Women Sweep Canadian National Road Titles
Numainville Doubles Up at Time Trial and Road Race, Kirchmann Reclaims Criterium Title, Anderson Second in Debut for Men
Joelle Numainville and Leah Kirchmann from the Optum Pro Cycling presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies women’s team enjoyed a dominant weekend at the Canadian National Championships, winning all three disciplines for a sweep of their home nation’s national titles on the road. The dynamic duo was assisted by teammate Denise Ramsden, who helped transition her 2012 road race title into safe hands.
The three-race championship series, centered near Numainville’s hometown of Laval, Quebec, was a chance for the French Canadian to flex her considerable race winning ability in front of a hometown crowd. She did exactly that, opening up with a win in Friday’s 26.7 kilometer time trial. She followed up with a spectacular performance in Saturday’s 110 kilometer road race, after suffering an incredibly ill-timed flat on the final gravel section of the race, just five kilometers from the finish line in St. Georges. She remained calm, battled back from the flat, and rejoined the head of the race to contest the sprint.
“When I flatted at the end of the race, I thought that my race was over. I tried not to analyze the whole situation too much, and told myself I had to give everything I had,” an exhausted Numainville said after the race. “I took a risk, and came back to the group with 500m to go. I think the girls were a bit surprised to see me there, and then I had to focus on what I had to do to win the race.”
The comeback win is a continuation and punctuation on the French Canadian powerhouse’s meteoric rise in the women’s peloton, which includes her bid at the 2012 London Olympics. It is her second title in the road race since 2010, and first in the time trial discipline.
Even after her incredible effort in the TT one day earlier, Numainville still had the energy to claim her second road race title.
“I felt really good out there. There are some days when you know your form is excellent. After the 50km mark, I knew I had it in me to post a good result. I tried not to dispense too much energy, but I also didn’t want anybody to win. I controlled my energy and output levels and be in the right groups when I had to be there.”
Kirchmann Retakes Criterium Title
Leah Kirchmann, who finished one second behind Numainville in the road race and performed a crucial leadout for her teammate in the closing meters, joined Numainville on the championship top step one day later, retaking the national title she first won in 2011 on a 24-lap course downtown St. Georges. Kirchmann’s victory came despite an absence of teammates in the race, which was a measure of speed among some of Canada’s fastest sprinters.
“It is a pretty rare feat to capture all three national titles on the road on one team,” said Performance Director Rachel Heal. “It is a testament to a lot of hard work by everyone, the quality of our organization, and the strong team bond we have developed.”
Ryan Anderson Shines In “Re-Debut” for Optum p/b KBS
Ryan Anderson, a former standout rider wit the Kelly Benefit Strategies program from 2009-2011, was impressive at the road race championship, his first race back in Optum p/b KBS colors. The all-arounder from Edmonton finished second in a small bunch kick, with former KBS teammate Zach Bell taking the victory. Anderson followed Bell’s wheel closely, and finished second with the same listed time as his former teammate in the sprint to the line. Anderson and Bell made a potent early race selection that lasted to the finish, and Anderson pounced on the opportunity.
“Once the selection was made early, I knew it was my race to lose,” said Anderson. “I wanted to take the initiative, and I was here to race. When Christian (Meier, Orica-GreenEDGE) broke away, I did some megapulls to bring him back. I was the one with the most interest. I wasn’t gonna try to bluff my way into it. You don’t win these things by making everybody else work for it, you gotta do it yourself. I couldn’t be happier for Zach, no one deserves it more – he is a good friend of mine and has fought long and hard for this title. It was a blast to compete against him like that for a national title.”
The three titles brings Optum p/b KBS’ grand total of current national champions to nine. The tally includes:
Canadian road race and time trial titles for Numainville
New Zealand Road title for Courteney Lowe
Canadian criterium title for Kirchmann
US time trial title for Tom Zirbel
US road race title for Jade Wilcoxson
US criterium title for Ken Hanson
Two titles on the track for Lauren Hall
And one title on the track for Ian Moir
Director’s Corner Rachel Heal
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 leadout 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 leadout 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.