also get to go.

Dustin Adams and Brant Lyons of Kamloops are guaranteed spots on the men’s elite team.

The three-day camp is being held with the support of Whistler-Blackcomb.

"They are stepping up and giving us hill space, timing, and passes for the national team members, which is a very cool thing," said Whistler’s Chris Colbeck, the downhill coach for the world championships. "They are really doing their part to promote the national team."

This is the first time that the Canadian Cycling Association has put together a pre-world championship national training camp, and "it’s a good step in the right direction," said Colbeck.

"It’s an excellent opportunity for our downhillers to start working together."

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