June 1, 2005 (Victoria, BC) – The Bastion Square Criterium held on Sunday, May 29, is a highlight for the Symmetrics Cycling Team as it falls on the heals of the BC Provincial Road Race Championships just outside of Victoria, BC and it draws a large spectator base that the team’s sponsors love to see. The conditions were perfect to draw a great crowd and the team brought out the full show with bike sponsor, Norco, rolling in the team trucks, trailers, tents, barricades, products demos and all-star trials rider Ryan Leech. Crash corner was the hot spot as Leech did two trials demos just before the women’s and the men’s criterium events. Leech is nothing short of amazing on his bike and it was a great warm up for the races to come later in the day.
The Bastion course is one of the most picturesque on the North American crit circuit with Victoria harbour as a spectacular backdrop. Crash corner, as it has come to be known, is the trickiest section on the course due to the high-speed, downhill approach and the bumpy pavement half way through the turn. It is a recipe for high-side disaster if you start pedaling a bit too early.
The men’s action started from the gun as we normally see in criterium events of this caliber. With the likes of Roland Green (Kona) in town there was no doubt who to watch in this race. While Green was riding solo the Symmetrics team had their complete local squad present. The team meeting discussion was clear that this would be no picnic and Green was going to be riding hard for the win. In the early laps there was a pile up in crash corner taking down both Marsh Cooper and Will Routley of Symmetrics. The crash created a few small splits in the field allowing a small break of four Symmetrics riders and Roland Green to get away. The dynamics didn’t allow the break to stick and eventually the pack begin to bring things back together. Tuft seized the opportunity to jump off the front of the break creating a solo attack that he would eventually build to a maximum of 25 seconds over the field. With the field in cruise control, Luca Segato (Organic Athlete) made an attempt to bridge to Tuft. After getting within 10 seconds of Tuft, Green launched himself from the pack taking Pinfold with him. Green and Pinfold eventually bridged to Segato who then bridged to Tuft who was sitting up and waiting. When the foursome came together it was Green who launched the first attack taking Tuft with him and gapping Segato and Pinfold. Pinfold tried to shake Segato but Luca is quick and was able to mark Pinfold. The team had no choice but to have Pinfold sit on Segato as there was no point in dragging a sprinter up to the winning move.
With Segato/Pinfold losing ground on the Green/Tuft duo the Symmetrics squad had no choice but to bring everything back together. The chase was on. With the full Symmetrics squad on the front the hammer was laid down at the back but little did they know the hammer was laid down at the front. Tuft was working with Green and it was obvious what the outcome would be given that Green was grabbing every single prime. It was a classic case of communication break down. Tuft’s race radio failed part way through the race and he was unable to communicate with the rest of the team. He was trying to tell them that he was working with Green and they were trying to tell him that they were chasing. Eventually the team chase was pulled from the front after word from the sidelines came that Tuft was in fact working and that the break should be supported.
The show down was on and the crowd was loving it. Lap after the lap the announcer was yelling “Green!! Roland Green”¦..NICE”¦.NICE” and while the crowd was getting a bit sick of hearing him say NICE they loved the fact that the home town boy was doing some damage. Green stayed strong to the end, Tuft waited until the last corner to try and come around Green but it was not to be. Tuft lost by less than a half wheel to Green who, with Tuft, put on a great show for the Victoria crowd.
Andrew Pinfold easily took the pack sprint over Luca Segato rounding out the podium.
1. Roland Green, KONA Mountain Bikes, 1h 13′ 57
2. Svein Tuft, Symmetrics Cycling, 1h 13′ 57″
3. Andrew Pinfold, Symmetrics Cycling, 1h 14′ 32″
The women’s race was an all Symmetric affair with Mandy Poitras and Marni Hambleton taking 1st and 2nd over Leah Goldstein. After riding in the wake of Goldstein the previous day it was payback time. Goldstein is strong and if you let her get away from the group it is game over. The Symmetrics plan was to mark every move that Goldstein made to ensure the race came down to a pack sprint which favours both Poitras and Hambleton. The race stayed together until the final lap when Goldstein, Poitras and Hambleton split from the field. In the final corner, Goldstein went wide while Potrais and Hambleton kept things tight on the inside.
Poitras took home the La-Z-Boy leather recliner to help in her recovery from a tough weekend of racing at the Victoria Cycling Festival.
1. Mandy Poitras, Symmetrics Cycling, 0h 54′ 16″
2. Marni Hambleton, Symmetrics Cycling, 0h 54′ 16″
3. Leah Goldstein, Trek/Red Truck Beer, 0h 54′ 17″
Check out the photo gallery from the Bastion Square Criterium << http://www.symmetricscycling.com/gallery/photos/bastion2005/default.html>