The new World Champions!

Jose Antonio Hermida is the new XC World Champion, picking places up throughout the race until he was alone in the front. A very emotional win, a smart yet powerful race that saw him drop Burry Stander then Jaroslav Kulhavy. Most other contenders were dropped by luck. The day saw many flats on the sharp rocks of Mont Sainte-Anne and a strong looking Nino Shurter flatted twice, Absalon flatted but was never really a factor, the three Cannondale Factory Racing riders also flatted which was a real shame.

In addition to flats, Manuel Fumic and Martin Gujan were caught in an early crash so had to fight back to eventually finish 13th and 16th but had the legs for better placings. Fontana's fortune was even more heartbreaking as he was on the front from the start, having no problems riding with the best of the day until he flatted about mid-race, then had more technical issues which lead him to a sad DNF. They'll be back though, as Hermida has shown, it can take years to become a World Champion and the Cannondale boys have many years ahead for success.

Other notable results. Not really local Geoff Kabush started slowly but eventually finished an okay 8th after a hard season. Kulhavy was the most clock like rider, he was on the front or could see the leader all race long. I was also impressed by Liam Killeen who has had a few bad seasons with back injury. He started way back and finished a good 7th.

The women's race was pretty good too. The eventual winner, Maja Wloszczowska won solo by riding alone out front for a long time. Behind her though, there was much more action and drama for the other podium places. Pendrel started strongly as usual but a few small mistakes really hurt her mentally when she was joined by others. The fight for the two bottom steps of the podium was between Irina Kalentieva, Willow Koerber and Pendrel. Koerber used the rock garden descent to her advantage every lap to gain some time on the other two but the stress and fatigue of the race saw her make a costly mistake the last time around.

She had dropped her rivals, only to crash right before the rocks, going down and getting a bit caught into the course tape. Under stress, she then opted to take the chicken line but then, Pendrel did the opposite, riding the rocks for the first time in the race and getting in second place. On the last climb, even though she seemed to have bad tires and loosing traction there every laps, the tiny and experienced Kalentieva, who was keeping her calm behind the two stressed riders, passed the two and went on to finish 2nd while Koerber salvaged her race a bit by passing and sprinting away from Pendrel to take a second Worlds 3rd in a row.

Crowd favorite and pretty much racing in her backyard, Marie-Hélène Prémont couldn't come close to win her home World Championships after showing a strong performance last week in Windham. She finished 9th but as usual, still with a huge smile.

That was the last important XC race of the year and it was a good one to watch. Today's the downhill then starts the cyclocross season. But before, the province of Quebec also hosts the first two Pro-Tour races in America and there are some surprisingly big names racing, I was expecting B-teams but... Ivan Basso, Peter Sagan, Sammy Sanchez, Boasson-Hagen, Damiano Cunego, Ryder Hesjedal and many others will be racing in Quebec City September 10th and in my former training roads in Montreal the 12th.

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