The rain that played havoc on the women's race was less of a factor for the men, but it was still cold and traction was scarce. More than enough fine Quebec mud had already been liberally applied to the rocks by the ladies, turning the numerous technical lines into virtual slip'n slides. It was good fun—but only for riders with serious bike-handling skills.
And Mr. Julien Absalon is one rider who possessed the necessary skills. As is Señor Jose Hermida. And Geoff Kabush. Those three riders pretty much put the wood the rest of the field. Ralf Naef, the early leader until Absalon put in a decisive attack in the third lap, kept his head in the game after a spill in the rock garden and ended up 2:02 behind Kabush. Burry Stander finished fifth, another 00:52 behind Naef.
Adam Craig was the top American finisher. Despite initially getting held up in traffic, Craig relied on his technical ninja skills to steadily move through the field, finishing twelfth on the day. Todd Wells was having a s-m-o-k-i-n' day until lap 5 when he detonated, dropping from his place in the top ten and finishing in fifteenth. Sam "Big Country" Schultz landed 24th, while freshly minted U.S. National champ Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski took 26th.
A win for Absalon at Bromont next week will make him virtually untouchable for the World Cup overall; he currently lead the series with 1,200 points. The next closest racer is Burry Stander with 720 points.
Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup Men's XC Results
1. Julien Absalon
2. Jose Hermida
3. Geoff Kabush
4. Ralph Naef
5. Burry Stander
6. Florian Vogel
7. Lukas Fluckiger
8. Ivan Alvarez
9. Martin Gujan
10. Stephane Tempier