Rachel Heal reports on the Canadian trio of Joelle Numainville, Leah Kirchmann, and Denise Ramsden’s clean sweep of the Canadian road titles.
Canadian Criterium Championship: Kirchmann Wins
Leah made it 3 for 3 for the team in Canada, with a great criterium win at the last race of Canadian road nationals weekend.
Going into the race, Leah was under a fair bit of pressure with two nationals titles for the team already this weekend. She was looking to make it a clean sweep, and as one of the strongest sprinters in the race, she was sure to be a marked rider.
The race was aggressive from the gun, with no one big team to control the pace, rider after rider attacked, and small groups got a few seconds clear and then were brought back. Leah did a great job of positioning herself well, and marking any dangerous moves.
With a lap to go, what was left of the bunch was all together, and Lex Albrecht attacked and got a small gap. Leah bided her time before jumping clear of the pack. Catching Lex before the final corner, Leah rounded the corner with a gap of several bike lengths and held it all the way to the line for a great win.
Canadian Road Race Championship: Numainville Takes Two Titles in Two Days
A few weeks ago, the USA riders laid down a challenge to the Canadians, taking 1st 2nd at the USPRO National Championships. Our powerful Canadian trio of Joëlle, Leah and Denise proved up to the challenge, with Joëlle completing the double after her TT victory yesterday and Leah holding on for 2nd after giving Joëlle a winning lead-out in a nail biting finish.
It was a tactically difficult day. Early in the race, a break of 4 riders formed, and slowly and steadily built up a gap, gaining a maximum of 2 minutes. As the obvious strongest team in the race, the responsibility was on our shoulders to chase, and at around half distance all 3 riders took to the front in a concerted chase, quickly halving the breakaways lead before a chase group including Joelle formed and bridged to the break. Shortly after a small chasing group caught on giving a leading group of around 20 riders. From that point on, small breaks formed and were caught, always with Optum p/b KBS represented.
With 10km to go Joëlle and Leah forced a break of 5 riders clear and things were looking great for us, but then on a gravel section of road at 5km to go, Joëlle flatted. We were prepared for this and did a very swift bike change and Joëlle was quickly back in the chasing pack. Inside 3km to go, Joëlle attacked the chasing group and bridged back up to the break catching them inside the final kilometer. Leah switched immediately from sprinter to lead-out mode and took the two of them first into the final corner, and fueled with adrenaline from a chaotic finale, Joëlle sprinted to her 2nd national championship in 2 days with Leah holding on for 2nd.
An awesome job by the whole team