The halfway point of the series has been celebrated in style. We had another excellent rider count consisting of over 115 brave souls, a bunch of new faces on the podiums, changes in the make up of the overall GC results in each category, and another centre joining the fray – welcome Peak Centre Montreal! An unrelenting 19.05km Uphill Mountain Stage awaited riders this week. The course climbed steadily through a series of moderate climbs peppered with short, steep, biting grades, with only a single fleeting downhill providing an opportunity to catch a break. This course really tested riders mental toughness to keep on the power as the course just kept winding uphill.
The top race times for stage 6 were seriously fast, and it was the three riders to go sub-36 minutes that earned themselves a podium spot in the Men’s A category. Our first surprise was that the course may not have been steep enough for Peak Ottawa’s Climbing Class Act and current GC leader, Alexandre Gagnon, whose awesome power to weight ratio could only push him into a third place finish this week with a zippy finish time of 35:42.7. Alexandre was not far off second place, as a gap of just 1.9 seconds separated Sam Janicki from Tri-Fitness Minnesota who was the second fasted rider this week, and finished in 35:40.8. Just over 25 seconds ahead of Sam, and cementing a dominant first placed ride was last weeks runner up Dwayne Kress from Challenge By Choice, Squamish. Dwayne seems to be ever improving and a hot shot in the game, so look for him to keep rising up the GC standings. Alexandre remains 15 points ahead of Sam in the overall standings. Glenn Budgell from Peak Ottawa jumped up to third spot with an excellent ride. With three points separating three riders gunning for the bronze medal position, Glenn is going to have to work hard to keep his placing!
For the second week running, Bill Martin from SBR Wisconsin prevailed in the Men’s B race. Bill has clearly found his groove and finished in super fast time of 39:04.2. Coming in second place was Peak Vancovuer’s powerhouse Chuck Fortier. Chuck improved upon his stage 2 ride and rode straight to the podium this week, finishing just behind Bill in a time of 39:17.5. Regular podium finisher John Forsyth of Vancouver completed the Men’s B podium this week. John was a mere 6 seconds behind Chuck, laying down a time of 39:23.6. The surprise this week was that Peak Ottawa’s Shawn McCleery was knocked off the podium for the first time! This allowed the rest of the competition a chance at closing the point gap with John Forsyth capitalizing the most as he has now closed the gap behind Shawn to a single point. Bill Martin’s second consecutive win places him on the GC podium, a reachable 13 points behind John.
Just when we thought the fight for the Women’s A win cannot get any better, Kelly Knowles and Alison Wood just keep bringing the goods. The gap between the two this week was it’s closest to date, at only 2.6 seconds. Picking up the win this week was Peak Vancouver’s Alison Wood, making the contest as tight as can be as now Kelly and Alison are even at three wins a piece. Alison’s finish time was 40:38.3 whilst Peak Ottawa’s Kelly Knowles took second with 40:40.9. Thrid place was taken by Sarah Zirkle from Tri-Fitness Minnesota who exploded onto the series with her first race to date. Sarah’s time of 41:14.9 was enough to mark her debut with a podium finish and 15 points in the GC standings. In the Overall GC results Alison took back first place from Kelly by just 2 points, with Peak Ottawa rider Carol Deavy keeping consistent week by week and holding strong to third spot. Who will come out on top in six weeks time? It is anybody’s guess but we, for one, cannot wait to find out.
Another fantastic debut ride was witnessed in the Women’s B category. Taking the win on her first outing was Veronik Bourgon from Peak Ottawa with a time of 43:52.2. Back to business was Melanie Shields from Peak Burlington who finished second, just over 10 seconds behind Veronik in a time of 44:03.1. Rounding off the podium was Candace Anderson from Peak Ottawa. Candace has scored high points in all of her three rides, so look for her to challenge for an overall podium soon! These results allowed Melanie to overtake Peak Vancouver’s Grace Menning for second spot in the GC standings pushing Grace to third, while Emily Flynn from Peak Ottawa remains the lady at the top!
With King of the Mountain points up for grabs this week, it added yet another element to the stage. Peak Ottawa dominated the women’s battle by having riders occupy all three podium spots, a mirror image of Stage 2’s KOM racing. Taking maximum points was Kelly Knowles. Kelly averaged a huge 3.96 watts/kg which most riders would kill for – awesome Kelly! A shade behind was teammate Carol Deavy who averaged 3.84 watts/kg, whilst Ali Wilson came in third with an average of 3.60 watts/kg. Peak Ottawa just seem to love the KOM points as two of their riders scored the podium in the men’s contest. Making up for not taking the stage win, Alexandre Gagnon made it two for two in the KOM battle, after averaging a gigantic 4.70 watts/kg. Coming in second was this week’s winner Dwayne Kress, capping off a great week for the Challenge by Choice Squamish rider with an average 4.32 watts/kg. Glenn Budgell was the third most powerful man, with a 4.27 watts/kg average, only just missing out on the second spot!
Here is the link with the full results of the stage and updated GC results: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AhXrz7isgo7NdDg2LWZrNS01dmlwMTZocE9vR3MxQXc&hl=en_US#gid=1
That’s right guys, we have now reached the halfway point of the Winter Series! Six more stages remain and that means six more fabulous stage reports. It really still is all up for grabs in the GC standings and we have some excellent courses in store. Next week we head back to a Rolling Course (profiles now available on our website), so It’s anyone’s game!
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