June 24, 2011 (Burlington, ON) – The Elite/U23 Women’s 103km road race is underway. The weather is 19-20 degrees, overcast, with a light wind and the possible threat of rain. There are 69 starters who will complete 8 laps of 12.8km course for a total of 103km. TIBCO/To the Top will be looking to defend the jersey for Joelle Numainville but many strong riders like Clara Hughes (Team Quebec), Leah Kirchmann (Manitoba) the reigning U23 champ and rising stars like Lex Albrecht (Juvederm-Specialize) will be in the mix for the podium.
The women are off on the first of eight laps… a break by Steph Roorda (Cycling BC) and Cara Gillis (Missing Link Coaching Systems/Specialized) got up the road. The gap is 50 sec. CORRECTION it was Jenny Lehmann (Cycling Bc) and Julie Bellerose (Metromint Cycling) who attacked but were caught.
The pack has chased them down on the climb and comes together for the start of the second lap – first lap was about 22 min.
Numainville and Hughes at the front. Now Steph Roorda (Cycling BC) and Moriah MacGregor (Juvederm-Specialized) have attacked and have gap on the field – 1:40… Sara Byers (Juvederm-Specialized) is trying to bridge to them.
The break now has a 2:20 lead over the peloton with Byers dangling in between on her own with a minute lead over the pack.
We just spoke to TIBCO’s Canadian Team Director Linda Jackson who has long legacy of racing for Canada who told us. “I’m not worried about a 2-3 min gap but if it gets up to 5 or 6 minutes then I’ll be concerned.”
On the climb Byers is caught…
Roorda and MacGregor have started their third of 8 laps with Hughes leading the charge at the front with Numainville, Julie Beveridge (Vienne-Futuroscope), Veronique Fortin (P-K Express/ Hnz Strategic.Com and Karol-ann Canuel (Vienne-Futuroscope up there as well.
MacGregor has dropped Roorda midway thru the lap – the gap to the peloton is around 2min.
Approaching the climb MacGregor now has 3+min on the peloton with Roorda 2:09 behind and Byer who apparently was not caught is somewhere in between Roorda and the pack
MacGregor is on her own in the lead but TIBCO is now leading the charge at the front and wants to close the gap down.
Byer and Roorda have been caught as the peloton is now focused on MacGregor who’s lead is now down to 2:50.
When we spoke to Jackson earlier she told us that she really enjoys being back in Canada. “It was really great to see Clara [Hughes] and Sue [Palmer-Komar], we have lots of great memories to share. I love coming up here at this time of year… we [TIBCO) want to do more in Canada.”
Click HERE for a great pic of Hughes, Jackson and Palmer-Komar circa 1996 at the Olympics in Atlanta.
MacGregor has extended her lead to 3:30 as the fourth lap is almost finished.
MacGregor continues to make gains the gap is now 4:09.
“I’m coming out of my skin a bit,” says Jackson. “Moriah’s a strong rider but there’s still time to reel her in.”
MacGregor begins her fifth lap as the peloton is fragmented but the gap is now down to 3:28. In the lead group is Hughes, Whitten, Fortin, Beveridge, Canuel, Erinne Willock (Tibco) and Denise Ramsden (Juvederm) – behind at 5-10 seconds are several groups of riders.
Half way thru the lap MacGregor has made more gains and gap is now back over 4 min – the chasing peloton is now coming back together as the riders off the back have caught back on.
With three laps to go MacGregor continues to lead but the peloton is reacting and the gap is now 2:50 with 7 riders including Hughes and Numainville and we believe 2 more Tibco riders leading the chase. It looks like Hughes missed her bottle refill going thru the feed zone which is after the start/finish.
The gap is now down to 2:25…Willock and Whitten are in the lead group with Numainville the reigning champ chasing down MacGregor.
Up the climb and MacGregor continues to hold her own.
The gap is holding at around 2:30 as MacGregor starts her penultimate lap. Leading the chase now are teammates Julie Beveridge and Karol-ann Canuel (Vienne-Futuroscope) with Albrecht and another Juvederm rider in there along with Hughes and Numainville… at 15-20 sec is another group of about six riders trying to join the lead chasers.
The pace has speeded up and the gap is now 2:10 – Whitten is now at the front of the chase group as Tibco is trying to bring down the gap as time is running out… they’re about to hit the climb for the second last time.
Lap 8 Final
The gap down to 54s as Whitten did a massive job pulling the chase group back to MacGregor “…who is now within reach if they chasers can keep working together,” says Jackson.
In the lead chase group is Willock, Canuel, Numainville, Fortin, Nik Vogler (Westwood Cycle) who we missed earlier, and Hughes… Kirchmann is trying to bridge to them – Palmer-Komar is there as well.
There’s a group of about 20 riders now together with Whitten again at the front pulling hard – Numainville as well… the gap is down to 40s…
The pack has MacGregor in their sights – 4-5s we understand – and she will soon be caught before the final time up the Rattlesnake climb… the race is wide open.
MacGregor is caught and the approach to the final climb begins – we’ll soon find out who still has the legs.
1. Veronique Fortin (P-K Express/ Hnz Strategic.Com) 3:04:09
2. Lex Albrecht (Juvéderm-Specialized) 00:18
3. Erinne Willock (Team Tibco/To The Top) 00:20
4. Denise Ramsden* (Juvederm-Specialized) 00:20
5. Joelle Numainville (Tibco-To The Top) 00:20
6. Karol-ann Canuel (Vienne-Futuroscope) 00:25
7. Nik Vogler (West Wood Cycle Cannondale P/B) 00:34
8. Leah Kirchmann* (Team Manitoba) 00:36
9. Rhae-Christie Shaw (Independent) 00:36
10. Clara Hughes (Equipe Du Quebec) 00:36
1. Denise Ramsden (Juvederm-Specialized)
2. Leah Kirchmann (Team Manitoba)