Canadians Sweep the Podium in the Women’s Race
White Rock, BC – On a scorching hot summer Sunday in White Rock, Brendan Rhim made it look easy in winning the Tour de White Rock presented by Landmark Premiere Properties Westminster Savings Road Race to wrap up the BC Superweek cycling series. Make no mistake, it wasn’t easy, but the 22-year-old broke away with about 50 kilometres remaining in the 130 kilometre race to cross the finish line alone in three hours, 28 minutes and 35 seconds.
“This is a pretty hard course, I’ve never done it before, so I was a little unsure I could stay away. Especially the short laps on the finishing circuit, I knew they were going to be hard with the short little hill. I measured my effort, everybody in the group looked pretty tired when I went up the road, soI was just calculating and it was good,” said the Norwich, Vermont native riding for the Holowesko | Citadel Cycling Team.
The plan for the day for the Holowesko team was to set up Rhim to go away. “We knew this day would be our best shot at getting a win, so Joe Lewis was in the group, I think we had Morgan Schmitt and some of the other guys making the race hard. Once it was down to about 20 guys, we knew it was just taking down one or two individuals and getting separation.”
Second place went to German rider Christopher Hatz, who made an impression on the BC Superweek field after breaking away early during Wednesday’s Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix and staying away for a big part of the race. On Sunday, he couldn’t catch Rhim, but put some distance between himself and the chase group.
“For the first three or four laps I thought, ‘Whoa, this is going to be a hot day today’ and I saw my teammate Florenz Knauer was doing quite well so I thought I was going to help him, but my legs kept getting better even though I counted all the laps. It was so hard and the hill on that big lap is so steep, it was a bit too steep for me, but I managed to get to the final six laps and I was dying.”
Knauer, who’s earned the nickname of “Mr. Tour de White Rock” due to his past successes at the event, came third for his seventh podium appearance of BC Superweek this year.
The 29-year-old, riding for Hermann Radteam, and Hatz tried to catch Rhim, but the gap was too big to close. “I had an easy time, Chris did all the work up the road, I just had to sit on. All I had to do was make sure no one bridged alone up there and keep the guys under control. If we caught him, I thought I would be fresh enough to still go for the sprint.”
Knauer won the Tour de White Rock omnium from 2012 to 14 and used his previous race experience in White Rock to gauge whether Rhim would stay on the break or not. “From my experience the last seven times I’ve done this course, I was pretty sure he could do it. Usually in a group there, it’s not always pulling through and some guys are sitting on, making it a bad rhythm – fast, slow – and that gave him an advantage. He was able to just go at a steady pace and keep it going to stay away.”
She may be from Vermillion, Alberta, but based on her success over the years, Alison Jackson may as well call the Tour de White Rock presented by Landmark Premiere Properties Westminster Savings Road Race a hometown race. The 29-year-old riding for TIBCO – Silicon Valley Bank attacked with about 400 metres to go in the grueling 80 kilometre circuit and sprinted to take the win.
It’s the fourth time in the last five years she’s finished top-5 at the race, but the first time she’s won it. “My fitness is usually really good, and so when we get to the end it’s really hard. I’m willing to suffer in the heat and the climbs,” said the 2015 Canadian National Criterium Champion. “A lot of times people think, ‘Oh, she’s a sprinter and that’s about it’ but you can’t drop me on these climbs. I love a really hard race and White Rock has always been that for me.”
When Jackson decided to go for the sprint with just under half a kilometre to go, it was according to plan. “I was a little bit further back in the pack than I wanted to be, so coming from about fifth wheel – and the road is pretty narrow at that point – when it opened up I knew I had to go. I would rather take it full from far out than just miss it by going too late.”
In second was Rally Cycling’s Gillian Ellsay of Courtenay, BC, just ahead of Victoria, BC’s Megan Rathwell riding for the Rise Racing team out of Toronto. Rathwell is a part-time rider who actually won this race back in 2014.
“I kind of saw Alison going up the left, it was kind of chaotic, so I just followed her and figured it was a good wheel,” laughed Rathwell, who’s a full-time civil engineer. “And it worked out!”
Jackson’s win caps off a memorable week for her TIBCO – Silicon Valley Bank team, which finished with a rider atop the podium seven times over nine races at BC Superweek. For the Tour de White Rock, it was down to Jackson and Nicolle Bruderer.
