Canadians set to start Mountain Bike World Championships

Before heading to Rio, Cycling Canada’s Catharine Pendrel, Emily Batty, Raphael Gagne and Léandre Bouchard have an important pre-Games competition.

With a busy calendar this season, the four Rio 2016 athletes are in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic for the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships, held July 1-3.

“I think all cyclists now we have a multi-peak season – it’s not just about one event. You’ll try and get more than one peak in a season and for myself it’ll be the world championships and the Olympics – while also trying to have good performances in between,” said the two-time UCI World Champion Pendrel.

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Emily Batty (right) gold medallist and Catharine Pendrel, silver medallist. Women's mountain bike at 2015 Pan Am Games.

Emily Batty (right) gold medallist and Catharine Pendrel, silver medallist. Women’s mountain bike at 2015 Pan Am Games.

Batty and Pendrel will compete in women’s elite along with fellow Canadians Sandra Walter, Haley Smith, Cindy Montambault and Rebecca Beaumont.

“The world championships, they’re a big deal, and everyone wants to bring their best to it and there are a lot of nerves and excitement. In that respect they are similar to the Olympics,” said Pendrel.

In the men’s elite, Gagne and Bouchard will represent Canada along with Derek Zandstra, Geoff Kabush, Evan McNeely and Andrew L’Esperance.

The Canadian squad in the competition also includes members on women’s juniors, men’s juniors, woman’s under-23 and men’s under-23.

Canada’s women’s team also have Catherine Fleury, Frederique Trudel and Soren Meeuwisse (women’s under-23) along with Sidney McGill, Emily Handford, Sophianne Samson and Erica Leonard (women’s juniors).

On men’s side, Canada’s squad includes Peter Disera, Alexandre Vialle, Marc-Antoine Nadon and Marc Andre Fortier (men’s under-23) along with Quinton Disera, Sean Fincham, Gunnar Holmgren and Victor Verreault (men’s juniors).

Friday will see the start of women’s and men’s junior competition. The under-23 men and elite women race Saturday with the championships concluding on Sunday with the under-23 women and the elite men.