Houle has been named Canadian Champion in both the time trial and road race since his cadet years, including junior and U23 categories. “Now the only title I have not won is the Elite Men’s Road Race.
“The fact that Svein [a 9-time Canadian Champion] was not here was a great opportunity. I had a target on my back today, and I wanted to rise to the challenge. I imposed a great deal of expectations on myself today, and I am happy to have delivered,” said Houle, who will represent Canada at the Pan-American Games this July. “This title is the fruit of the many years of training and hard work with my coach Pierre Hutsebaut. I stepped up this year, with many good results.”
Houle will take the Red and White Jersey to the highest road cycling platform, the UCI WorldTour. “It’s quite the honor to don the Red and White Jersey on the World Tour, in Europe and across the World. I am really proud to represent Canada. It will certainly add a little more pressure, but I’ll continue to work hard and progress year after year.
Houle now sets his eyes on the Pan-Am Games, in which he will take part in the time trial and road race. “The next challenge will be the Pan-American Games in Toronto. I’ll work on that objective this coming month, and I think I can come out even stronger. This will be a great objective of mine this season, to show that on the road we are still very strong.”
Ryan Roth (Cambridge, ON) of Silber Pro Cycling took the second spot, delivering another strong performance in the time trial. Notably this season, Roth clinched second place at the Redlands Classic and the Tour de Beauce. WorldTour rider Christian Meier (Sussex, NB) of Orica GreenEdge came in third place. Alex Cataford (ON) Silber Pro Cycling in 6th overall captured the U23 Men’s title.
The Elite women’s 30km competition was won by Karol-Ann Canuel (Amos, QC) of Team Velocio-SRAM, riding an impressive race with a final time of 45m05s, averaging a speed of 39.926 km/h. Canuel’s performance was exceptional, earning the Red and White jersey with a gap of 1:17 over her closest competitor, Jasmin Glaesser (Coquitlam, BC) of Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies.
The defending Canadian Champion, Leah Kirchmann (Winnipeg, MB), also of Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, took third place crossing the line 2:03 after Canuel’s winning time.
“This title was a big objective for me this season, and I am really thrilled to be Canadian Champion in the Time Trial. My progression really took off when I joined Specialized-Lululemon last year and Velocio-SRAM this season. I took part last year in the Team Time Trial at the World Championships, which we won,” said Canuel.
Canuel won the title just over one year after suffered multiple injuries – a broken back in June, and a broken pelvis suffered in September. “The rehabilitation process was slower than I had wished for. The neck injury healed a bit faster than expected, but the pelvis fracture was a bit longer. I am only starting to find my feelings on the road.”
Alizée Brien (QC) Team TIBCO-SVB was the fastest U23 Women taking the top step on the podium. Sara Poidevin (AB) Bicisport Calgary Bicycle Club took second and Annie Ewart (BC) Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies was just behind in third.
Para-cyclists Shine with Repeat and New Champions Crowned
The morning races saw the Para-cyclists attack the very challenging course. Shelley Gautier (WT1) took the title in the T category, exceeding the National team standard. Mark Ledo (MH4) won the MH3-4 category adding to his collection of National titles. Mike Sametz, the young up-and-comer from Calgary, took the title in the WC1-5 / MC1-3 category.
In the WH1-4 / MH1-2 category, Myriam Adam rode to first place, while Sebastien Héroux won his first National title of the Men’s C4-5 category, achieving 73% of the National Team standard.
In the B category, the long-standing tandem of Daniel Chalifoux and Alexandre Cloutier took the men’s title while the newly formed tandem of veterans Robbi Weldon and Joanie Caron won the women’s title.