Alberta Cup Standings Heading in to the Provincial Championship Cross Country MTB Race

Saturday August 28th is the Provincial Championship XC Mountain Bike Race in Hinton Alberta. Hinton hosts a very challenging course boasting long challenging climbs, and relentless punishing down-hills-in my opinion it’s the kind of course where the fittest rider wins, barring crashes and mechanical mishaps–won on the up-hills, and lost on the down-hills. In anticipation of the event, the ABA has finally got around to updating the standings (am I the only one who has been waiting since the end of June?). You can check the standings in detail on the ABA website, but in a nutshell, here is how things look.

In Elite Men, Mike Blennerhassett (Hardcore) has had a breakthrough season and has built a commanding lead in the series-look for him to have a strong race on Saturday, maybe winning the championship race, and almost certainly winning the series. Don’t count out the locals though, as Jasperite enduro racer Cory Wallace (Kona Factory) is likely to put on a workshop as he did last year.

In Elite Women there is a close race in the series, with Chantel Koening (Redbike) leading, but Pepper Harlton (Juventus), Katie Curtis (CMC/Bow Cycle), Kate Ardel (Hardcore), and Kristen Ong (RVC), are all within striking distance. Also look for Bridget Linder (Hardcore) to make things interesting, as she has had a season plagued with mechanicals, and is likely to come into this final race looking for some redemption. The local favourite has to be Loni Klettle (Freeskool) who set the standard on this course last year.

In Expert Men, Peter Knight (Hardcore) leads the Points Race, but won’t be able to defend his lead due to being upgraded to the Elite category after a third place finish at the Summer Solstice Race in Brag Creek earlier this summer. Other likely contenders for a final Expert Podium include Felix Wilberg (Cyclemeisters/Bow Cycle), Robert Hine (CMC/Bow Cycle), Brian Robinson (CMC/Bow Cycle).
There is a tight Points Race in the Expert Women between Amy Barnett (Cyclemeisters/Bow Cycle) and Alyssa Barker (United Cycle). Look for Barnett to dominate if she contests provincials, having bested Alyssa at every meeting this summer.

Sport Men has seen four upgrades this season so far, leaving Kevin Stafford (Juventus) in the best position to take the points series. As far as the final race of season goes, anything can happen in the Sport category. Look for the locals to put in a good effort on a home course.

In the Sport Women Points Race, Shari Clare (Fiera Race Team) leads with Boglarka Gyorfi (Spin Sisters) within striking distance. These two have been trading spots on the podium all season; look for one last battle for the top spot at the Provincial Championships.

There were ten upgrades in Novice Men this season. Look for Sam Amberiadis (Independent), Nathan Smith (The WGB), and Damian Stachura (Pedalhead) to duke it out for a podium finish in Hinton, and top spot in the Points Series.

In Novice Women, Andie Kriets (Red Bike) and Shawna Donaldson (Independent) have the best shot at the points race, while any of Emily Lines (Hardore) and Sabrina Millman (Conchrane BMX), Tanya Hopping (Speed Theory), Julie Kelly (Independent), Sarah Dickey (Hardcore), have a shot for top spot at the final race.

Despite a very wet summer in Alberta, cross country races across the province have had pretty reasonable conditions at most events. The forecast for Saturdays Provincal XC final looks like it could be wet and will likely result in some reluctant starters, but will certainly make for some entertaining spectating; see you at the race.


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