North American wrap: Canadians head to Lac-Mégantic for national championships

North American pros wrapped up a series of races overseas including the Tour de Suisse, Ster ZLM Toer, Tour de Slovénie and Route du Sud, some which will help them prepare for the upcoming Tour de France in July. Check out a few of the other highlights from the peloton last week and a peek at the upcoming Canadian road cycling championships held in Québec this weekend.

Canadian contingent heads to Lac-Mégantic for road nationals

Lac-Mégnatic will host the Canadian time trial, road and criterium championships for the elite and under-23 categories from June 26 to 29 in the province of Québec.

It's the second race, after Tour de Beauce, that has visited the town that was devastated by a 2013 train derailment that left scores dead and half of the city center destroyed.

"We were all immensely saddened following the incident, with close members of our organizing committee directly impacted as a result of the derailment," organizing committee head Denis Bolduc said. "Using cycling and tourism participate in the rebuilding efforts is a testament to our commitment to the region, and its future.”

The elite and under-23 women will complete two laps of the 14.4km championships time trial course for a total of 28.8km on Thursday. The elite and under-23 men will follow the women but they’ll race twice along a 20.2km course for a total of 40.4km.

The road races will start on Friday with the elite and under-23 women’s 115km event. The elite and under-23 men will take on a 175km race on Saturday. Both races are held on circuits that climb over Mont Morne each lap.

The championship criteriums will take place on Sunday with the elite and under-23 women racing for 36km and the elite and under-23 men racing for 43km.

The event is organized by Événements Sportifs Région de Lac-Mégantic and La Corporation du Grand Prix Cycliste de Beauce, organizers of the annual UCI sanctioned Tour de Beauce men’s stage race.

Zach Bell (SmartStop) won the elite men’s road title last year and Curtis Dearden (Russ Hay Raising) won the time trial title. Joélle Numainville (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) won both the elite women’s road and time trial titles. Leah Kirchmann (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Pierrick Naud (Garneau-Quebecor) won the elite criterium titles.

Farrar secures points jersey at Ster ZLM Toer, but no stage win

American sprinter Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Sharp) won the points competition during the final stage of the Ster ZLM Toer on Sunday. Although he did not win a stage of the five-day Dutch race, he accumulated points after sprinting to a series of second placed finishes in stages 1, 2 and 4. He finished the race with a total of 36 points, beating overall title winner Philippe Gilbert (BMC) by six points and André Greipel (Lotto Belisol) by an additional five points.

Horner back to racing at Tour de Slovénie after training crash

Chris Horner returned to the peloton at the four-day Tour de Slovénie after taking time off to recover from a serious training crash in Italy that left him in hospital with a punctured lung, four fractured ribs and head trauma in April. He finished 14th overall, 2:15 minutes behind title winner Tiago Machado (NettApp Endura). It was a promising result considering his recent injuries but also showed that he may not be ready to lead Lampre-Merida at the upcoming Tour de France.

Horner is on the team’s long-list along with recent Tour de Suisse winner and current world champion Rui Costa, Sacha Modolo, José Serpa, Nelson Oliveira, Kristijan Ðurasek, Rafael Valls, Matteo Bono, Filippo Pozzato, Maximiliano Richeze and Davide Cimolai.

Boswell top 10 at Route du Sud

Team Sky’s Ian Boswell finished the Route du Sud with a top-10 overall finish on Sunday in France. The Oregonian finished the three-day race in ninth place 1:32 minutes behind overall winner Nicholas Roche (Tinkoff-Saxo), after taking eighth place in stage 1 and ninth on the stage 2 mountaintop finish in Val Louron.

NCC standings reshuffle after Tour of America’s Dairyland

After leading the National Criterium Calendar (NCC) for the first nine rounds, UnitedHealthcare’s Carlos Alzate was bumped off of the top spot in the men’s rankings by his teammate Luke Keough after the Tour of America’s Dairyland’s double NCC events on Saturday and Sunday. Daniel Holloway (Athlete Octane) is now second and Alzate third.

Erica Allar (Colavita-Fine Cooking) held her top spot in the women’s standings ahead of Tina Pic (Fearless Femme), while Coryn Rivera (UnitedHealthcare) slid into third place.

The Tour of America’s Dairyland opened with the NCC’s Giro d’Grafton criterium where Ken Hanson (UnitedHealthcare) sprinted to the win ahead of teammate Keough in second and Holloway third. Samantha Schneider (Tibco) won the women’s race ahead of her teammate Kendall Ryan and Allar sprinted in for third.

The NCC racing continued with the Carl Zach Cycling Classic in Waukesha where Hanson took his second win, this time ahead of Holloway in second and Keough in third. Allar won the women’s race ahead of Schneider and Laura van Gilder (Mellow Mushroom).

The NCC series will continue in two weeks at the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix on July 6 in California.

5-Hour Energy p/b Kenda signs up Canadian climber

American continental team 5-Hour Energy p/b Kenda signed Canadian climber Michael Woods, who previously raced with the Ukraine-registered Amore & Vita - Selle SMP during the first half of the 2014 season.

Woods, from Ottawa, is relatively new to professional cycling. He was a middle-distance runner for his national team and competed on the NCAA track and field circuit for Michigan State University. A foot injury ended his running career and he switched to cycling, competed with the national cycling team in 2012 and turned pro with Garneau-Quebecor last year. He recently placed second in stage 2 at the Tour de Beauce. He will compete with 5-Hour Energy at the Tour of Alberta that starts on September 2 in Calgary and ends on September 7 in Edmonton.

Giro del Trentino Femminile reduced to a one-day race

Race organizers were forced to reduce the Giro del Trentino Alto Adige Internazionale Femminile to a one-day race citing a lack of funding as the primary reason. The UCI 1.1 event was held as a 108km race on Saturday in Mezzolombardo, Italy.

Valentina Scandolara (Orica - AIS) won the race ahead of Giorgia Bronzini (Wiggle Honda) and Rossella Ratto (Estado de Mexico Faren). Shelley Olds (Alé Cipollini) was the only North American in the race and she finished 18th place.

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.

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