Posted by Editoress on 06/30/14
The 2014 Canadian Road Nationals for Elite, Under-23 and Para cyclists concluded on Sunday with the Criterium and Sprint Challenges. While not official national championships under the UCI, the Crit is highly popular and jerseys are awarded.
Leah Kirchmann (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) completed an amazing weekend by taking her third title at the Championships in the women's criterium, becoming - so far as we can tell - the first rider to win the time trial, road race and criterium at the same championships. it is also the third consecutive year that Kirchmann has won the Crit title.
On the men's side, Remi Pelletier-Roy (Garneau-Quebecor) was a member of a four rider breakaway that went away early in the race and just stayed away, with Pelletier-Roy outkicking Ryan MacDonald (H&R Block) for the title.
"At the beginning of the year, Louis [Garneau] named me captain of the team, and he told me he wanted a criterium team. This is what was built. It would have been disappointing for us not to win the of Canadian championships title, as Pierrick had won last year. That was the goal this year, so mission accomplished," said Remi Pelletier-Roy.
Ryan MacDonald (H&R Block) leads the winning break
Pelletier-Roy and MacDonald were in the break with Dustin Andrews (Trek Red Truck) and Jean-Michel Lachance (Silber), who bridged across to the first three. They managed to keep the gap throughout the race, which went as high as 30 seconds before the peloton started to reduce it in the final seven laps, to six seconds at the finish.
The sprint Photo gallery
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"Pierrick and I are very good friends off the bike. Whether it was him or me, we would have been happy. The goal was for me to take part in the breakaway and make other teams work. Pierrick would have a good chance of winning in a bunch."
The top two finishers, Pelletier-Roy and MacDonald, also earned their ticket to the 2014 Challenge Sprint Pro, which will take place during the UCI WorldTour Grand Prix cycliste de Québec, on Thursday, September 11th.
"The Challenge Sprint Pro runs at the same time as the UCI Track Pan-American Championships. We'll have to look potential scheduling conflicts. It is certain that I would love to be present and race in Quebec, since it is a very sentimental race to me, since I live in Quebec," concluded Pelletier-Roy.
In the women's Crit, the three riders of Optum-Kelly Benefits dominated, at one point going off on a time time trial-like break, that TIBCO's Anika Todd joined. However, the peloton reacted strongly, bringing them back. For the sprint, Optum lined up in the final lap to deliver Kirchmann to the front for the final uphill sprint to the line. Joanie Caron (Garneau-Factory) and Jamie Gilgen (RealDeal-Gears) took the remaining podium spots.
Optum-Kelly Benefits team away on early break
"It was our plan to try to get a breakaway like that with as many of us in it. I was pretty excited when all of my teammate were in it," admitted Kirchmann. "Unfortunately for us, the peloton behind us was pretty organized. It was also windier than we thought, which made it hard to keep the pace up. We stayed there for as long as we could."
"Once we got caught, we were still pretty involved. Coming in the final lap, I stayed on Annie's wheel on the descent. Denise then took over and set a fast pace. Annie carried me away to the final stretch to launch the sprint."
Leah Kirchmann makes it three for three
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In addition to the criterium races, the Canadian Sprint Challenge was held on the last day of the first weekend of competition at the 2014 Global Relay Canadian Road Championships. Cody Canning of Team Accent Inns/Russ Hay's p/b Scotiabank made it all the way to the finals in a convincing way, and won the ultimate race of the day.
In the fight for second place, a photo finish was needed to determine the winner of the race. At the end, a late push helped Geoffroy Dussault of Garneau-Quebecor edge Elliot Doyle of Silber Pro Cycling.
The top 2 finishers of the Canadian Sprint Challenge, Cody Canning and Geoffroy Dussault, will also race the Challenge Sprint Pro in Quebec City.