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Canuel wins Gold with Velocio-SRAM @ 2015 Road World Championships TTT

by pedalmag.com
Canuel and Velocio SRAM celebrate gold again  ©  Peter Kraiker
September 20, 2015 (Richmond, VA) – Canada’s Karol-Ann Canuel and her Velocio-SRAM team defended their title, winning gold in the Elite Women’s Team Time Trial (TTT) for their fourth consecutive victory. BMC proved to be unstoppable again in the Elite Men’s competition as the 2015 UCI Road World Championships got underway on Sunday in Richmond, Virginia.

Tuft leading Orica-GreenEdge  ©  Peter Kraiker
Ten Canadians were part of the trade-team TTT event that kicked off the championships, including Svein Tuft and his Orica-GreenEdge squad from Australia, who tried in vein to land on the podium for the fourth successive time, coming up short to finish fourth on the day.

Elite Women’s TTT

Velocio-SRAM continued their unbroken run of Road World Championships women’s TTT with a time of 47:35:72 over the 38.8km course, narrowly outpacing the Boels Dolmans squad by a six-second margin with the Rabo-Liv Women’s Team in third at 56 seconds back.

It was U.S.-based Velocio-SRAM’s fourth consecutive gold in this event, and for Canuel, who joined the team in late 2013, it was her second consecutive gold at the Road Worlds.

“It was a very difficult and very tight race. I am very happy with our victory; we worked very hard. It is always pleasing to be the world champions. This year it was even tighter because each team worked very hard during the race,” commented Canuel. Last year, the 27-year-old from Amos, Que., became the first Canadian ever to win gold at the UCI Road Worlds.

Alison Jackson with Twenty 16 p/b Sho-Air  ©  Ethan Glading

Fellow Canuck, Alison Jackson, part of the Twenty 16 p/b Sho-Air team, celebrated a strong 5th-place finish as the first team to go below 50 minutes enjoying some time in the hot seat. Not far behind in 6th was UnitedHealthcare Professional Cycling Team that included Canadian Laura Brown.

Laura Brown  ©  Peter Kraiker

Ninth out of the starting ramp, Dutch-based Boels Dolmans concluded the fast, fairly flat course by setting an excellent time of 47 minutes 41 seconds despite an early puncture and their fourth rider – who marked the time for each team – struggling on a climb later on.

Boels Dolmans  ©  Cor Vos

Given their track record, Velocio-SRAM, inevitably were the key reference point. Last to start, the defending champions began well by marking a fast series of intermediate times as they moved away from the outer city area of Richmond and into more rolling countryside. Velocio-SRAM were 11 seconds quicker than their Dutch rivals at the first checkpoint. However, the team began to fade as they moved deeper into the second part of the course, sliding to just six seconds ahead of Boels Dolmans at the second checkpoint and dropping to three seconds back at the third.

Canuel and Velocio SRAM  ©  Peter Kraiker
In a nail-biting finale, the defending champs exploited their numerical advantage of five to four on their nearest rivals, to ramp up the power in the final kilometres, losing riders in their effort but narrowing the gap fast on their three-minute team, Orica-AIS. Finally, after touching speeds of nearly 60kmh on the flatter sections, Velocio-SRAM crossed the line six seconds ahead of Boels Dolmans for a tight, but convincing victory.

Optum's Glaesser, Charity, Kirchman, Walle  ©  Peter Kraiker
Top Canadian riders, Jasmin Glaesser and Leah Kirchmann, with Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, finished 9th. Their team rebounded after suffering a horrific crash while training the day before the competition resulting in a broken collarbone for fellow Canuck, Annie Ewart, and a concussion for Maura Kinsella – read more here.

Canada's Brien leading Tibco squad  ©  Peter Kraiker

Other Canadian women’s results included Alizee Brien riding for Team TIBCO who finished in 11th, and Shoshauna Routley with BMW p/b Happy Tooth Dental in 13th.

Uebelhart, Routley, Nalder  ©  Peter Kraiker

Elite Men’s TTT

In a thrilling duel for gold, the men’s defending Team Time Trial champions from 2014 took on Etixx-Quick Step, the winners of the same event in 2012 and 2013. When the dust settled, BMC Racing Team beat their Belgian rivals by 11 seconds, with Spanish squad, Movistar Team, taking their first-ever podium in the event, securing the bronze at 30 seconds behind.

BMC Racing  ©  Cor VosRohan Dennis leads BMC to its second TTT Worlds victory  ©  Ethan Glading

“I’m honoured to have been part of all of this, it was a hard race and a big goal for us,” said BMC’s Taylor Phinney. “To win with the team is so fantastic – I’m a little bit at a loss for words right now.”

Richmond’s well-balanced Team Time Trial course featured a flat opening section on city roads followed by the trickier series of undulating twisting roads through Richmond National Battlefield Park. That preceded a late, steady ascent up Governor Street and after a left hand turn, a final half kilometre of false flat. Compared to the 2014 Team Time Trial and earlier years, the biggest difference was arguably the distance at only 38.8 kilometres compared to 57.1 kilometres in 2014 and 57.2 kilometres in 2013.

Etixx-Quick Step  ©  Peter Kraiker

By the second checkpoint, Etixx-Quick Step and BMC Racing Team were inching ahead of their rivals, but with little difference between them. Tom Boonen and Tony Martin made their presence felt on the Belgian squad, while Rohan Dennis, part of the winning BMC Racing Team at the 2014 event, and Taylor Phinney were also in the thick of the action. It was clear that Etixx-Quick Step was not going to give up without a struggle, as BMC remained steady at the front, clocking the fastest time at each checkpoint – four seconds at the first and 12 seconds at the second.

Movistar  ©  Ethan Glading

While Orica-GreenEdge’s challenge to add a fourth successive podium faded noticeably in the second part of the course, Movistar Team briefly managed to edge Giant-Alpecin – finally fifth – out of the provisional top spot overall. But Movistar Team’s spell in first place was short-lived, as first Etixx-Quick Step and then BMC Racing Team eclipsed them to complete the overall podium.

“For me it’s been a kind of rollercoaster for the last couple of years,” added Phinney, referring to the injuries which have troubled his recent career, “So to get back here and win with the team is fantastic.”

Houle and AG2R  ©  Peter Kraiker

The French-based AG2R La Mondiale team, which includes Canada’s Hugo Houle, finished 14th. Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies finished 17th with two Canadians, Ryan Anderson and Guillaume Boivin, pedalling for the American team.

Optum with Boivin and Anderson  ©  Peter Kraiker

In the UCI WorldTour Teams rankings, Movistar’s bronze enabled them to move into first place overall, now with 1,559 points ahead of former leader Team Katusha. Etixx-Quick Step remains in fourth, while BMC Racing Team have moved up from seventh to fifth.

Elite Women’s TTT results here.
Elite Men’s TTT results here.

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