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November 30/09 18:40 pm - 2009 CanAmQue Challenge - London Velodrome


Posted by Editoress on 11/30/09
 

Over 65 riders battled it out on Saturday night (November 28th) at the Forest City Velodrome in London, Ontario.  The race night was the highlight of the 2009 racing season.  Seven riders came up from south of the border, 17 were from the province of Quebec and the rest of the field were Ontario racers.

Photos by Paul Picot

Two of Canada's cycling royalty - 1983 World Champion Gord Singleton and Tour de France competitor / Team Planet Energy Director Steve Bauer - were in the house.  We were almost at capacity with the number of spectators watching the show.  They were cheering for their favourites all night.  It was like a party, with many new cycling fans in attendance.

Before the CanAmQue Challenge got underway, a series of races were held.

In women's racing, 13 riders contested their endurance race with many attacks off the front.  The average speed was 39.9 kph for 40 lap endurance race.  Amy Biskaborn eventually came away with the hard fought victory.  After the initial flurry of attacks died away, Biskaborn rolled off the front and none of the other women were able to match her speed.  Biskaborn won by 10 bike lengths, Kimberly Edwards from Boston was second.

The FCV youth racers took to the track next with nine cadets racing their guts out.  Not one of the riders held anything back with Eric MacDonald from London winning the first race, Daniel Mackenzie-Picot came out on top of the second race, and 14 year old Will Simonds snatching victory in the youth challenge.  Will was the last rider pedaling in the "Pursuit Death Match" which lasted over 9 minutes, the crowd was going nuts for these kids.... Great to see.

In sprint action, It was an all London final, as 2009 Canadian Junior sprint Champion Allan Leparskas and Mike Nuttall (Cycles London) easily made it through to the final.  The 750m event was very tactical, with neither rider wanting to show their hand too early.  With three laps to go, Nuttall attacked over the top in an effort to gain the advantage.  Leparskas countered with a quick burst of speed and continued to accelerate to the finish, just nipping Nuttall at the line by half a bike length.... Very exciting and the spectators were on their feet to congratulate the riders as they high-fived each other at the finish line.

CanAmQue Challenge presented by Yellow Pages Group

The CanAmQue Challenge began with four heats to set the field for the Semi Finals.  All of the favourites advanced easily, with Planet Energy and 2009 Canadian Road Champion Guillaume Boivin leading the way.

In the semi final round things began to heat up, as some Juniors were advanced by their performances in the heats.  Young racer Kyle Rupay from Peterborough soon became a crowd favourite.  Kyle dangled off the back of the first Semi and continued to show guts and determination as lap after lap he got dropped and caught back on when the pace slowed.  Although Kyle didn't make it to the Final, he was always on the radar of the fans, who appreciated his effort.

In the end, the semi finals made sure a field containing the top 12 racers was going to do battle in the evening's feature race:  the CanAmQue Challenge.

The 138 lap challenge started off as you would expect:  Fast.  A $100 preem (thanks to Joe Brennan from New Jersey for the cash) was offered for the first rider to lap the field. Dave St James (London) attacked on lap 1 and gained three-quarters of a lap very quickly, only to come within 10 metres of taking home the cash but ...... you guessed it, he blew hard as the pace picked up, since the big guns wanted the cash for themselves. It was a valiant effort by St James, he paid dearly for the effort and had to withdraw from the event (cramps).

Many attacks went off the front of the race, however, it wasn't until Planet Energy's Guillaume Boivin rolled off the front and was the first rider to lap the field, pocketing the $100.  There was still over 90 laps to go and Bovin was on his own, a lap up on the field, until Junior rider Ryan Aitcheson (Jetfuel Coffee) made a hard effort from mid pack.  Aitcheson immediately put a half lap into the field before Boivin could get to the front to try to close the gap.  Within three laps Aitcheson was at the back of the pack, he was now on even terms with Bovin, one lap up on the rest of the riders.

Once all the riders were together there was another preem up for grabs.  The three lap sprint really put the weaker riders in trouble.  In the end, Quebec strongman Phillip Raymond scooped up the cash prize on offer.  After the preem, the pack spread out, which gave Boivin and Aitcheson an opportunity to steadily open another gap and put a second lap on the remaining riders.  As the racers saw 30 to go, Aitcheson attacked Bovin to put the road champ in a spot of bother.  It didn't last long, however, as Bovin came back up to the Junior rider, and both riders continued to put a third lap on the field.  The spectators were treated to an amazing display of speed and power as the two strongest competitors started to play cat and mouse as they waited for the final sprint.  Aitcheson's Jetfuel teammate Dave Byers went on the attack with no reaction from the pack and gained one of his laps back to guarantee third overall.

In the final ten laps the two leaders kept an eye on one another like they were in a short sprint race.  Boivin and Aitcheson were marking each others movements all over the track.  The crowd was going crazy. Many of the racers were still on the infield, they were all on their feet cheering.  It was quite a show........

With five laps to go the battle between Ontario and Quebec would come down to who had the most speed in the final 500 metres.  Aitcheson took the lead, and steadily picked up the pace. At 400 metres to go he attacked and opened up a four bike length lead.  Boivin closed the gap and with one to go started his charge over the top of the Junior.  Elbow to elbow down the back stretch, both riders on the rivet, Aitcheson took the advantage in the final corner and crossed the finish line ahead by the smallest of margins.  The margin of victory was .087 seconds.  The average speed for the race was 43.625 kph.  That's after almost 25 minutes of racing.  The fastest lap of the event was Aitcheson on the last and final lap with a time of 8.56 seconds, or 58.037kph.

What an evening of bicycle racing.  We can't wait for Winter Nationals in February.

The official top 5 results were:

Ryan Aitcheson   (Jetfuel Coffee) Ontario
Guillaume Boivin     (Planet Energy) Quebec
Dave Byer     (Jetfuel Coffee) Ontario
Phillip Raymond (Quebec)
Garnett Abbey   (Ontario)

Complete CanAmQue Challenge results will be posted at www.ForestCityVelodrome.ca  
Checkout the FCV Facebook section with all the comments from the race fans.

Courtesy of the FCV

 


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