In a note to Canadian Cycling Magazine three days before nationals, Kevin Field, the women’s performance director at Optum presented by Kelly Benefit Strategies, predicted that one of his riders would win both the time trial championship race, and the road race. “I say Leah Kirchmann wins both road and TT,” said Field. “I think Jasmin [Glaesser] can run Leah very close or even beat her in the TT. I am not sure I see anyone else being close to those two.”
As of Thursday, he was already half right.
Kirchmann won the race against the clock and was roughly two seconds faster than Glaesser. It’s another achievement in a remarkable season for the Winnipeg native. This spring, the 23-year-old won the prologue at the Tucson Bicycle Classic and finished third at the Old Pueblo Gran Prix. She won Stage 3 and Stage 4 at the Redlands Bicycle Classic, and was third in the general classification. In May, she finished fourth at the UCI 1.2 Omloop van Borsele in the Netherlands. At the recent North Star Grand Prix, she was the best young rider.
Kirchmann herself is pleased with the way things have progressed. “I’ve made huge gains this year and have earned some good results to show for it,” she said. “It has been fun to be considered a GC rider on the team this year, since my time trial has improved. Previously, my role was mostly as a sprinter.”
At Friday’s national championship road race, Kirchmann will have the support of her Optum teammates Denise Ramsden and Annie Ewart. While Field figures the race will be open and unpredictable, he’s confident that the trio will play significant roles. Sunday, Kirchmann will defend her 2013 national criterium title.
Following nationals, Kirchmann will continue to be busy. She will be heading west to compete in BC Superweek. In 2013, she has the Gastown Grand Prix, the White Spot Delta Road Race and the UBC Grand Prix during the week of West Coast racing. Then, it’s over to Europe to race La Course, the women’s Tour de France stage. She’ll represent Canada in the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland. She’ll compete in one event in which she’s already the national champion, the time trial. If Field is right, she’ll also be the national road race champion, too.