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Ackert and Valenti take Jr. and U23 men’s national titles at Layritz Park

2022 Canadian cyclocross nationals are back on Vancouver Island

Photo by: Nick Iwanyshyn

After a morning of Master’s racing, the under-23 and junior men were the first elite championship categories on course at Canadian cyclocross nationals at Layritz Park in Victoria, B.C.. With deep fields in both events, racing was tight.

Ian Ackert Soloed to the junior men’s cyclocross national title, while a solid battle for podium positions played out behind him.

In under-23s, Luke Valenti dueled Vancouver Island local Evan Russell for the win.

Elite men’s results to follow.

Cody Scott led the under-23 men’s race off the start. Photo by Nick Iwanyshyn

Under-23 men: A first-time champion

The under-23 men’s race witnessed solid battles throughout the field. Luke Valenti (Toronto Hustle) and Vancouver Island local Evan Russell (Saris Rouvy Sauerland Team) edged out to a small lead in the opening laps. Behind, Alexandre Woodford (Ride with Rendall), Cody Scott (Giant Canada) and Owen Clark (CHC Armada) chased.

It wasn’t until the mid-way point of the six-lap race that Valenti was able to create a gap over Russell, and not until the final lap that the lead looked secure.

Luke Valenti quickly took over on the front. Photo by Nick Iwanyshyn

“The race didn’t really go to plan,” Valenti says of the strong challenge from Russell. “I was trying to go right from the start and take the race on as hard as I could and build a gap in the first few laps. That didn’t happen, I didn’t get a gap until a little later in the race. It wasn’t what I was expecting to do, but it worked out.”

The Toronto Hustle racer eventually finished 53 seconds ahead, winning the under-23 men’s cyclocross national title.

Valenti cruises to a solo win in Victoria. Photo by Nick Iwanyshyn

“It feels really good. I mean, I’ve never won a national champs before, so I’m really happy,” Valenti said after the finish. “I liked the couse, I liked the corners. It was technical, slick, everything you want in a cross course.”

The win at Layritz Park ends Valenti’s 2022 season. After a brief break, he’s gearing up to join his new team, Premier-Tech U23, for the 2023 road season.

Behind the two leaders, Owen Clark and Cody Scott battled until the last lap for the final podium position. Clark surged to 10 third while Scott held pace to finish 10.32 seconds behind.

Ian Ackert took the hole shot at Layritz and never looked back. Photo by Nick Iwanyshyn

Junior Men: Ackert goes it alone

In the junior men’s race, a lead group of five quickly formed with Ian Ackert (Stimulus Orbea) on the front. The Ontario rider was initially followed by Cam McCallum (Charge BCXC), Mika Comaniuk (Velo Pays d’en Haut), Sasha Renaud-Tremblay (Espoirs Quilicot) and Philipe Duarte (Ottawa Bicycle Club).

Over the next four laps, Ackert would ride away from the field, eventually winning by a solid 1:02.11.

“I took the hotshot then just didn’t look back from there. I wanted to ride my own race,” Ackert said of his race strategy. “The u23s were ahead of us, so my goal was to catch as many as I could.”

McCallum and Comaniuk battle all day for second and third. Photo by Nick Iwanyshyn

Mika Comaniuk broke away from Cam McCallum on the final lap to take silver. McCallum holds on for third.

With a long break since the last nationals in 2019, its the first time many of these riders had a chance to race a championship category at home.

Ackert put the junior men behind him and started hunting for u23s. Photo by Nick Iwanyshyn

“The last time I raced I was a first-year u17, so it’s nice not racing at eight a.m. in the frozen conditions,” Ackert said. “It’s pretty cool to have it back here, I love Victoria. The course kinda reminds me of courses back in Ontario, so it’s kinda getting back to my roots, when I was racing as a younger kid. Lots of fans, it was pretty cool.”

From here, Ackert and the Stimulus Orbea head to Europe where he’ll fly the maple leaf at the iconic and intense Kertzperiod cycloross races in Belgium and The Netherlands.

“December 20th we fly over for the start of Christmas cross and I’ll be staying until the end of world championships at the end of January.”

Results: Under-23 Men

1 Valenti, Luke – Toronto Hustle
2 Russell, Evan – Saris Rouvy Sauerland Team
3 Clark, Owen – CHC Armada
4 Scott, Cody – Giant Canada Off-Road Team
5 Ramsay, Noah – Bateman’s Bike Co 
6 Woodford, Alexander – Ride with Rendall 
7 Berg, Eric – Team Alberta/Pedalhead Race 
8 Maclean, Ryan – Team Alberta/Juventus CC 
9 Brisebois, Hugo – Ride with Rendall
10 Rodgers, Lief – Giant Canada Off-Road Team 
11 Borstmayer, Finn – Team Alberta/Cyclemeisters/Bow Cycle 
12 Kerr, Dylan – CHC Armada 
13 Jamieson, Elliot – Norco 
14 Inglis, Theron – Toronto Hustle 
15 Parker, William -4

Results: Junior Men

1 Ackert, Ian – Stimulus Orbea Racing Team 
2 Comaniuk, Mika – Velo Pays d’en Haut 
3 Mccallum, Cam – Charge BCXC Racing 
4 Renaud-Tremblay, Sasha – Espoirs Quilicot 
5 Duarte, Filipe – Ottawa Bicycle Club 
6 Rubuliak, Noah – Giant Canada Off Road Team 
7 Weselake, Soren – Prairie Fire Racing 
8 Bates Rhett +3:45.62
9 Drew,s Tristan – The Cycling Co. 
10 Savard, Loic – Team Manitoba 
11 Manktelow, Kip – Trail Bicycles Racing 
12 Polloni, Alessandro – KW Cycling Academy 
13 Pulford, Luke – Team Alberta/Rundle Mountain CC 
14 Sherry, Henry – Dunbar Cycles 
15 Har,t Jonathan – Tripleshot CC 
16 Polloni, Matteo – KW Cycling Academy 
17 Dalling, Ewan – Team Manitoba 
18 Voss, Jimi +8:19.24
19 Croome, Zachary – Rock City Cycles