Another Day of Excitement at Singletrack 6 as Men’s GC Lead Changes Hands Again; Sonya Looney Continues Winning Streak on Planet Foods Stage 4
Written by: Marlee Dixon
Heading back toward the mountains, Singletrack 6 moves to Kimberley for today’s stage.
Stage 4 is a night and day difference from Cranbrook riding. Racers start off in the quaint Bavarian-ish downtown area and immediately climb up the road to the ski resort. At the ski resort they continue climbing on the biggest ascent of the day. Once at the top, racers head onto the most technical section of the course, a large rocky flat section, technical enough that many racers were forced to run/walk for a few hundred feet. Next it’s more moderate switchback climbing into the first descent of the day. A fun, flowy, berm trail, giving racers a taste for the fast descending on this course. With one steep grunt climb and some smaller more frequent climbs; racers are rewarded each time with bomber fast descents to follow. After doing the second largest climb of the day, racers head onto the day’s timed descent. An ear to ear grinning downhill over three trails – Thunder Turkey, Shapeshifter and Hoodoo View dropping racers almost 1000’ in just over 3 miles. Today’s stage was definitely about the descending, work hard and fast to gain position on the climbs to bomb down some epic singletrack.
For the pro men, Mathieu Belanger-Barrette (Pivot Cycles) won the stage in 1:59:50 followed by Andreas Hartmann (Craft-Rocky Mountain Factory Team) in 2nd (2:00:44) and a tie for 3rd between Patrick Chartrand and Marc-Andre Daigle (Garneau) in 2:03:20.
Belanger-Barrette and Chartrand worked together time-trailing the climbs to beat teammates Hartmann and Manuel Weissenbacher (Craft-Rocky Mountain Factory Team) to the descents. Working together on the climbs, they capitalized on their descending skills to gain time on the Craft-Rocky Mountain factory teammates.
After the timed descent, Belanger-Barrette pulled away on the next climb for the win. Manuel Weissenbacher flatted on course, losing 10 minutes and dropping to 8th on the stage. Chartrand and Diagle, who tied for 3rd, were teammates last year and won the men’s open duo field at Singletrack 6. Stage 1 winner Rotem Ishay was unable to bounce back from his difficult day in Cranbrook finishing outside the top-10 in today’s race.
For the second straight day big changes were seen in the overall classification for the men as Belanger-Barrette jumped into first (total 4-day time 8:15:49), followed by Hartman in 2nd (8:17:25) and Weissenbacher in 3rd (8:22:35).
For the pro women it was Kathryn McInerney who charged ahead up the first climb. Once on top of the first climb in the technical rocky flat section, Sonya Looney (FreakShow/Defeet) maneuvered past her into first. She remained in first for the rest of the race and won the stage in a time of 2:20:45.
Up until the timed descent Kate Aardal (Ridleys Cycles), Marlee Dixon (Pivot Cycles/DNA Cycling) and Kathryn McInerney battled for 2nd-4th.
Once on the timed descent, Aardal passed Dixon and remained in 2nd for the rest of the race. She finished in 2:22:23. Dixon finished in 3rd (2:23:03) with Jodie Willett (For the Riders) passing McInerney for 4th place (2:26:39).
Looney remains first overall, widening her gap to 10 minutes over Aardal (2nd). Dixon again moved back into 3rd after dropping to 6th following stage 3.
Looney and Aardal continue to increase their leads in the race while 3rd-6th place continue to change up and remain ~3 minutes apart.
Next up is Golden BC for both stages 5 and 6. Tomorrow’s stage is the shortest stage at 19 miles with 4000’ ft of elevation gain over some purpose built trails and rocky fun descents. The talk between racers is that the riding in Golden is awesome.