Just behind in 5th was Gabrielle Pilote Fortin (Equipe de Quebec) who topped the U23 Women’s field with Catherine Ouellette (Equipe de Quebec) in second and 2015 TT winner, Alizée Brien (QC) Team TIBCO-SVB, in third.
Numainville won here on the same course in 2013 also claiming the TT title that year. Her teammate back then was Kirchmann, who went on to claim all three national titles last year for a historic triple and was a marked rider this year. Numainville could only manage fourth at this year’s ITT won by Karol-Ann Canuel (QC) Velocio-SRAM.
Injuries including an old concussion hampered Numainville who left Optum and joined the Belgian Lotto-Belisol team in Aug. 2014 – soon after signed with Bigla for the 2015 season.
Numainville, Canuel and Gilgen were all riding solo with no team support, whereas Kirchmann’s Optum squad was clearly the strongest team in the field of 58 riders which included Denise Ramsden (BC) Trek Red-Truck p/b Mosaic Homes, another former road champ (2012), along with other strong contenders such as Alison Jackson (AB) TWENTY16 p/b Sho-Air.
This year’s 110km course featured an out-and-back route of 65km that started in Saint-Georges with a 45km circuit (3x15km) in Saint-Odilon that included a major climb before the peloton headed back to the finish in Saint-Georges.
An early break by Rebecca Beaumont (QC) Independant and Suzanne Hamilton (BC) Trek Red-Truck p/b Mosaic Homes was soon shut down but then Leah Guloein issued the first serious break signaling Trek Red-Truck’s intentions to animate the race.
“We came to play not sit in,” said TRT’s Evan Mundy as Guloein’s lead swelled to over 2-min with Optum forced to reel her in as the St-Odillon circuits ended. Then Canuel attacked with Numainville, Ramsden, Jackson and Lex Albrecht (QC) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies but they too could not escape.
When they were caught TRT’s Ramsden jumped and got clear riding solo for about 20km. But the pack regrouped with Optum leading the charge again and caught her with about three kilometers to go.
In the final push to the 200m uphill finish Numainville found herself battling her old teammate Kirchmann as the two led the charge to the line with Numainville taking the win. Gilgen grabbed third for the biggest road result of her career.
“I’m so happy to win here again,” said Numainville. “I was disappointed with my 4th place in the time trial and reviewed my strategy for road race and it’s great with the way it worked out in the end.”