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Leah Kirchmann and Bruce Bird win 2018 Steve Bauer Classic

Tough racing up the Niagara escarpment

Leah Kirchmann, Steve Bauer and Bruce Bird. Photo: Connor Gregory

The Jordan Engineering Steve Bauer Classic was raced on Saturday on Ontario’s Niagra peninsula. The popular race is the fifth round of the O Cup and is held out of Pelham. The course features laps of a circut that includes the challenging Effingham climb.

The women’s startlist was punctuated by Leah Kirchmann a resident of nearby Dundas, Ont. Home for a break following the spring classics, Kirchmann who rides for Team Sunweb was the overwhelming favourite. Deliviring on her position as pre-race favourite, Kirchmann won the elite women’s race ahead of Luce Bourbeau and Kaitlyn Rauwerda. The elite men’s race had a mix of strong local teams on the start line. The strongest rider on the day was Bruce Bird who took the victory ahead of teammate Gaelen Merritt and Martin Rupes. Bird is a two-time UCI Gran Fondo world champion.

In other results, Francis Juneau won the junior men’s race with Victoria Slater taking the junior women’s title.

Second place men’s finisher, Merritt advised racers to check for ticks following the race. In a Tweet he indicated he had found two.

The race comes about a month before the Canadian national road championships so was a good testing ground for experience and young riders alike who plan to travel to Saguenay to contest the Canadian titles. Elite women racers have the Grand Prix Gatineau on the horizon. The race takes place June 7th, the same day as Ontario goes to the polls for a provincial election.