Posted by Editoress on 10/11/10
Canadian Cyclists In the Thick of It on the Road
Canada’s road cycling team competed Sunday in the men’s and women’s road races. The road course had the riders pass by or through some important landmarks in central Delhi including Vijay Chowwk, Parliament House and Rajiv Chowk. A one point, the course had the riders turn onto the Rajpath with a view framed by the India Gate.
The women competed first in a 112km road race. Canadian entries included Erinne Willock, Joelle Numainville, Julie Beveridge, Leah Kirchman, Anne Samplonius, and Tara Whitten.
It was expected that the flat course in Delhi was to be one for sprinters. Strong entries included the 2002 Commonwealth Games road race Champion, Nicole Cook of Wales; New Zealand’s Cath Cheatley and Linda Villumson, also of New Zealand, who was a 2010 World Road Championships silver medalist. The mass start included 55 riders representing 16 countries.
All Canadians riders remained with the lead pack by the fifth lap. As the sixth lap began, only 39 riders remained in the race at this point. Towards the end of the sixth lap, the field began to spread out, and it was Erinne Willock who took over the lead.
On the seventh lap, the race for the lead was between Victoria Whitelaw of Australia, Linda Villumsen and Willock with the rest of the pack, including all Canadians, very close behind.
On the last lap, with less than 14 km to go the field was all together. As they turned around at the Vijay Chowk for the last time, England, Canada, Australia and New Zealand remained in the front. With half a lap to go, the entire field still looked strong and were still in a pack. It was anyone’s race.
As the riders crossed the finish line, it was a mass sprint with milli-seconds deciding the medals. In the end, Australia’s Rochelle Gilmore won with a time of 2:49:30. For the silver medal it was Elizabeth Armistead of England and Chloe Hosking of Australia won the bronze.
A total of 38 riders finished the race out of a field of 58. Final results for Canadian entries included Joelle Numainville with the top Canadian finish of sixth place. Tara Whitten came seventh, Erinne Willock came 13th, Anne Samplonius came 15th and Leah Kirchmann came 21st.
For the men’s 167km road race, Canadian entries included 2010 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist Zach Bell, Arnaud Papillon, Dominique Rollin, Ryan Roth and Will Routley.
Race insiders were expecting Mark Cavendish of the Isle of Man to be the favorite. Cavendish recently had five stage wins at the Tour de France and Green jersey in the Vuelta a Espana in September.
In the first lap, a group of six riders broke from the pack, with riders from Northern Island, New Zealand, South Africa and Rwanda quickly pulling away. The peloton followed almost a minute and a half back, with Australia leading. Lap two was completed with the lead breakaway group posting a time of 37:28, one and a half minutes ahead of the peloton.
In the fourth lap, the Rwandan athlete fell back and the Canadians stayed with the leaders of the peloton. The break consisted of David McCann from Northern Ireland, Gordon McCauley, Sam Bewley, and Marc Ryan of New Zealand and Christoff Van Heerden of South Africa.
In the fourth lap, McCann broke away from the leaders with Gordon McCauley of New Zealand following. They crossed the line finishing lap four with a time of 1:15:59.
At the halfway point, six laps remained. The leaders completed the seventh lap in a time of 2:14:20. When the peloton followed and crossed the start line, Arnaud Papillon and Zach Bell were at the lead of the group. A race was on for bronze among the 68 riders who remained in the race.
At the end of the eighth lap, Zach Bell pulled away from the pack looking for a chance to make up ground. With three laps to go, only 51 riders remained. The lead pack now included David McCann from Northern Island, New Zealand riders Gordon McCauley, Jack Bauer, Hayden Roulston and Canada’s Zach Bell. The chasers behind the lead group were making up ground, and were only 22 seconds behind.
Lap 11 saw Jack Bauer trying to maintain his lead, the followers including two Canadians, Zach Bell and Dominique Rollin. As the last lap approached, Bauer was trying to maintain his lead and holding strong. Chasing him down was a group including Mark Cavendish and Dominique Rollin.
The last lap was a race to the finish for the exhausted riders. New leaders traded back and forth. Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, Northern Island and Isle of Man were all in the race for the medals. The sprint to the finish started early with New Zealand’s Hayden Roulston, David Millar of Scotland, David McCann of Northern Ireland and Australia’s Allan Davis. By the sprint to the final another Australian rider joined the race to the final with the lead group.
In the finish, Millar broke away first to sprint. With 200 meters to go the cyclists gave their all, and Allan Davis won gold with a time of 3:49:48, Hayden Roulston won silver and David Millar of Scotland won bronze.
In the end, the Canadian men’s team said they gave it their all and used team dynamics as best they could to help each other stay at the front of the pack.
“Zach worked out perfect when he made the move,” said Ryan Roth. “We rode perfect as a team, we had two guys in every move.”
With the strong field, Canadians were very competitive and in the running for the medals with all Canadian entries finishing the demanding race, that saw 78 riders drop out. Canadian results included Dominique Rollin 6th, Zach Bell 11th, Will Routley 19th, Arnaud Papillion 22nd and Ryan Roth 25th.
Courtesy Commonwealth Games Canada
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