LE Newsletter - September 8, 2011
Kamloops’ Catharine Pendrel Wins Mountain Biking World Title
www.thestar.com - Randy Starkman
(September 03, 2011) Canadian mountain biker
needed an answer before the London Olympics: Could she summon
what it takes to win a big race?
There'd be some excruciating close calls. She was fourth at the
Beijing Olympics, falling back when a late gear change went
wrong. At last year's worlds on home soil in Mont Ste-Anne,
Que., she slipped from second to fourth in the final stretch.
Not this time, though.
Pendrel answered any doubts emphatically Saturday with a gold
medal win in the women's cross-country race at the world
mountain bike championships in Champery, Switzerland.
“I think kind of what I learned last year was just because
you're on good form doesn't mean that there won't be a different
game when it comes to world championships,” Pendrel said in a
telephone interview. “People are able to find something else, to
put in an extra level of preparation for big events. Knowing
that and how hard it is, I knew how much I'd have to fight and
have to want it.
“I'm glad I figured that out now because when it comes to the
Olympics next year I don't want to be thinking 'Do I have what
it takes to win?' I wanted to figure that out now.”
That she had the right mindset needed is evident to her reaction
to Canadian shot putter Dylan Armstrong's silver medal
performance at the world track and field championships.
Pendrel and Armstrong share a lot in common. They both live in
Kamloops, B.C., and have also been matching each other's results
of late at major competitions. They were both fourth in Beijing.
They were both fourth last year at their respective world
championships. Something about the water in Kamloops, perhaps?
“As much as I was excited for Dylan getting second, I thought
'Dylan, I'm going to have to one up you this year,'“ said
Pendrel finished 28 seconds ahead of reigning world champion
Maja Wloszczowska of Poland with her winning time of 1 hour, 14
minutes and 16 seconds. Eva Lechner of Italy was third, about a
minute and a half behind.
After a strong start, Pendrel was patient and conserved energy
as Wloszczowska went out hard on the climbs, finally making her
move to the front on one of the long descents. The Polish
cyclist tried to close on the last lap, but Pendrel fended her
“Definitely on that last lap, you're just burying yourself and
giving everything,” she said.
Emily Batty of Brooklin, Ont., the team's rising young star,
placed an impressive eighth in the race to match her World Cup
ranking in her rookie year on the senior circuit, one spot ahead
of Canadian veteran Marie-Helene Premont.
If there was a disappointment, it was that French rival Julie
Bresset was not in the race. They've battled head-to-head this
season and Bresset edged her for the World Cup crown. Bresset
had to race in the women's under-23 event because of UCI rules
and she won that race. But Pendrel had established herself as
the stronger rider in the last three races.
Olympic legend Clara Hughes, who was doing the commentary for
CBC at last year's worlds, had said that fourth-place result
would make Pendrel hungrier.
Her appetite sure seems voracious right now. The world title put
an emphatic exclamation point on what's been a brilliant season
for Pendrel, who won three World Cup races this season and the
pre-Olympic race in London while earning the No. 1 world
“It's pretty cool, this was definitely one of my lifetime career
goals in cycling,” said the 30-year-old. “It's going to take a
while to sink in, but I get to wear the (world champion's)
jersey for a year and to enjoy it and savour it.”
It's a white jersey with a rainbow strip across.
“I'm going to have to learn to keep white clean, but I'm willing
to make the sacrifice,” she said.