Posted by Editor on 08/21/98
Ottawa 'Classic' Elgin Street Criterium
(courtesy Kevin Field)
The Elgin St. race has traditionally been a hugely successful event. The venue is a hip little part of town that traditionally draws huge 7 - 9000 person crowds. This evening's (August 20th) race was brought back to town by local legends turned race organizers John Large and Peter Metuzals with a lot of help from Brad Dennison. ITI, The World Exchange Plaza, Colliers Realestate and Chez 106FM were the principal sponsors.
The field was 70-odd strong at the start, with an interesting mix of national level athletes and local guys who barely ever race out of town. The strongest teams were: JetFuel with Heath Cockburn, Ray Duggan and Joe Guilliano; Radio Energy with Jaques Landry, Sylvain Beauchamp, Charles Dionne and Pierre Chevrier; Excellence Sports Harveys with Bill Hurley, local boy Eric Lyman, Alexandre Bernard, Mark Ernsting and Sam Thibodeau. Espoirs de Laval were supposed to be present with Czeslaw and Yannick but only Alex Lavellee showed up in the end (Alex is the new National Champ - espoir); Montreal's Elita women's team was also present with Sophie St. Jacques, Annie Gariepy and Cybil Diguistini -- racing with the men.
The race was delayed slightly due to rain, a rain which continued to fall all night and kept the spectator turn-out low, but decent considering... The rain also made the racing fast from the gun. Almost immediately riders were getting ripped off the back as the strong and technically profficient riders kept the pace hot. Heath Cockburn maintained a small lead for the first 3 laps before being brought back. Within 15 laps a group of only about 25 were left in the lead to contest the remainder of the race.
From this point on the race was shaped by two principal breakaways dominated by Radio Energie and Excellence Harveys. A break that looked set to stay away established with Jacques Landry and Charles Dionne, Heath Cockburn, Alex Bernard, Glen Rendall, Jason Cheney and one or two others. They stayed away for several laps before a ten rider chase caught up, leaving a field of about 18 to contest the final 20 or so laps. Soon after a five rider break escaped which proved to be the real move of the night. This group included; Beauchamp and Dionne (Radio Energie), Bernard and Ernsting (Excellence Harveys) and local rider/national track team member - Glen Rendall. This group worked smoothly together to build a solid 30 sec lead on what became a chasing group of ten riders, Hurley, Thibodeau, Lyman (Excellence-Harveys); Landry, Chevrier (Radio Energie), Lavellee (Espoir de Laval); Guilliano, Cockburn (JetFuel); Cheney (WQW) and Osmond Bakker (OGC-Fisher). The break stayed intact to the final sprint with Beauchamp leading team mate Dionne to the line ahead of Bernard, Rendall and Ernsting.
I'm not sure who won the field sprint, but I believe it was Chevrier ahead of Bakker. It could have been Guilliano or Cockburn (Radio Energie and JetFuel look so similar, especially in the dark and rain). I am sure Bakker was 7th (2nd in the bunch sprint).
The racing was excellent and I'd have to say the event was a success considering the rain. The organization and event presentation were excellent. I hope John can put it on again next year.
Race distance was 55km.
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