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July 8/05 12:53 pm - Road National Championships: ITT Photos and Report


Posted by Editoress on 07/8/05
 

Road National Championships Kamloops BC

Shuswap Rd. Time Trial

A few photos from Thursday's ITT

The Canadian National Road Championships opened today with the individual time trial, and both the men's and women's elite titles were successfully defended. Sue Palmer-Komar (Colavita) beat Genevieve Jeanson (Rona-Colnago) by a mere 76 one-hundredths of a second to take the women's title, while Svein Tuft defeated his Symmetrics team mate Eric Wohlberg by 53 seconds for the men's title. Ryder Hesjedal (Discovery Channel) was third in the men's race and Felicia Greer (Webcor) third in the women's.

Unlike last year, when temperatures of over 40 Celcius were the key factor in the race, this year it was wind. A strong, gusting headwind on the way out meant that it was critical to suffer through this half of the race, because it would be difficult to make it up with the tailwind on the way back. Riders also commented on the rough road surface, which threw off concentration and absorbed energy.

The women's race was expected to be between Palmer-Komar, Jeanson, Lyne Bessette (Equipe Quebec) and Erinne Willock (Webcor). Palmer-Komar was coming off a strong win at Fitchburg a few days earlier, and Willock has been riding strongly all season. The question marks were Bessette and, especially, Jeanson. Bessette has been dividing her time between mountain and road, so there was uncertainty as to her preparedness for the time trial. Jeanson was a complete mystery - she had not been seen in competition for over a month, since winning the Montreal World Cup in late May and racing in the Tour of Montreal.

The race turned out to be between Palmer-Komar and Jeanson. Palmer-Komar led at the checkpoints, but it was always close - so close that palmer-Komar thought she was behind.

"It was a surprise when I heard that I had won. I didn't feel that I had the motivation that I had last year, when Olympic selection was on the line. When I was riding, and I could see (Jeanson) at the turn around, I thought she had it."

Jeanson, on the other hand, knew that she was chasing. "Twice I got a split on the course - I knew that i was six seconds back. I gave it a good go in the last five kilometres, but it wasn't enough. It was super close, and that is what I was expecting. I'm a little bummed; this is twice now I have lost by less than one second! But, I did it all out on both sides (head and tail wind), and I could not have gone a pedal stroke harder."

By contrast, Palmer-Komar felt that she held back slightly on the way out. "I think I did save a bit on the way out; not consciously, but mentally it was very tough. There was a long, straight drag coming back that I just love, and I just pounded that section."

Greer was a surprise in third, even to herself, and especially after dropping her chain and having to stop. "Usually I am racing all season for Erinne and Christine (Thorburn), so I don't get many chances to race for myself. When I dropped my chain, 10 minutes into the race, I just thought 'don't panic, just use the race for training now'. So, making the podium shocked me. Racing for the team makes you strong, though. Everyone keeps telling me I have the ability, it just came together today."

In the men's race, it was Hesjedal who was the unknown quantity. After racing in Europe all spring, and then crashing heavily in the Giro, Hesjedal had only been seen at Philly. His early start was the fastest time, but Hesjedal wasn't too surprised that Tuft and Wohlberg were faster.

"Realistically, I'm not in top shape right now. Earlier, I was supposed to go back to Europe to join Discovery in mid-July, so it made sense to be in shape for Nationals. But then about three weeks ago my program changed, to go back early August, so everything got pushed back, and training was pushed back. The last couple of weeks I backed off a bit.

"But the TT is specialized, and Svein and Eric have been prepping more for this. I'm pretty happy; I'm not a time trial specialist, more of an all round rider. Those guys rode very strong, i don't have a problem being third to those two."

Tuft was the strongest rider out there through every check, although he admitted it wasn't his best ride.

"I didn't know what to expect here - Ryder (Hesjedal) was an unknown quantity, and you know that guy can really go. All you can do in that situation is go out and give 'er all you've got. I find this course hard, whether there is a wind or not, because the pavement is so rough.

"I usually find a tailwind really motivating, so I pushed hard at the beginning in the headwwind, and I was cracked by the turn. Once I got into the tailwind though I started to recover, but I couldn't focus out there one bit! I just had trouble staying on top of it. I had to remember that this race was very important, I wanted to do well here for Worlds and Commonwealth Games."

Race Notes

- Symmetrics also took the Espoir jersey, with Christian Meier putting in a strong performance, however, Ontario took provincial bragging rights, with podium appearances in the Elite Women (Gold), Elite Men (Silver), Espoir Men (Silver), Espoir Women (Silver and Bronze) and Junior Men (Gold and Silver).


 


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