Canada has got considerable talent on the women’s side of professional road cycling. With a mix of established names on European UCI teams to top riders competing on the North American circuit and other even younger talents only recently entering the pipeline, there are a lot of riders Canadian cycling fans should be keeping their eyes on. On international women’s day it’s the perfect plan to have a look at five riders to keep a close eye on in 2018.
With an Olympic bronze medal from the team pursuit in Rio, Kirsti Lay proved herself on the boards and promptly focused on the road where she took numerous high profile victories at BC Superweek and at North American stage races. Showing her power in sprints at the GP Gatineau and nationals, attacking style at BC Superweek and capabilities on climbs in stage races, Lay demonstrated her talent for road racing. Watch out for more similar results in 2018 as she competes with a stacked Rally Cycling team.
At 17-year-old, Simone Boilard showed her potential finishing eighth at the 2017 junior world championships in Bergen. Third, in the 2017 junior nationals road race after winning the junior individual time trial title in 2016 makes Boilard one of the top young women road racers in Canada. If she can keep progressing at her current pace expect more results in 2018.
After a year over in Europe with BePink-Cogeas, Alison Jackson is back on a North American team with Tibco-SVB. A big schedule last season will go a long way to strengthening the legs for a big 2018. In 2016, Jackson took two European wins at the Trophée d’Or Féminin and Tour Cycliste Féminin International de l’Ardèche but was unable to repeat that success despite some close calls in 2017. A strong sprinter after hard races, watch for Jackson to get back on the podium in stages of North American races with consistent frequency.
After catching the eye of Rally Cycling with a strong season in 2016, Sara Bergen had an excellent first professional season taking wins at BC Superweek and the Cascade Cycling Classic as well as the points classification at the Joe Martin Stage Race. A powerful rider on all sorts of terrain Bergen may be called on to support teammates but when opportunity calls she has shown the class to lead and produce results.
After taking a world championship title at the junior world track world championships in 2017, Coles-Lyster will compete on the road with SAS-Macogep this season moving to the elite level of racing in 2018. Look for her to use her track speed to finish fast in bunch gallops. At 2017 BC Superweek, a second place in the Poco Grand Prix and an impressive tenth place finish at the UCI Delta road race was a sign of things to come.