First time winner Joelle Numainville (Webcor Builders) won the elite women's road title on Sunday in Edmonton, Alberta, to add her name to the list of Canadian national champions.
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 centered in Hawrelak Park, in the valley created by the North Saskatchewan River. This geographic feature dominated the 13 kilometre 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.
Numainville came into the nine lap, 117km women's race as a favourite if the race came down to a sprint, but there were lots of riders looking to split things up and deny her that opportunity.
Lex Albrecht (Cascades-ABC Cycles) attacked in the opening loop through Hawrelak Park, and by the midpoint of the first lap was three minutes up on the field. Cara Gillis (Specialized D4W/Bicycle Haus) tried to chase on her own, but never managed to get closer than one minute, while the peloton hovered at the three minute mark for the first half of the race.
Multiple attacks were launched, by danger riders such as Anne Samplonius (Vera Bradley Foundation), Karol-Ann Canuel (Equipe Vienne Futuroscope) and Numainville's team mate Erinne Willock, but none gained more than a few seconds before the peloton reacted and chased them down.
This allowed Albrecht to continue to lead for the first half of the race without serious challenge. The only excitement to occur was a crash by one of the favourites, Tara Whitten (Specialized Mazda Samson G Conseil), who went down in the feedzone after hitting a dropped waterbottle. Whitten rejoined the peloton after half a lap of chasing.
When the field became more serious about chasing, Albrecht's lead quickly dropped and, with a little less than two laps to go, the group was all back together. Willock went to the front on the climbs to force the pace and discourage breakaways, and to keep the race together for Numainville. Samplonius, Canuel and Whitten all made attempts, but it was clearly looking like a sprint finish, and Numainville was ready.
The finish was a little tricky, with a narrow sweeping right hand turn into the Park and then a wide but curving run to the line for the final 300 metres. Numainville went to the front going into the Park and easily held off Whitten for the win, with 2009 champion Alison Testroete (Cycling BC) third. Leah Kirchmann (Trek Red Truck p/b Mosaic Homes) won the Under-23 title after finishing seventh in the field sprint.
"It was never the right group of girls that wanted to break away," explained Numainville. "So, it stayed together and I was fine with that, because I knew I had a good sprint. The finish was super fast, so my goal was to be in top three [in the last corner]. I was on Steph Roorda's wheel I think, and at 200 metres I just sprinted as hard as I could. I am really happy, it was one of my goals this season."
For Whitten, it was a difficult day from the moment she woke up. "My whole morning was a bit frazzled," Whitten commented. I set my alarm clock to the wrong time, so I woke up late, and then right on the start line I got a flat, then in the fifth lap I hit a stray water bottle and went down pretty hard."
"Everyone could tell it was coming down to a sprint, and I was trying to find a good wheel on the final descent. It was getting pretty fast and aggressive, and I was getting boxed out, and I thought that I'd lost my chance. But then, coming around the last corner I was able to come wide and go for it. I couldn't quite match Joelle, but I'm really happy with second. It's the first time I've managed to put together a good sprint in a road race."
|#||Rider Name (Country) Team||Result|
|1||Joelle Numainville (Webcor Builders)||3:14:21|
|2||Tara Whitten (Specialized Mazda Samson G Conseil)|
|3||Alison Testroete (Cycling BC)|
|4||Joanie Caron (Team Nanoblur-Gears)|
|5||Heather Logan-Sprenger (Team Ontario)|
|6||Anne Samplonius (Team Vera Bradley Foundation)|
|7||Leah Kirchmann (Trek Red Truck p/b Mosaic Homes)|
|8||Heather Kay (United Cycle)|
|9||Julie Beveridge (Equipe Vienne Futuroscope)|
|10||Sarah Coney (Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery)|
|11||Pepper Harlton (Juventus)|
|12||Karol-Ann Canuel (Equipe Vienne Futuroscope)|
|13||Amy Dearden (Keller Rohrback Cycling Team)|
|14||Karlee Gendron (Woodcock Cycleworks/ Team Manitoba)|
|15||Denise Ramsden (Team Kenda)|
|16||Carrie Cartmill (Team Nanoblur-Gears)|
|17||Suzie Brown (P-K Express/ HNZ Strategy)|
|18||Laura Brown (Total Restoration Cycling Team)|
|19||Valérie Crête (Specialized Mazda Samson G Conseil)|
|20||Véronique Bilodeau (Team Quebec)|
|21||Andrea Bunnin (Team Saskatchewan)|
|22||Julie Bellerose (Cascades-ABC Cycles)|
|23||Veronique Labonte (Team Nanoblur-Gears)|
|24||Virginie Gauthier (Team Quebec)|
|25||Steph Roorda (Cycling BC)|
|26||Rachel O'Reilly (Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery)|
|27||Cara Gillis (Specialized D4W/Bicycle Haus)|
|28||Marg Fedyna (ERTC/Revolution Cycle)|
|29||Krista Ruby (Team Ontario)|
|30||Kristine Brynjolfson (Westwood Cycle Cannondale p/b Vision Sports)|
|31||Erinne Willock (Webcor Builders)|
|32||Shailie Sanbrooks (Russ Hays Bike Shop)|
|33||Cynthia Wilson (Ride With Rendall)|
|34||Danika Medinski (ERTC/Revolution Cycle)|
|35||Christina Smith (GEC Architecture)|
|36||Naomi Cooper (Trek Red Truck p/b Mosaic Homes)|
|37||Jessica Hannah (Total Restoration Cycling Team)|
|38||Krystal Jeffs (Team Nanoblur-Gears)|
|39||Jean Ann McKirdy (Cycling BC)||0:00:26|
|40||Eritia Smit (P-K Express/ HNZ Strategy)||0:02:46|
|41||Shoshauna Laxson (Trek Red Truck p/b Mosaic Homes)||0:06:46|
|42||Lex Albrecht (Cascades-ABC Cycles)||0:08:16|
|43||Tanya Hopping (Speed Theory)||0:09:17|
|44||Anne Guzman (Team Nanoblur-Gears)|
|45||Rachel Canning (Local Ride Racing)|
|DNF||Jenny Lehmann (Cycling BC)|
|DNF||Audrey Lemieux (ESGL-93)|
|DNF||Evelyne Gagnon (Team Quebec)|
|DNF||Jenny Trew (Specialized Mazda Samson G Conseil)|
|DNF||Natalie Cormier (Speed Theory)|
|DNF||Marilyn Taylor (Speed Theory)|
|DNF||Katie Spittlehouse (Team Ontario)|
|DNF||Arlene Marchildon (Independent)|
|DNF||Samantha Grover (Juventus)|
|DNS||Kyla Rollinson (Specialized Mazda Samson G Conseil)|
|DNS||Leah Guloien (Total Restoration Cycling Team)|
|DNS||Sarah Stewart (Total Restoration Cycling Team)|
|DNS||Jessica Kisell (Bicisport)|