July 11/07 11:19 am - Canadian National Road Championships: Men's RR Report
Posted by Editoress on 07/11/07
Canadian Road Nationals
Photos from today's Elite men's road race.
The Canadian Road Nationals concluded on Wednesday with the elite men's road race. Cameron Evans (Symmetrics), racing for the first time as an elite at the Nationals, after having moved up from the Espoir ranks, made a decisive move with less than 10 kilometres remaining in the race to score the biggest win of his career, with a solo victory over team mate Andrew Randell, who outsprinted Dominique Perras (Kelly Benefits) for second.
The 180 kilometre race took the riders on a long 165 kilometre loop before returning to the host town of St-Georges to do a tough 7.3 kilometre finishing circuit twice, which ended at the top of a 1.2 kilometre climb.
Most observers expected an early break would go, but what was unexpected was that this would prove to be the winning move. After a neutralized five kilometre section out of St-Georges, the attacks began immediately. Every one had one or more Symmetrics riders attached to it, but it wasn't until 14 kilometres into the race that a break stuck.
An initial group of 8 started the break, through the small town of Saint-CÃ´me, and quickly grew to 13 riders. This group contained many of the heavy hitters, and started to roll fast, once everyone realized who was (and wasn't) present.
"It was pretty early," Evans agreed. "It was just on the way out of town, and we were rolling along, and suddenly there was a group of 13 guys and we saw who was and wasn't there, and it started to work pretty well."
In the group were four Symmetrics (Svein Tuft, Evans, Randell and Andrew Pinfold), two Kelly Benefits (Perras and Ryan Roth), Francois Parisien (Slipstream), Greg Reain (Calyon-Litespeed), Mark Walters (Kodak Gallery), Jean-Francois Laroche (Sleeman Clear TATV), Bruno Langlois (Eva-Devinci), Dustin MacBurnie (Team Race.com) and Peter Morse (Jet Fuel Coffee). Significantly missing the break were defending champion Dominique Rollin (Kodak Gallery) and Charles Dionne (Colavita-Sutter Home). Rollin chased hard for over 50 kilometres before giving up and sitting back in the peloton, while Dionne abandoned in the feedzone.
"I tried to go, but it was bad," said a frustrated Rollin. "They would let the Symmetrics guys go, but every time I tried anything there were 50 guys on my wheel. I got (the peloton) to within two minutes at one point, but no one would work, I guess that there were too many teams up the road."
In the front group, everyone was rolling through smoothly, as they worked to extend the gap. By the 100 kilometre mark it was up to five minutes, and the peloton had splintered, meaning the race was down to the front riders. Pinfold, Morse and Laroche were the first to be dropped, on the first major climb 45 kilometres into the race. The rest of the group stayed together, recognizing that with the strong crosswinds it was better to work as a group until the final circuit approached.
With 40 kilometres to go, Symmetrics started to ramp up the action, and first MacBurnie, then Reain and finally Walters were dropped. The two Kelly Benefits riders (Perras and Roth) plus Parisien were able to counter everything until Evans got away with Perras at 38 kilometres to go. Randell bridged up to join them, this looked like the first serious chance to break up the group. However, a huge effort by Parisien brought it all back together.
Predictably, Tuft launched a counterattack, with only Roth able to follow. The pair were 30 seconds clear at 25 kilometres to go, and this appeared to be the winning move.
As this was taking place, the storm which had been threatening all afternoon, finally let lose, with huge cracks of thunder, brilliant flashes of lightning and a literal deluge of rain. Water was running an inch deep down the climb on the finishing circuit as the riders entered the course.
Tuft and Roth were slowly losing time to the chasers, and as they went through the start-finish to begin the two laps of the circuit they were all but caught (and were caught just before the descent). The rain finally began to slacken off for the final circuit, and stopped before the finish.
"That hard section was perfect to launch an attack on, and it took the pressure off the other guys by making the rest of the riders chase," commented Tuft.
Coming around to the climb for the second time, Symmetrics sent off another rider - Evans. Through the finish as he started the last lap he had 10 seconds on Perras, who was being tailed by Randell, with Parisien, Tuft, Roth and Langlois a further 10 seconds back. Parisien was trying to organize a chase, but to no avail.
Evans steadily extended his lead to cross the finish line 36 seconds in front of Randell, who jumped a visibly angry Perras in the final 250 metres.
"I am third for the third year in a row!" Perras said afterwards. "It is pretty frustrating, for me, because I think it was possible to beat everyone but Svein, but Symmetrics played their cards well."
Evans said that it was partially luck that he was the team member who got the win. "Everyone worked together, and it just happened to be my attack that worked. We knew that the run in to the circuit was difficult - that was where (team mate) Christian (Meier) attacked and won yesterday (in the Espoir race). So we kept attacking there to narrow it down. Everyone is riding so well on the team that we didn't pick one rider, we just decided to see how it would play out."
- Of 65 starters, only 10 made it onto the finishing circuit, and only 21 were accorded a finishing position (the other 11 riders were given positions of either 11th or 14th, depending upon which group they were with).
- The 2008 Road Nationals will be hosted by the same organizer in the same area