The Trek World Racing XC riders returned to World Cup racing after several weeks of local racing, National Championships and the European Championships, with Lukas Flueckiger returning to the top 10 after a difficult start.
The track at Mont-Sainte-Anne is one of the most technical on the international circuit and combined with the slick conditions brought on by unseasonal cold and rainy weather, and the all new technical descent created by the organizers for this year's race, made for exciting racing. Mathias Flueckiger is not with the team for the Canadian leg of the World Cup series opting to train at altitude for 2.5 weeks in preparation for one of his main targets for the year, the Under 23 World Championships in 6 weeks.
Liam Killeen suffered a groin and leg injury the day before the event, and even though he started today, wasn't able to complete the race. This was extremely disappointing for Liam as he is currently in the best form of the season, and ready to race at the front of the field.
Lukas had a very difficult start for the 6 lap, 33km race, and wasn't where he wanted to be after lap one, but with the tenacity he has shown many times before, worked his way up from outside the top 20 to take a 7th place. It's clear that given the right start, Lukas is set for a well overdue 2009 podium. Lukas' result today moves the team from 8th to 6th in the team rankings.
Lukas said: "I just had a terrible start but it was a little bit beyond my control. I know that if the start had been better I was ready for a lot higher than 7th. During the race I had to just keep picking up one rider here, one rider there, and work my way back into the top 10. A fast finishing Florian Vogel took 6th place from me, but I'm happy to get some points and be back in the top 10 overall, and on the front row for next week."
Liam said: "I injured my leg yesterday while stretching and this was bothering me a bit before the race, and then I made a wrong decision on tire choice so it was pretty clear at the beginning of the race that I was far from competitive and was actually going to do more harm by continuing. It wasn't an easy decision but in the end I felt it wiser to withdraw rather than risk further injury. I will be back to 100% for next week in Bromont."
1. Julien Absalon (FRA) 2hrs 06m 05secs
2. Jose Hermida (ESP) @0m 32secs
3. Geoff Kabush (CAN) @2m 48secs
4. Ralp Naef (SUI) @4m 50secs
5. Burry Stander (RSA) @5m 42secs
6. Florian Vogel (SUI) @7m 11secs
7. Lukas Flueckiger (SUI) @7m 16secs
The next event is the Bromont World Cup next week, also here in Quebec.