Canadian Cyclist


June 23/99 11:53 am - Ontario News

Posted by Editoress on 06/23/99

JetFuel Dominates in Ottawa
(courtesy Kevin Fields)

This weekend (June 19 & 20) in Ottawa saw the 25th running of the Italian FestivalCriterium - the longest continuous running bike race in Ontario. Prior to Sunday's race the weekend kicked off Saturday evening with the inaugural Carleton Place Criterium. Both races were won convincingly by Team JetFuel-Vitasoy-BigWords.

Saturday's Carleton Place race took place on a tight 1.3km course right in the centre village. Approximately 3000 residents turned out to watch the 60km event, organized by Peter Tyler and Alan Large of Bike Race Ottawa. The four riders from JetFuel-Vitasoy dominated the race - covering all the early moves, before shaping the race at midway by placing 3 riders in a seven rider break. The break took shape with about 30 laps to go primarily due to the aggressive riding of Julian Hine - Schwinn Mtb. pro and current Ontario Cupleader. Joining Julian were perennial strongman John Large (West Quebec Wheelers), Dave Fry (Rip'n'Hammer), Paul Spadacinni (Oryx) Nat Faulkner, Kevin Field and eventual winner Heath Cockburn (all JetFuel). This group forged a solid gap on the field and, at one point, looked destined to lap the field. However the break was never quite organized. Primes kept the breakaways racing hard and independently, and perhaps the presence of the three JetFuel riders kept the other riders in the break from fully committing to the move.

JetFuel countered the aggressive riding in the break by attacking - Harder. Heath Cockburn went solo for a few laps as the pack closed in on the remaining 6 in the break. As Cockburn was brought back due to strong chasing by Hine and Spadacinni, Faulkner countered. Faulkner quickly forged a 10 second gap. With 10 laps to go the main field caught the break's remaining six riders. Cockburn again countered hard. Field and Sean Kelly (JetFuel) shut down the pack to solidify their teammates attack. Cockburn quickly caught team mate Faulkner and the two set to work to maintain a slim 10 to 15 second gap on the pack.

A late chasing effort was organized Team Rip'n'Hammer. However Cockburn and Faulkner were never caught and crossed the line, arms raised, finishing first and second respectively 15 seconds clear of the pack. A crash in the final 200 meters brought down several riders including Field who had looked poised to ice the cake for JetFuel. Ahhh but then again, perhaps not... Regardless, Rip'n'Hammer did an excellent job of setting up Gerard Yates for the final podium spot.

Inaugural Carleton Place - Beckwith Cycles Criterium 60 Km. Saturday, June 19 '99

1. Heath Cockburn, JetFuel-Vitasoy-Bigwords
2. Nat Faulkner, JetFuel-Vitasoy-Bigwords
3. Gerard Yates, Rip'n'Hammer

Sunday's main event, the 25th annual Italian Festival Criterium, took place in downtown Ottawa's 'Little Italy'. It's an extremely fun race to watch or ride. There is always a huge party atmosphere along the short finishing hill on Gladstone Street, as in the closing laps all the five thousand or so spectators who have lined the course congregate on the hill to watch the finish. In the past few years organizers Bike Race Ottawa have lengthened the race to a grueling 100km. The course is 1.6 km round with 6 corners.

This year the racing started tentatively. Opening up the race on lap six was Sean Kelly, JetFuel. Kelly forged ahead for maximun lead of 55 sec. snagging an armload of primes in his 20 lap solo off the front. As the field began to close in on Kelly, teammate Cockburn ripped off to add some horsepower to Kelly's lone efforts. Strong riding behind kept the two rider break close, and they were soon back in the pack. Countering upon their teamates return were Field, briefly, then Faulkner and an inspired Kelly!

Faulkner and Kelly were joined by a handful of other riders, including - Marc Cousineau (Trek mtb. pro), Bill Hurley (Oryx), Craig Burge (West Quebec Wheelers) and Glen Rendall (Sportable-Scary Fast).

Up to this point the day had been hot and sunny, then it started raining - lightly at first. This was enough rain, however, to send Kelly to the pavement on one of the slick corners. The rain abated,slightly, and the remainder of the break was drawn in close to the field. Some of the breaks riders came back but Hurley and Faulkner continued off the front. Then the rain became torrential. What was left of the pack quickly disintegrated as some riders crashed; some just couldn't control their bikes properly in the slick corners.

A group of six was dragged off the front of the main field by Rendall to rejoin Faulkner, Hurley and an Espoir Laval rider (don't know the name). However all the riders Rendall brought with him were soon back in the pack - leaving a break of four, Faulkner,Hurley, Rendall and one Espoir Laval with a lead of about 30 seconds going into the final 15 laps of the race.

As the rain stopped for the finale of the race, the main field had been reduced to a group of 16 chasing the 4 rider break. Marc Cousineau set off solo in an effort to catch the leaders - whose gap was increasing.

At the front Faulkner, who had been soft pedaling in the break - expecting Cockburn to come up from the field - realized he had to take control and attacked his three breakaway partners. Hurley and Rendall then dropped the Espoir Laval rider, setting off after Faulkner.

Faulkner increased his lead in the closing six laps, crossing the line comfortably in first place. Rendall easily outsprinted Hurley for second - Hurley stated he "underestimated" Rendall's strength. Marc Cousineau caught and passed the Espoir Laval rider in the final lap to take a well deserved fourth place.

25th Italian Festival Grand Prix100km June 20, '99

1. Nat Faulkner, JetFuel-Vitasoy-Bigwords
2. Glen Rendall, Scary Fast-Sportable
3. Bill Hurley, Oryx

For complete results, contact the organizers at

MTB Raid
Looking for a new challenge for you and your friends?
Announcing the Hardwood MTB Raid, on Oct 24, 1999.
This is a Mountain Bike Adventure Race covering 80 to 100 km, using Hardwood Hills, Horseshoe Valley, and trails and gravel road around and between. Mixed teams of 4 must travel together and work as a team. For more info check out our website at

Results from last weekends Ontario Track Champs are on hand. They just need a little work. (the Editoress).


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