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Men’s masters start. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

It was a perfect day to start off the 2020 Olympic qualifying points race in mountain biking at Bear Mountain on Saturday. The first event in the Canada Cup series took place with juniors, masters and elite categories racing.

Peter Disera, representing the Norco Factory Team won the elite men’s race with a finish time of 1:27:28. He was followed in by Raphael Gagne who finished in the time of 1:29:13. The third finisher was just 10 seconds back in Leandre Bouchard.

Often finishing in the top-10 in the mountain bike circuit, the 24-year-old Disera is a three-time national mountain biking champion and four-time world championships competitor.

Pendrel Racing. Catherine Pendrel on far left. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

Saturday the Bradford, ON native, demonstrated why as he displayed superior fitness and technical bike-handling skills.

He has at least 13 more races scheduled this season, which will take him through the summer and into September including six World Cup races and the World Championships which will be taking place August 28 to Sept. 1 in Mont Sainte Anne, QC.

In the elite women’s race Langford’s Catherine Pendrel was looking for the win, but she had competition. Having broken her arm in June, she was back racing 10 weeks later – mountain bikers are tough. Asked how her fitness is, she said, “It’s good. Training has been going well and I will be looking for the win today.”

Pendrel is a 2016 Rio Olympic bronze medallist.

The Bear Mountain Canada Cup was the first event where she would have her team Pendrel Racing on site, competing.

She went after the win, but finished second.

It was a sweep for the Norco Factory Team as Haley Smith took the win. Smith clocked a 1:26:34 finish time; Pendrel crossed the line in 1:27:57. The third finisher was Laurie Arseneault finishing in 1:28:16.

Some air. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

Smith, a native of Uxbridge, Ontario, had a breakout year in 2018. She won bronze in the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. She also competed in the world championships and finished sixth.

Her season has just begun and it appears that she will experience another big year in 2019.

Full results are available here: https://racedaytiming.ca/results/search.html?name=&term=Canada+Cup