SPORTS THE SCORE
Shandro second in World Cup debut CRUZ JUST OFF THE PODIUM IN FOURTH AT SEASON-OPENING RACE IN SLOVENIA
BY DAN FALLOON IN HIS FIRST-EVER UCI World Cup race, Ethan Shandro made a quick impression. Shandro, who lives in Whistler in the summer and is a former Whistler Mountain Ski Club racer, took a second-place finish in the junior men’s category at the seasonopening race in Maribor, Slovenia on April 27. Shandro’s time was just over three seconds back of winner Thibaut Daprela of France, and he was 1.3 seconds ahead of third-place finisher Kye A’hern of Australia. Pemberton’s Lucas Cruz was just off the podium in fourth. “It felt good. It was very shocking at the beginning. It didn’t sink in until the day after, to be honest, so that was cool,” the 17-year-old Shandro said. “I got to the top of my run on World Cup weekend and thought, ‘Let’s just have fun.’ I didn’t take it too seriously and just enjoyed my time at the World Cup and took it all in.” While Slovenia might not necessarily be top of mind when it comes to top mountainbiking destinations, Shandro loved the course while praising the country for its beauty. He also said the kind people and good food made it a memorable part of a milestone event. “It was crazy to do my first World
OVER THE LINE Ethan Shandro crosses the line in his first-ever UCI World Cup junior race.
PHOTO BY MATTHEW DELORME
42 MAY 2, 2019
Cup. There was more of everything. There were a lot more people watching. It was pretty loud and obviously, there’s more pressure, so when you got to the bottom of your run, it was very relieving,” he said. “I definitely take some confidence from it going into the second round. I’m on pace with the guys and I’m looking forward to the season and seeing if I can get on the top step of the podium.” Shandro explained that he and several of
“Definitely, at the beginning of the season, it weighs on me a little bit because I’m proud and don’t want to let anyone down,” he said. “I want to do well for the team and everyone is so supportive, especially my dad. He was the first person I called after my race.” While Shandro left ski racing to focus on mountain biking full time, he still attempts to ski regularly as cross-training for mountain biking. However, his preparation
“I’m on pace with the guys and I’m looking forward to the season and seeing if I can get on the top step of the podium.” - ETHAN SHANDRO
his competitors got a feel for the mountain earlier, as there was a tune-up race the previous weekend. “I got acclimatized to the dirt and I was less jetlagged,” he said. “The dirt, when it rained in Slovenia, definitely got really slick and was almost peanut butter.” Shandro receives a bit of extra attention as his father, Andrew, is an X Games champion and a past winner on the World Cup circuit. While he tries to shrug it off, it’s not always possible to totally avoid his father’s shadow early in his career.
primarily revolved around working in the gym and riding in and around Vancouver as much as possible. Shandro credited the resort immensely for helping him to achieve the levels he’s attained to this point. “Whistler is basically my second home,” he said. “I spend basically half my time up in Whistler. It’s done a lot to help my mountain biking and I spend a lot of time in the bike park riding around.” Two other Canadians raced, with Whistler’s Ian Milley taking 16th and White
Rock’s Elliot Jamieson earning 17th. In the elite men’s division, Mark Wallace was the top Canadian in eighth as France’s Loic Bruni, Great Britain’s Danny Hart and Australia’s Troy Brosnan locked down the top three spots in order. Whistler’s Finn Iles qualified in third, but went down in the race and placed 52nd. No Canadian women competed, however. “After this weekend, we showed that Canadians are out there getting good results and it’s good to represent Canada like that on the world stage,” Shandro said. Cruz, meanwhile, was feeling happy after his fourth-place showing. “My body and my head felt really solid all week and coming away with fourth was a good feeling to be at the same place as last year,” he said. “I actually had a really consistent run and I was feeling really good on my bike and hitting all of my lines, so I wasn’t really surprised with the result.” With the rain in Slovenia, Cruz said the Canadian athletes, himself included, benefitted from riding in familiar conditions. “It was pretty similar to some riding we had in B.C. It rained a whole bunch, so we had an advantage over all the guys who always ride in the dry (conditions),” he said. Joining the SRAM TLD Racing Team this year has given Cruz an extra boost of confidence, as he feels he has extra resources such as a fulltime mechanic and his own pit area. “We’re really treated like celebrities, really,” he said. “It lets us perform the best we can, which is really cool.” n
Pique Newsmagazine for May 2, 2019