Once again, road nationals proved that it's the one event of the year where there are no absolute favourites. It doesn't matter whether you are a pro with one of the top teams in the world, or a domestically-based rider, this race has shown time and again that any rider can rise to the occasion.
For the 2010 Canadian national road championship race in Edmonton, Alberta, this proved to be particularly true, as first time winner Will Routley (Jelly Belly) was awarded the right to race in the maple leaf for the next 12 months.
Despite overnight rain, race day dawned bright and sunny, with a promise of hot conditions to challenge riders. The organisers had managed to pull off the impressive feat of total road closure in the middle of a major city, allowing riders to race without the added burdens of rolling enclosures and yellow line rules.
The circuit was centred in Hawrelak Park, in the valley created by the North Saskatchewan River. This geographic feature dominated the 13km circuit, with riders climbing out of, and descending back into, the valley three times per lap. None of the climbs were particularly steep, but the cumulative impact of the constant ascents took their toll, especially as the temperature climbed into the high 20s.
The 182km, 14 lap men's race was aggressive from the gun. SpiderTech had the numbers, with 13 riders in the field, but they were going up against some heavy hitters - Svein Tuft and Christian Meier from Garmin-Transitions, Dominique Rollin from the Cervélo Test team, four riders from Kelly Benefit Strategies, led by Zach Bell and David Veilleux, plus Routley, Rob Britton (Bissell) and top sprinter Andrew Pinfold (United Healthcare).
SpiderTech team director Steve Bauer's plan seemed to be two-fold: tag along with any attempt by the danger riders to get away, and gradually put more and more team members up the road, as riders went across to the break. For the most part, they executed well, but just came up against a faster rider in the finish.
The early laps saw multiple efforts attempt to go up the road, but they clearly didn't contain the right mix of riders. One of the most dangerous was late in the second lap, when approximately 25 riders rolled off the front of the field, including Tuft, Bell and others, which the entire peloton scrambled to shut down.
On the third lap, the beginnings of what be the crucial move took place, with eight riders going clear - Ed Veal (La Bicicletta Elite Team), Jean-Michel Lachance and Andre Tremblay (Nativo-PG-Devinci), Bruno Langlois, Mark Batty and Randell (all SpiderTech p/b Planet Energy), Derrick St. John (Garneau Chaussures-Ogilvy Renault) and Spencer Smitheman (Hagens Berman LLP).
By the beginning of lap five, the group was two minutes clear, and Routley decided it was time to bridge across, along with Equipe Quebec's William Goodfellow and Kelly Benefit's David Veilleux. Routley went across quickly, but Veilleux was left dangling in no-man's land for a couple of laps before finally joining the leaders.
Following this expansion of the leaders, yet another group began to chase and, powered by Britten, the group of five swelled the ranks of the leaders to 16. The vastly diminshed peloton finally began to chase in earnest on the tenth lap, pulling the leaders back to just over a minute up as Tuft, Meier and others went to the front. However, once the pros stopped setting the tempo the gap began to grow again.
"We were at the point where we tried to give it a final few digs," explained Tuft. "But Christian and I, even if we could have pulled it back, probably wouldn't have had anything left. That sort of thing would only work if everyone was committed, and there were too many guys hanging on."
As the gap had dropped, more small groups jumped across to the leaders, including François Parisien, Eric and David Boily (all SpiderTech), Trevor Connor (Chris Cookies/Swan Cycles), Michael Joannisse (Equipe Quebec), Ryan Aitcheson (Team Ontario), Arnaud Papillon (Equipe Quebec), Cody Campbell (Trek-Livestrong), Aaron Schooler (H&R Block), Jesse Reams (Cycling BC) and Nic Hamilton (Trek Red Truck p/b Mosaic Homes).
The front group was now a peloton in its own right, and as the race entered its final three laps, it began to disintegrate under attacks. A front group of eight formed, containing Routley, Randell, Langlois, Veilleux, Britton, Jean Sebastien Perron (Garneau Chaussures-Ogilvy Renault) and Jean-Michel Lachance (Nativo-PG-Devinci).
