The national championships always make for some very tough, intense racing. The Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery men’s team headed to the Beauce region of Quebec knowing it would be one of the hardest weekends of the year, and that made the results all the sweeter.
Matteo Dal-Cin — racing for the Ontario team since he’s been selected for the Canada Summer Games — opened up the string of podiums on Thursday with third place in the U23 time trial behind fellow Ottawa boy Alex Cataford (Garneau-Quebecor) and Antoine Duchesne (Bontrager-Trek). [click here for the complete results]
Jean-Sébastien Perron takes up the story with the men’s road race:
Men’s national championships road race (184 km)
Ville-St-Georges, Saturday, June 22
In uncertain weather conditions — it had rained all morning, and the temperature started cool — the race went from the gun with attack after attack as soon as the neutral start ended. After 20 km, a front group of nine formed with some heavy hitters, and I made the split. Thirty kilometres later another three riders bridged up, and the day’s breakaway was set — several race favourites tried to bridge the gap, but without success.
For my part, the distance proved to be my undoing. I was feeling strong and very comfortable in the group but Christian Meier’s attacks 30 km from the finish caused me to lose contact with the front of the race. I found myself in a group of three and we were able to hold off the chasers and I won the sprint for eighth place.
Men’s national championships criterium (45 km)
Ville-St-Georges, QC, Sunday, June 22
This was held on the Tour de Beauce criterium course with its legendary “wall” which breaks your legs each lap. Once again, the attacks went from the gun. After several tries Derrick St. John got off the front in what would be the longest break of the day, but unfortunately it didn’t stick. The last 10 laps were aggressive and very fast! Derrick, Stephen Keeping and I attacked repeatedly and finally a front group of six got away with both Derrick and me! It was a great situation for us, and I attacked with a lap to go but when I saw Pierrick Naud (the eventual winner) was coming up on me I eased up to wait for the sprint. Derrick tried to shuffle the deck by jumping early, but Naud timed his sprint perfectly. I tried to come around him but the finish line came up a few feet too early … C***** de T******!
I crossed the line in second place — on one wheel. [click here for the complete results]
Early in the criterium Braydon Bourne had a high-speed encounter with a traffic cone, destroying his Stevens Xenon frame in the process. Luckily Braydon walked away with just a few scrapes.
Also on Sunday, Stephen Keeping finished third in the inaugural Sprint Challenge. This race is run in heats of four riders, with the first two from each heat advancing to the next round until the final. Keeping shared the podium with Geoffrey Dussault (Garneau-Quebecor) and Cody Canning (Trek-Red Truck). [click here for the complete results]