On a cloudy but calm Saturday in Burlington, ON, Svein Tuft won his first ever Canadian title in the road race at the 2011 IMMUNITY-FX Canadian Road Championships powered by Canaccord Wealth Management. Tuft as seven titles in the Time trials race, making this road race title his career eight Canadian title.
On a day where Team SpiderTech powered by C10 were dominant, sweeping the men’s podium with the defending champion Will Routley in second place and Canadian Track cycling star and World Cup Champion Zach Bell in third, Tuft fought extremely hard to leave solo a chase group to join the breakaway group, which included three ‘spiders’ and Rob Britton of BISSELL Pro Cycling.
“These guys gave me a tremendous gift. We have been working together for a number of years, and they gave it to me and I can’t thank them enough. This is something for my career I thought would be an amazing to pull off, and now it happened. It’s an amazing feeling,” said Tuft, Canada’s newest road cycling champion.
“I feel that as long as you keep learning new things and still have motivation, there are no points in thinking about leaving. I still have many goals in cycling. There are so many big races that we can do, and with team growing and getting to the next level, we just keep our motivation going,” added Tuft.
A total of 178 riders took to the start of the race at 4pm on a very difficult course. The course, which featured a category 4 climb for almost one kilometer, was truly a championship course. Of all the starters, only 42 were able to complete the race.
Steve Bauer, team director for SpiderTech, was thrilled with the performance of his riders today.
“There are a lot of good riders out there with Rollin, Veilleux, Meier, Britton. We had a strong team, with the numbers and we had to make sure it was decisive. The plan was to go from the gun, o hard, and make our counterpart work hard. Everyone tried hard, and our guys were too strong.”
The race, which was 14 laps of a 12.8-kilometre loop, brought together some of the best cyclist this country has to offer, including Dominique Rollin (Francaise-Des-Jeux), David Veilleux (Team Europcar), Christian Meier (United Healthcare) just to name just a few.
“You never know which attack will stick. We had strong riders out there with Lacombe, Routley and Bell. Britton was also working hard. We had to play hard against all those strong riders. We didn’t want anything at chance.”
The lead group of four riders stayed together and maintained a time gap of around two minutes the majority of the race, sometimes reaching of 2:45. With two laps to go, Svein Tuft of Team SpiderTech left the chase group solo to join the attack group. Then, Tuft worked with Bell and Routley as they attacked while Tuft stayed with Britton. In the last lap, Tuft initiated his attack on Britton, leaving him behind to join Routley and Bell and ride the very last climb together, as a team.
At the end, it’s Tuft who crossed the line first, side by side with this teammates Routley, the defending Road champion, and Bell, the World Cup Champion in track cycling. The victory was a symbolic gift awarded the Tuft, the captain and tested veteran of Team SpiderTech.
“Tuft was our number 1 guy. Even though Svein has been riding so strong, he still had to get to the finish line. He had to leave behind a strong chase group. It could have been Parisien or Lacombe, but on this day it was Svein. He had to get there first. He’s our Canadian icon, he’s our leader and there is no reason he shouldn’t be Canadian Road Champion.”
“Our biggest challenge was for everyone not to race selfishly. We had certainly the strength and horsepower. You don’t want guys racing against each other early on and risk a thing. We needed to have an unselfish team to make it a decisive win.”
In the U23 race, the spectators gathered at the finish line were treated to a sprint finish between Team SpiderTech’s Hugo Houle and Team Québec’s Arnaud Papillon. At the photo finish, it was Houle who took the race honours, winning his second title in as many races at these Canadian Road Championships. Papillon was second, followed by Jamie Riggs of Team Ontario in third.
“It was a great day. Hugo Houle really impressed me in the time trial. He’s such a promising athlete and we are really happy to have him on board. We raced to win the elite race, not the U23 race. We told the U23 guys to take a backseat and establish the major goal. Hugo just nipped Arnaud at the end, and that for itself was an exciting moment.”
Points Race. Tomorrow, Canada’s top cyclists will race the very popular Criterium race in Georgetown, starting at 1pm.
The Elite Men’s and Elite Women’s criteriums will be points races. Intermediate sprints shall take place on the finish line and after a number of laps that shall always be the same between two sprints. Sprints every 5 laps with points to first four riders. Double points awarded for final sprint. Elite women race 30 laps and Elite Men, 45 laps.
A note about riders owning a foreign UCI licence. The Canadian Cycling Association would like to send its warmest apologies to Jasmine Glaesser of Cycling BC. In the women’s U23 category, Glaesser finished second of the time trial race and third of the road race. Glaeser currently owns a German licence and as a result of a technical rule, she was not recognized on the podium at the Canadian Championship. It is expected that Glaesser will receive her Canadian licence shortly.
Top 10 Canadian Men Road Race Championhips
1. TUFT, Svein (TEAM SPIDERTECH powered by C10) 4:32:09
2. ROUTLEY, Will (TEAM SPIDERTECH powered by C10) s.t.
3. BELL, Zachary (TEAM SPIDERTECH powered by C10) s.t.
4. BRITTON, Rob (BISSELL PRO CYCLING) +1:43
5. *HOULE, Hugo (TEAM SPIDERTECH powered by C10) +5:26
6. *PAPILLON, Arnaud (EQUIPE DU QUEBEC) +5 :26
7. SALAS, Sebastian (TEAM H&R BLOCK) +5:31
8. MEIER, Christian (UNITED HEALTHCARE PRO CYCLING) +5:31
9. LANGLOIS, Bruno (TEAM SPIDERTECH powered by C10) +5:39
10. PARISIEN, Francois (TEAM SPIDERTECH powered by C10) +5:42