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Youth Commonwealth Games Preview and Days 1-2 Report – Bronze for Canada

report by Marie-Pier Bédard and Jeff Ain

September 10, 2011 (Isle of Man) – The seven rider team – four male, three female – is fully prepared and excited to start racing this evening in Douglas, Isle of Man. We arrived Monday evening at the Rutland Hotel in Douglas along with the whole Canadian delegation of almost 80 athletes, coaches, managers, and support staff.

The past three days have been spent getting over jet lag, training, and studying the three race courses on tap for the Games. The Games officially kicked off Thursday night with a fantastic opening ceremonies explaining the unique history of the Isle of Man. Prince Edward, Earl of Essex was in attendance.

The racing begins this evening with a 7.5km time trial along the Irish Sea coast which will be very windy and technical as it goes along the promenade walkway. The road race will be  Saturday morning with the girls scheduled to do seven laps for a total of 63km. The guys are scheduled to do 14 laps for a total of 104km. The final race on Sunday will be a downtown Douglas criterium, 30 minutes plus five laps for the girls, and 50 minutes plus five laps for the guys.

A big thank you to the Canadian organizing committee who have made our transition to the Isle of Man very smooth and comfortable.

Roster:

Female
– Allison Gillard (Mont Ste Anne)
– Tennessee Mayer (Montreal)
– Janie Rioux-Coulombe (Sherbrooke)

Male
– Elliot Doyle (Alma)
– Simon-Pierre Gauthier (Boisbriand)
– Charles Matte (Val d’Or)
– David Onsow (Montreal)

Staff
– Marie-Pier Bedard (Boisbriand)
– Jeff Ain (Vancouver)

Time Trial – Sept. 9
Seven Canadian riders took the start on Friday night in a 7.5km race against the clock on the promenade in Douglas. It was a flat course with a tailwind, with a rise in the first leg and back, and a very dominant head wind. Allyson Gillard was the top Canadian Gillard in 12th with a time of 11 minutes 44 seconds, followed by Tennessee Mayer with a time of 11 minutes 45 seconds and in 15th position, Janie Rioux-Coulombe had a time of 11 minutes 50 seconds. “It was a beautiful course, very fast. The return was particularly difficult, but I gave everything,” said  Gillard. The Canadian girls finished 5th in the team standings. The winner was, Hannah Barnes (England) who finished the course with a time of 10 minutes 13 seconds.

For men it was Australia’s Alex Morgan, who won with an impressive time of 9 min. Charles Matte was the top Canadian junior in 8th with a time of 9:43, followed by Simon-Pierre Gauthier in ninth with a time of 9:44, Elliot Doyle placed 14th in 10:02 and David Onsow was 25th in 10:37. The excellent performance of the Canadian riders ensured them third in the team standings earning Canada its first cycling medal at the 2011 Junior Commonwealth Games. “We are all very proud to have performed well. It was difficult to prepare for these competitions, but now we know we can perform and look forward to the races on Saturday and Sunday,” said the riders after the race.

Road Race – Sept. 10
After the Quebec road championships in Ste-Agathe in the rain and wind, the racers were totally ready to face the weather this morning. The race was to begin at 10:15 but was delayed and the start was launched at 10:45 am. From the outset, the riders  noticed that the 63km course was very slippery. Much of the route was on the race course for the world-renowned motorcycle TT Grand Prix and we assume there was a lot of oil in the road. “Several falls occurred because the girls literally slid down the road, as if they were on ice,” said coach Marie-Pier Bédard. Janie Rioux-Coulombe had the best performance of the girls placing 11th and finished in the lead group. Allyson Gillard was 15th despite a mechanical problem, and Tennessee Mayer was unfortunate to have a number of falls and ended up in 16th.

The men’s 104km road race took place under skies that were more lenient. On the first lap, the Canadian riders were leading the pack. Charles Matte fell but managed to return to the group quickly. During the second lap the race was animated with many attacks. In the end, there were three groups. Matte finished in a chase group between the first and second groups while Simon-Pierre Gauthier finished 15th in the second group, Elliot Doyle placed 22nd  and David Onsow was 24th. “It was a very difficult race, but I gave everything an we worked very well together. Simon-Pierre managed to bridge from the third group to my group. It was a very hard day for everyone, but very very good,” said Charles after the race.

Sunday will be a very technical 30-min criterium (+ 5 laps) for women and 50 minutes (5 laps) for men. We’ll have more news tomorrow.

Good luck tomorrow at the Montreal World Tour for all those racing!

Marie-Pier Bédard and Jeff Ain





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