Randell took adavantage of a momentary lull in the action shortly after the race began the final two laps to make his own solo attack, and caught the group off guard, taking a 30-second lead quickly over the first climb. Routley was the only one to respond, and managed to make his way up to his rival as they started the last climb of lap 13.
"He [Randell] had a good gap, he was riding well; he was riding well all day," commented Routley. "Guys were looking at each other, and I just saw a good opportunity and went across on the second climb. The two of us rolled pretty good and held onto that 30 seconds."
Into the final lap the pair was holding a 35-second lead on the six remaining riders in the chase, while the rest of the group was over a minute back, and the Tuft/Rollin peloton had completely given up (eventually rolling in nine minutes down).
Over the first two climbs the duo worked together, taking turns setting the tempo on the climbs. However, on the final climb Routley jumped, gaining a few metres before Randell managed to rejoin him on the descent.
"I figured on that final climb it might be the time to have a try and I attacked, but he was really strong and didn't have much trouble catching up to me," said Routley.
Behind, the chase had gotten more organised, and was starting to reel them in, bringing Randell's team mate Bruno Langlois potentially back into the picture. Routley was forced to lead down the final descent and across the bridge over the North Saskatchewan River towards the finish in Hawerlak Park, while Randell sat on, waiting for the arrival of his team mate.
Fortunately for Routley, this put him in the lead at the narrow entrance to the Park, and he led out the final 200 metres to take the title ahead of Randell, with Langlois winning the sprint for third. Arnaud Paillon, the only U23 rider in the group, took the Under 23 title.
Andrew Randell, after being out in the break all day, to lose the national title by half a bike length, summed up his feelings in one succinct four letter word, and then elaborated: "Will rode a great race, and when it came down to the sprint I messed up, I really should have gone earlier. I should have jumped, I hesitated, and that's how it goes."
Steve Bauer commented: "We made three big mistakes out there today, we let Will Routley go across [to the break] without one of our guys, we let David Veilleux go across on his own and we let Rob Britton do it without a SpiderTech rider. We can't be doing that sort of thing with dangerous guys like that."
Will Routley couldn't keep the smile off his face, as he contemplated his victory. "Andrew was just sitting on, on the [final] descent and across the bridge, so I had to keep going. I tried to go hard enough to maintain the gap and go for the win, but as easy as possible to save something for the sprint. I felt pretty confident coming into [the sprint] that I had some sprinting legs in me.
"This means a lot, it's probably the best result I've ever had. Ever since junior mountain bike days I've thought I had a shot at nationals. I've been on the podium before, but never managed to do it... junior mountain bike, espoir mountain bike, then I switched to the road as an espoir... I've been trying for a long time, it's been 10 years of trying."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Will Routley (Can) Jelly Belly cycling team p/b Kenda||4:20:16|
