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Woods leads strong Canadian selection for 2018 Innsbruck World Championships

Vuelta stage winner leads men's squad while Karol-Ann Canuel and Sara Poidevin are dark horses on climber friendly course

12-09-2018 Vuelta A Espana; Tappa 17 Getxo - Balcon De Bizkaia; 2018, Ef Education First - Drapac Cannondale; Woods, Michael; Balcon De Bizkaia;
12-09-2018 Vuelta A Espana; Tappa 17 Getxo - Balcon De Bizkaia; 2018, Ef Education First - Drapac Cannondale; Woods, Michael; Balcon De Bizkaia;
Woods on his way to victory on Stage 17 of the 2018 Vuelta

Cycling Canada has announced their selection for the 2018 UCI Road Cycling World Championships in Innsbruck, Austria which run from Sept. 23 to 30. Canada will send 23 athletes to Innsbruck to compete in the individual time trials and road races in the junior, under-23 and elite categories for men and women.

“At road worlds a lot of attention shifts to our elite categories,” said Team Canada manager Kevin Field. “We enter both the men’s and women’s races with strong wildcard chances.”

Canada had six spots to fill on the elite women’s team and four in the elite men’s category. The road race course in Austria is the hilliest in years featuring tough ascents throughout the day. Canada’s selection for the races includes elite champions Katherine Maine and Antoine Duchesne. Established European professional like Leah Kirchmann, Karol-Ann Canuel and Hugo Houle have also made the selection. Alison Jackson also makes the selection for the women’s team. Rally Cycling is represented in both the men’s and women’s elite selections with Rob Britton, Sara Bergen, Sara Poidevin and Maine being selected from the ranks of the American professional squad.

Poidevin leads Canuel on the nationals course in Saguenay.

The undisputed leader of the men’s team however, is Michael Woods who won Wednesday’s Stage 17 of the Vuelta a Espana. After second on a stage of the Giro and second at Liege-Bastogne-Liege this year, Woods will like the climb-heavy course. His win at the Vuelta will bolster his confidence having gone winless since turning professional at the WorldTour level with EF Education First-Drapac three seasons ago.

“Sara Poidevin has demonstrated she’s got the potential to be one of the best climbers in the world of women’s cycling—she’ll come in under-rated and I like that. Leah [Kirchmann] and Karol-Ann [Canuel] have consistently demonstrated top performances in the Women’s WorldTour and Alison Jackson has had a breakthrough season,” Field said. “I’m really excited to see what our women can do. We have a strong, motivated and committed team that will once again be led by sport director Zach Bell.”

The men’s race will tackle a challenging finishing climb before a descent to the finish line that isn’t included in any of the other races. The Gramartboden is only 2.6-km long but averages 10.5 per cent. It’s very well suited to Woods’ characteristics which were on display when he won the the final climb of Stage 17 of the Vuelta that pitched up to above 20 per cent.

“On the men’s side, Mike Woods has proven the ability to be among the best in tough one-day races like Liege and climbing stages in both the Giro and Vuelta. Mike will get strong support from his teammates; everyone is pretty excited about our chances and committed to riding as a galvanized team,” Field continued.

Nicolas Zukowsky and Adam Roberge at the 2018 GP Montreal.

The U23 men’s team has three Silber Pro Cycling riders in their ranks and 2018 national champion Edward Walsh. Charles-Etienne Chretien and U23 ITT champion Adam Roberge rode in the breakaway at the recent Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal. Elite crit champion Nickolas Zukowsky rounds out the squad.

Junior national road and ITT champion Ben Katerberg leads the men’s team while the quick finishing Simon Boilard who is junior ITT champion, the talented Kaitlyn Rauwerda and national road champ Magdeleine Vallieres-Mill round out the women’s junior selection.

The world championships begin on Monday, Sept. 24th with the junior women’s and men’s time trials, and conclude on Sunday, Sept. 30th, with the much anticipated elite men’s road race.

Elite Women

  • Sara Bergen – Coquitlam, B.C. [RR]
  • Karol-Ann Canuel – Gatineau, Que. [TT, RR]
  • Alison Jackson – Vermilion, Alta. [RR]
  • Leah Kirchmann – Winnipeg [TT, RR]
  • Katherine Maine – Ottawa [RR]
  • Sara Poidevin – Canmore, Alta. [RR]

Elite Men

  • Rob Britton – Regina [TT, RR]
  • Antoine Duchesne – Saguenay, Que. [RR]
  • Hugo Houle – Sainte-Perpetue, Que. [TT, RR]
  • Mike Woods – Ottawa [RR]

Under-23 Men

  • Charles-Etienne Chretien – Amos, Que. [RR]
  • Adam Roberge – Montreal, Que. [TT, RR]
  • Ed Walsh – Halifax, N.S. [RR]
  • Nickolas Zukowsky – Ste Agathe, Que. [TT, RR]

Junior Women

  • Simone Boilard – Quebec City [TT, RR]
  • Elizabeth Gin – Surrey, B.C. [RR]
  • Kaitlyn Rauwerda – Hamilton, Ont. [RR]
  • Magdeleine Vallieres-Mill – Sherbrooke, Que. [TT, RR]

Junior Men

  • Ben Katerberg – Courtenay, BC [TT, RR]
  • Connor Martin – Kelowna, BC [TT, RR]
  • Carson Miles – Ottawa, Ontario [RR]
  • Robin Plamondon – Montreal, Quebec [RR]
  • Thomas Schellenberg – Chilliwack, BC [RR]