The first of BC Superweek, the Tour de Delta was held over the weekend in British Columbia with youngsters winning the overall with Canadian Ryan Anderson (Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Kiwi Lauren Ellis (Jazz Apple) winning the overall general classification, along with the Best Young Rider award for the 21-year old Anderson and 20-year old Ellis.
“Last year with Symmetrics we won the overall but I was the workhorse,” said Anderson. “This is a new feeling for me. To get the victory and the stage win, it’s a great feeling. I do a lot of work for the team so when I get to win like this it is awesome for me.”
A top field showed up in the men’s race with many of the former Symmetrics returning but this time racing as competitors, such Anderson and his current teammate Zach Bell, Andrew Pinfold (OUCH-Maxxis) and Will Routley (Jelly Belly). Joining them were Dominique Rollin (Cervelo TestTeam) on his first race back after taking some time off to recover from mononucleosis, Roman Kilun (OUCH-Maxxis), riders from the Land Rover-ORBEA, BISSELL, Trek-Livestrong, and local teams Garneau Evolution and TREK – Red Truck Ale teams.
The race started off Friday evening with a three-kilometer MK Delta Prologue on a 4-corner rectangle course. Routley set the fastest time of 3:48, two seconds faster than Jesse Reams (Garneau Evolution) and Anderson. The 20-year old Reams who had only moved down from the Yukon in September and joined his team only the spring was quite happy with his result.
“This is big. I wasn’t sure what to expect coming in,” said Reams who has been racing for three years. “But racing competitively in the Yukon isn’t near this level. It’s hard to train seriously when there’s snow on the ground over half the year.”
Riding for Local Ride Racing team, Laura Brown won the women’s race at the MK Delta Prologue, clocking 4:16, five seconds ahead of Robin Secrist (Veloforma), and local Kristine Brynjolfson (Westwood Cycle).
“Last year I lost by half a second to Ruth so my goal this year was to win,” said Brown, who finished second to Ruth Corset (Jazz Apple) last year. Brown will represent Canada at the Pan Am Championships in Chihuahua, Mexico next week.
The race continued with the Brenco Criterium held on a half a mile course (0.9 km) in the historic fishing village of Ladner on late Saturday afternoon. After racing for a few years of racing in the event, Anderson notched a win in the Delta, in a sprint decision that came down to a photo finish ahead of Pinfold. Tim Sherstobitoff (Total Restoration Cycling) was third.
“I’ve been doing BC Superweek for a few years now and always wanted to win one of them,” said Anderson who became the new leader in the general classification. “I got close last night but this is an unreal feeling, the crowd here is unbelievable and that makes it super special.”
Sherstobitoff broke away down the backstretch of the sixtieth and final lap with Routley and stayed ahead until the final few meters.
“I was a little nervous coming up on Pinner but I just put my head down and went for it,” said Anderson about taking on his teammate Pinfold aka Pinner. A good day for Pinfold too as he took the $2,500 crowd prime, edging Rollin for the big check with two laps to go.
Unfortunately, a crash midway through the race took both BISSELL’s Kirk O’Bee and Kilun down with Kilun able to continue and return to the race.
“O’Bee went down and Roman tried to swerve to avoid him but ended up plowing into Kirk and basically going airborne over the barriers into the crowd,” Pinfold described. “I was about mid-pack and when I came by Roman was laying face-down and it looked bad. They neutralized the race, and when we came back around again, he was sitting upright. The next thing I know, he’s back in the pack. He even won a $100 prime later in the race.”
The Jazz Apple team completely dominated the 40-lap women’s race and swept the podium with Ellis winning ahead of two-time US National champion Dotsie Bausch and Canadian Steph Roorda.
“Dotsie just yelled at me to go, so I just do what I’m told,” Ellis said of her 36-year old teammate. “Me and Dotsie just tried to keep the pace up and take it to them and let it out and keep the pace nice and high to get the gap as big as possible.”
Roorda was actually out alone with about 10 laps to go before finally being reeled in with five laps on the counter. Ellis and Bausch took over from there, breaking away with four laps left and staying away all the way to the finish line. Roorda led the pack in 19 seconds later.
The race concluded with the the White Spot Road Race on a windy Sunday where Pinfold did it again. He put himself in a four-man break early in the last 8-kilometer lap, then sprinted to victory down the long final straightaway to claim his third straight title. Anderson was second and Morgan Schmitt (BISSELL), who led the break early in the last lap, finished third.
Early in the race, in the four and a half laps in the starting circuit, a strong group of 16 riders that included Pinfold, Bell and Rollin broke away. They stayed ahead as the race made its way through nasty crosswinds in the flats, and crossed into Tsawwassen to finish with 10 laps of the final 8-kilometer circuit.
Two laps later, the break was reeled in but a 5-man quickly counter-attacked. With five laps to go, Pete Latham (BISSELL), Jim Camut (Land Rover-ORBEA), Tim Abercrombie (Garneau Evolution), Steven Villalobos (Specialized Dizzy Cycles), and Justin Kerr (Liquid Fitness) had opened a two-minute gap on the chase group. Led by Bell, Pinfold and Rollin, the chase group took 30 seconds off the lead each time around the course, and everyone was back together for the final lap.
In the final lap, Schmitt made his move and Anderson went after him with Pinfold and Routley. The four riders opened a solid gap on the field, that ended up at 0:26 by the finish. The win gave Pinfold a 10-second time bonus that also jumped him up to 2nd overall for the three-stage race.
Anderson won the general and the best young rider classification. Pinfold and Routley finished second and third on GC. Camut took home the KOM jersey and Kerr won the sprints competition. Garneau Evolution won the team classification.
“The last lap everyone put their heads down,” said Pinfold. “Ryan, Will and myself were top-3 in the overall, so we weren’t interested in screwing around, and Morgan was looking to move up so we worked really well together.”
In a case of deja vue, the Kiwi team Jazz Apple once again swept the women’s race. Marina Dubnjak broke away from the group about 800 meters away from the final corner to sprint to victory down a long final straightaway despite a fierce headwind. Crossing the line two seconds later was her teammate Roorda. Bausch won the sprint for third place to complete the sweep.
“It just sort of happened,” Dubnjak said of her long break. “[Team leader] Susy [Pryde] bridged a gap and I just counterattacked. I didn’t look back. All I could hear was my team yelling in the radio ‘go, go, go’ and I went so hard I thought I was going to pass out. But it was so worth it. I can’t believe I pulled it off. It was cool.”
No surprise that Jazz Apple also swept all the jerseys and of course the team classification. Ellis claimed top spot in the general classification with Bausch in second and Roorda in third. Dubnjak won the QOM and teammate Malindi MacLean took home the sprinters jsersey.
BC Superweek wraps up with the 30th Tour de White Rock on July 17-19, a challenging 3-stage race that starts with the Homelife Realty Hillclimb Friday and Maximum Collision Criterium Saturday, before wrapping up with the scenic and storied Peace Arch News Road Race Sunday. Unfortunately, the other two races that typically also make up BC Superweek, the Giro di Burnaby and Tour de Gastown races were canceled this year due to the harsh economic realities facing many race organizers. The Tour de Gastown, first held in 1973, attracted a 20,000+ strong crowd but still it wasn’t enough to find a sponsor.
Rider’s quotes from official race reports.
Complete results here
Photos from Greg Descantes here