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June 23/13 19:18 pm - Road Nationals: Criterium and Sprint Challenge, report and photos

Posted by Editoress on 06/23/13

The first weekend of the 2013 Canadian Road National Championships concluded on Sunday with the Criterium and Sprint Challenge events.  Neither are internationally recognized titles, however, the competition was fierce.  Leah Kirchmann made it three-for-three for the Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies women's squad, while Pierrick Naud (Equipe Garneau-Quebecor) improved from his second in yesterday's Under-23 road race to win the men's event.  In the Sprint Challenge, Garneau-Quebecor took a second victory by Geoffroy Dussault.



The criterium circuit is one that has long been used in the Tour de Beauce, in downtown St-Georges.  There are two long straightaways, with a steep climb between turns one and two, and a fast descent from turn three to four.  Sometimes a break stays away, and on other occasions it comes down to a field sprint.

The men's race saw constant attacks, but none could gain any traction until about 12 laps to go when a group of eight broke clear.  Besides Naud, there were was big names - new Canadian road champion Zach Bell (Champion Systems), Nic Hamilton (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda Riders), Ryan Anderson (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Derrick St John (Stevens p/b The Cyclery).  In addition, Jean Sebastien Perron (Stevens p/b The Cyclery), Ryan Aitcheson (Team Ontario) and William Blackburn (Medique p/b Silber Investments) also made the cut.



Links to more photos at bottom of page

This group never got more than 25 seconds ahead of the field, but a number of teams stopped working, since they were represented in front.  In the final few laps the front group began attacking each other, with Perron going clear at the start of the last lap.  However, he was pulled back and the group entered the final straight together, with Naud launching off another wheel to take the lead with 150 metres to go.  He won in a photo finish over Perron, who pulled a wheelie over the line as he tried to throw his bike.  Hamilton took third.

"When I saw that breakaway, I knew it was a good one," explained Naud.  "It had Zach Bell and Nic Hamilton and a couple of the Kelly Benefits guys, so it was the one.  I was feeling pretty good at the end, so I did my job.  I took the last corner on third wheel and then I waited a bit and then someone started the sprint and I followed him a bit before I went.  I'm pretty happy with the second place yesterday [in the U23 road race], and now this win today."



Pierrick Naud (Garneau-Quebecor) takes the win

Links to more photos at bottom of page

The women's race also saw multiple attacks, with Jasmin Glaesser (Tibco / To the Top) and Stephanie Skoreyko (Infinit Canada / Cyclepower) both opening gaps.  However, each one was brought back and the bunch started the final lap together.  Lex Albrecht (Now & Novartis for MS) attacked on the final climb, opening a gap, which looked like it might suceed when everyone hesitated.  Kirchmann attacked into the final descent, catching Albrecht through the final corner and pulling away to win solo.  Albrecht hung on for second, with Stephanie Roorda (GSD Gestion-Kallisto) taking third.



Leah Kirchmann wins

Links to more photos at bottom of page


"it was actually a really aggressive race, but it just wasn't the day for a breakaway," said Kirchmann.  "I had a pretty hard time, because I had to cover a lot of attacks.  On the final lap we were all together until Lex Albrecht attacked on the backstretch.  It looked like it wasn't coming back, but I was riding the descent pretty fast, so basically I attacked through the final corner, caught Lex and held it to the line.  The whole team is pretty proud of our weekend, and I think we showed that we're a pretty dominant force on the circuit right now."

Results:  Men   Women


Sprint Challenge

The Sprint Challenge for the men is an eliminator event introduced at the Quebec Gran Prix WorldTour event.  Riders race a short circuit in heats, with the top two moving on to the next round, until the final four riders race for the title.  Both the winner of the Sprint Challenge here, and the men's criterium winner received entries to the WorldTour event in Quebec this fall.  For St-Georges, the coruse was an 800 metre out and back along the final criterium straightaway, with a U-turn at the far end.

Dussault was clearly the strongest, easily winning his first two rounds to move into the final.  He was joined by Cody Canning (Trek Red Truck), Stephen Keeping (Stevens p/b The Cyclery) and Chris Freeland (Jet Fuel / Norco).  In the Final, the group started slowly, watching each other as they headed for the turn.  Dussault accelerated away from the others to come in a couple of bike lengths in front, while Canning and Keeping had a photo finish for second, with Canning getting the nod.



Related Photo Galleries

Road Nationals June 20/13 - June 23/13, St Georges, QC

Women ITT
Women Road Race
Men Road Race - PT1
Men Road Race - PT2
Men Crit
Women Crit
Sprint Challenge

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