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Ten big moments in Canadian cycling 2016

Highlights from the road, dirt and boards

On Saturday, Canadian Cycling Magazine posted its Top Stories in Cycling From 2016. Today we focus on the greatest moments of the year in Canadian cycling, in no particular order.

Canadian men’s team pursuit squad takes gold at Apeldoorn, the Netherlands’ round of the 2016-2017 UCI track cycling World Cup in November. A week after taking its first ever World Cup medal in Glasgow, the Canadian foursome set the fastest qualifying time before pasting the French and then pulling back the Belgians in the gold medal match. The Canadians will wear the white World Cup leader’s jerseys in Cali, Colombia when the World Cup resumes in February.

Canadian Michael Woods has a fine start to his Cannondale career. At the Tour Down Under in January, Woods, representing Cannondale for the first time, tussles with riders like Rohan Dennis, Sergio Henao, Richie Porte and Simon Gerrans to place 5th on GC. His most triumphant moment of the season until coming runner-up to Angel Lopez in Milano-Torino is on Stage 5 when he places third on Willunga Hill. The cycling world sits up and takes notice.

In March, Antoine Duchesne of Direct Energie, wins the Paris-Nice climber’s jersey. Tony the Tiger starts his bid for the dots by getting in the Stage 5 breakaway to Salon-de-Provence, which has five categorized climbs where he grabs 24 points. He adds 32 points the next day when Geraint Thomas seizes the race lead. Finally, Duchesne cements his lead with 24 points on Stage 8 into Nice.

Leah Kirchmann finishes second overall in the inaugural UCI Women’s WorldTour. Wearing the pink jersey at the Giro Rosa after winning the prologue proved to be a memorable season highlight to the Liv-Plantur rider on her way to coming runner-up to American Megan Guarnier (Boels-Dolmans). Her best one-day race result was third in Prudential Ride London Grand Prix.

Catharine Pendrel wins mountain bike bronze at the Rio Olympic Games. Pendrel fights her way through the pack after getting caught behind a crash soon after the gun. By lap five of six Pendrel was in the bronze position and near the end of the race her closest competitor was compatriot Emily Batty, who finished only two-seconds behind.

Batty had a pretty fine year, with fourth in the Olympic Games, third to Pendrel’s first in the overall World Cup standings, gold in the Canadian national championships and, perhaps most importantly, bronze in the World Championships. Batty came third behind Dane Annika Langvad in Nové Město na Moravě, Czech Republic six weeks before her Olympic fourth.

Canada dominates the Junior men’s downhill race at the Nové Město na Moravě Worlds
. Finnley Iles earned the rainbow jersey and Magnus Manson won silver. Coming the month after 2013 UCI World Cup champ Steve Smith’s untimely death, the medals were particularly poignant.

Canadian women’s team pursuit outfit takes bronze in the Rio Olympic Games, beating New Zealand on the boards in the bronze contest to match the team’s accomplishment at London 2012. In 2016 the vaunted team pursuit crew also took silver in the London World Championships and the World Cup after winning two of the three events.

Canadians were present in the final sprints in both the men’s and women’s elite races at the Doha 2016 UCI road world championships. The Dutch had the numbers at the end of the women’s contest, but Dane Amalie Dideriksen outfoxed them for the win. With 3.5-km to the line Canada moved up four members–Joëlle Numainville, Kirchmann, Alison Jackson and Karol-Ann Canuel. Team Canada was able to set Numainville up for her best-ever world’s finish: ninth. In the men’s race, Ryan Roth was part of a quartet of day-long breakaway that survived to join a 22-man move that had escaped in the wind. Peter Sagan edged out Mark Cavendish and Tom Boonen for his second consecutive rainbow jersey, and Roth was 15th.

Ryder Hesjedal bows out. Having reached the pinnacle of Canadian road cycling achievement in winning the 2012 Giro d’Italia, Hesjedal continued to have fine performances in Grand Tours, with two more top-10’s at the Giro and a second Vuelta a España stage win in 2014. His 2016 season at Trek-Segafredo was a rough one, and he called time on his career after 15-years as a pro roadie.