The two-pronged assault on BC Superweek from the men’s and women’s teams continued yesterday at Vancouver’s UBC Grand Prix, with Canadians Ryan Anderson and Leah Kirchmann taking wins in front of another huge crowd in British Columbia. It brings the grand total of Superweek wins for Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies to four.
It was the first victory for Anderson as the newest member of the Orange and Black, after a long string of podiums that began with a runner-up finish at the Canadian National Championship Road Race last month. The veteran all-arounder was a standout rider within the program before racing in Europe for several years. His return in 2013 so far has been nothing short of spectacular. Anderson was hungry for the win after two runner-up placings and a third place finish so far at Superweek.
“I didn’t want to get second or third tonight, I wanted to win,” said Anderson. “I was a little nervous in the end, but it worked out well for me tonight.”
Anderson added that his teammates, including Marsh Cooper, Tom Soladay, Eric Young, and Saturday’s Brenco Criterium winner Ken Hanson played a critical role in delivering the men’s team its second win in British Columbia, beating out Germany’s Florenz Knauer (Team Baier Landshut) and Michael Schweizer (NSP Ghost / Team Germany). Hanson finish 7th after giving Anderson a late-race assist.
“My team was huge tonight in getting this win. The finish was really chaotic, and they got me to the front so I could prepare for the battle with a few laps to go,” Anderson said. “(Hanson’s) experience in situations like this is invaluable, and it is great having him on our side.”
Criterium Champion Kirchmann Goes Back-to-Back in BC
Winnipeg native Leah Kirchmann doubled down after her win at Sunday’s prestigious White Spot | Delta Road Race, winning the sprint on the short, winding course.
“I definitely like a technical race,” the newly minted Canadian Criterium Champion said. “I thought it would be beneficial to always be at the front. Going for the primes, watching for breakaways, and just being first around the corners to be a bit safer.”
Kirchmann’s teammates, including fellow Canadian stars Denise Ramsden and Joelle Numainville, Grace Alexander, and Amber Gaffney helped out with the women’s team’s second Superweek win.
Ramsden launched an attack with just a half lap to go, with Kirchmann watching closely at the head of the peloton for any opponents attempting to follow her teammate. Canadian Olympic bronze medalist Gillian Carleton (Specialized-lululemon) was the only rider to attempt to chase down Ramsden through the final corners, and after an unfortunate crash in the third-to-last corner, the race was wide open for the powerful Optum p/b KBS sprinters to take control.
The exciting Superweek racing continues today with the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix, where Ken Hanson will attempt to defend his 2012 victory. Giro di Burnaby on July 11th and the Tour de White Rock, July 12-14, will close out the classic Canadian race series.
All photos © Greg Descantes