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Canada’s National Mountain Bikers find home in Victoria, BC

ECOASIS and Cycling Canada are proud to announce their partnership that will designate Bear Mountain as the Official High Performance Training Centre of the Canadian National Mountain Bike Team.
The Partnership will run from 2015 to 2020 and is perfectly aligned with Cycling Canada’s vision to become a leading cycling nation by 2020 and beyond.

With the recently opened Mattamy National Cycling Centre in Milton, ON and now the Ecoasis MountainBike National Cycling Centre opened at Bear Mountain in Victoria, BC, Canada is in a stronger position to achieve its long-term objectives to put Canadian athletes on the podium at Olympic Games and World Championships.

Throughout the partnership, the Canadian National Mountain Bike Team will participate in various Major Games, including Olympic Games [Rio 2016, Tokyo 2020], Pan American Games [Toronto 2015, Lima 2019] and Commonwealth Games [Gold Coast 2018].

Southern Vancouver Island has attracted the country’s top mountain bike athletes as a home and year-round training ground since the inception of the sport in the 1990’s, including Canada’s first Mountain Bike Olympian (Athens – 1996), and Victoria native, Andreas Hestler: “Southern Vancouver Island has all the ingredients to turn out world-class athletes and has been doing so for many years. It is amazing to see facilities developed to support athletes and of equal importance to engage the local community in encouraging a healthy lifestyle. I am excited to see the long term legacy that this forward thinking can deliver – this is a win-win for everyone!”

Other notable athletes who have lived and trained in Victoria include Roland Green (World Champion 2001, 2002), Alison Sydor (World Champion 1994, 1995, 1996) and Catherine Pendrel (World Champion 2011, 2014) among others.

Two-time XC MTB World Champion Catherine Pendrel is excited about the opportunity to train in Canada. “Canada has been a dominant nation in cross-country mountain biking since World Cup racing began in the early 90’s.  Riders naturally gravitated to the year round temperate climate and amazing trail and road riding network in Victoria. Having a training centre in Victoria will be an incredible resource to develop our national team riders and to continue producing the best riders in the world.  I am really excited by this partnership between Bear Mountain and Cycling Canada MTB and look forward to spending more time on the island.”

Canadian Mountain Bike Head Coach and Victoria resident Dan Proulx sees great opportunities for the National Mountain Bike Team going forward with the new Training Centre at Bear Mountain: “BearMountain will provide the National Team with a great opportunity to build a year-round high-performance centre that supports Canada’s future champions.” Proulx added “the weather, technical terrain and daily training environment in this region will help our riders fully prepare for international competition. The National Mountain Bike team has a strong history here. Many of the best Canadian mountain bikers have perfected their skills and fitness on these trails.”

ECOASIS President and CEO, Dan Matthews:
Bear Mountain Resort is very pleased to support and welcome Canada’s mountain bike athletes, many of whom have deep roots in the trails around our beautiful resort community. Acting as a catalyst for world-class sport development is a priority for us at Bear Mountain, and we are excited and proud to be an important anchor for Cycling Canada’s mountain biking program. Along with the development of the trails necessary for the Canadian team athletes, we are working with our local partner organizations to introduce trail systems for mountain bikers of all skill levels to enjoy. Mountain biking is a strong complement to our commitment to golf and tennis and its versatility fits in well with the expansive healthy lifestyle opportunities and amenities that will further distinguish our community.”

The CEO of Cycling Canada, Greg Mathieu is appreciative of the support being provided to the national program and noted: “Thanks to ECOASIS, our riders will get to experience the challenging trails on southern Vancouver Island and considerable support available at Bear Mountain Resort. This partnership will enhance our national program and provide for a daily training environment that is essential to the development of Canada’s top mountain bikers.”

The first of the Canadian National Mountain Bike Team’s Spring Training Camps with take place at BearMountain this February 23- March 8. There will be opportunities to meet the athletes and coaches at Westin Bear Mountain on the final weekend of the Camp. Further details will be announced.

Photo by Guy Napert-Frenette/Cycling Canada.