Oakley Finished MTB Season Strong
The Nissan UCI Mountain Bike World Cup concluded this weekend in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada. Coming just one month after the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Val di Sol, Italy and weeks before the Beijing Olympics, the world championship event in Mont-Sainte-Anne is a stepping stone for some of the world’s top racers on road to the Summer Games.
Oakley’s Greg Minaar completed the 3.1km downhill course first, with a time 4:30.57 for his first medal at the only World Cup venue that has evaded him during his nine-year pro career. Oakley’s Gee Atherton, placed third.
In men’s and women’s four cross, Oakley’s Mio Suemasa (JPN) took second, while Oakley’s current world No. 1 Anneke Beerten came in fourth.
Taking first in the men’s cross country was Oakley’s 2008 French Olympian Julien Absalon, clocking 2:07.44 for an average speed of 16.44 kilometers per hour over the 35km course. Riding in second place, Oakley’s Geoff Kabush picked up his second world medal this season followed by Oakley’s South African Burry Stander in third.
In the women’s race, Canadian Olympic team member and Oakley rider Marie-Helen Premont won the gold medal with a time of 2:06.30 on the 29.3 course, averaging 13.90 kilometers per hour. A fellow Canadian and Oakley teammate, Catherine Pendrel came in second ahead of Norwegian Lene Byberg in third.
Mont-Sainte-Anne has become a significant location in the world of mountain biking as the only venue to host World Cup events or World Championships since their initiation in 1991. The venue has grown over the years to become an international benchmark in cycling, gaining a high reputation among riders, teams and fans for its strong organization and cycling culture.
Since 2003 the events have been held in conjunction with a three-week festival known as Velirium also features the Canadian National Championships and other cycling events that attract up to 2,500 racers and over 50,000 spectators.
The 2008 Beijing Olympic mountain bike competition will be held on August 22 and 23 (Day 14 and 15 of the Games) at the Laoshan Mountain Bike Course 23km outside of the capital. The Laoshan circuit spans 4.592 kilometers of varied terrain.