Carter Woods is pictured during the MTB Ca’Neva Trophy in Caneva, Italy. Photo by Alessandro Billiani

Carter Woods is pictured during the MTB Ca’Neva Trophy in Caneva, Italy. Photo by Alessandro Billiani

Cumberland mountain bike racer cracks top 10 in Italy

Carter Woods, a Cumberland mountain bike racer and member of Canada’s national team, kicked off the competitive season with a top-10 result at a cross-country race last weekend in Italy.

The 19-year-old placed seventh at the MTB Ca’Neva Trophy in Caneva, Italy. The race featured the current world champion, former Under-23 world champions and multiple national champions. Woods finished one spot behind U.S. national champion Christopher Blevins.

“I was really happy with my result,” Woods said by email. “I had a good start and moved from my 25th call up to the top five on my first lap. It was a longer race than I was used to at around an hour and 40 minutes, and also one of the harder ones for me knowing who I was up against. I settled in for a few laps with a couple other guys around seventh to eighth position. I managed to put in a decent last lap to pull away from them and finished seventh.”

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The event was a C2 race, as are most national level events, similar to a Canada Cup. Racers from all countries can enter but there are fewer UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) points available than a C1 or World Cup race. UCI points determine a starting position, which can be critical.

“U23 and elite are grouped together in this type of race,” Woods said. “It is neat to have the opportunity to measure yourself against the best.”

Based in Germany, the Canadian team is traveling to races around Europe. Next up is a Swiss Cup in Leukerbad, Switzerland on Sunday, May 2. The first World Cup race is May 8 in Albstadt, Germany.

Another standout mountain biker from the Comox Valley, Emilly Johnston, was also racing last weekend in Europe. The 19-year-old from Comox finished 39th at the Haiming XCO race in Austria.