Norco Team Report – Baie-Sainte-Paul and Nove Mesto World Cup
May 30, 2014
On to the next one! After Mont Tremblant we split into two teams to continue our racing on different continents. Peter Disera and Evan McNeely packed up and flew to Czech Republic for the 3rd round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup. The rest of the team stayed in Canada for the second race in the Canada Cup Series in quaint Baie-St-Paul, Quebec.
Baie-St-Paul is a small town on the St. Lawrence river just 45 min from the legendary World Cup venue that is Mont Sainte Anne. It shares a similar type of terrain, rock and root heavy, technical but without quite as much vertical. We arrived to what seems like the first dry course conditions…ever. For the previous few years it has been a very muddy race favouring cross country running skills. Training on the course in the days leading up to the race went very well and the team was comfortable on course.
Saturday morning we woke to some unexpected rain and thick fog. With a late afternoon start the conditions did not change and the sun even came out! It all came together on race day with our best team performance yet! Guthrie and Lespy took to the front right after the start and brought the strung-out field into the first piece of singletrack. Watson was not far behind having a very strong start and putting himself in a position to do his very best race. After an hour and a half of very tight, technical and punchy racing Norco Factory Team put three athletes on the podium in the men’s Pro/Elite race. Watson led the team with 2nd, Guthrie 4th and Lespy 5th. In the Pro/Elite women’s race Haley Smith rode a smooth race and took on the lead shortly after the start up the main climb. After maintaining the lead for the first two laps a slight technical error allowed the Canada Cup leader, Walter, to make her move. Haley came across the line 2nd with her best Canada Cup result to date. Cayley Brooks finished with a top 15 result, a very impressive result on the day for many reasons.
The next day racing continued with a short track event with a UCI C3 designation so UCI points were on the line. Guthrie and Lespy represented the team with Watson playing the role of manager. We had a clear race plan from the start and we followed it perfectly. Lespy came out with the win and Guthrie came across the finish 3rd. While coming across the finish line the official was over zealous with waving the checkered flag, and hit Lespy in the head. Luckily, he was wearing his Lazer Helium helmet and just an apology was necessary.
At the fourth round of the World Cup in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic McNeely and Disera represented Norco Factory Team and the Canadian National Team. McNeely raced to an impressive 24th of 140 starters in the U23 event. Disera ran a clinic on how to pass, riding through 50 plus people to finish 48th.
On both sides of the Atlantic, Norco Revolvers were raced hard to some impressive results. All the components from Sram, Kenda and Stans along with other sponsors performed flawlessly and allowed us to race to our potential. Huge thanks to our sponsors and Kevin Haviland for the support.
Perspective from the athletes racing in Canada:
“This weekend everything seemed to click into place nicely; the bike, the legs and the track was in perfect shape. It was great to have it all come together for a podium step.”
“This weekend I was able to step onto my first Canada Cup podium ever and snag a win in the UCI C3 short track race the day after. It was a really good week of preparation with the team and we all came together with a solid weekend of performances. With a good team atmosphere and the best equipment from our sponsors Sram, Kenda, Stans and Rockshox we are able to do strong consistent performances as a team.”
“Baie-Saint-Paul Canada Cup, in my opinion, was a success for the Norco Factory Team. After landing three spots on the Pro men’s podium along with our Haley/Cayley duo taking it to the pro women field as U23s. The team atmosphere was a very positive place all week after a strong start to the domestic season last weekend in Mont-Tremblant. I’m satisfied with my 4th place, but wanted more out of the day than that. Lespy and I had a second shot the following day with a UCI short track race. We made a race plan and worked best we could as a team, where Andrew took the win and I followed up with a third place. The two-week trip would have been insanely hard without the help of our man, Kevin Haviland, and flawless working equipment from our sponsors Norco, Sram, Kenda and Stans.”
“Baie-Saint-Paul has always been good to me, and this year was no exception. Lining up alongside Canada Cup leader Sandra Walter and Olympic Silver medallist Marie-Helen Premont (among many other talented riders), I had some nerves to say the least. However, as it goes with racing, those went away as soon as the whistle blew and instinct took over. I’m really happy with my ride at BSP, and can’t wait to hit Europe for World Cup #4 next weekend! As always, HUGE thanks to Norco and our Factory Team sponsors, Sram, Kenda and Stans for keeping our wheels turning.”
Perspective from the athletes at the World Cup in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic:
“Here in beautiful Nove Mesto, Czech Republic I got to partake in my first World Cup as a U23. Starting 109th was fun as I had to battle rush hour traffic. An all-around good ride for myself moving up 50+ spots to 48th. That’s a lot of passing! Great rides by some fellow Canadians too! I look forward to ripping my Revolver around the course in Albstadt next weekend!”
“Instead of attending the Baie-St-Paul Canada Cup, I headed over to Europe to race the 3rd round of the UCI Mountain Bike World Cup in Nove Mesto, CZE. Racing in Europe is always a different and special experience. I was able to nab my best European World Cup result to date in 24th. Looking to improve yet again next weekend in Albstadt, GER with the experience gained this weekend.”