Happy Wednesday racers. I hope your legs have recovered from this week’s course because Stage 11 was a beast! We thought we would wrap up the new winter courses with one that you would all remember; a grueling mountain climb with periodic biting climbs to soften you up before the tough summit push. The advantage should have swayed slightly to the lighter climbers as it was all about average watts/kg for stage 11 – with this becoming even more important to gain last chance points for the King of the Mountains (KOM) standings.
With Alexandre Gagnon from Peak Ottawa winning the last two KOM stages, could he do it again and three-peat? The answer was yes, Alexandre was the only rider to go faster than 42 minutes as he stormed to another stage win, and a full 20 points into both the GC and KOM standings. The time to beat this week was a 41:43.8! The second place finish went to Peak Vancouver’s Ted Russo who only comes out to play when there are hills involved. Ted had one of his best races and climbed onto the podium for the first time this season with a time of 42:06.4. Just under a minute further back was Dwayne Kress from Challenge By Choice Squamish who finished in 43:04.8. After a couple of weeks without a podium finish, Dwayne found the legs to race hard and find his fifth of the season. With the absence of Sam Janicki for stage 11 due to nice weather down in Minnesota, it allowed Alexandre to extend his lead at the top of the GC standings to 14 points going into next weeks Original Time Trial. Bronze position is still currently in the hands of Dwayne Kress as he holds an eight point gap ahead of SBR Coaching Wisconsin’s powerhouse Kory Seder.
After a week off, Kelly Knowles from Peak Ottawa came back to the racing with a huge race to take the Women’s A stage win. Kelly showed the mountains who’s boss, finishing over 45 seconds ahead of her fierce competitor Alison Wood from Vancouver. The pair finished in 46:41.9 and 47:27.0 respectively and the battle will continue right into the final stage next week! The third spot went to no other than Summer Ohlendorf from SBR Coaching Wisconsin. Wisconsin’s star lady continued her fantastic form with her fourth consecutive podium after finishing in 48:25.4. Summer’s awesome racing has now put her in reach of the GC bronze position as the gap between herself and Carol Deavy from Peak Ottawa is only two points! The battle is as tight as can be at the top and it seems that it will all come down to who takes the Stage 12 win as only three points separate the leader Alison Wood from Kelly Knowles in second.
Just over 40 seconds separated the Men’s B podium which was occupied with both regular and new faces. Taking the final podium place for Stage 11 was Jean-Phillippe Leclerc from Peak Montreal in a great time of 46:11.1. After debuting to the series last week it didn’t take too long for the Montreal rider to discover the feeling of making the podium! The battle for first was between the two top dogs in the GC standings – Bill Martin from SBR Coaching Wisconsin and John Forsyth from Peak Vancouver. It was John that had the slightly better mountain legs as he managed to finish just over 30 seconds ahead of Bill with a finish time of 45:29.2. Bill came in second with a time of 46:06.9 which was enough for 15 points and a two rider leapfrog into the GC silver position. Alex Willis from Peak Vancouver is one point shy of Bill as he lies in the GC bronze spot, whilst it is John Forsyth who commands the standings with a 13 point lead at the top.
Making it two podiums in a row in Women’s B, and in commanding fashion was Michelle Newton from Peak Vancouver. Michelle raced to an extremely strong finish time of 48:43.3, one that was just shy of the Women’s A podium! Wendy Blagdon from Peak Ottawa came in second place with a finish time of 50:34.7 and this result makes it three podiums in four races for Wendy! Coming in third place again, repeating last weeks performance was Peggy Labonte from Peak Montreal. Finishing in 51:56.2 Peggy had a great race and took 15 points into the GC standings. With one stage left it is still Peak Ottawa’s Emily Flynn that occupies the top of the podium but she is under some serious pressure from Peak Burlington’s Melanie Shields who is just four points behind. The battle for third comes down to a five point gap between Jessica Yurchich from SBR Coaching Wisconsin currently in the bronze position and Candace Anderson from Peak Ottawa.
Stage 11 also marked the completion of our King of the Mountains competition. This weeks results first and it was Kelly Knowles from Peak Ottawa that doubled up with the stage and KOM victory after averaging a massive 3.88 Watts/Kg. In second place for the women was Peak Vancouver’s Michelle Newton with 3.60 Watts/Kg and in third was fellow Vancouverite Alison Wood with 3.50 Watts/Kg. It was a double win in the Men’s too as Alexandre Gagnon did what he does best – averaging silly Watts/Kg! This week was no different as he laid down 4.47 Watts/Kg. There was stiff competition from Peak Vancouver’s Ted Russo however as he averaged an equally impressive 4.39 Watts/Kg. Dwayne Kress came in third with 3.98 Watts/Kg which made it a repeat of the Men’s A podium. Onward to the final KOM standings and congratulations to Kelly Knowles who took all KOM stage wins and achieved the maximum 60 points. Second place went to Kelly’s Peak Ottawa teammate Carol Deavy who collected 42 points, and Peak Vancouver’s Alison Wood finds herself in third with a total of 39 points. There must be something in the water over in Ottawa as Alexandre Gagnon mirrored Kelly with three KOM victories and a maximum 60 point finish! Teammate Glen Budgell took the second spot with a total of 42 points, and Ted Russo’s incredible Stage 11 performance shot him to the final podium spot with a 34 point total.
Onward to the season finale and we return to the Original Time Trial course that we all know and love. Extra points are available for a season PB and with the GC standings as close as they are, these points could turn out to be vital!
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