Stephen Ettinger will be lining up for one of his favorite races on the UCI World Cup circuit this weekend in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada. Hosting its first World Cup in 1991, Mont-Sainte-Anne has become an iconic race over the decades for the racers and the fans from Quebec.
Ettinger first lined up in Mont-Sainte-Anne in 2008. Back for his ninth visit, the American is looking forward to being back on his favorite track that undergoes changes each year to keep things fresh and unique for the racers.
“Part of the reason we keep coming back is because they always do such a good job year after year after year of putting together a really good course,” says Ettinger. “It’s a new track this year with some parts of the old course. Each year it adapts and changes. This year they have installed a new trail and we run sections in a different direction than we have in the past. The legendary Beatrice descent, the technical rock garden that runs under the gondola, is still there.”
And the locals know how to throw a bike party.
“Mont-Sainte-Anne always seems to draw a good crowd,” Ettinger continues. “It’s kind of remote so we won’t see the kind of crowds like Albstadt or Nove Mesto, but there’s usually ten to fifteen thousand people out there over the weekend. Everyone here loves it. They get so into it. They throw a big party the whole weekend, and it’s fun to be a part of it all.”
In the previous eight years of racing, Ettinger’s results have fluctuated between the upper teens and the lower twenties. Based on his form from last weekend’s Boston Rebellion, Ettinger is optimistic about landing a result in the top 15 this Sunday.
“Last weekend I had really good legs,” says Ettinger. “It’s just going to be better this weekend. I’d love to put up my best ever result here.”
As the 2016 season is nearing the end for Ettinger, the Ridebiker athlete is nostalgic when it comes to being back at Mont-Sainte-Anne with his mechanic and close friend Daimeon Shanks.
“This is the last race Daimo and I will do together before he starts law school in the fall,” Ettinger says. “Mont-Sainte-Anne was one of the first trips we did together and it’s appropriate it will be the last.”