Posted by Editoress on 06/28/22
The 2022 Canadian Road Championships concluded Sunday evening in Edmonton with the crowd-pleasing Criterium championships for Elite women and men. Although not an official UCI championship event, riders still fight for these titles and the jersey they can wear in criteriums across North America. Maggie Coles-Lyster (DNA Racing), the acknowledged top Canadian women's crit rider, took the women's title one day after winning the Road title, while Michael Foley (Toronto Hustle) won the men's.
Held in the popular Whyte Avenue district, the 1.4 kilometre square circuit with four right turns had a tailwind on the finishing straight. Both the women and men rode for 60 minutes plus five laps.
After a few abortive breakaway efforts, an elite group of women broke clear - Coles-Lyster, Alison Jackson (Liv Racing), Marie-Soleil Blais (Team Farto) and Ngaire Barraclough (The Cyclery). It looked like this might be the winning move as they took 20-plus seconds out of the peloton, but after over 20 minutes of the front, the shrinking bunch finally reeled them in. With five minutes and five laps to go, Jackson outsprinted Blais for the crowd prime - a massive $820 - and tried to keep going, but was brought back, setting the stage for a field sprint. Coles-Lyster, who already has multiple crit wins to her credit this year on the U.S. circuit, came out of the final corner in the lead and powered down the finishing straight to take her second title in two days. Jackson was on her wheel the whole way but couldn't come by, with Holly Simonson (Cycling BC) taking third.
"I was pretty confident," admitted Coles-Lyster, "but there's still Alison Jackson, the whole Cyclery team and other teams. You just never know; team tactics come into play and when you are a solo rider in the race there are a lot of things you have to think about. After yesterday [sprint for road title] I'm very confident in my sprint right now, so I knew if I was first around that last corner I would have it, so I made that my focus the whole race. This one was very special because of how many criteriums my team does, so now I can wear the red and white and the maple leaf down in the U.S."
The men's race had 94 riders start, with only 37 finish on the lead lap, such was the speed and aggression of the race. There were numerous attempts to establish a break - with Alec Cowan (L39ions of LA) in many of them - but none managed to establish a firm gap. The final sprint was a five-up race between Foley, Cowan, Sam Morris (Above + Beyond Cancer p/b Bike World), Evan Burtnik (X-Speed United Continental) and Pier-Andre Cote (Human Powered health), the new Road champion. Foley took the win with a bike throw, ahead of Cowan and Morris. For Foley, it was the second crit win of his career, one week after winning Preston Street in Ottawa.
"This is only my second road victory, after Preston," said Foley, "an hour's a good length for me! I was concerned about some of the early breaks, but Derek (Gee - Israel Cycling Academy) and Pier-Andre were also in the pack watching it, and I had lots of team mates around me. I just wanted to stay near the front because I know crits are a lot easier near the front. I'm excited, because I never get to wear the national champs jersey [in a race] on the track."
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