Billed as 8 sizzling races in 10 hot days, BC Superweek just ended in Bristish Columbia. The racing kicked off with the Tour de Delta from July 11 to 13, the famous Tour de Gastown was on July 16, Giro di Burnaby on July 17, and ended with Tour de White Rock on July 18 to 20.
With a total $70,000 in cash prizes on line, the field was filled with past, present and future Olympians as well as top professionals from all over North America, including a full Symmetrics team hunting for a first ever Gastown win and for dollars. As Chris Meier blogged, after his team won the Tour de Delta, “we need to make all the money we can before the end.”
And the boys in yellow dominated the series, winning all but one of the races. In the women’s race, the same names kept popping up over and over again on the podium, Kelly Benjamin (Cheerwine), Ruth Corset (Jazz Apple) and Gina Grain (Webcor).
The $25,000 Tour de Delta. Unsurprisingly, newly crowned Canadian TT Champion Svein Tuft (Symmetrics) set the fastest time in the all-new 3.2-km Brenco Prologue, more than five seconds ahead of second place, Andrew Pinfold (Symmetrics) and third place, Scott Zwizanski (Bissell). It would become a familiar site to see a Symmetrics rider (or more than one) on the podium for the rest of the week. As a side story, Zwizanski and his teammate Garrett Peltonen were sharing a wheel and so the riders had to start with at least 10 minutes interval so that Peltonen could come back to the start ramp and give up the wheel.
In the women’s race, Ruth Corset (Jazz Apple) won the prologue, by less than one second ahead of Laura Brown (Giant Bicycles/Team Whistler), and two seconds faster than Sarah Stewart (Total Restoration Cycling Team).
In Stage 1, the Lehigh Criterium, a multi-lap race through the streets of Ladner’s fishing village on Saturday, the Symmetrics team put two riders in the 3-man break which survived to the finish. Cam Evans took the honors after a lead out from Olympian Zach Bell who finished third, the outmanned Shriver held on to finish second. Another side story, Evans was scheduled ro race Cascade Cycling Classic, but the airline lost his bag so he went home to BC instead.
Kelly Benjamin (Cheerwine) outsprinted her 3 breakmates to win the 36-minute Lehigh Criterium ahead of Corset and Lisa Howard (Giant Bicycles/Team Whistler).
Andrew Pinfold capped the weekend by winning his second consecutive White Spot Road Race on Sunday, winning the 140-km road race in the bunch sprint ahead of Cody Stevenson (Jittery Joe’s). Pinfold’s lead out man Zach Bell took third and won his second consecutive overal title.
Exactly the same podium for the final 85-kilometer women’s road race, Kelly Benjamin won the bunch sprint ahead of Ruth Corset and Lisa Howard. Corset won the overall Tour de Delta title.
Tour de Gastown. British Columbia’s premier bicycle race, the only race outside of the United States in the USA Crits Series, is raced on a super-fast 1.2 km course on the streets of Gastown in front of a huge crowd upwards to 40,000 people and offered more than $15,000 in cash prizes.
Astana’s Chris Horner fresh off helping his teammate win the Cascade Cycling Classic made his presence known early in the 60 km race as he shot out of the field to be chased by a Symmetrics-led peloton. But as soon as he was reeled back, Olympian Svein Tuft (Symmetrics) counterattacked, and went off on a solo adventure. And this time, it was Horner with a little help from friends that led the chase. With 4 laps to go, Tuft still had a 22-second gap and it looked promising but it wasn’t to be as the field caught Tuft in the final lap, in the final corner, the perfect setting for a bunch sprint. Symmetrics’ Andrew Pinfold came out victorious ahead of Hilton Clarke (Toyota-United) and his teammate Zach Bell.
Photo courtesy symmetrics.com
The battle was on in the women’s race between Webcor duo of Gina Grain and Erinne Willock, Cheerwine’s Kelly Benjamin, Ruth Corset (Jazz Apple), ValueAct duo of Hannah Banks and Marni Hambleton, all trying to escape the field, but in the end the 36-km race came down to a field sprint. Grain edged out Benjamin by less than a bike wheel for the win with Corset coming in third place.
Giro di Burnaby. Andrew Pinfold and Kelly Benjamin did it again in the 8-corner crit. After 30 laps on the 1.8-km course, Pinfold won the bunch sprint ahead of his teammate Zach Bell and Kirk O’Bee (Health Net-Maxxis). Benjamin outsprinted Gina Grain and Ruth Corset for the win after 20 laps.
Tour de White Rock. The weekend races started off with the Homelife Hill Climb where riders start at one-minute intervals racing side by side to be the first to reach the top of the steep 700m ascent with a 16% grade, and then the top five finishers race again at the end for the top 3 spots on the podium. Symmetrics continued their winning ways. After setting the second fastest time in the first round behind Kiel Reijnen (Team Waste Management), Will Routley outpaced his four competitors in the final round to take the stage win ahead of Reijnen. Last year’s stage and overall winner Matt Shriver (Jittery Joe’s) was third.
Recovery between the two rounds and keeping something in the tank is of prime importance, and Ruth Corset (Jazz Apple) learned it the hard way. She set fastest time by more than eight seconds the first time up but Corset had to settle for third place when she was edged out in the second round, the head-to-head bout by Rachel McBride (West Point Cycles) and Natasha Elliott (EMD Sereno/Stevens). Corset needed oxygen and a half hour of medical treatment after cramping badly after the race.
The second stage, the Bosa Properties Criterium, was raced around 1-km loop with 5 tight corners including a 90-degree turn. After 60 laps, Chris Horner tried to escape from the field up a hill on the backside but Symmetrics’ Andrew Pinfold stayed close and won the final sprint to the line. Tim Sherstobitoff (Total Restoration Cycling Team) was third and Matt Shriver was fourth.
After 30 laps, Ruth Corset was leading the final downhill sprint out of the final corner when Kelly Benjamin came around her and threw her bike across the finish line for the win. Sarah Bamberger (Cheerwine) was third.
The Symmetrics’ sweep was stopped in the final stage in Tour de White Rock, the final race in BC Superweek when Chris Horner broke away from the 3-man break to win the 130 km Peace Arch News Road Race ahead of Matt Shriver and Andrew Pinfold.
On the third of the 11 laps around the big 10-km course that included a 500m climb with a grade of 16% up Magdallen Road, 3 men Shaun Morris (Rubicon-ORBEA), Hugh Trenchard (Schwalbe) and Allen Krughoff (Rio Grande) escaped and were off for the next 6 laps before being reeled in. Horner initiatied the final winning break with an attack coming out of a hairpin and up a steep climb on the last of 11 big laps. Driven by Horner, the trio stayed away for all six laps of the shorter 3.8-kilometer route before he finally created a gap his last trip up the big backside hill. With his second place, Shriver won his second consecutive Tour de White Rock Omnium.
In the women’s 80 km race, Lauren Ellis (Jazz Apple) broke away midway through 8 laps of the larger circuit, and never looked back and easily won the stage. Her teammate Ruth Corset won the sprint for second place crossing the line more than 3 minutes behind. Steph Roorda (Giant Bicycles/Team Whistler) was third. Corset won the overall Tour de White Rock’s Omnium.
Symmetrics’ Mark Cunnigham photos
Tour de Delta results, Greg Descantes photos on CanadianCylist of prologue, stage 1, stage 2
Tour de Gastown results, Greg Descantes photos
Giro di Burnaby results, Greg Descantes photos
Tour de White Rock results, Greg Descantes photos of stage 1, stage 2, stage 3, Rod Kenny photos