Kirchmann third at La Course; Vos' winning sprint captured on video
The 101st Tour de France wrapped up on the Champs-Élysées in Paris on Sunday, and just hours before the men rolled onto the finishing circuits, a world-class women's field raced on the same course at the inaugural La Course by Le Tour de France, where three North American sprinters finished in the top 10.
Canada's Leah Kirchmann (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) sprinted to a third place on the podium. She recently won the national road, time trial and criterium championships, and once again proved her strength in the world-class circuit race by rivaling top sprinters, world champion Marianne Vos (Rabo-Liv), who won, and runner-up Kirsten Wild (Giant-Shimano).
"On the final lap, my teammates helped position me in the bunch and dropped me around the other sprinters in the race," Kirchmann told Cyclingnews. "I saw Kirsten Wild nearby and got on her wheel for the final few kilometers. The speed was very high coming down the finish straight with Rabo-Liv leading it out. I stuck to Wild's wheel and tried to come around on the final straight. It was a bit of a shock when I realized how close the sprint was in the end. This was definitely the happiest I've ever felt about a podium finish!"
American riders Shelley Olds (Alé Cipollini) placed fifth and Coryn Rivera (UnitedHealthcare) placed sixth, and was the event's top young rider.
A hundred cyclists participated in the inaugural event, which was a one-day circuit race held in conjunction with the final stage of the men's Tour de France.
In footage taken from a video camera strapped to Vos' bike, watch the women in action as they prepare for the final sprint during the last few kilometers along the Champs-Élysées.
Tour de France: Van Garderen finishes Tour de France as the top American rider
American rider Tejay van Garderen was given the sole leadership role for BMC at the Tour de France this year, and although he had hoped to make it onto the final podium, he finished a respectable fifth place overall. Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) held a firm grip on the yellow jersey for nearly the entire race, and he won the title by 7:37 ahead of Jean-Christophe Péraud (Ag2r-La Mondiale) and 8:15 to Thibaut Pinot (FDJ.fr). Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) placed fourth.
After a rough start to the three-week Grand Tour, van Garderen slowly moved into fifth place during the second week. A bad day on the bike during stage 16, the first day in the Pyrenees, however, saw him lose minutes in the overall and drop to sixth place.
He wasn't within the striking-distance of the overall podium that he had hoped to be in coming out of the Pyrenees and into the stage 20 time trial from Bergerac to Périgueux. But a strong performance in the 54km race boost him back up into fifth place by just two seconds ahead of Romain Bardet (Ag2r-La Mondiale).
Chris Horner (Lampre-Merida) was the next best American rider in the Tour, finishing 17th overall and 44:31 minutes back. Other North Americans in the race were Peter Stetina (BMC), Ben King and Alex Howes (Garmin-Sharp), Matthew Busche (Trek Factory Racing), Christian Meier and Svein Tuft (Orica-GreenEdge) and Danny Pate (Team Sky).
Canadians medal at the Commonwealth Games
Canadians took home gold and silver medals in the women's cross country race at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland on Tuesday. Catharine Pendrel secured the gold medal after winning the race by more than a minute and a half ahead of her teammate and silver medalist Emily Batty. Australia's Rebecca Henderson was third.
Canada's Max Plaxton finished fourth in the men's cross country race and his fellow countryman Raphaël Gagné was seventh. The pair finished out of reach from the podium dominated by New Zealand duo, gold medal winner Anton Cooper and silver medalist Samuel Gaze. Australia's Daniel McConnell earned the bronze medal.
Remi Pelletier-Roy was the first rider to break the Canadian team's no-podium streak during the first few days of track racing at the games. The Quebecois secured the bronze medal in the men's scratch race behind New Zealand's Shane Archbold and Australia's Glenn O'Shea.
Previous to that, Canada's men's team pursuit squad (Zach Bell, Rémi Pelletier-Roy, Ed Veal and Aidan Caves) and the men's sprint team (Joseph Veloce, Hugo Barrette and Vincent de Haitre) placed fourth, Haitre placed seventh in the men's 1000m time trial, Bell was fifth in the men's 40km points race with and Jasmine Glaesser was 10th in the women's 10km scratch race. Bell also placed 10th in the men's scratch race, and Glaesser was sixth and Laura Brown 10th in the women's 25km points race.
Commonwealth Games: Kirchmann and Tuft aim for gold in road events
The Canadians will also be participating in the upcoming time trial held on July 31 and the road race held on August 3. Leah Kirchmann will contest the individual time trial alongside track endurance athletes Glaesser and Brown. These three will be joined by Steph Roorda for the road race to make a four-rider team.
"I'll be racing both the time trial and road race," Kirchmann told Cyclingnews. "The games are a big focus for me this season, and the timing with La Course worked out perfectly. I'm aiming high and looking for gold in both events."
Canada's road and time trial champion Svein Tuft, who recently finished the Tour de France, will lead the men's team in the time trial and road race. Bell and Veal will also compete in the time trial. The trio will be joined by Will Routley, Pelletier-Roy and Caves for the road race.
"It [winning a gold medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games] is always something that I've hoped for but you don't have control of everything you do up until that point," Tuft told Cyclingnews. "I would love to go to Glasgow and have a good one, and feel the way that I did before the nationals."
Nic Hamilton was sidelined from competing for Canada after crashing during a training session on the track.
Anderson and McCutcheon win in San Rafael
Elle Anderson (Vanderkitten) and Connor McCutcheon (Airgas Cycling) won their respective races at the San Rafael Twilight Criterium on Saturday in San Rafael, California.
Anderson won the women's race in a sprint ahead of Colavita-Fine Cooking teammates Starla Teddergreen and Olivia Dillon. McCutcheon won the men's race in a solo move ahead of the main field led by Fabrizio Vonnacher (KHS-Maxxis Jakroo) and Rahsaan Bahati (Bahati-WTR).
Organizers of the San Rafael Twilight Criterium once again offered an exciting platform for both the pro men's 75-minute criterium and elite women's 70-minute criterium. The races were held on a one kilometer course, located in San Rafael's vibrant downtown. The races started and finished on 4th Street and ran clockwise on 4th, D St., 5th St., and A St.
USA CRITS continues at Iron Hill Twilight
Iron Hill Twilight Criterium is the ninth round of the USA CRITS Series held on August 2 on the downtown streets of West Chester, Pennsylvania. Race organizers offer both a women's and men's criterium held on a one kilometer course, and over eight city blocks, featuring four 90-degree turns and one short rise.
Frank Travieso (UnitedHealthcare of Georgia p/b The 706 Project) is leading the men's USA CRITS Series ahead of his teammate David Cueli and David Guttenplan (SeaSucker-Guttenplan Coaching). Laura Van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom) is leading the women's series ahead of her teammate Laura Jorgensen and Erica Allar (Colavita-Fine Cooking).
Stay tuned to Cyclingnews next Tuesday for our next weekly edition of race recaps and previews of what's ahead in the North American road racing scene.