Sunday, October 11, 2009

2009 Canadian Cyclocross National: Pepper wins 2nd behind Sydor

From Canadian Cyclist

Geoff Kabush of Victoria won his second consecutive national cyclo-cross title on Saturday, while Vancouver's Alison Sydor won her first.

Kabush was the clear favourite for the men's 60 minute race, and he quickly dropped the remainder of the field to solo in for the title with a time of 55 minutes and 21 seconds. Derrick St John of Cornwall, Ontario took the silver medal, 29 seconds behind Kabush, with Aaron Schooler of Edmonton winning the bronze, a further seven seconds in arrears.

"It was so cold out there," commented Kabush, "that it felt like my eyeballs froze a bit. I was a little nervous with the snow and the slippery track, so I decided to get out in front fairly early and ride my own pace, and avoid any crashes."

Sydor, a former national champion in both road and mountain biking, became the first Canadian athlete to win titles in the three disciplines. The 42 year old three-time mountain bike world champion only took up the sport seriously this season, and came into the race facing tough competition from Pepper Harlton of Edmonton and Natasha Elliott of Cornwall, Ontario. Sydor and Harlton dropped Elliott after she crashed, and then Sydor attacked her rival shortly before the midway point of the race, to win with a time of 43 minutes and 38 seconds, 49 seconds ahead of Harlton, with Elliott at one minute and ten seconds.

"I knew that both Pepper and Natasha would be my biggest rivals," explained Sydor. "On one of the steep climbs I got a small gap on Pepper so I just kept it going, widening it on the technical parts where I seemed to be stronger. It's a real honour to have won now in three separate disciplines, especially when there is almost two decades between my first [national title] and this one."

Evan Guthrie of Peachland, BC won the U23 men's title and Kris Dahl of Calgary the Junior men's.

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