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Cycling Canada announces junior, under-23 men and elite women squads for road world championships

Canada's 2017 ranks represent national progress made through the Maple Leaf Project, organizers say

2015 champion Leah Kirchmann had no teammates so was left exposed. She tried contributing to the chase by it was just disrupted by the teams represented up the road. Photo: Philippe Tremblay
Leah Kirchmann will be among the Canadian athletes rolling out as part of Canada’s elite ranks. Photo: Philippe Tremblay

Canada will be represented by a top-tier squad of athletes at the 2017 UCI road cycling World Championships, Cycling Canada has announced. Happening from Sept. 16 to 27 in Bergen, Norway, the event is the culmination of the road season, with the coveted rainbow jersey on the line for winning titlists—an honour they’ll wear for the following 12 months.

While Canada’s roster of elite men will be confirmed once the WorldTour competitions in Quebec City and Montreal are finished, happening Sept. 8 and 10, the country’s elite women, under-23 men and junior men and women have been announced.

According to officials with Cycling Canada, this year’s road world championships mark a turning point for the development of professional cycling in Canada. “The 2017 road worlds mark a special time for Cycling Canada,” said Jacques Landry, the organization’s chief technical officer and head coach. “It highlights the culmination of the first year that Cycling Canada has truly invested in our road athletes through the Maple Lead Project. Under the leadership of road manager Kevin Field, a team has been selected from among our best road athletes, as well as some track endurance riders.”

“They are equipped to battle both the gruelling time trial and road courses designed by the Bergen organizing committee,” Landry added, “in addition to the challenging weather condition that only this part of the world can offer.”

Canada’s Junior ranks will include Maggie Coles-Lyster of Maple Ridge, B.C., recently honoured as a world track champion, as well as national road titlist Charles-Etienne Chretien of Amos, Que. With four men and four women on the junior squad, all riders will participate in the road race. Two from each team, meanwhile, are entered in the time trial events.

For the under-23 men’s squad, riders representing Canada in Bergen will include Pier-Andre Cote of St-Henri de Levis, Que., the recent champion at the Canada Summer Games. Alec Cowan of Calgary, the 12th-place finisher at last year’s world championship time trials, will also start at the road race, with Cowan and Jack Burke of Squamish, B.C. also participating in the time trial.

The elite women’s ranks, meanwhile, are a who’s-who of some of Canada’s top athletes.

Among the elite women’s squad will include Rio Olympian Karol-Ann Canuel of Gatineau, Que., Leah Kirchmann of Winnipeg, and Kirsti Lay of Montreal, who has placed a strong emphasis on road racing this season after a track bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Canuel and Kirchmann will also compete in the time trial.

“It’s always a thrill to bring our team to the world championships,” Field said. “We’re seeing really interesting progressions in our performances at road worlds and I’m excited for our outcomes in Norway. I’m especially thrilled with the work happening across the cycling community in Canada at the regional, provincial and national level, through the work we’re doing with the Maple Leaf Project.”

“We’re seeing our system-work pay off, notably in our u-23 category, where we’ve established consistency with our ability to qualify for the world championships, and are developing athletes sooner,” Field noted.

Team Canada

2017 UCI Road World Championships (Bergen, Norway)

Junior Women

Erin Attwell – Victoria [Trek-Red Truck]
Simone Boilard – Quebec City [Desjardins-Ford]
Maggie Coles-Lyster – Maple Ridge, B.C. [TAG]
Laurie Jussaume – Contrecour, Que. [VC Contrecour]
TT: Attwell, Jussaume
Reserves: Ann-Pascale Ouellet, Dana Gilligan

Junior Men

Charles-Etienne Chretien – Amos, Que. [IAM Gold]
Michael Foley – Milton, Ont. [La Bicicletta]
Kurt Penno – Brandon, Man. [Trek-Red Truck]
Graydon Staples – Orillia, Ont. [Toronto Hustle]
TT: Chretien, Staples
Reserves: Guillaume Davidson, Noah Simms

U23 Men
Jack Burke – Squamish, B.C. [Aevolo]
Pier-Andre Cote – St-Henri de Levis, Que. [Silber]
Alec Cowan – Calgary [Silber]
Marc-Antoine Soucy – Amos, Que. [Silber/Garneau-Quebecor]
Nickolas Zukowsky – Ste Agathe, Que. [Silber]
TT: Cowan, Burke
Reserve: Adam Roberge, Will Elliot, Adam Jamieson

Elite Women
Lex Albrecht – Montreal [Tibco-SVB]
Sara Bergen – Coquitlam, B.C. [Rally]
Karol-Ann Canuel – Gatineau, Que. [Boels-Dolemans]
Alison Jackson – Vermilion, Alta. [Bepink]
Leah Kirchmann – Winnipeg [Team Sunweb]
Kirsti Lay – Montreal [Rally]
TT: Canuel, Kirchmann
Reserve: Sara Poidevin [Rally], Joëlle Numainville [Cyclance]