WHITE ROCK – Patience is a virtue when it comes to most things in life, and that wisdom held true for the winners of the 2014 Tour de White Rock road race Sunday.
For Canadian riders Megan Rathwell and Matteo Dal-cin, their patience and some late-in-the-race moves paid off with trips to the top of the podium.
“This was one of my main goals this year was to win this race. I don’t do a lot of races, I just race locally so I’m really happy to come here and win,” said Rathwell, who hails from Victoria, B.C. and rides for ATAC Sportswear.
As temperatures climbed to 35 degrees on course, both the men’s and women’s pelotons fractured into small groups, leaving lots of room for attacks.
In the women’s 80-kilometre race, Abbotsford’s Alison Jackson, riding for Glotman Simpson Cycling, went off the front in a solo breakaway with only a few laps left.
It appeared that Jackson, who won Friday’s hill climb and placed third in the criterium, was poised to ride to victory. With one lap to go the group of chasing riders, which included Rathwell, had closed the gap setting the stage for a five-rider sprint to the line.
“It was really hard, we had a bit of a gap to the top three riders and with Alison (Jackson) off the front I didn’t think it would come down to a sprint, I thought it was going to be all spread out. I couldn’t believe it,” said Rathwell.
“I had a good position and then I went right and came around everyone. I’m not really a sprinter but it kind of suits me, the uphill.”
The women’s sprint came down to a photo finish with the top four riders crossing the line within four-tenths of a second of each other. Coming in second was Vancouver’s Denise Ramsden riding for Optum Cycling p/b Kelly Benefits, and finishing third was Colombian rider Maria Luisa Calle, riding for Team Colombia.
Jackson finished fifth in the sprint but maintained her points lead to finish first overall in the omnium.
“I might have went a little early but sometimes in bike racing you just have to take chances and see what you’re worth,” she said.
The men’s race was a similar story as the heat and fast pace broke the peloton up with four riders in the lead and a pack of eight riders 53 seconds back with five laps left on the short course.
Dal-cin, who is from Ottawa riding for Silber Pro Cycling Team, had been riding aggressively all day, keeping the pressure on the four-man leading group.
With two laps to go, Dal-cin’s teammate Derrick St. John bridged the gap between the leaders and the chase group giving the Silber team the advantage.
“It was a pretty big relief … that Derrick was coming up because we had another card to play and on the next lap I made a move because I figured there would be some hesitation,” said Dal-cin.
Montreal’s Pierrick Garneau, riding for Quebecor won the sprint for second place, and Garret Mclead, of Team HR Block from Wolfville, Nova Scotia, came in third.
Germany’s Florenz Knauer, of Team Heizomat, won first overall in the omnium with a seventh-place finish in the road race.