June 22, 2012 (Lac-Megantic, QC) – Destined to have a good week, Denise Ramsden (Optum Pro Cycling p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) stepped onto the top spot on the podium today at the 2012 Cold FX Elite/U23 Women’s Canadian National Road Championships. This was Ramsden’s first Canadian Championship victory and she really nailed it scoring a double, winning both the U23 and Elite road race titles. No doubt yesterday’s good news of being selected for the Canadian Olympic Road Team for London 2012 gave her some extra motivation and confidence going into today’s race.
Ramsden’s final breakaway partner, Clara Hughes (Specialized-lululemon), delivered an aggressive performance today, finishing second, while Joelle Numainville, Ramsden’s Optum teammate, rounded out the podium in 3rd place by winning the chasing group’s bunch sprint.
The women raced 104.5km circuit today in Lac Megantic including two laps of Morne Mountain. Ramsden described it as, “Hot and windy and there’s no real flat section; you’re always climbing or descending.”
All three girls mentioned that the raced started out slow but once they got out to the circuits and the climbs, “It started to light up,” said Hughes. The Optum Team was aggressive, “We wanted to put pressure on the other top riders,” explained Numainville.
While explaining how the winning breakaway was initiated Ramsden told Pedal, “Coming out of the circuits I attacked and got a gap and then Clara came up to me and drove it”. They still had about 35km to go and while the chasers tried to get organized in their efforts, Hughes did the majority of the pulling as they worked together until the finishing sprint.
As the finishline approached and it was clear they would not be caught it would come down to the final sprint, but neither is known for their sprinting prowess. Ramsden took Numainville’s expert sprinting advice, which was to be first going into the last chicane and try and outlast the veteran Hughes to the line – mission accomplished.
Today was not only a great show for the National title but it also proved that the three women selected to the London 2012 Olympic Team are motivated and have excellent form.
“We’re so motivated, we’re like ‘game-on’!” exclaimed Numainville. From a third of the way in, it was a tactical and aggressive race and today these girls proved they can have a game plan to win, read the race and execute that plan perfectly.
As exciting as the Elite podium was today we cannot forget the other two young riders who rounded out the U23 podium and also both finished in the top 10 in the Elite field.
Jasmin Glaesser (Cycling BC), who has also recently been selected to Canada’s London 2012 Olympic Track Team finished in second place behind Ramsden while Optum’s Annie Ewart a two-time Junior National Champ, who was competing at her first Elite Nationals, finished in 3rd place.
Full results and race updates HERE.