Posted by Editoress on 06/4/15
Kirsten Wild's (Hitec Products) first trip to the Gran Prix Cycliste Gatineau proved to be highly successful, with the Dutch rider winning the field sprint at Thursday evening's road race, beating former winner Joelle Numainville (Canadian National Team) and Christine Majerus (National Team Luxembourg).
WIld takes the win
The 108 kilometre race began with a large loop that climbed through the Gatineau national park outside of Ottawa before six laps of a technical circuit.
Through Gatineau national park
Team Velocio SRAM was one of the teams that was extremely active, sending riders off regularly on breakaway attempts to avoid a sprint finish, but Hitec was vigilant, never allowing any efforts to gain more than 20 seconds before reeling it back in. A last lap effort by Karol-Ann Canuel (Velocio SRAM) saw the Canadian gain 15 seconds, but at that point Optum was ready to help Hitec shut it down as they tried to set up their sprinter; Canadian road champion Leah Kirchmann.
The finish was a long and slightly uphill drag after a right hander off a descent. Wild was clearly in control, leading from 150 metres out and distancing Numainville by a bike length. Kirchmann got boxed in against the barriers and finished sixth.
"We knew it would be hard to get the race down to a sprint, but that was our goal," explained Wild. "A lot of teams tried to attack, but our girls were closing everything that went. It was so nice for me to see so much control; everything that went, we were there. It worked out."
For Numainville, the result was a vindication after a lost year dealing with the effects of a concussion from a crash.
"I'm super happy," agreed Numainville, "I came back here after one year of injury, and to come back to what is sort of my hometown race ... I'm so happy. I know I had good shape coming into the race so I just wanted to put it out there."
Numainville now has a win, three second places and a fourth in five appearances at Gatineau.