Sport Shorts: Canada First in Mountain Biking & Water Polo

In Offenburg, Germany: What a moment for mountain bike racer Catharine Pendrel. The native of Kamloops, B.C. won her first-ever European World Cup on Sunday, finishing the 26.6 km course in one hour, 37 minutes, 24 seconds. She was a half-minute faster than the second-place rider. Country mate Marie-Hélène Prémont (Chateau Richer, Que.), the World Cup overall champion two years ago, was fourth. On the men’s side, Victoria’s Geoff Kabush finished 15th.

For Pendrel, it was the third World Cup win of her career. She now leads the overall standings by 40 points, with three races to go. You can catch this great athlete at World Cups in July and August, followed by the World Championships in Quebec this September. Pendrel was a 2008 Olympian, coming very close to a medal following a fourth-place finish in Beijing. In that race, Prémont had a bike malfunction and was forced to pull out.

In Puerto Rico: What an impressive showing by the Canadian women’s water polo team in a World League preliminary tournament that ended Sunday. Canada defeated Puerto Rico 15-1 to finish first, earning them a berth in the FINA World League Super Final. That event will run in La Jolla, California from June 28 to July 3.

Advancing with them were the second-place finishers, the United States, who is the reigning world champion. Both Canada and the U.S. finished 5-1 in the tournament, but Canada’s goals-for-and-against ratio beat their American rivals. Pacing Canada in the final game were a pair of Quebec strikers, Dominique Perrault (Montreal) and Marina Radu (Pointe-Claire), who had three goals each. The team next plays in Russia for the Kirachi Cup that begins Thursday.

At Roland Garros: Canada’s top women’s tennis player, Aleksandra Wozniak, is through to the second round of the French Open. The Blainville, Que. native defeated Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-3 on Monday. It is a great momentum-building win after suffering shoulder problems for many months. Fellow Canadian Stephanie Dubois (Laval, Que.) lost in three sets to France’s Stephanie Cohen-Aloro 6-7 (3), 6-1, 6-3.