“We had to play it smart because we only had two people and it’s a hard race, lots of climbing and the heat too. Then when you get to the end of BC Superweek, everyone’s legs are just that tired so it’s tough to know who’s going to take it hard in the last race,” she said. “I just really trusted in my legs for making it over the climb and then I knew I’d do well in the sprint, so I was just waiting for that.”
Despite being a former national champion and racing for an American team, Jackson is quick to remember the role that the Tour de White Rock and BC Superweek played in her development and is happy to pay it forward by pushing the young riders in the field.
“I think it’s such a good series of races for locals to get a chance to race with the pros and I’m particularly really excited about someone like Elizabeth Gin, a junior rider hanging in there and making it today with the second group, that’s a great ride for a young girl. You can only have that experience when you have a great race series like this, so I think it’s really good for local racing and developing Canadian athletes.” BC Superweek is Canada’s biggest professional road cycling series and features more than $140,000 in prize money with nine races over ten days. BC Superweek runs from July 6 – 15 and is made up of the Tour de Delta presented by Beedie (July 6 – 8), New West Grand Prix (July 10), Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix (July 11), Giro di Burnaby presented by Appia Developments (July 12), PoCo Grand Prix presented by Dominion Lending Centres (July 13), and Tour de White Rock presented by Landmark Premiere Properties (July 14 – 15).
2015 Canadian National Criterium Champion Alison Jackson Wins Women’s Race
White Rock, BC – The race was anything but normal at the Choices Markets Criterium on Saturday to kick off the Tour de White Rock presented by Landmark Premiere Properties. With more than half of the 60-lap, 60 kilometre race remaining, Hermann Radteam rider Christopher Hatz, who cleaned up a ton of primes at Wednesday’s Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix, jumped ahead of the peloton in a solo break. It caused a reaction from Rally Cycling’s Eric Young and Silber Pro Cycling veteran Ryan Roth.
Both Young and Roth saw Hatz go up the road and countered. The three stayed away from the pack until the 27th lap when they lapped the field. Hatz had some intel from his teammate Florenz Knauer on which riders were a threat coming into BC Superweek, knowing that Rally and Silber would be two of the biggest.
“Florenz already told me who I should watch. First, I made it alone, but then Eric and Ryan joined me. It worked quite well, we had a good group and I didn’t expect that we’d lap the field so fast,” said Hatz.
With three laps to go, the race announcers signaled for the field to sprint for all positions after third place, leaving Hatz, Roth and Young to battle for the top three spots on the podium. It didn’t go according to plan as a crash in the peloton on the back side of the course on the final lap caused Hatz to go down, Young to leave the course to avoid it, and Roth to sail through the gap and take the win.
“I was just marking Eric and Chris, knowing that we would separate ourselves anyway and then the crash happened, I was just behind it and happened to weave through, so it was just luck,” said Roth, who was 2012 Canadian National Road Race Champion.
Despite things being a bit chaotic on the final four laps, the second-place finish continues an impressive stretch for Young, as he has now been on the podium for seven of the eight races thus far at BC Superweek, including four wins. He used the knowledge of what Hatz did in Gastown to counter the breakaway early on.
“I didn’t really want Hatz up there without one of our guys, so I just got on it. It turned into a good move with Ryan up there too, then we all contributed, drilled it hard, and about halfway through the race caught the back. I was excited, it’s a fun way to race, you only get to lap the field with just two other guys occasionally. I was looking forward to the finish, but it didn’t really pan out.”
Roth, who won the Tour de White Rock Road Race in 2016 and came fifth last year, and his Silber team has had a bit of a roller coaster at BC Superweek this year. “We had two of our best guys crash on the first weekend and they didn’t race until today, so luck goes both ways. Tomorrow is a super hard race and I’m looking forward to it.”
TIBCO – Silicon Valley Bank only had two riders in the field at Saturday’s Tour de White Rock presented by Landmark Premiere Properties Choices Markets Criterium, but it was one of their riders atop the podium for the sixth time at BC Superweek as Vermillion, Alberta’s Alison Jackson sprinted to get the win. Jackson did a ton of work for teammate Kendall Ryan at BC Superweek, but with Ryan back home preparing to head to race in Europe, it was Jackson’s chance to take the win for her team.
“We had to be really smart and read the race. My teammate Nicky Bruderer just rode her legs out for me and I just waited… had to bridge a few dangerous things, and then she just lit it up hard on the last climb when it was together, and I sprinted like ‘The Kendall’!” laughed Jackson, referring to Ryan’s dominance throughout this year’s BC Superweek series, including five wins.
