Stage 5 marked the first and only Plateaus and Climbs course for the Winter Series racing. The course featured a series of steep climbs followed with prolonged sections of flats that offered very little opportunity for recovery. However riders were rewarded with a few downhill rest periods, and these were well deserved after negotiating the steepest gradients of the series so far. Before we get into the results, we have added a new feature to our website so you guys can check out the course profiles before you race. Follow the link and click “Read More” under the ‘Winter Racing Series’. The course profiles are available by clicking on the Stage Descriptions.
Onto the racing, and again what a week it was. In Men’s A, Peak Ottawa superstar Alexandre Gagnon shredded the tough course this week, averaging over 300 watts while being one of the lighter guys in the competition. Alex separated himself from the rest by almost a minute, finishing in a time of 34:18.5. Second and third place was more of a battle between Squamish and Minnesota. With less than four seconds to separate the two riders, it was Dwayne Kress from Challenge by Choice Squamish that got the better of Sam Janicki from Tri-Fitness Minnesota, as they finished in 35:10.6 and 35:14.0 respectively. Seven of the Men’s A riders were separated by less than a minute this week, showing how competitive and variable the points can be from week to week. Alexandre further extends his overall lead by a margin of 17 points over Sam Janicki, with Peak Vancouver’s Roger Lee maintaining a closely contested third spot.
Women’s A showed just how strong they are again this week, with the top three ladies putting in times that would score them big points in Men’s B! The battle for the top continues as this week it was Kelly Knowles from Peak Ottawa nudging herself to the win over Peak Vancouver’s Alison Wood. The times were close, but Kelly found the legs to go seven seconds faster than Alison finishing in 38:19.4. The fierce battle between Kelly and Alison continues as Kelly’s win puts her back at the top of the GC standings, only one point ahead of Alison. Finding podium form once again was Challenge by Choice Squamish rider Rua Reid, who took third place and is really starting to impress. Rua went sub 39 minutes as well as the rest of the podium, finishing in 38:55.5.
Following on from Rua’s great performance was fellow Challenge by Choice Squamish rider Renee Brickner. Renee was the one to beat in the Women’s B race this week, winning the stage and taking 20 points in the GC standings. Renee’s finish time was 41:02.3. Coming in second this week, and doing Peak Vancouver proud was Grace Menning. Grace managed to hold off last week’s winner Emily Flynn as she rode to a time of 42:06.1. A further 15 seconds behind was Peak Ottawa rider Emily Flynn, who scores another podium for the season with a time of 42:21.1. Emily maintains her 10 point lead at the top of the Woman’s B overall standings, whilst Grace Menning jumps into the second spot, only two points from Peak Burlington’s hot shot Melanie Shields who lies in third.
The rest of Men’s B did indeed step it up as requested, and the rider who took the biggest leap was SBR Coaching Wisconsin rider Bill Martin. It is rumored that Bill took a rest day prior to the race this week, and his tactics paid off as he took the stage win in style, finishing in a time of 37:04.1. This was enough to earn him a 20 second gap over last week’s winner Shawn McCleery from Peak Ottawa. Shawn did himself justice coming in second place in 31:24.7. Close on Shawn’s wheel was Peak Vancouver’s John Forsyth, a previous stage winner himself. John took well to the tough course and finished a mere six seconds behind second place, with a time of 37:30.6. In the overall standings all three podium riders are only separated by 10 points! Shawn McCleery retains the top for another week, six points ahead of John Forsyth, who is another four points in front of Peak Vancouver’s Alex Willis. Alex did manage to win some accolades with this week’s Golden Bucket award – nice to see you duffer buddy!
Here is the link with the full results of the stage.
Onto the halfway point we go, and next weeks course is one for the climbers. We face an Uphill Mountain Stage where it will be average watts/kg that matters most. More King of the Mountain points available next week as well.