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Quebec, British Columbia take the day’s top honours at the finishing criterium of the Canada Summer Games

British Columbia's Gillian Ellsay took her second title of the week, while Pier-André Coté of Quebec took the title for the men.

Pier-André Coté , seen here in third at the 2017 Global Relay Canadian Road Championships, took Saturday’s criterium title for the men. Photo: Philippe Tremblay

At the concluding criterium events of the Canada Summer Games in Winnipeg, Manitoba on Saturday, August 12, British Columbia’s Gillian Ellsay took her second title of the week, while Pier-André Coté , representing a powerhouse Quebec squad, took the same honours for the men’s division.

Though relatively short, the criterium — the last competition of the Games — didn’t skimp on either action or excitement.

The women’s event was a 25-lap competition, with Ellsay, who won the time trial earlier in the week, attacking on the sixth lap to break off with a comfortable solo gap for the rest of the contest. Winning four of the race’s five sprints, she took the gold medal with 30 points, followed by Simone Boilard of Quebec with 22 points and Katherine Maine of Ontario, the bronze medal winner, with 13 points.

“This medal is probably more special than the first one,” said Ellsay, reflecting on Saturday’s competition, “since it involved the whole team. They were covering everything in the pack and it was an awesome race from them. It was our plan to attack as much as we could, since we knew Quebec and Ontario probably had a better chance in the sprints.”

“But I didn’t expect to get a gap that fast,” Ellsay added. “At nine laps to go I started to believe that I could win.”

Quebec, meanwhile, dominated the 35-lap men’s competition, the team’s athletes taking all seven of the day’s sprints and sweeping the podium. Road race winner Coté , with 38 points, won four of those sprints, while squadmates Marc-Antoine Soucy and Raphael Auclaire claimed silver and bronze with 27 points and 24 points.

“We were pretty confident for the sprints,” Coté recalled. “We had a good squad, with Adam Roberge and Nickolas Zukowsky covering attacks for us. They did an awesome job of keeping the peloton together. They were able to get us to the front for the U-turn, and after that we just had to launch our sprint at every single points sprint. We wanted to make 1-2-3, and we did.”

Noting the explosive action and jaw-dropping athleticism of the closing criterium events, Cycling Canada officials called the week’s competition at the Canada Summer Games a win all around.

“The Games have been amazing,” said Josh Peacock, competitions coordinator at Cycling Canada. “Winnipeg has been an incredible host city; everything from the venues to the staff, the volunteers and the festival. It has been awesome, not only for spectators, but for athletes, officials and staff. I think everyone had a really positive experience.”