Catharine Pendrel: UCI XC World Champ, finally

After a series of unlucky results in recent medal events including two 4th places at the 2010 Worlds in Québec and at the 2008 Olympics at Beijing, Canada’s Catharine Pendrel finally achieved her dream to clinch a gold medal in a major event.

The 2010 World Cup champion beat Poland’s Maja Wloszczowska by half a minute  while Italy’s Eva Lechner came in 3rd

After winning three out of four last World Cup races, Prendel was definitely the rider to beat at Champéry.  Pendrel immediately faced a strong challenge from her two rivals from Poland and from Italy who both fought hard on the demanding ‘Grand Paradis’ course.

“A few days ago one of my friends told me to ride the last lap as if it would be a time-trial in case I would be in the lead, just to give everything I had in me to be assured to remain out of reach of the rest of the field until the end,” Pendrel explained afterwards at the Press Conference. “I remembered it well and took great risks in that final lap. Knowing Maja’s experience and determination, I knew she would also go for it very hard. So I rode my bike with huge willpower to clinch that title which had eluded me for so long.”

“I managed to remain very focused so I didn’t make any major mistakes in that final part. So many things went through my mind in that last round. I could not believe I was finally going for the gold today. I have had so many unfortunate moments in past medal events that I was not overconfident prior going through that finish line.”

“This title means so much to me and my group, but I can tell you that it has been quite a mission to get it. You can’t compare the way to prepare a normal World Cup race to the strategy displayed when you’re aiming for victory in a medal event.”

“I was here twice to test that demanding track with my husband and my staff in past months. This was absolutely crucial for my technical and mental preparation. Today I really felt ready to fight for gold – I had done all what was in my power to prepare as much as possible. This is definitely huge for me. It’s a major accomplishment not only for me but also for our sport in Canada.”

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