After contesting the Winston-Salem Cycling Classic last weekend in North Carolina, the top women's teams in the sport travelled north of the US border ahead of the double UCI 1.1 events, the Grand Prix Cycliste de Gatineau road race on June 4 and the Chrono de Gatineau individual time trial on June 5, both in Quebec, Canada.
Defending champion in the road race, Denise Ramsden (Team Canada), will be on the start line along with her compatriot Jasmin Glaesser (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies). A number of other Canadian riders will be participating in the race including Glaesser's teammates Annie Ewart, Lex Albrecht and road, time trial and criterium champion Leah Kirchmann. Velocio-SRAM will field Karol-Ann Canuel and UnitedHealthcare will bring Laura Brown.
Other past winners of the road race include sprinters Shelley Olds, Ina Teutenberg, Georgia Bronzini and Joëlle Numainville.
This year there will be 23 teams participating in the sixth annual road race; Veocio-SRAM, Hitec Products, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies, Euipe Nationale du Canada, Equipe Nationale Ukraine, Luxembourg National team, Team Tibco-SVB, BMW p/n Happy Tooth Dental, SAS-Mazda-Macogep-Specialized, Equipe du Quebec, Visit Dallas Cycling p/b Noise4Good, DNA Cycling p/b K4, Team Opus – The Cyclery, Trek Red Truck Racing p/b/ Mosaic Homes, Rise Racing p/b Cyclepath Woodbridge, Holiday Inn Calgary-Northwest/P.K. Express, West of Quebec Wheelers, Selection de la region Nationale Capitale, CRCA/Stan's No Tubes Classic Cycling, Team NCCH p/b De Express, Zimmer Capital Orthopedics p/b Foundation, QCW Breakway Bikes p/b Felt Bicycles and Twenty16 p/b Sho-Air.
On Thursday, the women will start at the road race at the Promenade du Lac des Fées and Brodeur Street and then head out of the downtown area and toward the Gatineau Park where they will complete a roughly 37km circuit through the park and back to the downtown area. Once back in town, the women will race laps of a 8.3km short circuit for a total of 108km.
On Friday, organisers will host a separate individual time trial, also classed as a UCI 1.1, the Chrono de Gatineau. This time trial is far from a standard out-and-back jaunt and will take the riders in all directions, with roughly nine turns throughout the technical 14km route.
Last year Tayler Wiles (Velocio-SRAM) won the race ahead of Kirchmann and Glaesser. Past winners also include Carmen Small in 2013, Clara Hughes in 2011 and Evelyn Stevens in 2010. Amber Neben (Visit Dallas p/b Noise4Good), the 2008 time trial world champion, will also be on the start line. She was on the podium twice in previous editions; third in 2012 and second in 2011, and will no doubt want to win the event this year.