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“Action” Jackson comes runner-up in Grand Prix Gatineau

UnitedHealthcare's Lauren Hall takes the victory from breakaway

American Lauren Hall won the Grand Prix Cycliste de Gatineau on Thursday afternoon, outsprinting Canadians Alison “Action” Jackson (Team Tibco-SVB) and Sara Bergen (Rally) to become the first American to win the race since Shelley Olds in 2013. All three podium riders were from a breakaway that got loose early in the race.

The riders rolled 104-km including two loops of Gatineau Park that took in the Fortune climb before an urban circuit.

An early solo escapee on the first circuit was hauled back by the efforts of Rally on the Fortune climb. This caused a selection of 14 that included lots of Rally, Team Canada and UnitedHealthcare riders. Team Tibco drove the chase group.

By the time the race exited the park circuits Tibco had reduced the gap from 1:15 to 45-seconds. As the break crossed the finish line for the first time, Montreal’s Marie Soleil-Blais (Team Canada) earned the first prime.

The decisive breakaway soon after its escape.

The break was down to 13 riders with two laps to go, but the efforts of the Unitedhealthcare and Rally contingents had reestablished a minute’s gap over the chase. Into the bell lap it was clear that the winner would come out of the group of fugitives. UnitedHealthcare used its numbers to launch Hall for the victory, with plenty of time for the American to celebrate.

Hall told Canadian Cycling Magazine, “I got to have a free ride on the back. I think the race is great and the support for women’s cycling is phenomenal. It has everything you need in a race, it’s got climbs, it’s got corners, it’s got flats and sprints. I think it encompasses everything in women’s cycling.”

Jackson’s May was a fine one with 13th at the Tour of California and fifth in the Winston Salem Cycling Classic.

2018 Grand Prix Cycliste de Gatineau
1) Lauren Hall (U.S.A./UnitedHealthcare)
2) Alison Jackson (Canada/Team TIBCO-SVB)
3) Sara Bergen (Canada/Rally)