Tim Abercrombie described himself as "just an amateur."
That didn't keep the 32-year-old Vancouver native from besting a field of professionals from teams in North America and Europe at Sunday's Peace Arch News Road Race, the final stage in both the Tour de White Rock and the 10-day, eight-race, $65,000 BC Superweek series.
Abercrombie got into an early nine-rider breakaway in the grueling, hill-filled 134-kilometer race with a couple of teammates from the locally based Garneau Evolution amateur team, and then pulled away on the final lap, finishing in 3:34:52.
That was eight seconds faster than Oregon's Kennett Peterson, riding alone for the Seattle-based Hagen Bermans team just five weeks after breaking his collarbone in a criterium in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and David Vukets, another local rider from the Trek Red Truck amateur team.
By besting a field that included riders like Will Routley, a Whistler native now riding in Europe for Team SpiderTech, and 11 pro riders from teams like Jelly Belly and Kelly Benefit Strategies, Abercrombie gets his name on the Alex Stieda memorial trophy alongside the likes Brian Walton, Chris Horner, and last year's winner, Svein Tuft.
"If you look back on the winner's list, there's some pretty impressive names," Abercrombie said. "I'm really proud to be on that list."
For that honor he was quick to thank teammates Jason Thompson and Curtis Deardon, who were both in the nine-rider break that took off on the first of 11 laps around the long 10.1-kilometer circuit. By the time the men moved onto the shorter 3.8-kilometer course for the final six laps, local climbing sensation Sebastian Salas of Team H&R Block had bridged to make it a 10-man break. When they finished only six were left, and Abercrombie got the jump before the final straightaway.
"We had three guys in the break, the best numbers of any team and Curtis just worked his tail off in that breakaway, he really sacrificed himself, and Jason was really keeping the pace high up the hills," he said. "And I was just trying to save myself and my best for last."
Peterson won a sprint for second place, coming across just over one second before Vukets, a feat made all the more impressive by the fact he broke his collarbone at a race just five weeks earlier, and was so worried about breaking it again he decided to skip Saturday's crit.
"I was depressed for a week or so (after the injury) so I've really been thinking about this race for the last month, thinking about coming up here, so I'm super happy to take second," Peterson said. "I'm pretty upset I didn't win, but second is by far my best result this year."
Vukets was right behind for Trek Red Truck, the amateur team that has used BC Superweek as a showcase for local riders, sending many of them on to pro teams as a result. The list includes Routley, and Marsh Cooper, who was second in Saturday's criterium and returned with two teammates from his Maryland-based Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth pro team. Nic Hamilton is also a Trek Red Truck graduate from last season, and came back with a couple Jelly Belly presented by Kenda teammates, finishing eighth Sunday to take the Tour de White Rock omnium, or overall title, based on points for all three races.
The women's race wasn't nearly as close as the men's.
Jasmine Glaesser, a 19-year-old German living in the lower mainland and riding for Local Ride Racing/Dr. Vie Superfoods+, finished the 80-kilometer race in 2:27:11 – almost six full minutes ahead of a pack led by her teammate, Laura Brown.
"I didn't know the gap was that big until the last lap," said Glaesser, who hopes to have her Canadian citizenship in time for the 2012 Summer Olympics. "I kind of knew I was in the safe zone so that was nice, but I didn't know the gap was that big. I didn't know if they were going to pick me up and chase me down on the last lap."
They weren't even close. But Brown, a three-time World Cup medalist for Canada on the track, beat Victoria's Megan Rathwell of Glotman Simpson Cycling in a bunch sprint for second place. That was enough to give Brown the Tour de White Rock overall title, completing an impressive weekend that started with a Local Ride Racing sweep in the Hillclimb and second- and third-place finishes in the criterium.
"We dominated this weekend so that's good," said Glaesser, who took off with four laps left (the women ride all eight on the bigger circuit) and never looked back, a tough feat given a couple tough climbs.
"I knew if I could establish a good gap I could probably hold it. I was waiting for the right moment all race to make my move and I got a pretty good chance there and I went for it," added Glaesser, who credited the fans along the route, including many kids standing on the streets banging pots and pans, for keeping her motivated.
"It was a long time out there, but there's so many people cheering me on, so that's fantastic," she said. "The last laps some of those hills I thought I was going to slide back down, but I made it up."
Brown wasn't about to chase down her teammate, but objected with a big smile to having her race called a "free ride" in the chase pack.
"There's no free rides on this course," laughed Brown.
Megan Rathwell can vouch for that. The 26-year-old Victoria university student took off on her own during the first lap and managed to stay away for almost four more times around the course before getting caught. She started to counter when Glaesser attacked, but with no help from the rest of the field, sat up and settled into the pack, waiting for the late sprint and a chance to claim a valued podium spot.
"It's pretty high up there as a result, the best I've ever had," said Rathwell, who did ride at the World Cup in Montreal a few years ago on a Canadian team project. "I've had a pretty mellow season while going to university, and this was my first stop at Superweek so I've been resting. And I'm a climber so I knew I would do well."
It didn't hurt the field that Trek Red Truck's Karlee Gendron, who won the criterium Saturday night, both criteriums and the omnium as the Tour de Delta the weekend before, and was third at both the UBC Grand Prix and Giro di Burnaby mid week, had to drop out early.
Gendron broke her shifter on the first lap and had to pull out.
"It is very disappointing, but my whole team Trek Red Truck and I raced very well so I can't be too disappointed with great results," she said.
