The men’s and women’s road races at the Tour de White Rock Sunday could not have been more different Sunday, with the former being decided on the final lap, and the latter decided much, much earlier.
The 134-km men’s race was won by 32-year-old New Westminster native Tim Abercrombie – an amateur racer in a Tour field with less pro riders than previous years – pulled away from the six-rider lead pack to take the title in three hours, 34 minutes and 52 seconds.
“I’m just an amateur, so this is pretty great,” said Abercrombie, an environmental consultant who rides for Garneau Evolution.
Along with teammates Curtis Deardon and Jason Thompson, Abercrombie got into a nine-cyclist breakaway group early in the race – which grew to 10 when H&R Block’s Sebastian Salas joined the fray – which allowed Abercrombie to stay with the lead group without taxing himself.
“We had three guys in the break, the best numbers of any team, and Curtis just worked his tail off in that breakaway, he really sacrificed himself, and Jason was really keeping the pace high up the hills,” Abercrombie said.
Oregon’s Kennett Petersen finished second, winning a sprint down Marine Drive to edge Trek Red Truck Racing’s David Vukets, who took the bronze-medal position.
Peterson’s second-place showing came just five weeks after he broke his collarbone in a race. In fact, he was so concerned about breaking it again, he skipped Saturday’s criterium, which was won by Justin Kerr.
“I was depressed for a week or so (after the injury) so I’ve really been thinking about this race for the last month, thinking about coming up here, so I’m super happy to take second,” Peterson said.
The men’s field had fewer pro riders than usual, as Tour de White Rock regulars Ryan Anderson, Christian Meier, Svein Tuft – all members of SpiderTech – and others were absent due to pro commitments in Europe or the United States. Will Routley, a former Tour de White Rock road race champion, was the lone SpiderTech rider in the field, finishing 16th.
Routley did win Friday night’s hill climb, however.
The women’s field was also significantly smaller than usual, with just 22 riders at the start line and just 13 finishing the race.
Abercrombie, who has competed at the Tour de White Rock “six or seven times”, said the dearth of pro riders did little to diminish his win. Instead, he was just happy to have his name on the Alexa Stieda Memorial Trophy as road-race winner, joining previous champs, and racing greats, such as Brian Walton, Chris Horner and Tuft.
“If you look back… there’s some pretty impressive names,” Abercrombie said, still beaming 10 minutes after the end of the race. “I’m really proud to be on that list.”
Meanwhile, in the women’s race, Coquitlam’s Jasmin Glaesser, 19, pulled away from the 22-rider field on the fourth of eight laps, and cruised to one of the biggest Tour de White Rock victories in recent memory, winning by nearly six minutes.
In fact, Glaesser, who crossed the finish line in 2:27:11, was so far ahead of the pack that she had time to cross the finish line, cool down, and head up on the stage near the start/finish line to chat with race announcer Damian O’Hagan before the second-place rider, her Local Ride Racing teammate Laura Brown, crossed the finish line.
“I didn’t know the gap was that big until the last lap,” Glaesser said. “I wish I’d have known… I could’ve saved some energy.”
Brown’s second-place finish was enough for her to capture the overall omnium title. Brown was second in the criterium Saturday and first in the hill climb.
Megan Rathwell finished third.
One of the podium contenders heading into Sunday’s road race, Trek Red Truck’s Karlee Gendron – who won Saturday’s criterium and won both criteriums and the omnium title at the Tour de Delta – had bad luck early, and had to drop out of the race early with a mechanical problem; her bike’s shifter broke.
“I was coming up the hill and I went to shift down a couple gears and everything jammed up. I went to shift again, and it was broken,” she said.
“It is very disappointing, but my whole team Trek Red Truck and I raced very well the whole week, so I can’t be too disappointed with great results,” she said.