by Dan Dakin
With two women in the Top 15, it was a successful day for the Canadians at the 2015 UCI road world cycling championships Saturday.
After overcoming a mid-race tactical error, Canada ended the day with Joelle Numainville in 11th and Karol-Ann Canuel in 13th, both near the front of the second group across the line of the 129.8km elite women’s race.
British rider Elizabeth Armistead took the gold medal, beating out Dutch rider Anna van der Breggen and American Megan Gaurnier, who rounded out the podium.
“It was a super hard race, but I did what I had to do,” said Numainville, the reigning Canadian road racing champion.
The Richmond 2015 route is a technical 16km and, as expected, the three relatively short but tough climbs in the final four kilometres helped shape the race.
Two of the climbs – Libby Hill and 23rd Ave. – are cobblestone, and with a bit of rain falling throughout the race, Numainville said she tried to stay out of trouble.
“I positioned myself well before each climb. At the end, I think I missed a little bit of gas to make the front group, but I was definitely there,” she said.
As mentioned, for part of the race, it looked as though Canada may have missed out on the day’s big move.
Most countries with big teams in the race had at least one rider in the nine-woman break, which opened up a gap of more than a minute at one point.
It looked like it might be the winning group, but a hard effort by the chasing group, including Numainville and Canuel, managed to pull the leaders back in.
“I think we gambled a little bit when the break went. We weren’t there,” Numainville said. “We missed it. I talked to Karol Ann after and this time we gambled right … it could have been a disaster for the Canadian team. It wasn’t intentional. We have to learn from that for the next couple of races with the national team.”
Behind Numainville and Canuel, Leah Kirchmann finished 32nd, Alison Jackson was 36th and Denise Ramsden was a DNF.
Austria’s Felix Gall beat out beat out France’s Clement Betouigt-Suire in a sprint to the line to win the 129.8km junior men’s race Saturday morning in Richmond. Rasmus Pederson of Denmark took the bronze.
Derek Gee was the top-finishing Canadian in 45th. Willem Boersma was 73rd, Joel Taylor 104th and Adam Roberge was a DNF.
Sunday – Elite Men
The final race of the 2015 UCI Road World Championships starts at 9 a.m. Sunday with the Elite Men racing for 261.4km. The group will start at the University of Richmond and ride for 18km before joining the 16km circuit, where they’ll do 15 laps.
Canada has the following six riders in the field:
139 Ryan Anderson
140 Guillaume Boivin
141 Antoine Duchesne
142 Hugo Houle
143 Ryan Roth
144 Michael Woods