In one fell swoop Katherine Maine claimed the Canadian elite and U23 road race titles in Saguenay, Que on Saturday, two days after the Rally rider took bronze in the U23 time trial. Maine won from a two-rider breakaway that escaped in the final quarter of the race.

The course was 15-km long and rolling, with a climb from La Baie right after the gun. The elite and under-23 women had 8-laps to roll. Sixty-one competitors contested the race.

Maine was in the early breakaway. At the end of two laps the quartet held a 1:55 gap over the peloton. On the fourth lap Leah Kirchmann’s effort on the climb split the bunch.

The national chrono champ did the same at the beginning of Lap 5, creating a group that included Kristi Lay, U23 time trial champ Sara Poidevin, Sara Bergen, Karol-Ann Canuel, Maghalie Rochette and Alison Jackson. Up ahead, the fugitives had increased their lead to 3:00.

The breakaway–Veronique Bilodeau, Rebecca Beaumont, Ariane Bonhomme and Katherine Maine–on the climb.

The peloton began to make inroads on the break’s lead as the race headed into its final hour. With 3 laps to go the break was brought to heel, the peloton in two parts on the climb. The leading bunch was streamlined by the pace. Rally had the numbers.

Sara Poidevin pulls for Rally.

Poidevin, Kirchmann, Canuel, Lay, Jackson, Bergen and Gabrielle Pilote-Fortin shuffled away from the others. After Poidevin tried to dash away, Maine and Kinley Gibson tried their luck. By the start of the final climb Maine and Gibson had a 1:30 gap. Nine riders laboured to bridge over.

But the intrepid duo, with one Rally member and one from The Cyclery Racing, would fight it out at the finish, as they took a minute’s buffer into the last 3-km. Maine hauled back Kinley before the line and took the famous victory.

Regarding her teammate and 2017 champion Alison Beveridge, who missed the raced this year, an exuberant Maine told Canadian Cycling, “We were just going to leave it all out there and fight to defend Ally’s title and we wish she was here with us.”

“Kinley Gibson attacked and then I covered it. I guess there was a moment of hesitation and we were let go. Then we rode a lap. About 2-km to go I finally realized, ‘We might make it to the line.'”

Bergen, fourth last year, was the best out of the chasing group.

2018 Canadian Elite and U23 Women National Road Race Championship

1) Katherine Maine (Rally)
2) Kinley Gibson (The Cyclery Racing)
3) Sara Bergen (Rally)

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