|2||Andrew Randell (Can) SpiderTech powered by Planet Energy|
|3||Bruno Langlois (Can) SpiderTech powered by Planet Energy||0:00:11|
|4||David Veilleux (Can) Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|5||Rob Britton (Can) BISSELL Pro Cycling|
|6||Jean Sebastien Perron (Can) Garneau-Club Chaussures-Ogilvy Renault|
|7||Jean-Michel Lachance (Can) Nativo-PG-Devinci|
|8||Arnaud Papillon (Can) Team Quebec|
|9||Jesse Reams (Can) Cycling BC||0:01:22|
|10||David Boily (Can) SpiderTech powered by Planet Energy|
|11||Mike Sidic (Can) Team H&R BLOCK|
|12||Derrick St. John (Can) Garneau-Club Chaussures-Ogilvy Renault|
|13||Michael Joannisse (Can) Team Quebec|
|14||Spencer Smitheman (Can) Hagens Berman LLP|
|15||Ryan Aitcheson (Can) Team Ontario|
|16||Nic Hamilton (Can) Trek Red Truck p/b Mosaic Homes|
|17||William Goodfellow (Can) BikeReg.com/Cannondale|
|18||Marcel Aarden (Can) Total Restoration Cycling Team|
|19||Charles Bryer (Can) Mazur Coaching/Wheels of Bloor|
|20||Andre Tremblay (Can) Nativo-PG-Devinci|
|21||Mark Batty (Can) SpiderTech powered by Planet Energy|
|22||Trevor Connor (Can) Chris Cookies/Swan Cycles||0:01:28|
|23||Éric Boily (Can) SpiderTech powered by Planet Energy||0:01:45|
|24||François Parisien (Can) SpiderTech powered by Planet Energy||0:01:49|
|25||Aaron Schooler (Can) Team H&R BLOCK||0:02:22|
|26||Cyrus Kangarloo (Can) Total Restoration Cycling Team||0:06:11|
|27||Vincent Quirion (Can) Team Quebec|
|28||Sebastian Salas (Can) Team H&R BLOCK|
|29||Jordan Cheyne (Can) Mazur Coaching/Wheels of Bloor|
|30||Scott Manktelow (Can) Rundle Mountain Cycling Club||0:08:19|
|31||Shawn Bunnin (Can) Total Restoration Cycling Team||0:08:45|
|32||Jason Thompson (Can) Garneau Evolution||0:08:56|
|33||Maxime Joly-Smith (Can) Rocky Mountain/CIBC Wood Gundy||0:09:03|
|34||Geoff O'Toole (Can) Garneau Evolution|
|35||Shawn Goulet (Can) Team H&R BLOCK|
|36||Jamie Riggs (Can) Team Ontario|
|37||Dustin Andrews (Can) Team H&R BLOCK|
|38||Lachlan Holmes (Can) Speed Theory|
|39||Marvin Isaza Guzman (Can) Independent|
|40||Evan Mundy (Can) Team Ontario|
|41||Trevor Gunderson (Can) Pedalhead Road Works|
|42||John Stewart (Can) Mazur Coaching/Wheels of Bloor|
|43||Pierrick Naud (Can) Team Quebec|
|44||Josh Gillingham (Can) Nova Cycle Sports Foundation Inc/ISCorp Cycling|
|45||Cuylar Conly (Can) Team Saskatchewan|
|46||Devon Novakowski (Can) Team Ontario|
|47||Kyle Fry (Can) Peterborough Cycling Club|
|48||Bradley Clifford (Can) Team Saskatchewan|
|49||Kevin Massicotte (Can) Team Ontario|
|50||Tim Abercrombie (Can) Garneau Evolution|
|51||Warren MacDonald (Can) Nine2FivePro.com|
|52||Andrew Pinfold (Can) United Health Care p/b Maxxis|
|53||Colin Reinholt (Can) La Bicicletta Elite Team|
|54||Martin Gilbert (Can) SpiderTech powered by Planet Energy|
|55||Curtis Deardon (Can) Garneau Evolution|
|56||Charles Dionne (Can) FLY V Australia|
|57||Tyler Trace (Can) Trek Red Truck p/b Mosaic Homes|
|58||Christian Meier (Can) Garmin-Transitions|
|58||Svein Tuft (Can) Garmin-Transitions|
|60||Ryan Anderson (Can) Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|61||Keir Plaice (Can) Team Ontario|
|62||Nathan MacDonald (Can) Trek Red Truck p/b Mosaic Homes|
|63||Owen Harrison (Can) Cycling BC|
