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Svein Tuft (Orica GreenEDGE) wins
Tuft and Kirchmann win Canadian time trial and road titles
North American's on the WorldTour circuit are busy putting the final touches on their form before the upcoming Tour de France that starts on July 5 in Leeds, Yorkshire, while the elite women will be starting the Giro d'Italia Internazionale Femminile a day earlier with a prologue in Caserta
Check out a few of the highlights from the peloton last week, including performances from the Canadian road championships, and a peek at the upcoming National Criterium Calendar's Manhattan Beach Grand Prix in California and the BC Superweek held in British Columbia.
Canada's Tuft wins time trial and road titles; Kirchmann wins triple crown
Orica-GreenEdge's Svein Tuft secured his ninth time trial title on Thursday in Lac-Mégantic. He won the elite men's 40.4km course in 53:25, besting his nearest competitors, runner-up Hugo Houle (Ag2r La Mondiale) by 2:04 and third placed Ryan Roth (Silber Pro Cycling) by 2:21 minutes.
He went on to win the 175km road race on Saturday after being in a solo breakaway for 120km. He won by a minute over chasers Ryan Roth (Silber Pro Cycling), teammate Christian Meier and Michael Woods (5-Hour Energy p/b Kenda).
"It's always nice to wear the Canadian colors in the WorldTour," he said.
Leah Kirchmann did one better than Tuft and became the first Canadian to win the time trial, road race and criterium titles in one season. "I couldn't be happier with how the weekend played out. I would never have expected sweeping all the titles," Kirchmann said. "At the same time, anything can happen at Nationals. I just tried to stay confident and rely on my teammates as much as I could, and they were simply amazing."
The Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies rider secured the elite women's time trial title after covering the 28.8km course in a winning time of 43:28 minutes beating Jasmin Glaesser (Tibco-To The Top) by two seconds and her teammate Anika Todd by 1:01 minutes.
Kirchmann went on to win the 115km road race out of bunch sprint ahead of teammate Denise Ramsden and Leah Guloien on Friday. On Sunday, she went into the criterium championships as the defending champion and came out successful, with her third title of the weekend. She won the bunch sprint ahead of Joanie Caron (Garneau-Factory) and Jamie Gilgen (RealDeal-Gears p/b WaspCam).
Rémi Pelletier-Roy (Garneau-Quebecor) won the elite men's criterium title ahead of Ryan MacDonald (Team H&R Block) and Dustin Andrews (Trek Red Truck p/b Mosaic Homes).
Cutler sweeps Fitchburg Longsjo Classic
Fitchburg Longsjo Classic continues as one of America's staple multi-day races, which now offers three criteriums, held this year from June 27 to 29 in Massachusetts. Amy Cutler (FCS|Zngine p/n Mr. Restore) dominated the weekend of racing winning all three women's events.
Cutler kicked off the series on Friday with a win at the Leominster Twilight Criterium and Cole Archambault (Green Line Velo driven by Zipcar) won the men's Cat 1/2 event. She went on to win both the Worchester Twilight Criterium on Saturday and the Fitchburg Downtown Criterium on Sunday. Isaac Howe (Champion System-Stand NoTubes), who is currently ranked fifth in the National Criterium Calendar standings, won the final two men's criteriums.
Abbott set to defend Giro Rosa title
American Mara Abbott will lead her UnitedHealthcare squad as the defending champion at this Giro d'Italia Femminile set to start on July 4, Independence Day, in Caserta.
Abbott, who won the event in 2010 and 2013, and will rely on her teammates and fellow countrymen Alison Powers, Katie Hall, Coryn Rivera Scotti Wilborne and Ruth Winder along with British teammates Sharon Laws and Hannah Barnes.
"I won the Giro but you come back and want to win it again," Abbott said in a team video. "What allows you to be a successful athlete with longevity is the fact that you're constantly motivated and the fact that you come back each season wanting something more."
Other Americans competing in the 10-day race are Alé Cipollini's Shelley Olds, who is a former stage winner, Boels Dolmans Cycling Team's Megan Gaurnier and Specialized-lululemon's Evelyn Stevens, also a former stage winner, Carmen Small, Ally Stacher, Tayler Wiles and Canada's Karol-Ann Canuel.
North American pros ready for the Tour de France
The Tour de France is just around the corner, starting on July 5 in Leeds, Yorkshire and WorldTour teams have been busy finalizing their rosters this week. There are 10 North American riders on the start list that includes BMC Racing's leader Tejay van Garderen and domestique Peter Stetina.
After being controversially time cut from the team time trial in last year's Tour de France, Ted King will be back to support his Cannondale team. Other domestiques in the race include Danny Pate for Team Sky and Matthew Busche for Trek Factory Racing.
Chris Horner recently returned to the peloton at the Tour de Slovénie after recovering from a crash in the Lake Como area of Italy in April. He suffered a punctured lung, four fractured ribs and a head injury but he's bounced back just in time to join his Lampre-Merida team for this year's Tour.
Canada's road and time trial champ, Svein Tuft is on form and ready to help Orica-GreenEdge garner the stage wins they're looking for at this year's Tour. The specialist will be likely be looking for that win in the penultimate 54km time trial from Bergerac to Périgueux. He will then refocus on the Commonwealth Games at the end of July and the team time trial at the world championships in September.
Cyclists head North to BC Superweek
BC Superweek offers the men's and women's fields nine days of racing over 10 days held from July 4 to 13 in the Canadian province of British Columbia. The races also offer $120,000 in prize money.
It begins with the Tour de Delta from July 4-6, where Sunday's White Spot-Delta road races are UCI 1.2 events for both men and women. Steve Fisher (Jelly Belly p/b Maxxis) and triple Canadian title holder Leah Kirchmann (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) won the events last year.
The racing will continue at the UBC Grand Prix on July 8, Gastown Grand Prix on July 9, Giro di Burnaby on July 10 and the Tour de White Rock on July 11-13, to conclude the series.
Manhattan Beach Grand Prix reunites criterium specialists
The National Criterium Calendar (NCC) continues at the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix on July 6 in California. UnitedHealthcare's Luke Keough is leading the men's standings ahead of Athlete-Octane's Daniel Holloway and his teammate Carlos Alzate.
Colavita-Fine Cooking's Erica Allar, the defending champion, is leading the women's standings ahead of Fearless Femme's Tina Pic and UnitedHealthcare's Coryn Rivera.
The men will race for 80 minutes and the women for 55 minutes on a hot dog-shaped course that runs out along the N Valley Road and back down N Ardmore Ave, with the final U-turn located 250 meters before the finish line in Live Oak Park.
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.