June 26, 2016 (Ottawa, ON) – The opening day of 2016 Global Relay p/b Lexus Road Nationals was a whirlwind of great racing capped by Annie Foreman-Mackey’s (The Cyclery-Opus) stellar performance winning the Elite women’s road race. Nine titles were awarded across multiple categories at the Day 1 road races.
The nationals course has proven itself to be a challenge causing anguish for every race of the day. The wind and the technical finishing circuit proved decisive in most races. With no major hills the pace was hot in every race with several coming down to a war of attrition as riders repeatedly attacked each other in an effort to escape.
The Elite and U23 women rolled up to the start line for the 110km, 11-lap race, and soon after the start Emily Flynn of Cyclery-Opus attacked in the first lap building a 13-second gap over the peloton. Miriam Brouwer, her teammate, attempted to bridge to Flynn but both were quickly absorbed into the field. Immediately after, Jamie Gilgen (Visit Dallas) attacked and established a small gap. So early in the race no one expected this move to do much but as the race went on it became clear that Gilgen’s attack would be the decisive move of the race, which lead to its final outcome.
The effort in the main field to catch the chasers and subsequently chase Gilgen caused the peloton to splinter and gaps formed as they strung out on through the finish circuit. The chase brought Gilgen’s lead down to just 40 seconds. Gillian Ellsay (Trek Red Truck), Foreman-Mackey and Alizee Brien (Tibco) took the opportunity to attack the peloton and bridge across. They connected quickly and formed a cohesive unit and the gap once again began to grow getting up to 1:50 by the end of the 5th lap.
The 6th lap saw things start to shake up in the break. Ellsay was the first to be dropped when Brien and Foreman-Mackey attacked the group. Gilgen managed to close the gap and hang on for another lap. The gap continued to grow as Brien and Foreman-Mackey pushed hard. With Gilgen and Ellsay both swallowed up the in pack there were now two minutes separating the peloton and the two riders off the front.
For another two laps the break continued driving forward holding the gap at 1:50. A flurry of attacks came from the peloton as frustrated riders attempted to spur on a chase. Kirchmann remained on the front doing the best she could to chase down the break on her own. Alison Jackson (Twenty16), who had crashed early in the race, took a flyer off the front and managed to get 20 seconds off the front before being swallowed up.
On lap 10 the peloton finally managed to find a rhythm and started to claw some time back from the break but a crash in the pack saw the gap once again go out to nearly two minutes and at the same moment, Foreman-Mackey executed the move that would solidify her win by attacking Brien. With only 14km left in the race Foreman-Mackey gained 45 seconds on Brien and 2:10 on the field.
As Foreman-Mackey crossed the line to begin her final lap solo, the smile on her face told the crowd what they already knew: Foreman-Mackey would be our new Elite women’s champion. By now it was a mathematical certainly she would win as long as she could maintain her pace for the final 10km.
As Foreman-Mackey crossed the line as winner, the pack began its fight for second with Joelle Numainville (Cervelo-Bigla) and Kirchmann rounding out the podium in the bunch sprint. Ariane Bonhomme took the top spot in the U23 results giving the Cycerly-Opus a double victory.
Canadian Road Championships kicked off the day with the Junior Men’s 120km, 12-lap race rolling out at 8am. The skies were clear and the temp was cool with a gentle breeze coming in from the south.
The field wasted no time getting to business with the pace for the first 4 laps exceeding 45km/h. Oliver Evans (Russ Hays) made the first attack taking a solo flyer off the front in the very first lap; a bold move from the young rider at the start of a long 120km race. Even with the blistering pace, Evans was able to hold the pack for nearly a lap stretching his lead out to 20 seconds. Team Ontario and NCCH lead the chase effort on the front and Evans was caught.
A second attack came in the third lap putting Evans and Graydon Staples (Team ON) off the front this time. Evans and Staples were joined by James Grant (TaG Cycling) with the pack chasing hard. The 46km/h pace put many riders into difficulty and a small grupetto formed picking up riders as they fell off the main group.
The break was finally caught in the 9th lap but the unrelenting Evans once again attacked this time with a teammate but couldn’t maintain the effort. By now the gentle breeze had turned into a steady crosswind coming off the river. Hard efforts and stiff winds were taking their toll on the pack as they saw their pace drop to just above 40km/h in the final laps.
With only 2 laps to go the sprinters in the bunch started to work their way toward the front jostling for position as the riders weaved through Tunney’s pasture. Coming into the last lap the sprinters looked ready to pounce.
At 3km from the finish the group still remained together, jostling for position with FQSC riders taking the prime spots near the front. As the peloton entered Tunney’s Pasture a flurry of attacks came with FQSC’s rider coming out on top.
The Junior Women’s 80km race started conservatively in the scorching heat. The first few laps saw FQSC sitting the near the front with Ontario and Alberta keeping close watch for any potential attacks. In the third lap things started to get moving but a crash caused a fracture in the group with some riders attacking off the front and others chasing hard to get back on the pack.
Holly Simonson (Cycling BC) managed to get a 42-second gap taking advantage of the crash while Maggie Coles-Lyster (TaG Cycling) took up the chase effort on the front of the main field. Within a lap the peloton had regrouped from the crash and were chasing hard after Simonson. She was caught with some concerted effort by the group but remained on the front.
The race had only two laps to go and Simonson was starting to think about how she could help position her teammate, and race favourite, Erin Attwell, who was sitting only a few wheels behind. Ruby West (Team Ontario) and Coles-Lyster remained near the front waiting for any last minute attempts to break from the field.
A series of attacks came in the 6th and 7th lap but the big names in the field weren’t letting anything go. Team Alberta had moved to the front along with BC Cycling and took control of the race. As they crossed the line to begin their last lap an explosive attack came from Quebec’s Simone Boilard, Ontario’s Dana Gilligan, Devaney Collier (Team Alberta) and Attwell as the four riders broke free from the group.
With the big teams represented the break was able to build a whopping 30-second lead over the peloton in the final lap. With their position secure it was now a battle between the four breakaway riders. Attwell and Boilard, the two sprinters, looked most promising with Collier the wildcard.
As they rounded the final corner the break spread out to prevent giving anyone a free ride to the line. Attwell made the winning move accelerating at just the right moment as Collier out-sprinted Boilard for second place and Gilligan rolled across in 4th. It was an exciting race with the decisive move coming in the very last lap.
In the Para-cycling events, Robbi Weldon (SAS-Macogep-Acquisio p/p Mazda) repeated as tandem champion with her new pilot, Audrey Lemieux, while Daniel Chalifour ( Équipe du Québec) and his pilot, Jean-Michel Lachance, took the men’s title.
Louis Albert Corriveau Jolin (Équipe du Québec) won the combined men’s and women’s Trike category, with Charles Moreau (Équipe du Québec) taking the combined men’s H3/4 title by only three seconds over Alex Hyndman (Team Ontario). Myriam Adam (Équipe du Québec) won the combined men’s and women’s H2 title by ten seconds, ahead of Matt Kinnie (VeloNB). Tristen Chernove (Cycling BC) won the combined men’s and women’s C1-C5 national championship.
The groundwork has been laid for an exciting men’s race on Sunday and this year’s Road Championships is off to a great start. The Championships continue on Sunday with the Elite/Under-23 men’s 180-kilometre road race, followed by the Individual Time Trial competition on Tuesday.