|64||Matteo Dal-Cin (Can) Team Ontario|
|64||Zachary Bell (Can) Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|66||Hugo Houle (Can) Team Quebec|
|67||Guillaume Boivin (Can) SpiderTech powered by Planet Energy|
|68||Keith Jones (Can) Cycling BC|
|69||Jean Francois Racine (Can) Garneau-Club Chaussures-Ogilvy Renault|
|70||Simon Lambert-Lemay (Can) SpiderTech powered by Planet Energy|
|71||Garrett McLeod (Can) Team H&R BLOCK|
|72||Dominique Rollin (Can) Cervelo Test Team|
|73||Christopher Hillier (Can) Colavita Racing Inc|
|74||Charly Vives (Can) SpiderTech powered by Planet Energy|
|75||Chris McGarity (Can) Team Saskatchewan|
|76||Nicholas Jendzjowsky (Can) Pedalhead Road Works|
|77||Dylan Sebel (Can) Team Coastal|
|78||Jeff Barnes (Can) Mercy/Specialized|
|79||Ryan Roth (Can) SpiderTech powered by Planet Energy||0:09:12|
|80||Keven Lacombe (Can) SpiderTech powered by Planet Energy||0:09:16|
|81||Robin Baillie (Can) Team H&R BLOCK||0:10:00|
|82||Justin Steeds (Can) Mazur Coaching/Wheels of Bloor||0:11:31|
|83||Shaun Adamson (Can) Scott Racing p/b The Cyclery||0:11:53|
|DNF||Marsh Cooper (Can) Kelly Benefit Strategies|
|DNF||Ed Veal (Can) La Bicicletta Elite Team|
|DNF||Matthew O'Hagan (Can) Garneau Evolution|
|DNF||Dave Vukets (Can) Hennebont Cyclisme|
|DNF||Shane Savage (Can) Mighty Cycling|
|DNF||Clayton Meisner (Can) Olympia|
|DNF||Roddi Lega (Can) Pedalhead|
|DNF||Michael Stickland (Can) Pedalhead Road Works|
|DNF||Sean Barr (Can) Pedalhead Road Works|
|DNF||Robert Simpson (Can) Pedalhead Road Works|
|DNF||Trev Williams (Can) Speed Theory|
|DNF||Paul Berry (Can) Spoke|
|DNF||Mark MacDonald (Can) Team H&R BLOCK|
|DNF||Chris McNeil (Can) Team H&R BLOCK|
|DNF||Christiaan deVries (Can) Total Restoration Cycling Team|
|DNF||Dan Skinner (Can) Trek Red Truck p/b Mosaic Homes|
|DNF||Adam Thuss (Can) Trek Red Truck p/b Mosaic Homes|
|DNF||Gordon Jewett (Can) Rundle Mountain Cycling Club|
|DNF||Zane Westerbeek (Can) CMC/Bow Cycle|
|DNF||Ryan Correy (Can) CMC/Bow Cycle|
|DNF||Brian Robinson (Can) CMC/Bow Cycle|
|DNF||Graham Rudge (Can) ERTC/Revolution Cycle|
|DNF||Dan Wood (Can) ERTC/Revolution Cycle|
|DNF||Cameron McKnight (Can) ERTC/Revolution Cycle|
|DNF||Kyle Anderson (Can) ERTC/Revolution Cycle|
|DNF||Jonathan Wood (Can) ERTC/Revolution Cycle|
|DNF||Andrew Cullingham (Can) Synergy Racing|
|DNF||Mark McConnell (Can) Synergy Racing|
|DNF||Bailey McKnight (Can) Synergy Racing|
|DNF||Jacob Schwingboth (Can) Team H&R BLOCK|
|DNF||Brody Pasciullo (Can) Thunder Bay Cycling Club|
|DNF||Boris Martin (Can) Trek Red Truck p/b Mosaic Homes|
|DNF||Cody Campbell (Can) Trek-Livestrong U23|
|DNF||Sam Loud (Can) Westwood Cycle Cannondale p/b Vision Sports|
|DNF||David Gonda (Can) CMC/Bow Cycle|
|DNF||Nicolas Andrichuk (Can) CMC/Bow Cycle|
|DNF||Mike Rothengatter (Can) Cycling BC|
|DNF||Colter Young (Can) ERTC/Revolution Cycle|
|DNF||Justin Middleton (Can) ERTC/Revolution Cycle|
|DNF||Cody Canning (Can) ERTC/Revolution Cycle|
|DNF||Sebastian Jozwiak (Can) Lifesport|
|DNF||Timothy Burton (Can) mbrc.org-gears|
|DNF||Simon Gagnon-Brassard (Can) Nativo-PG-Devinci|
|DNF||William Blackburn (Can) Rio Tinto-Martin Swiss|
|DNS||Jamie Sparling (Can) Total Restoration Cycling Team|
|DNS||Shawn Taylor (Can) Cafe Racers|
|DNS||Stephen Ferris (Can) Calgary Cycle p/b Top Gear|