Posted by Editoress on 07/24/08
2008 Junior World Championships Cape Town, South Africa
Team Canada Wrap Up by Denise Kelly
The Canadian Team traveled a very long distance to enjoy some very decent results, amidst fine organization and incredibly beautiful scenery. Cape Town was a great host. The team arrived just after five days of horrible rain, and luckily avoided the storms that the Cape is famous for during their winter months.
The track championships saw Laurie-Anne Dupont-Renaud garner the highest placing for the Canadian team, narrowly missing a medal in the scratch race with a fourth place finish. Her crash in the points race with a lap and a half to go fortunately ended with just bruises and scrapes. Her focus shifted immediately to healing, prior to the road race. Both she and Jessica Kissel posted decent times in the pursuit, finishing 17th and 18th respectively. Ryan Aitcheson came back from a disappointing finish in his pursuit to qualify for the final of the Points Race and to place 12th in the Omnium, and create a stepping stone for next year's performances.
The time trials were contested on a course that had no flat sections, set amongst the gorgeous rolling vineyards of the Paarl region of Southern Africa, with majestic mountains in the background. Denise Ramsden improved upon last year's World's with a 16th place finish just one minute from the top 5. Leah Kirchmann finished in 25th out of 19 starters. Devon Novakowski acquitted himself well to finish in 28th position, just one minute out of the top 10. Hugo Houle was 38th among the 69 starters.
Brilliant sunshine and blue skies greeted riders on the morning of the road race. The course went through the downtown core of the city, with a crit-like circuit each lap and a 3 km climb with the stunning backdrop of Table Mountain.
The 63 women completed 6 laps. Each time up the climb saw splits happen in the group, but the downhill that followed the 180 degree turn was long enough that nothing stuck. Ramsden was well placed up the climb each lap, anticipating the attacks and following the moves. Kirchmann and Dupont-Renaud rode well to stick with the group, but Kirchmann unable to close a gap over the final climb. Kissel had difficulty following the pace and rode several laps on her own. The inevitable bunch sprint occurred with Ramsden finishing 22nd and Dupont-Renaud 33rd. Kirchman came in for 40th and Kissel was 53rd.
The men's race started fast and furious, with each lap seeing the pack whittled down as riders were unable to hold the pace on the climb and through the corners in the technical section. The Canadians were in the mix each lap, with Simon Lambert-Lemay positioned well at the front. William Garneau was a fixture at the front until a crash forced him to unclip and he never regained contact with the peleton. Also within his group was Canadian David Larson. With 4 laps to go the peleton was shattered into 5 or 6 groups, with only Lemay able to stay in the front group. Hugo Houle rode strongly until the split, then fell off the pace. Novakowski and Aitcheson just missed the final split and rode in a small group of 8 for the final 2 laps.
Lambert-Lemay rode brilliantly to finish in 9th place, the highest placing in many years for a junior man at the World's. Novakowski and Aticheson followed in 63rd and 66th. Garneau was 105th, Larson 111th and Houle gutted it out to place 112th of 115 finishers from the original 163.
A record was certainly attained by this group of future champions - every rider who started the race finished. Louis Garneau made his way down to Cape Town to support the team, and brought with him his trademark white bracelets imprinted with the following expression: 'Never Give Up - Jamais Abandonner'. It meshed completely with the philosophy of the team and they were distributed the night before the race. All riders took that message to heart as they represented Canada well on the other side of the world.
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