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Nick Zukowsky is the new Canadian road champion

Q36.5 rider recently wore the KOM jersey at the Tour de Suisse

Nickolas Zukowsky Photo by: Grégoire Crevier

Nick Zukowsky recently wore the KOM jersey in the Tour de Suisse, and he’ll have to get used to wearing something other than his Q36.5 Pro Cycling kit over the next year, as he’s the new Canadian road champion, having already come second in Friday’s time trial. In Sunday’s final road race of the 2023 Canadian Road Championships in Edmonton, Zukowsky left his breakmate Philippe Jacob, who is the new U23 champion, in his dust on the final lap. Last year Zukowsky was sixth in the Elite Men’s category and Jacob was fifth in U23.

The Elite and U23 Men had 20 laps, or 216 km to race. It was quite a pack: 84 elite athletes and 64 U23s registered.

Early in the proceedings there was a crash that took several riders out of the race. The field reorganized and stayed intact for the first couple of circuits. Then an attack of a dozen flared away, Zukowsky in its ranks. Derek Gee powered the chase behind, and the bridge made a group of 20 going into Lap 5. Michael Leonard, Ben Perry and James Piccoli worked in the new closest chase group to swell the numbers out front.

On Lap 6, after Leonard et al made the junction, another break, this time a quartet, bust loose. Piccoli was in Group 2 and Gee was in Group 3. Piccoli and company found the front. By Lap 9 there was a 10-rider set 40 seconds ahead of the Gee group. Gee and reigning champ Pier-André Côté caught up.

The peloton was never too far in arrears, and it started to make inroads on Lap 15. The Groat Road climb elicited attacks on both Laps 15 and 16. Zukowsky bridged over to the second one, Tristan Jussaume and Francis Izquierdo-Bernier. Once more Gee led the capture, and immediately Zukowsky escaped again.

Zukowsky and U23 rider Philippe Jacob heard the bell 30 seconds ahead of the Piccoli-Gee-Côté chase. The vast majority of the riders who had signed on had climbed off their bikes by the last circuit. Zukowsky had those Tour de Suisse roads in his legs and he dropped the younger rider, winning by 18 seconds.

Impressively, Team Ecoflo Chronos swept the U23 podium.

Monday is the finale of crits in Edmonton.

Elite Men
Gold) Nick Zukowsky (Q36.5 Pro Cycling) 4:52:11
Silver) Pier-André Côté (Human Powered Health) +0:42
Bronze) James Piccoli (China Glory) s.t.

U23 Men
Gold) Philippe Jacob (Team Ecoflo Chronos) 4:52:25
Silver) Nicolas Rivard (Team Ecoflo Chronos) +0:24
Bronze) Jerome Gauthier (Team Ecoflo Chronos) s.t.