More than 700 participants are expected to invade St-Georges-de-Beauce, Quebec, for the 2007 Canadian National Championships. The competition, July 5 to 11, will feature a return of Lyne Bessette and a separate U23 race.
Lyne Bessette will return to the road scene in the time trial. "I'm pleased to see her make a comeback," noted Kris Westwood, high performance director for the Canadian Cycling Association. "She is one of the few athletes to have challenged for a world title and it's a good decision for her to start her comeback in the time trial." Alex Wrubleski of Saskatchewan is the defending champion. (2006 Canadian championships.)
In the men's time trial, Westwood doesn't predict any upsets. "Sven Tuft, Ryder Hesjedal and Eric Wohlberg are dominant right now."
This year the under-23 riders will have their own road race. "This is the first time we've split the men's race," Westwood pointed out. "It will allow those riders to standout in a less aggressive setting and one not so dominated by the team tactics found in an elite race."
Westwood believes Symmetrics will control the elite pack but that won't necessarily guarantee a victory. "There is an opportunity at mid-point to capitalize on a breakaway. Last year the riders' strategies evolved around the Symmetrics and they were caught off guard by Dominique Rollin. That probably won't happen again this year."
The men's elite race will conclude the national championships on July 11.
"The Canadian championships are an opportunity to evaluate the progress of our riders," continued Westwood. "It is often our first opportunity to meet some young riders. For them, the nationals are a stepping-stone towards a berth on the national team."
The Canadian championships are also an important selection process for the world championships. The national time trial champions receive an automatic berth (providing they attain the minimal qualifying speed), while others will battle hard to fill in the remaining spots.