Race Report: Grand Prix Cycliste Gatineau

Posted by John

The nation’s capital was treated to some world-class bike racing over the May long weekend, with the second annual Grand Prix Cycliste Gatineau taking place over on the Quebec side of the river.

The highlights of the weekend had to be the UCI Pro women’s individual time trial on Thursday, won by Canada’s own six-time Olympic gold medalist Clara  Hughes; and the UCI Pro women’s road race Saturday, won by reigning world champion Georgina Bronzini, who managed to out-sprint the reigning Canadian road champion, Joelle Numainville (click links for pictures and video).

The latter wasn’t without a bit of controversy – Numainville appealed to the race jury at the finish after finding herself boxed in by the Italian in the final meters.  I’m no expert… and maybe a bit of a homer, but the picture I snapped below seems to support Numainville’s case.

The Rainbow Jersey squeezes out the Maple Leaf in the final sprint

For his part, Evan was blown away by the fact that Clara Hughes – the girl who has won medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympics – was there.  And when he got a chance to get a picture with her… it was just too much to handle (shyness got the better of him).

Nevertheless, Evan was inspired enough that he spent the rest of the weekend racing his mom and dad around on his bike – he was Clara, I was Ryder Hesjedal, and Naomi was Chris Horner (go figure).

At this moment, Evan is gripping my leg saying "actually, I don't want to have my picture taken"

The Fiera Race Team wasn’t left out the weekend’s racing, and was represented in Sunday’s “Grand Fondo sportif” by myself & Alvin.  The event featured two tough laps through Gatineau Park that totaled about 104 km (a little longer than advertised due to a revamped parcours to avoid some construction) and about 1,700 meters of climbing.

Alvin impressed in his first cycling race, showing gritty determination while learning the hard lessons that riding alone for most of a long race teaches us.  For my part, I came unhinged from the group I rode with on the second climb up King Mountain.  I managed to limit the damage however, mustering a dangerous sprint at the line to hold my position in the field (dangerous because I almost crashed when I stood up on the pedals, my legs folding underneath me).  The bigger victory for me, in terms of personal pride at least, was beating the dude on the carbon fiber race machine which I am sure is worth more than my house who sneered at my cross dressing ‘cross bike and remarked “that bike isn’t really for racing you know.”  Duh, its just for whoopin’ your ass jerk.

Full results here (which, I should note, do not include DNFs which were numerous – I would say close to a quarter of the field opted not to take a second lap).

The final highlight of the weekend followed, when Alvin and I enjoyed a free cold beer at the finish.


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