We are now at the half way point of the winter season! After the descents of stage 6, this week’s course took riders back up the other side, giving the climbers another chance to gain some valuable points in the GC standings and also stake a claim for that Polka dot jersey with mountain points on offer for average watts/kg! Last week we said that the main title contenders will emerge and separate themselves from the rest of the Peleton, so let’s see how things are looking as we roll on into the second half of the season!
In the Men’s Cat A, not only is Matt Price (Fraser Bicycle, Fraser) separating himself from the rest of the field, he looks to be running away with it! His time of 43:14.0 was only good enough for 12th, however with GC rival Conner Byway not riding again, Price’s lead is now 22 points! However, Peak Centre (Ottawa) were still well represented as Alex Gagnon took the stage win in 38:54.8. As to be expected, the mountain specialists from the University of Bath were amongst the points as Jake Hollins placed second 39:38.6, while occasional racer Ted Russo (Peak Centre, Vancouver) claimed the last spot on the podium in 40:03.1, to keep up his impressive points/race average. In the mountain classification Gagnon claimed maximum points again with a huge average of 4.46 watts/kg!
The women’s Cat A was dominated by Peak Centre riders as the top 6 were all from the two Peak teams. However, the top spot was taken by Peak Centre Vancouver’s Grace Menning in a time of 43:19.3. The other two places on the podium were contested for by teammates Kelly Knowles and Carol Deavy (Peak Centre, Ottawa), finishing in 43:37.4 and 43:57.0. It is the same three at the top of the GC standings with Knowles at the top, 15 points ahead of Menning. Despite narrowing the gap in recent weeks, Menning will need something extra to prevent Knowles from taking her title! It was a similar story in the mountain category as Deavy added another 20 points after averaging 3.94 watts/kg which was just ahead of the 3.92 watts/kg, maintained by Kelly Knowles.
In the Men’s Cat B Rich Smith (The Bike Hub, Norwich) continued his good form, finishing well ahead of the field with a time of 41:12.2. There was a great contest for second as Chuck Fortier (Peak Centre, Vancouver) managed to hold off a challenge from Joe Hamowitz (Peak Centre, Ottawa) with the pair clocking 42:19.7 and 42:28.4 respectively. However, Hamowitz remains in control of the overall jersey, with a 9 point cushion over Smith. Meanwhile in the mountain category, the same riders were the big winners again as Smith claimed maximum points with an average of 4.02 watts/kg ahead of Hamoeitz who put out 3.69 watts/kg.
On to the women’s Cat B! Tamara Salomon (Natural High, Okotoks) has only race twice this season, but was still able to take the stage win with the only sub 50 minutes time of 49:02.0! This was comfortably ahead of GC leader Carolyn Waldo (Peak Centre, Ottawa) who came home in 50:35.2. The final place on the podium went to Vivian Lee who did enough to see off teammate Georgie Wood with the Peak Centre (Vancouver) riders finishing in 50:58.2 and 51:06.3, respectively. Waldo’s second place keeps her well ahead in the GC standings, with Megan Davies (Peak Centre, Vancouver) appearing to be feeling the effects of other races in her schedule! Salomon also took home maximum points in the mountain classification, averaging 3.18 watts/kg, but it is Waldo who is in first place again!
Finally, the Men’s Cat C! With 5 of the 6 stage wins between them, the Bike Hub (Norwich) trio of Luke Joanis, Steve Kohr and Ben Morgan are dominating the winter season. This stage was no exception as Morgan crossed the line in 44:32.9 ahead of Joanis who followed in 44:58.1. Steve Kohr seemed off the pace, relatively speaking, coming home in 47:55.2. It must be his turn to win again next week! While it seems pretty likely that the GC title will be going to the Bike Hub, which rider will make the jersey their own? Joanis is the clear favourite having already accumulated 109 points, however with Kohr on 91, there is still some competition left in the category! Too top off a great stage for Morgan, he also earned 20 points in the mountain classification after averaging 3.64 watts/kg!
There you have it! Stage 6 was another tough course, but what do you expect by now? The riders will now look forward to tackling a rolling course in stage 7, so good luck and thanks for racing!