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Posted by Editoress on 06/21/18
The 2018 Canadian Road Championships opened on Thursday with some familiar faces on the top step of the podium. Leah Kirchmann (Team Sunweb), fresh off the Ovo Energy Women's Tour, took the Elite women's title, while Svein Tuft (Michelton Scott) won the men's - his 11th Elite title.
Held in the beautiful Saguenay region north of Quebec City, the out-and-back course took the riders on a twisting, rolling course with multiple climbs. The women raced 25.14 kilometres, while the men did 37.2 kilometres.
Kirchmann, the 2014 time trial champion, was one of the favourites, along with defending champion Karol-Ann Canuel (Boels Dolmans), Kirsti Lay (Rally Cycling) and Jasmin Duehring (Twenty20 p/b SHO-AIR). Riding her first time trial of the year, Kirchmann caught her minute rider, Sara Poidevin (Rally Cycling) - who won the Under-23 title - and finished with a time of 36:12.76, 8.12 seconds ahead of Canuel, with Lay in third and Duehring fourth. Rally Cycling swept the Under-23 podium, with Poidevin joined by team mates Gillian Ellsay and Katherine Maine.
"I'm super happy to be able to claim another title today," said Kirchmann. "I felt super strong racing the Women's Tour, but this was my first time of the season and I didn't know how I was going to recover after the race and the travel from Europe, so I was happy to find that i felt so strong today. It was a really tough course, with climbing the whole way out, and then on the way back it was a headwind, so it still felt like you were climbing!"
In the men's race, Tuft showed once again why he is the greatest time trialist in Canadian history, defending his title and adding to his own record with an 11th title; his last since he will be retiring at the end of this season. Tuft finished with a time of 46:38.26, 35.9 seconds ahead of Rob Britton (Rally Cycling), with Alex Cataford (UnitedHealthcare) taking third, 1:42.74 back. Adam Roberge finished fourth overall and led a Silber team sweep of the Under-23 podium, joined by team mates Nickolas Zukowsky and Adam Jamieson; both nearly a minute back on Roberge.
"I remember my first one, in 2004, so to win my 11th one here is pretty special," said Tuft. "At Beauce last week every day kept getting better for me; I was really fatigued after the Giro. But after that and some rest, I knew things were good again; I felt that good old feeling again. I loved the course and thought it covered all the bases; there was a lot of climbing, a lot of wind, high speed sections ... I think it was a real time trial."
Competitions were also held for the Junior and Para categories. Simone Boilard (Équipe du Québec) won the Junior women's title, while Ben Katerberg (TaG Cycling Race Team) led a British Columbia sweep of the Junior men's podium.
Simone Boilard (Équipe du Québec)
Ben Katerberg (TaG Cycling Race Team)
World champion Shelley Gautier of Toronto won the combined T1-2 Trike para category, while Kara Douville (Team Alberta) won the combined handcycle category for Women's H2-4 and Men's H2. Charles Moreau (Equipe du Quebec) won the combined Men's H3-5 category. In the Women's and Men's combined C4-5 category, Marie Claude Molnar (Équipe du Québec) won the title. In the Tandem competition, Daniel Chalifour (Équipe du Québec) with his pilot Jean Michel Lachance won the combined men's and women's category, with the team of Robbi Weldon (Macogep Argon18 Girondins de Bordeaux p/p Mazda) and her pilot Audrey Lemieux the top female team.
The Championships continue on Friday and saturday with the Road Race competition, and conclude on Sunday with the Criteriums.
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