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Team Canada Dominates GP Gatineau Road Race + PHOTOS

release by Cycling Canada

May 21, 2017 (Gatineau, QC) – Team Canada took the top two spots on the podium on Saturday at the Grand Prix Cycliste Gatineau, with Leah Kirchmann taking the win ahead of team mate Kirsti Lay.  American Kendall Ryan (Tibco–Silicon Valley Bank) rounded out the podium.

Women's final podium  ©  Pasquale Stalteri

The eighth edition of the UCI race took the riders out for two loops in the Gatineau Park before heading into the center of Gatineau for five laps of a 9.4 kilometre circuit, for a total of 104.4 kilometres of racing.

The opening circuits feature a long climb followed by an equally long descent, and Team Canada set a strong tempo, catching an early break and discouraging further attempts.

Kirchmann  ©  Pasquale Stalteri

“I started the day optimistic,” explained Kirchmann, “and the team, Team Canada, we believed we had a super strong roster and that we could win the race. Originally we wanted to make it a hard and aggressive race especially through the two laps through the park and we wanted to make the Camp Fortune climb hard.

Kirsti Lay  ©  Pasquale Stalteri
“The first time we set a hard pace, and the second time we wanted to force a selection but, unfortunately, my derailleur kind of exploded on the base of the climb. This forced us to change our plan. But the team was amazing, they came and brought me back to the group and then from there we reassessed.”

Formann-Mackey  ©  Pasquale Stalteri
The field came into the finishing circuits intact, however, two laps in Australian Lucy Bechtel (Fearless Femme Racing) attacked and carved out a 30 second-plus lead before she was shut down by the teams setting up for a sprint.  Steph Roorda (Sho-Air Twenty20) tried a last lap attack but was quickly caught.

Team Canada timed the sprint perfectly, with Kirchmann coming off Lay’s wheel in the final 100 metres.  Lay’s leadout was so strong that she was able to hold on for second.

Kirsti Lay  ©  Pasquale Stalteri
Lay explained the strategy for the finish, “We wanted to make the race hard just to begin with to make the selection a bit better. On the last lap we just wanted to be near the front but we knew we didn’t want to go too early. There was a headwind and we didn’t want anyone to come around. Leah (Kirchmann) and I actual started a couple wheels back but we stayed calm and came up the inside and no one shut the door on us so it was perfect timing. I didn’t anticipate myself being there that late, but I knew she had a good sprint and I hung on for second.”

Poidevin leading Canuel  ©  Pasquale Stalteri
“It was amazing coming into the finish how the team came together,” said Kirchmann.  “We don’t normally race together, but the girls did an amazing job of just staying patient, using other teams as long as possible. Coming down the long straight Katherine (Maine) and Sara (Poidevin) were able to maintain position and then Karol Ann (Canuel) drove it through the roundabout.

Kirchmann wins  ©  Pasquale Stalteri

“Kirsti (Lay) lost a few positions but were make it up in the final corner. Kirsti was able to deliver me with a lot of speed, so much so that she managed to finish second. I head back to Europe tomorrow to meet up with my team and do the Women’s Tour of Britain and then come back for Nationals.”

Results and more photos here.





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