Canadian world champion Catharine Pendrel won the second round of the Mountain Bike World Cup on Sunday, moving into the overall lead of the series after two events.
The Kamloops, B.C., rider was third after the opening round of the World Cup last month and took the lead from defending World Cup champion Julie Bresset of France in the third lap of the five-lap race with an attack on one of the climbs.
Pendrel steadily increased her lead through the remainder of the race to finish with a time of one hour 31 minutes 15 seconds, 48 seconds ahead of Bresset. Maja Wloszczowska of Poland, the winner of the first round of the 2012 series, was third.
Canada had two other women in the top-15 — Emily Batty of Brooklin, Ont., finished seventh and Marie-Helene Premont of Chateau Richer, Que., was 14th. In the men's competition, Geoff Kabush of Courtenay, B.C., was 11th.
Pendrel and Wloszczowska are tied at 410 points each, however, Pendrel takes the lead by virtue of the more recent victory. Emily Batty, second in the opening round, drops to fourth in the overall standings with 320 points, while Premont moves into 19th place with 142 points.
“I just felt awesome today,” Pendrel said. “It was a good course, I really liked it. It felt a lot like my trails at home, and definitely had steep climbs. There was one section that I knew (Bresset) was really strong on, so my focus of the race was riding that section as smooth as I can, and then just go as hard as I could on the climbs.”
In the men's six-lap race, two-time Olympic champion Julien Absalon of France was the winner, finishing with a time of 1:34:42. Nino Schurter of Switzerland, the winner of the first round, was second, with Marco Fontana of Italy third. Kabush rode most of the race in ninth or tenth place before fading slightly in the final lap, finishing just over three minutes behind Absalon. Schurter continues to lead the World Cup with 450 points, followed by Absalon at 400 points. Kabush improved from 37th to 23rd in the rankings, with 122 points.
“It feels good to be back riding in the top-ten,” Kabush said. “I got a really good start, which was crucial, and then I just concentrated on riding as consistently as I could. The steep climbs here don't necessarily suit me, but I'm really happy with the way I rode, and that this will give me a much better start position for the next round.”