July 7/05 2:27 am - Road Nationals ITT Preview
Posted by Editor on 07/7/05
2005 Road Nationals
Tomorrow morning the Road Nationals get underway here in Kamloops with the time trials. The course is identical to last year, an out and back undulating route beside the South Thompson River. The elite women do 30 kilometres, and the elite men 40. Last year heat was a critical factor, with temperatures soaring to over 40 Celcius. This year, it is a more reasonable 23-26 C, but the wind is much stronger. Defending women's champion Sue Palmer-Komar (Colavita) says that the wind is extremely gusty, and can blow riders around on the course.
In the Espoir Men's category, Christian Meier (Symmetrics) has to be the favourite, after his extremely strong TT at the Tour de Beauce. Other names to watch include Kevin Lacombe (VW-Trek), Brandon Crichton (Italpasta) and Brad Fairall (Symmetrics).
The women's category should be very interesting. Palmer-Komar is riding extremely well, as seen by her win at Fitchburg last weekend. However, no one has since Genevieve Jeanson (Rona-Colnago) race since her win at the Montreal World Cup, so she is a complete unknown. Other contenders include Lyne Bessette (Quebec), who has been trying to race both road and mountain, Merrill Collins (La Bicicletta) and Erinne Willock (Webcor).
The men's race is expected to be a battle between Symmetrics team mates Eric Wohlberg, who won seven titles in a row until last year, and Svein Tuft, who took the title away from Wohlberg last year. The final rider (Tuft) starts at 3:10 pm (PDT), so racing will wrap up arounf 4:00 pm local time.
- It appears that Quebec will be getting the Road Nationals for 2006. The plan is to have th event in Quebec City; potentially on part of the gruelling Old Quebec course used at the Tour de Beauce this year. Mountain Bike Nationals are likely to be in B.C., although a location has not been finalized.
- The Criterium (where national titles will be awarded) takes place on Friday evening. Distances have been shortened from the original schedule, so that everything will finish before darkness sets in. The only change to the criterium and road courses is that the start-finish has been moved slightly. otherwise, they will offer the same circuits as last year.
- The numbers are up slightly from last year. One noticable absentee (thus far) is defending men's champion Gord Fraser (Health Net). On the plus side, Hesjedal joins the men's field, and Alison Sydor (Rocky Mountain-Business Objects) the women's.