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Rochette’s third Canadian cyclocross championship won in duel with Jackson

Sandra Walter earns fifth consecutive podium

Like Michael van den Ham earlier in the day, Maghalie Rochette earned a hat trick of Canadian cyclocross titles at Saturday’s national championships in Petersborough, ON. The race was contested in peanut butter-thick mud and drizzling rain. In the U23 women’s race Sydney McGill stopped Ruby West’s run at three out of the four last titles. Emily Johnston made history by taking the first Junior women’s maple leaf jersey.

Reigning champ Ruby West (Pivot Maxxis P/B Stans NoTubes) seized the hole shot of the U23 women’s race, with Sydney McGill (Pedalhead Race Room) her closest pursuer. After Lap 3’s muddy staircase, 2016 champion McGill surged ahead, her lead increasing after West’s mechanical on Heckler’s Hill. Bronze medalist Dana Gilligan was almost two minutes faster than the fourth place rider. McGill said she was surprised to take her second U23 championship.

Emily Johnston was fated to make Canadian cycling history on Saturday afternoon. Nicole Bradbury (NCCH Elite p/b MGCC) was the top Junior early in the contest before Johnston (Naked Factory Racing) took over for good to stand as the first ever Junior women’s champion. She was thrilled to have her own category this year, but wished for spikes in the mud. Bradbury was left to skirmish with Kelly Lawson (Hardwood Next Wave) for podium positions, and she secured the number two spot.

Rochette came tearing off the line in the elite women’s race but Jenn Jackson overcame her at the top of the first run-up. Sandra Walter was the only one close to the duo after the first lap.

By the start of Lap 3, with rain starting up again, Rochette had yanked back the lead. The two leaders kept throwing haymakers at each other, but Lap 4 saw Rochette beginning to pry open the gap.

Rochette’s lead was 20 seconds heading into the final lap, the mud now thinned with rain. Rochette threw her traditional devil’s horns as she took the cheers. Jackson said that she let it all hang out on the descents but that Rochette’s power and experience was too much on the day.

Rochette and Jackson had a ding dong battle.

The top-3 was a repeat of last year’s, with Sandra Walter earning her fifth consecutive podium.

The next two Canadian ‘cross championships are in Victoria, BC.

2019 Canadian Cyclocross Championships Junior Women

1) Emily Johnston (Naked Factory Racing)
2) Nicole Bradbury (NCCH Elite p/b MGCC)
3) Kelly Lawson (Hardwood Next Wave)

2019 Canadian Cyclocross Championships U23 Women
1) Sydney McGill (Pedalhead Race Room)
2) Ruby West (Pivot Maxxis P/B Stans NoTubes)
3) Dana Gilligan

2019 Canadian Cyclocross Championships Elite Women
1) Maghalie Rochette (Specialized-Feedback Sports) 49:31
2) Jenn Jackson (AWI Racing p/b The Crank and the Sprocket) +0:38
3) Sandra Walter (Liv Cycling Canada) +3:24