April 03, 2012 – Pedal caught up with the podium girl of the month, Joelle Numainville, who is still on a high after scoring a stellar third place podium finish for Team Canada at the Tour of Flanders Women’s World Cup on Sunday – her first WCup podium.
Judith Arndt (Ger) GreenEdge took the top spot ahead of American Kristin Armstrong (USA National Team) in a two-up sprint only 30 seconds ahead of a select field who challenged for third which Numainville won. The former Canadian champ out-sprinted Kirsten Wild (Ned) AA-Drink and in doing so put the Canadian jersey up on the UCI Women’s Road World Cup podium.
Numainville has a history of performing well in Flanders, having finished sixth here last year, and with other top ten World Cup results in 2011, she has become a consistent presence at the front of the field. The World Cup course was changed slightly from 2011 and supposedly hillier, but when asked, Numainville said she liked this year’s course. “I felt good but I don’t think it was as hard as last year for me. But maybe that is because I am more fit.”
Her podium is not only a huge result for Numainville, but also for the Canadian Women’s Road Team and it is yet another testament of how deep the country’s talent pool has become. Canada’s young riders have developed to the top level and have now stepped onto a top level podium. They are gaining valuable UCI points for Canada, which are very important during this Olympic year.
At the moment, the Canadian women are ranked 10th among the nations, and they must stay in the top 15 to maintain their three Olympic road spots. However, if the women’s team continues to race well and score more podiums and move into the top five in the nation rankings they’ll gain a valuable fourth spot. We’ll have until May 31st to find out!
The Flanders course contained several short, steep climbs and although the weather was cold, it was raced hard and aggressively Numainville told Pedal. “It was steadily fast and, therefore, it was hard to attack, and it was only the top riders who were able to make attacks from the front.”
Numainville commented that the climbs were hard, but she rode them really well, and by staying in good position, she was able to still have lots of energy for the final sprint. Coming into the finish, it was a little crazy and aggressive, but Numainville stayed calm.
“I was at the front in the headwind with 1km to go, but I looked beside me and saw Kirsten Wild so I didn’t let off,” she continued. “Someone attacked at 300m to go and I got onto Wild’s wheel and then went around her.”
Numainville explained that there weren’t any lead-outs which may have helped her. It seemed like the Euro teams weren’t controlling the front leading into the sprint so it was woman-against-woman and Numainville was able to succeed.
The Quebec rider is extremely happy with the outcome, and although it’s her first World Cup podium, it likely won’t be her last. After being her teammate for the past two years, I’ve seen her getting stronger every year. Numainville is one of the hardest working riders on the circuit who takes her training and racing very seriously. She has now gained experience, confidence and consistency.
Numainville has also just come off one of her best months of racing in California for the new women’s team, Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies. She has showed early good form in nearly every discipline over the past month finishing top five in the time trials, winning field sprints, and placing on the GC podium as well in every race she’s started for 2012. Not a bad a start to the season, eh?
Next up for the talented Numainville, she will travel with the Canadian Team to the Netherlands for the Energiewacht Tour, which is a five-day stage race starting April 4th.
Pedal wishes Joelle and the Canadian Women’s team the best of luck!
Full results and more photos HERE.