Posted by Editor on 07/12/98
Tour de Whiterock by Bruce Wenting
There are two stories in the Tour de Whiterock. One is of heroic effort, and the other of calm perseverance. The first belongs to Brian Walton (Saturn) and the second to Jacques Landry (Radio Energie).
The large partisan crowd was treated to a clinic in criterium riding by Brian Walton, as he powered smoothly around to lap the 85 rider field in a strong solo effort. Not content with the effort, he launched another attack, to once again lap lap the bunch , this time with the assistance of Jacques Landry and his Radio Energie teammate. Walton continued his domination by winning the sprint.
LandryÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s road race story began the next day with teammate Peter Wedge attacking on the first lap and quickly building a 50 second lead, which he held until defending champ Ron Schmeer and his Nutra Fig team began a serious effort to bring him to heel. After the third 12 km lap, with his gap at 30 seconds and falling, Wedge sat up to conserve his strength for later.
The next action started on the 5th lap with Burke Swindlehust (Nutra Fig), Sylvain Beauchamp (Radio Energie), Independent rider Hugh Trenchard and Mark Hlady (Alto Velo) gained 15 seconds on a Walton led field. This break soon failed, to be replaced by Roland Green (Kona), Jacques Landry and Swindlehurst.
The crowd along Marine Drive continued to grow and was treated to an awesome display of power as Walton and Scott Goguen worked to close a one minute gap between the Landry, Green, Swindlehurst break and their chase group, which contained 2 Radio Energie riders and Nutra Fig teammates.
At this point the race course was entered a 5 km finishing circuit, and Walton began taking long, hard pulls, Goguen maintaining the tempo and the breakaway riders teammates doing their best to to hamper the chase.
Despite these attempts the gap was steadily brought down to 12 seconds. However, WaltonÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s power failed him at this point and, despite the encouragement of Goguen and the crowd, he could do no more.
Landry, meanwhile, had attacked his breakaway companion, to solo in for the win, with a visibly tiring Swindlehurst hanging on for second. The bunch sprint was evenly divided between the two dominant teams.
Landry was pleased to win and was confident throughout the race, knowing that his teammates could respond if his attack failed. Walton finished with a smile, disappointed not to win his 6th Tour de Whiterock, but resigned to the fact that teams with superior numbers prevailed.
Rain began to fall toward the end of the womenÃ¢â‚¬Å¡s crit, causing a last lap crash that claimed many of the top favourites, among them Andrea Hannos (Hutches-Powerbar) and Sophie St-Jacques (Elita), leaving the win open for a strong Annie Gariepy (Elita).
Sunday morning dawned cool and windy, which may be the reason it took 3 of 7 laps before the action started. With just 27 starters, it looked like Elita would dominate the race. Gariepy and Leigh Goldstein (Soliton) gained a short lived 30 second gap, which was chased down halfway through lap 4 by Victoria-based Cybil DeGuistini and ex-basketball star Sandy Espeseth (Physical Culture).
Espeseth kept a smooth, hard tempo throughout the remainder of the race, which proved to be too much for the tiring DeGuistini. As the riders received the bell for the final lap, Espeseth had 2:30 on the Elita riders - DeGuistini and Gariepy - another minute on a chase group of 5 riders, and 5 minutes on the rest of the pack.
Espeseth claims that she was afraid her rash move would be countered by the more experienced riders, but it is the rest of the field who need to fear this natural climber as she gains experience and confidence.
Note: Bruce Wenting is the organizer of the Road Nationals, taking place next weekend in Abbotsford, B.C. We will be bringing you live coverage from the Nationals. Among the riders in attendance: Linda Jackson, Alison Sydor and Brian Walton. We are still waiting for results from the race.
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