Posted by Editoress on 07/1/06
Road National Championships Quebec City
Alexandra Wrubleski (H&R Block) scored a rare double victory at the Canadian National Road Cycling Championships on Friday, when she won the road race event as a follow up to her time trial title the day before. Anne Samplonius (Team Biovail) finished second, with Leigh Hobson (Victory Brewing) third. The 22 year old Wrubleski is a newcomer to the sport of cycling, currently in her second full season of competing after a junior career in speedskating.
Wrubleski was a member of a breakaway group of five riders, who pulled away from the main field on the second lap of the eight lap event, which took place through the streets of Quebec, and climbed from the St Lawrence River to the Plains of Abraham on each 13 kilometer lap.
Erinne Willock (Webcor Platinum) initiated the break at the base of the climb, and was joined by Wrubleski, Samplonius, Hobson and Marni Hambleton (Symmetrics). The group established 25 seconds on the peloton by the start of the third lap, and it looked like Amy Moore (T-Mobile) and Merrill Collins were about to join them, but the pair could only get to within 12 seconds before giving up and falling back to the field. Hambleton dropped off the break after a couple laps, leaving four at the front.
"We didn't even know that they were chasing" revealed Samplonius afterwards. "But, all five of us were working really well together, so it would have been hard for two riders to make it across."
The gap stabilized at around a minute for the next few laps, as rain swept in to drench the riders and make cornering treacherous, but then began to grow again, to over five minutes with two laps to go.
It was on the climb on this lap that Wrubleski attacked and was able to carve out a slim 15 second lead by the start of the last lap. With three determined chasers, it didn't look like this would hold, and Willock said that they initially weren't too worried.
"We wanted to let her dangle out there a bit, but I just didn't have it today on the final climb." Willock dropped back from the other two, who began reeling in Wrubleski on the long finishing straight. However, the final 600 meters is on a slight downhill, and Samplonius found that she ran out of gears - and road - finishing ten meters short at the line.
"I needed an extra gear! I just wasn't able to get up there soon enough, unfortunately. I was pretty confident that we could get her, but just didn't factor in the downhill to the finish."
Wrubleski pointed to her coach - former national team member Paul Kelly - for her success. "My coach had told me to make sure I didn't miss any breakaways, so I was watching in the first couple of laps. When the break formed, it was on the climb up Cote Gilmour, and the five of us got a gap really quickly. After that, I was waiting for later in the race, to see how strong the others were. I went a little harder on the climb the second last time, and no one responded, so I just went for it."
- Four time national champion Czeslaw Lukaszewicz (Sleemans Clear) will be in the field for the 14 lap men's race today, going for his fifth national title. "I'm an old man, but I still have to get out there and race."
- In the Junior races earlier in the day, pre-race favourite Karol-Ann Canuel (Equipe Quebec) broke away from the field to take the title, while the men's race saw an interesting tactical battle between Ontario and Quebec. Both put two riders in a five rider break, with time trial silver medalist Mark Hinnen (Ontario) then bridging up from the peloton and attacking to solo in for an impressive victory. His team mate Alexander Korten then jumped off the front of the break to take second, with Vincent Blouin (Equipe Quebec) salvaging some Quebec pride by winning the field sprint after the rest of the break was absorbed by the peloton.
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