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Tim Abercrombie (Garneau Evolution)||3:34:52|
|2||Kennett Peterson (Hagens Berman Domestic Elite)||0:00:08|
|3||David Vukets (Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes)||0:00:09|
|4||Sebastian Salas (Team H&R BLOCK)||0:00:14|
|5||Jason Thompson (Garneau Evolution)||0:00:15|
|6||Brad Huff (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda)||0:00:57|
|7||Tommy Nankervis (RealCyclist.com Pro Cycling Team)||0:02:12|
|8||Nic Hamilton (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda)|
|9||Chris Gruber (Kallisto/Wheels of Bloor)|
|10||Adam Thuss (Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes)||0:02:21|
|11||Garrett Mcleod (Team H&R BLOCK)|
|12||Dan McDonald (Rideokanagan.com pb Norco)|
|13||Will Routley (Spider Tech p/b C10)|
|14||Nick Friesen (Team H&R BLOCK)|
|15||Reid Mumford (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth)|
|16||Dustin Macburnie (Team H&R BLOCK)||0:02:26|
|17||David Stephens (Garneau Evolution)|
|18||Eric Wohlberg (Form Fitness)|
|19||Colter Young (Rideokanagan.com pb Norco)||0:02:36|
|20||David Gillam (Glotman Simpson Cycling)||0:02:43|
|21||Mike Rothengatter (Garneau Evolution)|
|22||David Gerth (Garneau Evolution)||0:02:45|
|23||Sean Mazic (Jelly Belly p/b Kenda)|
|24||Craig Logan (Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes)|
|25||Tyler Trace (Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes)|
|26||Dustin Andrews (Team H&R BLOCK)|
|27||Bart Ludbrook (Glotman Simpson Cycling)||0:03:21|
|28||Kyle Buckosky (Garneau Evolution)||0:04:30|
|29||Aaron Schooler (Team H&R BLOCK)||0:04:32|
|30||Mike Laxdal (Westwood Cycle/Cannondale p/b Vision Sports)||0:04:59|
|31||Bob Welbourn (Glotman Simpson Cycling)||0:05:45|
|32||Jeff Werner (Garneau Evolution)||0:06:12|
|33||Owen Harrison (Team H&R BLOCK)||0:06:33|
|34||Curtis Deardon (Garneau Evolution)||0:08:07|
|DNF||Marsh Cooper (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth)|
|DNF||Julian Kyer (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth)|
|DNF||Daniel Holloway (Kelly Benefit Strategies-OptumHealth)|
|DNF||Adam Carr (Form Fitness)|
|DNF||Zack Garland (Team H&R BLOCK)|
|DNF||Justin Kerr (Team H&R BLOCK)|
|DNF||Bradley Clilfford (Team H&R BLOCK)|
|DNF||Kristofer Dahl (Team H&R BLOCK)|
|DNF||Matthew OHagan (Team H&R BLOCK)|
|DNF||Bryson Bowers (Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes)|
|DNF||Cody Canning (Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes)|
|DNF||Dan Skinner (Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes)|
|DNF||Chris Worsford (Rideokanagan.com pb Norco)|
|DNF||Carlos Capella (Rideokanagan.com pb Norco)|
|DNF||James Larmer (Westwood Cycle/Cannondale p/b Vision Sports)|
|DNF||John Perkins (Glotman Simpson Cycling)|
|DNF||Dominik Roels (PG 13)|
|DNF||Lachlan Holmes (Team H&R BLOCK)|
|DNF||Kevin Noiles (Independent)|
|DNF||Mark Mcconnell (Synergy Racing)|
|DNF||Mackenzie Garvin (Cyclemiesters Bow Cycle)|
|DNF||Scott Inman (Independent)|
|DNF||Jesse Reams (Garneau Evolution)|
|DNF||Cameron MacKinnon (Independent)|
|DNF||Cid Martinez-Arroyo (Team Coastal)|
|DNF||Christopher Wingfield (Hagens Berman LLP)|
|DNF||Nathaniel Beams (Dallas Racing p/b Park Place Dearlerships)|
|DNF||Allan Prazsky (Glotman Simpson Cycling)|
|DNS||Alistair Howard (Garneau Evolution)|
|DNS||Andrew Kyle (Garneau Evolution)|
|DNS||Rory McAdams (Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes)|
|DNS||Bailey McKnight (Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes)|
|DNS||Maurice Worsford (Rideokanagan.com pb Norco)|
|DNS||Jason Kilmartin (Rideokanagan.com pb Norco)|
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Jasmin Glaesser (Local Ride Racing/Dr. Vie Superfoods+)||2:27:11|
|2||Laura Brown (Local Ride Racing/Dr. Vie Superfoods+)||0:05:50|
|3||Megan Rathwell (Glotman Simpson Cycling)|
|4||Elizabeth Nettles (Independent)|
|5||Kristine Brynjolfson (Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes)|
|6||Jenny Lehmann (Local Ride Racing/Dr. Vie Superfoods+)|
|7||Tamasin Reno (Glotman Simpson Cycling)|
|8||Annie Ewart (Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes)||0:05:52|
|9||Patricia Bailey (Keller Rohrback)||0:07:34|
|10||Jessica Cutler (Keller Rohrback)|
|11||Shani Laxson (Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes)||0:10:37|
|12||Stephanie Peters (Keller Rohrback)||0:10:38|
|13||Diane Campbell (CVC Racing)||0:22:30|
|DNF||Stephanie Roorda (Local Ride Racing/Dr. Vie Superfoods+)|
|DNF||Noe Cooper (Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes)|
|DNF||Karlee Gendron (Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes)|
|DNF||Julia Garnet (Trek Red Truck Racing p/b Mosaic Homes)|
|DNF||Meghan Grant (Glotman Simpson Cycling)|
|DNF||Alison Testroete (Skil)|
|DNS||Jessica Hannah (Local Ride Racing/Dr. Vie Superfoods+)|
|DNS||Erin Redl (Glotman Simpson Cycling)|