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After more than a month layoff, World Cup racing resumes this weekend in Switzerland with Luna Chix’s Catharine Pendrel wearing the cross-country series leader jersey.
Pendrel, on the U.S.-based Luna Pro Team, will go into the fourth race of the six-race 2010 World Cup as the Canadian cross-country national champion. She beat Amanda Sin (3 Rox Racing) and Canadian U23 champ Emily Baty (Trek World Racing) for the title last weekend in Canmore, Alberta, Canada.
Seven-time Canadian national champion Marie-Helene Prémont (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain) did not start the race due to illness. It’s not clear whether Prémont, who is always a threat to podium, will race this weekend at Champéry, Switzerland.
Pendrel’s Luna teammate, Georgia Gould, is the newly crowned U.S. XC champ. She will be shooting for a podium spot at Champéry this weekend as well coming into the race fifth overall in World Cup rankings.
Other American woman who could finish in the top-10, if not on the podium, are Subaru-Trek teammates Willow Koerber, currently ranked second for 2010, and Heather Irmiger and Mary McConneloug (Kenda-Seven) and Katie Compton (Planet Bike-Stevens).
Austria’s Elisabeth Osl won the women’s cross-country last year at Champéry. Winning the men’s field was South African Burry Stander (Specialized Factory Racing). Stander will defend his victory against, among others, his Specialized teammate Todd Wells, the new U.S. cross-country and short-track national champion.
Other North American men set to race, among others, include newly crowned Canadian XC champ Geoff Kabush (Maxxis-Rocky Mountain); Subaru-Trek teammates Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski and Sam Schultz; Adam Craig (Rabobank-Giant) and Michael Broderick (Kenda-Seven).
Along with cross-country, the Champéry stop will include top downhill racers.
Following Champéry, the World Cup XC racers head to Val di Sole, Italy on July 31 and then the season finale at Windham, New York on Aug. 28. The Mountain Bike World Championships start Sept. 1 near Quebec, Canada.