After successfully completing a hat trick of Canadian cyclocross championships titles on Saturday, Michael van den Ham doubled up with another win in Sunday’s UCI C2 event.
Similarly, in the junior men’s race Jacob Rubuliak (TAG Cycling) would repeat his win from Saturday’s junior men’s championship race at Nicholls Oval Park, in Peterborough.
Elite Men’s race – Champ vs. Champ
As van den Ham’s Giant-Easton p/b Transitions Life Care teammate Jenn Jackson discovered in Sunday’s C2 women’s race, the biggest challenger didn’t come from the elite competitors. For Jackson, it was under-23 Dana Gilligan (Hardwood Next Wave) putting on the pressure. Chasing van den Ham in Sunday’s elite men’s race was Gunnar Holmgren, another Hardwood Next Wave athlete.
After a muddy Saturday, Sunday’s conditions in Peterborough were much faster. A group of six riders started off together, including van den Ham, Holmgren, Saturday’s silver medallist Marc-André Fortier (Pivot Cycles-OTE), Tyler Orschel, Carter Woods (Naked Factory Racing) and Tyler Clark (Brevard College).
Riding in second wheel, Fortier had a minor slip. This held up the group, except for van den Ham. The elite national champion took his opportunity, and pushed hard to create a gap. Holmgren, initially held up behind Fortier, chased hard to regain contact with van den Ham.
20 seconds behind the leading duo, first-year under-23 Carter Woods was sitting in third, with Fortier not far behind in fourth.
This held until the fourth lap, when a minor mechanical forced Holmgren off his bike momentarily. While he fixed that problem, van den Ham was once again riding away.
That proved to be decisive, as Holmgren would never regain contact. Michael van den Ham wins Day 2 of Peterborough cyclocross national championships. Gunnar Holmgren finishes second, a day after defending his under-23 national title.
Van den Ham and Holmgren celebrate a hard-fought race. Photo: Nick Iwanyshyn.
Van den Ham leads Holmgren up Heckler's Hill. Photo: Nick Iwanyshyn.
Marc-André Fortier steps into the Wildrock run up. Photo: Nick Iwanyshyn.
Tyler Orschel rides into fourth. Photo: Nick Iwanyshyn.
Carter Woods would hold on to fifth. Photo: Nick Iwanyshyn.
Holmgren looking forward, keeping his sights set on van den Ham. Photo: Nick Iwanyshyn.
Tyler Clark (Brevard College) on his way to 6th. Photo: Nick Iwanyshyn.
Under-23 XCO national champion Quinton Disera (Norco Factory Team) rides into 9th. Photo: Nick Iwanyshyn.
Behind, Fortier had pulled ahead of Woods. The Pivot Cycles-OTE rider managed to hold on to his third place position, even after being forced into the pits with a slowly deflating back tire late in the race.
Tyler Orschel would move up to fourth by the finish. Carter Woods finises fifth.
Junior Men’s Race
Before the under-23’s took on the elite race, the junior men had the course to themselves. Jacob Rubuliak (Tag Cycling) made the most of his trip out from Kelowna, B.C., by doubling up with his second win in as many days.
Behind Rubuliak, Matthew Leliveld earned another silver for the Hardwood Next Wave team. His second place in jr. men would be followed by Gilligan’s silver in the elite women’s race and Holmgren’s silver in the elite men’s race.
In third was Rubuliak’s teammate Cody Scott. The Vancouver athlete scored the final podium place, after finishing sixth a day earlier in the championship event.