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Worlds Country Preview: Canada
By Jaime Nichols
Date: 10/3/2002
Worlds Country Preview: Canada

The Canadian Cycling Association's selection of 23 year old Charles Dionne as their representative for the men's road race came on the heels of his thrilling victory over a very tough field and course in the San Francisco Grand Prix; but it was not without controversy. Canada's 2001* Road Race Champion, and this year's winner of the USPRO Championship in Philadelphia, Navigator's Mark Walters, was not pleased, and filed an appeal of the selection last week, based on the argument that as the top UCI rated Canadian cyclist he should have been selected to ride in Zolder. Walters has since lost his appeal, and the young man from St. Redempteur, Quebec will go. Dionne has put in strong and largely unheralded performances all year long, and his win in San Francisco surprised everyone but his teammates, who had been riding with him all year and knew he had it in him.

Dionne is still without a contract at present, and has dreams of the biggest bike races in the world. He's young, talented, ambitious and dedicated; and he will be motivated to ride well to show himself on an international stage. A strong sprinter who can hang in with a tough field on a course like San Francisco's can certainly be there to mix it up in a race where the biggest obstacles the riders will have to surmount is a highway overpass. Dionne has just finished the Vuelta a Sinaloa in Mexico and should be in good form in Zolder. It would not suprise me at all to see him factor in the finish.

For the time trial, Saturn's Eric Wohlberg was a shoe-in for the top slot as the current Canadian National Champion in that discipline; a title he has won 6 times! Wohlberg, at 38 years old, is one of the strongest riders in the North American peloton, and will represent his countrymen well. Mountain Biking rockstar Roland Green took the second TT spot based on his second consecutive win at the Mountain Bike Worlds this year, and his 14th place finish in this event last year. He's also the reigning NORBA champion, and won gold in the Commonwealth games (on his birthday, no less) this year.

The women's road and time trial teams will be real favorites, with Lynne Bessette and the remarkable Genvieve Jeanson. Jeanson is a phenomenal athelete whose time trial performances consistently better those of men in concurrent events. Jeanson must be considered a legitimate favorite for the Time Trial, and with a strong supporting team including Bessette and Canadian National Road Race Champion Katy St. Laurent, she may be a threat for the road victory as well.

Sing it with me folks... Oh, Ca-na-da...

Elite Men Road Race:
Charles Dionne - St. Redempteur, QC

Elite Men Time Trial:
Eric Wohlberg - Levack, ON
Roland Green - Victoria, BC

Elite Women Road Race:
Lyne Bessette - Knowlton, QC
Genevieve Jeanson - Lachine, QC
Sue Palmer-Komar - Hamilton, ON
Katy St. Laurent - Rimouski, QC

Elite Women Time Trial:
Lyne Bessette - Knowlton, QC
Genevieve Jeanson - Lachine, QC

Espoir Road Race:
Ian Condron - Victoria, BC
Martin Gilbert - Chateauguay, QC
Ryder Hesjedal - Victoria, BC
Cory Lange - Victoria, BC
Jean-Francois-Laroche - Magog, QC
Wannes Maartens - Llamme, Belgium
Francois Parisien - Repentigny, QC
Dominique Rollin - Boucherville, QC
Martin St-Laurent - La Prairie, QC

Espoir Time Trial:
Ryder Hesjedal (automatic) - Victoria, BC
Jean-Francois-Laroche - Magog, QC
Francois Parisien - Repentigny, QC


* Andrew Randell from the Sympatico-Jet Fuel Coffee team, and not Mark Walters is the current Canadian Road Champion. He won the title on August 11th of this year. Mark Walters was the national champion up until that date. Thanks to Dave Butler of the Sympatico-Jet Fuel Coffee Team for that important heads up!

Also, Ryder Hesjedal, the MTB pro who was selected to do the Espoir ITT has withdrawn due to injuries. Jean Francois Larouche had already been selected (Andrew's Sympatico teammate). The second ITT spot is undetermined because the other possible rider is also injured.

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