Jackson has traditionally done extremely well at the Tour de White Rock since she first rode it in 2014. That year she won the hill climb, and with Saturday’s victory, now has eight top-five finishes at the event that wraps up BC Superweek. She’s also won the Tour de White Rock omnium three times and is in good shape to take it a fourth time this year.
“White Rock was my first win ever, it got me my first pro contract, and my career really snowballed from there. Races like this where you put the pro women with the local girls are a great opportunity,” said Jackson, who was the 2015 Canadian National Criterium Champion. “I think it’s so cool that there were a couple of juniors that are local here riding, they’ll learn from this opportunity and soak it in. It’s really cool for me to be leading in the Tour de White Rock and we’re looking for a good, hard, hot day in the road race tomorrow.”
Ariane Bonhomme, a 23-year-old from Gatineau, Quebec riding for Cyclery Racing, came second. Much like Jackson, Bonhomme has raced the Tour de White Rock for several years and learned a lot from the rest of the riders in the field. “I think we always come here to compete against the big pro teams in North America, so getting on the podium is really exciting, that’s what we were looking for all week,” said Bonhomme, who was the 2017 under-23 Canadian national road and time trial champion.
“This is our second podium (at BC Superweek) and we’re happy about that. It was a hard race and that always gives me an advantage a little bit, so I was really going for it. The team was really supporting me and I’m really happy with their teamwork and it worked out.”
Maple Ridge, BC’s Maggie Coles-Lyster is ending BC Superweek with a bang as the 19-year-old finds herself on the podium for the third straight race. She was also third in Friday’s PoCo Grand Prix presented by Dominion Lending Centres, and second at Thursday’s Giro di Burnaby presented by Appia Developments.
“So far this BC Superweek has been my best, I’ve had two podiums so tonight I was hoping for that win, but my goal was to just come out and race aggressively, follow moves, and see where I could end up.”
BC Superweek concludes on Sunday with the Tour de White Rock presented Landmark Premiere Properties Westminster Savings Road Race. The pro women race at 10 am while the pro men take the start line at 10:05 pm. For more information, visit http://www.tourdewhiterock.ca BC Superweek is Canada’s biggest professional road cycling series and features more than $140,000 in prize money with nine races over ten days. BC Superweek runs from July 6 – 15 and is made up of the Tour de Delta presented by Beedie (July 6 – 8), New West Grand Prix (July 10), Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix (July 11), Giro di Burnaby presented by Appia Developments (July 12), PoCo Grand Prix presented by Dominion Lending Centres (July 13), and Tour de White Rock presented by Landmark Premiere Properties (July 14 – 15).
Food and White Rock Beach are pretty much synonymous but the races start early, so finding a good patio to eat and cheer on can be tricky. Here are some of the faves.
The Boathouse is a Tour de White Rock Brunch Ambassador and hosts the VIP brunch, so the rooftop patio is invitation only but the main restaurant opens at 10 and has good views through the windows facing the beach.
With an epic menu and a well placed patio, Jan’s on the Beach is a formidable Brunch Ambassador: an excellent choice for brunch and bikes. Opens at 9:00 but get there early or find all the good spots taken. Not that there are really any bad spots.
Oceanside Yacht Club has lots of screens, so one can expect football to be ruling the morning but the patio is oriented towards the beach so the views of the riders will be superb. This Brunch Ambassador opens at 11, so both Men’s and Women’s races will be in full swing.
Charlie Don’t Surf, yet another Brunch Ambassador, doesn’t open until 11 either but has a large and accessible patio, so it can be worth the wait. It fills up quickly once it’s open, so don’t stand around.
Uli’s Restaurant is always popular, and with good reason. It’s a Brunch Ambassador and there are rumours they’ll have the World Cup Final on the big screen, too. Opens at 10. Unfortunately they won’t be opening earlier to accommodate footie aficionados.
If you’ll be setting up on East Beach, or you start your day early, Poultry in Motion is your best bet. Opening at 7:30, you can be fed, watered and ready to go before the racing even begins.
And it can never be mentioned too often – while the Westminster Savings Road Race is considered an ‘open’ course, which means that there might be cars on certain portions of it, vehicular traffic will be seriously limited during the race. Walk, bike or use public transit if you can and if you must drive, please pay close attention to the instructions of the flag persons and traffic marshalls. There will be a lot of racers on the road and they’l moving very, very quickly.