Canada's Pendrel, Batty win World Cup mountain bike silver and bronze
Canada has yet to select Rio Olympics team
Canada concluded the first half of the mountain bike World Cup season with a strong showing on Sunday, in La Bresse, France, as Catharine Pendrel of Kamloops, B.C., and Emily Batty of Brooklin, Ont., finished second and third respectively in the third round of the series.
Pendrel is second in the overall standings, only 66 points behind Annika Langvad of Denmark, while Batty jumps to fourth from ninth in the overall standings.
Pendrel came back from a poor start to move into the top-three by the halfway mark of the 16.8 kilometre race, and then both she and Batty joined race winner Jolanda Neff of Switzerland at the front for the final lap. Neff attacked on the final climb to win by 25 seconds over Pendrel, with Batty at 48 seconds.
"The last couple laps were awesome because I didn't have traffic to deal with," Pendrel said.
"The first couple laps were really, really frustrating, just trying to manage that and use that energy to get me forward whenever possible. Having a traffic free lap [by the third lap] and being able to choose your own lines, meant that you could carry your own pace and flow."
Canadian men also had top-20 performances, with Leandre Bouchard of Alma, Que., finishing 20th in the Elite men, and Peter Disera of Barrie, Ont., finishing 17th in the under-23 men's category.
"I'm pretty proud about my first top-20 in Europe," Bouchard said. "I'm happy about how I am going in only my second year of Elite. I had a great start, and managed to stay up there. It's true that I am bigger and heavier, but I also have more power, which helped me at the start."
In the under-23 women's race, held Saturday, Soren Meeuwisse of Orillia, Ont., finished 25th, in only the second world Cup of her career.
"I'm very satisfied," Meeuwisse said. "Today my goal was to finish top-25, and I finished 25th. Consistently throughout the race I was just trying to pick my way up to each group and hold on. The downhills are usually where I can gain some time, but I was riding well on the climbs today."
The next major event on the international mountain bike schedule is the world championships in Nove Mesto na Morave, Czech Republic, at the end of June.