Posted by Editoress on 06/8/18
National champions took the top two spots at the Chrono Gatineau time trial on Friday, with American champion Amber Neben (PX4) winning the 17.3 kilometre race against the clock, followed by Canadian champion Karol-Anne Canuel (Team Canada).
This time trial is different from most, with a long climb into the Gatineau Park followed by a long descent back to the finish line. Sunny but cool weather made for almost perfect conditions for the for 48 starters. Defending champion Lauren Stephens (Cylance) was a scratch due to injury, meaning that a new champion was guaranteed.
Elizabeth Banks (UnitedHealthcare) was the early leader, and the first to go below 26 minutes. Emily Newson (Tibco-SVB) finally took the lead after 25 riders had passed through the finish, but five riders later Rushlee Buchanan (UnitedHealthcare) bumped her out by 19 seconds. Then it was the turn of Neben, a former world champion who won Gatineau in 2016, who was the first to go below 25 minutes, with a time of 24:33.55, which would prove to be unbeatable through the remaining four riders. Canuel, who resides locally in Gatineau and won the national title on this course as well as finishing second at Gatineau last year, came closest, but was still 16.28 seconds back. Tayler Wiles (Trek-Drops), the final starter and 2014 Gatineau champion, took third.
"I know this course really well because it is my home," said Canuel. "I'm happy with my second place today, I don't think I could have done better. But for sure I'm disappointed not to be on the top step of the podium. Last year, in the split I was slower climbing on the way out and then fastest on the way back, so this year I tried to go harder on the way out."
"This is a very different time trial course," agreed Neben. "For me, I hit the first part [the climb] really hard and then do my best not to lose time on the way back. So it's different to think of the race in halves, instead of the whole thing."
Karol-Ann Canuel - 2nd
Amber Neben - 1st
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