The threatening gray ski was no match for the enthusiastic crowd at the 2010 UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships on Sept. 4 at Mont Sainte Anne in Quebec, Canada.
Elite Women Olympic Cross-Country Event
The women kicked off the day, setting a blistering pace on the 26-km. cross-country course, rolling under the ski lifts of Mount Sainte Anne, then flying over bridges as the course twisted and turned. Narrow, technical sections took them down rocky, stumpy, high-angled hills, immediately separating the field. Some of the women took the technical sections in stride, while others dismounted to safely navigate the course, sometimes forcing others to do the same as they lost momentum. By the second lap, the women were splattered with mud, legs covered in brown ooze, faces speckled with flecks of earth.
From the start, Maja Wloszczowska (Poland), ranked #20 in the world, pulled ahead of the pack and never faltered, ultimately winning the race in excellent form. U.S. rider Willow Koerber and Canadian Catharine Pendrel exchanged places between second and third several times throughout the race, eliciting roars from the partisan crowd, but in the end Irina Kalentieva (Russian Federation) took advantage of a lapse and slipped into second place, leaving Koerber on the podium with third place and Pendrel in fourth. Koerber and Pendrel hugged at the end, having dogged each other closely through the five laps (plus one start loop) of the course.
Elite Men Olympic Cross-Country Event
The men’s pack flowed out of the start looking like the peloton at the Tour de France, but quickly spread out on the looping course, completing six laps (plus two start loops) as the skies finally opened with a short period of pelting rain. Eventually, the sun broke out and temperatures rose as the fastest men sped through the course. Again the technical sections separated the field, with the top riders easily steering through the corkscrew turns and constricted path.
Jose Antonio Hermida Ramos (Spain), ranked fourth in the world, won the men’s division, with Jaroslav Kulhavy (Czech Republic) and Burry Stander (South Africa) coming in second and third, respectively.
Elite Men’s Trials Event
A highlight of the day was the new discipline of Trials at the World Championships, where the Elite Men displayed incredible feats of concentration and balance, moving as one with their bikes to hop up as much as 6 feet to land on boulders, buildings and unusual shapes, such as large wooden letters. In Trials, the objective is to move through a course without touching down the obstacles or falling off, all within a specified timed period. Benito Ros Charral (Spain), the 2009 World Champion, in particular, displayed an unusual mastery of the circuit, dominating the field with his prowess.
Mont Sainte Anne
The ski area of Mont Sainte Anne is no stranger to mountain biking championships, having hosted World Cup events every year since the inauguration of the sport in 1991. Mont Sainte Anne is the only venue that has hosted the World Championships twice.
The mountain offers 30 km. of downhill trails and 130 km. of cross-country trails, with terrain to challenge all ability levels.
Mont Sainte Anne is located only 30 minutes from downtown Quebec City, giving access to residents and visitors alike seeking outdoor adventure.
To reach Mont Sainte Anne from Quebec City (16.9 miles) by automobile (30 minutes, depending on traffic and weather):
- Take Highway Dufferin-Montmorency (#440 East) and Route 138 East, following signs for Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupré and Mont-Sainte-Anne.
- In Beaupré, follow Route 360 to Mont-Sainte-Anne, located on the left side of the road.
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup: http://www.uci.ch/templates/UCI/UCI5/layout.asp?MenuId=MTI1OTU
Mont Sainte Anne Ski Resort: http://www.mont-sainte-anne.com/2/: