The Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal was a much a tougher course than the Québec course, the fans knew it and the riders certainly knew it. It could be seen on the faces of the young riders of Team Canada p/b Spidertech at sign-in, nerves were showing. And it could be seen on their faces throughout the race, when they were suffering after massive attacks, when they were dropped and when they crossed the finish line.
In the end, three riders out of the 8-rider squad finished and another was time cut. A few of the riders expressed disappointment after the race but Team Canada DS Steve Bauer choose to look at it in a positive light.
“Confirmation that we have athletes that can be in the game and also the knowledge that we need to make progress to win. Certainly Ryder is there, there is no question but for our perspective we’re not far. Some work, we have young athletes that got some experience and have time to make the progress and jump to ProTour and that’s exciting.” Bauer said.
For the Montréal race, Ryan Anderson, Rob Britton and David Boily joined the five who had raced in Québec, Dominique Rollin, Keven Lacombe, Guillaume Boivin, François Parisien and Will Routley.
“I’m a little disappointed.” Canadian National Champion Routley said right after he crossed the finish line. “These are the first ProTour races that I did so I definitely gained a little bit of experience. He had expressed a desire for results in the two races.
That same sentiment was repeated by most of the riders on the team. One thing learned was positioning, being in the right place at the right time in the peloton.
Give it another try. The highest-placed rider for the team was Routley, who finished 65th, at nine minutes from the winner.
“I wasn’t too bad today and on two to go when the split happened on the top of the climb, I went up the climb pretty good and I was the first guy to miss it, I tried to barely zip across and it’s a headwind over the top and I just couldn’t make it. Obviously I was pretty gassed and doing everything that I could but it was also a bit of just the experience of knowing when and how it’s going to go and positioning.” Routley said.
With two laps to go, Ryder Hesjedal’s team Garmin-Transitions hit the gas at the front of the field, and riders were shelled off the back.
“I certainly want to give it another try.” Routley added with a laugh. “I’m anxious to do some more races at this level. We rode pretty well together, we were looking out after each other and I think a bunch of us have what it takes to compete at this level. It was tough racing.”
Routley wants another chance and he will get it. The 27-year old signed with the Spidertech team for next season. “There was a lot of depth, a lot of these guys are strong so there’s more that one guy on each of these teams that can start throwing down. Not much to say otherwise just come back and give it another try.”
All about finishing. For 20-year old Boily, the only thing that mattered after being dropped was finishing the race.
“I will admit that pride motivated me to finish the race. Maybe I wouldn’t have finished it when I was dropped with two and a half laps to go but I was a little disappointed and I told myself, ‘whatever the finish time, I’m going to finish’.” Boily said after the race.
He could be seen in the final two laps, riding solo at the back with the broom wagon shadowing him. He did finish making his way through the crowds massing on the road for the podium ceremony. “I was time cut, I was blocked by the crowd on the road but I finished and I’m happy with that. ”
Boily also added that he also felt a level of disappointment and wished he could have stayed in the lead group for a few more laps.
“Generally, it was positive and I’m going to try and learn from my mistakes so as to not repeat them in the future. ” he concluded.
No Surprises. “I think it was a classic championship event. The predicted strong boys were in the game, and who wasn’t as strong weren’t.” Bauer said.
As for Team Canada, “No surprises today, just confirmation that the guys are in the game. To be really there, to go for podium or top 10, is a little more progress, perhaps some tougher races, tougher preparation.”
Bauer identified time and maturity as two aspects that will help the next crop of Canadian riders. “Time. Maturity for the riders like Boily and Boivin. Certainly Parisien is more mature athlete, Frank on his top day would maybe be in the front group and be competitive, but I’m more looking to the younger guys to mature and be in the ProTour in the future.”
Bauer thinks that having these ProTour races in Canada is extremely important for the future. “It’s an opportunity that you cannot duplicate. Being a non-ProTour team Spidertech, having a team here is an opportunity that is enormous for these guys. That’s it, that’s all there is to say.”
Team Canada Results
65. Will Routley +9:02
69. François Parisien +9:02
87. Dominique Rollin +11:48
HD David Boily
DNF Guillaume Boivin
DNF Rob Britton
DNF Ryan Anderson
DNF Keven Lacombe
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