July 27/01 9:57 am - Junior Nationals Story
Posted by Editor on 07/27/01
Based on the results of today's Junior races, there are some strong, and smart, riders coming up through the ranks. Ryan Roth (Ontario) and local favourite Julie Belanger (New Brunswick) won in sprint finishes by out-thinking their opponents.
The women's race was 60 kilometres - 3 laps. A split in the field took place in the first lap, with most of the favourites making the break, including time trial champion Cydney Galbraith (Ontario). From this point on it was a matter of working steadily as a group until the final sprint. The finish is deceptive - over 500 metres of straight run-in with a slight incline into a headwind for the last 400 metres. Belanger won by knowing her abilities and outwaiting her competition.
"My sprint is very strong, so I was not worried when (Galbraith) attacked in the final 250 metres. I followed behind her and waited until the final 150 metres before I attacked." explained Belanger.
Galbraith, who won the national time trial title on Wednesday (Belanger finished third), was disappointed: "I thought I had her, but my legs were just gone; I couldn't hold on that extra little bit." The winning margin was less than a wheel length.
Roth salvaged some pride with his win, after a wrong turn in the time trial had cost him valuable seconds and relegated him to second. Two Quebec riders - Jean-Philippe Marion and Olivier Trempe - broke away from the field in the first kilometre of the 120 kilometre junior men's event, gaining as much as a minute on the field. They were not caught until the final 20 kilometres, when a group of 6 riders, including Roth, bridged up.
The front group was further reduced when one of the Quebec riders - Jean-Sebastien Maheux - dropped his chain halfway through the final lap. Marc Bomhof (Alberta), Gergely Hegedus (Alberta) and Warren Tilbrook (Ontario) got a gap, almost by accident, and gained 30 seconds on the other leaders. Roth was left behind with three Quebec riders, but played it smart.
The Quebec riders spent the next few kilometres inefficiently trying to chase. One would attack, start to bring the lead trio back and then back off. Shortly afterwards another would take a turn. Roth just sat on, as they kept him in range, and awaited his chance. With about 2.5 kilometres to go the opportunity came, and Roth seized it. The Quebec riders backed off, with the leader reaching down to take a drink. The Ontario rider immediately jumped, dropped the rest of the chasers and joined the frontrunners in the final 1.5 kilometres, setting the stage for a sprint finish. At the line, the Ontario rider easily outdistanced Albertans Bomhof and Hegedus to win the national title.
Roth played a game of cat-and-mouse to take the title: "When I caught up to the front group I sat at the back and watched, waiting to see who would start to sprint first. Gergely (Hegedus) went early and I got on his wheel until the final 100 metres, when I went by him."
Impressive wins by both riders.