Posted by Editoress on 06/26/15
Day 2 of the Canadian National Road Championships saw Joelle Numainville (Equipe de Quebec / Bigla) win the women's road title in an uphill sprint against defending champion Leah Kirchmann (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies), with Jamie Gilgen (Rise Racing p/b Cyclepath Woodbridge) third. Gabrielle Pilote Fortin (Equipe de Quebec) took the Under 23 title, finishing fifth overall.
Held on the same course as the 2013 national championships - which Numainville won while racing as a team mate of Kirchmann on Optum - the field of 58 women raced 110 kilometres over rolling climbs with gusting wind that offer no places to rest.
The race headed 32.5 kilometres north of Saint-Georges to a 15 kilometre circuit which the riders completed three times before heading back to finish in Saint-Georges with a 200 metre uphill sprint. The circuit was dominated by a kilometre climb each lap through the small town of Saint-Odilon.
Optum had the strongest team in the race, with Kirchmann joined by Jasmin Glaesser, Lex Albrecht and Annie Ewart. However, besides Numainville, others to watch out for included Karol Ann Canuel (Velocio-SRAM), Alison Jackson (Twenty16 p/b Sho-Air) and 2012 national champion Denise Ramsden (Trek Red Truck p/b Mosaic Homes).
Leah Guloien (Trek Red Truck)
Optum chasing down the break
Guloien about to get caught
Optum controlled the race with Ewart, Glaesser and Albrecht covering any moves, and Albrecht setting a hard tempo on the circuit climb that shed riders every lap. However, on lap two, Trek Red Truck's Leah Guloien slipped away and quickly built a lead of over two minutes. Guloien proved remarkably hard to pull back, with Optum finally containing her with 30 kilometres to go. Almost immediately, a small group of six riders broke clear, including Canuel, Ramsden, Numainville and Albrecht. But Kirchmann wasn't there, so Optum didn't like the odds, pulling it back.
Canuel leads a small break containing Numainville, Ramsden and Jackson
Ramsden went almost immediately with a hard counter, and was 1:15 up with 15 kilometres to go. The 2012 Olympian was riding extremely strongly, and the gap was still 45 seconds with ten kilometres to go. Glaesser buried herself in the chase, with Ramsden finally caught with less then two kilometres to go.
In the final kilometre, the riders had a short descent, followed by a flat section and then a sharp right into the final 200 metre climb. Numainville launched herself first through the corner and held on to win by inches over a fast closing Kirchmann.
Joelle Numainville takes the win over Leah Kirchmann
"I knew I had to hit the corner fast and in first position," explained Numainville. "I was stuck in the wrong gear and missed some kick at the end, but I crossed the line first, so I'm really happy to go home with the national champion's jersey. I really like the uphill finish because it is a power sprint. It was a hard race and tactical. I'm here by myself, so I had to be really aware of what was going on and follow the moves."
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