Posted by Editoress on 09/23/17
Leah Kirchmann of Winnipeg, Manitoba, finished 12th in the Elite women's road race on Saturday at the Road World Championships in Bergen, Norway.
Canada fielded a strong team of six riders for the women's 152.8 kilometre race. The team suffered a blow at the midpoint of the race when Kirsti Lay of Montreal, Quebec, crashed and was unable to rejoin the peloton. The rest of the team worked well to protect designated sprinter Kirchmann. In the final lap, Chantal Blaak of the Netherlands broke clear to solo in the for the title, while Kirchmann and Karol-Ann Canuel of Gatineau, Quebec, were in the chase group of 35 riders that sprinted for the silver and bronze medals. In other Canadian results, Alison Jackson of Vermilion, Alberta, was 57th, Lex Albrecht of Montreal, Quebec, was 67th, Sara Bergen of Coquitlam, BC, was 68th, and Lay was 73rd.
Chantal Blaak wins
"It was a really hard race because this course doesn't offer a lot of places to rest," said Kirchmann. "It was quite aggressive, but we used our team well in the first laps. Unfortunately, we lost Kirsti [Lay] to a crash about halfway through, and it was down to Karol-Anne [Canuel] and myself for the final. It got really chaotic with a lot of moves going off the front, especially on the climbs. I tried to do my best in the sprint, but it was pretty crazy in the last couple of kilometres."
"I think we saw the race we expected," said Zach Bell, women's coach. "The Dutch were really strong towards the end. For us, we had a really strong first half, with the girls riding on the front and being attentive. Unfortunately, we had Kirsti go down in a crash coming into a key lap, and from there we just couldn't follow the big moves. Did it go to plan? Yes and no - we saved our key riders for the end, but when the important moves went they didn't quite have the legs to be there. We had a shout at a medal but they didn't have a chance to set up for the finish the way they wanted to."
Earlier in the day, the Junior men raced 133.8 kilometres, with Charles-Etienne Chretien of Amos, Quebec, the top finisher in 45th place. Julius Johansen of Denmark won the title in a solo breakaway. Graydon Staples of Orillia, Ontario, went in the early breakaway move that stayed away for most of the race, taking the pressure of Chretien and the rest of the team. Staples finished 107th after the break was caught late in the race. Kurt Penno of Brandon, Manitoba, was 116th.
Staples leading the break
Julius Johansen wins
"It was pretty tough," admitted Staples, " we went pretty early, just me and one other guy attacked maybe 15k into the race. We rode well together and a group of about six bridged up to us after another 15k. It started to get pretty fast later in the race and I got disconnected on the second last climb."
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