Clara Hughes will be racing for Team Canada at the only two UCI Category 1 races for women in Canada, the 2011 Grand Prix Cycliste Gatineau, held on May 19th and 21st 2011 in Gatineau, QC. Hughes is having a brilliant comeback to cycling, winning both the time trial and road races at the 2011 UCI Pan American Championships in Colombia this past weekend. A few weeks before that, she smoked the time trial and sprinted to win the crit on her way to claiming the overall at the SRAM Tour of the Gila.
Six women will be wearing the Maple Leaf: Annie Ewart, Julia Garnet, Cara Gillis, Leah Guloien, Leah Kirchmann and Hughes. The group will be directed by Denise Kelly, National Women’s Endurance Development Coach.
“We are extremely pleased to field a competitive team for this major event for women’s cycling in Canada. The Grand Prix Cycliste Gatineau are Canada’s top cycling races for women and attract some of the best in the world,” said Vincent Jourdain, head coach of the Canadian Road Cycling Team. “The cycling races in Gatineau also represent a great opportunity for the people of the greater National Capital area to come and support current and future Olympians.”
The time trial race will be held on Thursday May 19, 2011 and the road race will be held Saturday May 21st.
“I’m really honoured to be selected to represent Canada at the 2011 Grand Prix Cycliste Gatineau. It is always a privilege to wear the maple leaf and it is especially exciting to do so at a race in Canada,” said Kirchmann, the U23 National Road Race Champion.
Kirchmann is making her second consecutive appearance at the Grand Prix Cycliste Gatineau. In 2010, she finished 6th in the road race, four seconds behind the winner.
“Last year was a very positive experience for me. The organizers did a fantastic job putting on the event. It was exhilarating to race some of the best in the world without traveling across an ocean to do so. My objectives are to continue to improve and use my strengths to help my team have a successful season. I hope to have a strong race at Nationals in an effort to qualify for the Worlds Championships team for Copenhagen,” added Kirchmann, who represented Canada at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India.
Winner of the 2010 edition of the road race and Canada’s defending National Road Champion, Joëlle Numainville will be defending her title with her squad TIBCO To-The-Top. Reigning World Champion Giorgia Bronzini, will be racing in Gatineau with her Colavita/Forno d’Asolo squad, and so will the unstoppable Jeannie Longo. Longo is the winner of 30 medals at the Olympics games or the world championships, three-time overall winner of the Tour de France and 38 world records and 1124 victories since her first license.
Canada’s only UCI Women’s Pro Cycling team, Team Juverdem-Specialized, will also be present at the races.