Catching up with another busy weekend in the world of cycling. Starting on Friday July 4, the Canadian Championships were held in Beauce – on the same roads that just held the Tour de Beauce – starting off with the Time Trial.
All eyes were on Svein Tuft (Symmetrics), especially with the 2007 Maple Leaf wearer Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin/Chipotle) off riding in this little race in France. And Dwayner did not disappoint, he set the fastest time of 51:23.60 over the 40km course, almost two-minute faster than second place Ryan Roth (Team Race Pro). S-teammate Zach Bell finished third at 2:52 behind.
The win caps off a great season, so far, for Tuft, who had already the overall win at the Tour de Beauce and three gold medals at the Pan Am Championships under his belt. Tuft is now readying for the Olympic Games as he will represent Canada in both the time trial and road race in Beijing.
“Going into the Olympics, it wasn’t so much winning that was important for me today,” said Tuft. “I just really wanted to feel good about my race and still have a lot left in the tank at the end. And I achieved that. So this is a big confidence boost.”
The U23 men participated in the same race, and did the same distance as the Elite Men. David Veilleux (Kelly Benefit/Medifast) coming off his strong win at the Tour of Pennsylvania clocked the fourth fastest time overall, 54:36:03, giving him for the title in the U23 category. Bryson Bowers and and Garrett McLeod finished second and third.
“My goal was to win the race in the espoirs.” said Veilleux. “It’s good that we had the same distance as the elite riders because it allows us to position [our results] compated to them, but I was concentrating on the espoir competition.”
After a few days break, the men returned on Sunday for the road race, and all the big names were present and accounted for – Rollin, Parisien who both had chosen to sit out the TT – a large field and a relatively short course at only 9.8km around with a steep hard climb each lap provided intense and aggressive racing for each of the 18 laps.
Last year’s under-23 national champion Chris Meier (Symmetrics) held off a charging Bruno Langlois (VW-Trek) to take the win. Meier’s teammate Jacob Erker, who cramped up with a lap to go to lose Meier and Langlois at the front, held on to third place finishing over a minute behind.
‘’This is the most amazing feeling I’ve had in my career,’’ said The Young Man. ‘’It’s beautiful. I have to thank my Symmetrics Cycling teammates so much because anybody could have won out there today and it just happened to be me. Jacob rode his heart out for me in the break.’’
Numerous attacks were launched during the first half of the race under high temperatures and high sun and a group went up the road. With 8 laps to go, Meier and Langlois made their move. In the final lap, only the duo was left at the front battling it out. A 500 meters to go, Meier set the pace in the final climb and won the 2-man sprint.
Veilleux finished seventh overall, earned his fifth national title and completed a golden sweep in the U23 category.
‘’It was a very tough race,’’ said 20-year old Veilleux. ‘’The heat and the length of the race made it a very challenging day. That last climb at the end of the loop used up a lot energy and on such a short lap it kept coming back fast.’’
Rob Jones/CanadianCyclist has reports, multiple videos and photos of the races:
Road National Championships: Men’s ITT report, Road nationals: Men’s RR report, Men’s ITT Photos, Men’s Road Race Photos
Interesting race notes from Jones:
When asked what about offers from other teams, Meier suddenly got fidgety and grinned. “There might be some stuff coming up, but we’ll have to see. There might be some news coming out.”
This tidbit can be seen at the end of the video
No teams were mentioned in the video interview but the rumor floating around is that Meier will be joining Garmin/Chipotle.