Canadian Cyclist


June 28/03 11:15 am - Road Nationals Crit Story

Posted by Editor on 06/28/03

2003 Canadian Road Nationals - Hamilton, Ontario


First of all, the criterium was not a championship event for 2003. Not surprisingly, this limited the number of top riders who participated. In both the men's and women's races the story was the same - the top riders who did attend broke away at approximately the halfway point, and stayed away.

In the women's race it was three - Gina Grain (Victory Brewing-Amoroso's), Anne Samplonius (Equipe Quebec) and Marni Prazsky. According to Samplonius, "we didn't want to go too early, and we were trying to encourage the large number of juniors in the race. When we did go, we didn't really push it, we just wanted to put on a bit of a show."

Everything looked set for a three-up sprint, until Prazsky slid out in the final corner. Grain was first out of the corner, and first across the line, with Samplonius second and junior Quebec rider Emilie Roy third in front of Chloe Black (Ontario).

The men's race started faster, but Svein Tuft was just biding his time. When he went, it was just a time trial to the finish for the prime Alliance pro.

"He is just a machine" said second place finisher Tim Lefebvre (Jet Fuel) afterwards. "What are you going to do? I saw him go, and was waiting for a couple of other riders to bridge, but then it was too late, he was gone."

Lefebvre took the sprint among a group of half a dozen off the front of the main field, just in front of Peter Morse (Midweek).

The main event of the evening was the TimBits Challenge, with 300 youngsters showing up to ride one lap of the course. "This is what it's all about" said Clara Hughes, "watching these young riders participate is the best." We agree.

Full results will be posted when they are available. A small selection of photos will go up shortly; a much larger grouping tomorrow.

Race Notes:

- We had a chance to catch up with Max Plaxton (, the mountain biking phenom who is skipping Mont Ste Anne to be in Hamilton. Plaxton was 10th in the Junior time trial, despite it being his first ever ITT and dropping his chain twice during his ride...

- The police and marshals are doing maybe too good a job... The editor came close to being physically removed by police, who decided that, despite a photo credential, he should not be near the course. After a talk with the police superintendent, police were told "leave the guys with photo credentials alone..."

- Clara Hughes spoke with us for a few minutes after the TimBits Challenge. "The ride I did yesterday in the TT (5th) was the best I could do on two weeks training. I came here not expecting to win. Most people don't realize how much pain I was in."

Hughes had physio, massage and chiropractic work ("Pierre Girard in St Bruno, the best") to get her damaged muscles back in shape. However, how does this affect her chances of making the Worlds squad for Hamilton, with national champion Lyne Bessette (Saturn) taking one spot of two?

"I can only ride the best that I can. I think that I showed in Manchester (where she won the Commonwealth gold in the ITT) that I can ride this event well. Right now I am focussing on Pan Ams, and if I win there, then maybe we can get an extra spot."

Hughes will be training and racing at home until Pan Ams in August.

Hamilton, Nationals


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