Eva Leikermoser, a junior rider from Comox, competes as a member of the Canadian team at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships this month in Les Gets, France. Photo supplied

Eva Leikermoser, a junior rider from Comox, competes as a member of the Canadian team at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships this month in Les Gets, France. Photo supplied

Island racers aim for podium at mountain bike worlds

A quartet of locals are among 51 athletes named to the Canadian team to race in the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships from Aug. 24-28 in Les Gets, France. Cycling Canada says the event is the biggest of the season on the Cross-Country (XCO) and Downhill (DH) calendar.

Vancouver Island riders include Cumberland’s Carter Woods, who so far this season has won a national championship and three medals on the 2022 World Cup circuit. He competes in the U23 XCO men’s division.

The others are Emilly Johnston of Comox in U23 women, Eva Leikermoser of Comox in junior DH women and Elijah Barron of Cobble Hill in junior DH men.

Though she’s faced a few health challenges this season, Johnston has enjoyed racing a full World Cup circuit in new venues, and is thankful to be part of the Norco Factory team.

“The support at all the races has been incredible and the team dynamic is amazing,” she said. “I’ve had some ups and downs with a concussion at the first race, and some recent health issues and sickness after national championships.”

Johnston collapsed on the last lap at nationals due to heat stroke and an asthma attack. She’s been home in recent weeks, training on the Cumberland trails to prepare for worlds.

“Overall, I’ve been happy with how my races have been going this season,” she said. “I’ve been pretty consistently in the top 15, and am in the top 10 in the current World Cup overall.”

Leikermoser, 17, and Barron, 18, are part of the Gravity MTB Development Team, run by Comox Valley resident Chad Hendren, a national team coach who will be joining the athletes in France.

READ: Comox Valley man selected to national coaching team

“Very exciting indeed,” Hendren said by email. “After the world championships, we go to Val di Sole, Italy for the final World Cup of the season.”

In a Cycling Canada press release, Hendren says Canadian downhill is growing stronger by the year.

“Legends and icons like Stevie [Smith], Claire [Buchar], Miranda [Miller] and Finn [Iles], are, and have been, fueling the fire with our juniors for the past few years,”’ he said. “Canada is evolving into a formidable force in downhill and we are very excited to showcase our athlete’s talent in this year’s world championships.”

Mark Wallace of Duncan is also competing in France in the elite DH men’s division. World Cup overall leader Gracey Hemstreet of the Sunshine Coast is a strong contender for the podium in junior DH women.



reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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Emilly Johnston of Comox pictured during a World Cup race in Europe. Photo by Ross Bell

Emilly Johnston of Comox pictured during a World Cup race in Europe. Photo by Ross Bell

Emilly Johnston of Comox competes in the U23 women’s division at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Les Gets, France. Photo by Ross Bell

Emilly Johnston of Comox competes in the U23 women’s division at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships in Les Gets, France. Photo by Ross Bell

Emilly Johnston of Comox is part of the Norco Factory team. Photo by Andy Vathis

Emilly Johnston of Comox is part of the Norco Factory team. Photo by Andy Vathis

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