Posted by Editoress on 06/8/18
Canadian riders took five of the top-10 spots on Thursday at the Grand Prix Cycliste Gatineau road race, with Alison Jackson (Tibco SVB) finishing second and Sara Bergen (Rally Cycling) third in a sprint finish behind Lauren Hall (UnitedHealthcare) of the United States. Other Canadian results included Team Canada's Marie-Soleil Blais was sixth and Karol-Ann Canuel seventh, Annie Foreman-Mackey (The Cyclery) in ninth and Frederique Larose Gingras (Macogep-Argon18) in 11th.
The 104 kilometre race saw the field of 78 riders climb into the Gatineau Park for two laps before descending back for five laps of a finishing circuit.
Solo attack by Luce Bourbeau (Desjardin Ford) on the opening climb
Team TIBCO driving the chase
The action began with a solo attack by Luce Bourbeau (Desjardin Ford) on the opening climb that gained a maximum of two minutes. However, when the race hit the steepest section of the climb, the field split under pressure from Rally Cycling, with 16 of the top riders breaking clear of the rest of the field. The front group included all the major teams and the top riders, with five each from Rally Cycling and UnitedHealthcare, two from Tibco, two from Team Canada, plus Foreman-Mackey and Larose Gingras.
Tibco led the chasing peloton, keeping pressure on the leaders and managing to close to within 30 seconds a couple of times, but UHC and Rally kept the tempo up at the front and the gap extended to over a minute on the final lap.
In the final uphill sprint, Hall went to the front with 150 metres to go and held off the rest of the group to win by a couple of bike lengths.
Lauren Hall (UnitedHealthcare) takes the win
"It was actually a super tactical race and really hard in the Park," said Jackson. "There were only two of us from Tibco in the break, with rest of the team was chasing behind, which was good because with all of UHC and all of Rally up there they could have just kept attacking. But with the gap so small they had to just keep riding hard, burn up some of their people and keep us sitting in. In the sprint, I was sitting fifth wheel coming out of the last corner when one of the UHC riders pulled off the front of their lead out and disrupted my spot in the chain, so I had to chase hard to get on Sara's [Bergen] wheel. It's really exciting to be on the podium in a UCI race, in Canada."
"Rally set a hard tempo on the first climb," said Hall, "shredding the field and whittling it down to the group that stayed away till the finish. Leah (Thomas) and Lizzie (Banks) did most of the work to keep the gap established and we tried for a couple of attacks but nothing stuck, so it was down to a bunch kick. Rushlee (Buchanan) and Lauretta (Hanson) set up the sprint just as we had talked about in the race meeting and I shot out from behind Lauretta to take the win."
Alison Jackson - 2nd
Sara Bergen - 3rd
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