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Michael van den Ham defends elite men's Canadian cyclo-cross title

Michael van den Ham (Easton-Giant p/b Transitions Lifecare) wins his third national title.
Michael van den Ham (Easton-Giant p/b Transitions Lifecare) wins his third national title.
(Image credit: Rob Jones)

Michael van den Ham (Easton-Giant p/b Transitions Lifecare) successfully defended his title in the elite men’s race at the Canadian Cyclo-cross Championships on Saturday, in Peterborough, Ontario.

Peterborough hosted the national championships for the second consecutive year and, while riders avoided the overnight snow that last year turned the course into an icy run under very cold conditions, they were faced with intermittent rain and temperatures in the 4-6 degree Celsius range.

In the absence of last year's silver medallist, the multi-time champion Geoff Kabush, who was racing the Iceman Cometh instead, Van den Ham faced a stiff challenge from last year's bronze medallist, Marc-Andre Fortier (Pivot Cycles-OTE), who proved to be a much stronger contender this year. 

The two rode away from the rest of the field on the first lap, but when van den Ham crashed on the third lap, it opened the way for Fortier to open a 15-second gap. Van den Ham didn't panic, however, and pulled Fortier back within a lap, before moving into the lead when Fortier crashed. Last year, Van den Ham beat Fortier by 1:49; this year it was only 24 seconds.  Alexandre Vialle (Toyota St-Eustache) took third.

"It's never easy when it's 'Jersey Season,'" said Van den Ham. "Everyone wants to win one.  Marc had nothing to lose today and he was out there gunning for me.  Marc and I were really throwing down the first couple of laps and then we sat up a bit.  He did a good attack up a climb, and I can say that he had me a bit on the rivet, and I just made a silly mistake, got caught in a rut and lost my front wheel.  Fortunately, we were close to the pits because I had bent my [brake] hoods in a bit. After that, it just became a time trial; I knew that I was riding big sections of the course stronger than him."

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Marc-André Fortier ( Pivot Cycles OTE) and Michael van den Ham (Easton-Giant p/b Transitions Lifecare) hop the barriers.

Marc-André Fortier ( Pivot Cycles OTE) and Michael van den Ham (Easton-Giant p/b Transitions Lifecare) hop the barriers.
(Image credit: Rob Jones)
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The battle for 3rd, lead by Alexandre Vialle (Toyota St-Eustache)

(Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Michael van den Ham (Easton-Giant p/b Transitions Lifecare) winning his 3rd National title

(Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Michael van den Ham (Easton-Giant p/b Transitions Lifecare) on the run up

(Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Elite Men's podium:L to r - Marc-andré Fortier, Michael van den Ham, Alexandre Vialle

(Image credit: Rob Jones)
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Marc-andré Fortier (Pivot Cycles OTE)

(Image credit: Rob Jones)

Results - Elite men
Pos.Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Michael van den Ham (Can) 0:57:47
2Marc Andre Fortier (Can) 0:00:24
3Alexandre Vialle (Can) 0:02:52
4Trevor O'Donnell (Can) 0:03:17
5Derrick St John (Can) 0:03:46
6Cameron Jette (Can) 0:04:40
7Eric Jeanotte (Can) 0:04:42
8Christian Ricci (Can) 0:05:20
9Brenton Miller (Can) 0:05:33
10Sjaan Gerth (Can)
11Andrew Davidson (Can) 0:06:51
12Andrew Watson (Can) 0:07:10
13James Fedosov (Can)
14Alex Lefebvre (Can)
15Mark Fagnan (Can)
16Stephen Kirby (Can)
17Jonathan Van Der Sluis (Can)
18Anton Varabei (Can)
19Justin Minicola (Can)
20Alex Schmidt (Can)
21Andrew Bray (Can)
22Connor Gregory (Can)
23Peter Morse (Can)
24Caelum Wishart (Can)
25Mitch Harris (Can)
26Jared Bone (Can)
27Ryan Kent (Can)

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