106km Road Race
The second event of the World Deaf Cycling Championships was held on the same testing Mont Tremblant Circuit as the ITT event. It was 25 laps instead of the nine that was completed for the tough time-trial and what made things more trickier was the sudden change of weather – it was now raining and cold, stark contrast to the brilliant sunny weather we had been having. Since the circuit was quite technical and has slick from the race cars that normally race there, it was going to be a challenge to keep the bikes up-right.
I was rearing to go on my Magnus Velocite equipped with the super fast Noir carbon wheels and in the first lap, I went with Reece van Beek-Emerson from Australia to open up a reasonable gap on the field. However, we were quickly reeled back in. On the following lap, I attacked on the steep climb and rode out front solo for an entire lap. A group of strong riders including Nicholaus Schrieber (USA) and a couple of Russians rode up to me and for a short while it looked promising – a breakaway of six riders that could ride away with the race. But, there was lack of co-operation from the Russians and French riders so the advantage was quickly eroded. After a couple more laps, an attack by Ivan the Russian and a French rider went up the rode. This pair rode well together to establish a very good lead that was over two minutes at one point. The peloton seemed to be quite disinterested in chasing the duo down and all attacks were chased down. It was a surgy stop-start race and after I tried several times to help rotate on the front, I just rolled near the back of the peloton waiting for any promising moves.
It was after 50kms, when Nicholaus Schreiber (USA) started attacking multiple times in the attempt to bridge up to the duo as at this point, the race was steadily slipping away. When Schreiber finally broke through and got a gap, I launched my own attack and successfully bridged across to him but with one of the Russians in tow. We became a three-man chase group and despite very weak pulls from the Russian, we rotated well and cut the time-gap down dramatically. It went from two minutes to 45 seconds in the space of one lap, then it was a scant 30 second gap. I was not feeling the best on the short vicious climb that we had to sprint up each lap (about 18% gradient) and this was where Schreiber attacked hard to open up a ten meter gap and I was unable to close it back. Schreiber then took the opportunity to press on solo to bridge the gap to the leaders in the space of one lap.
I was stuck with the Russian who was not much help at all. Understandable since he had teammate Ivan up the road. Not long after, we were joined by Steeve Toubol (France) who initially was working but when the Russian failed to pull his weight, Toubol also shut shop. I was forced to do most of the work, as I knew there was the chasing peloton coming up. With several laps remaining, we were joined by a Columbian rider who did absolutely nothing but just look behind him every few seconds. It was highly frustrating for me to be in this position, unable to shake them and unable to get them to co-operate to prevent more riders from bridging across. In the final lap, I could see a group coming up fast and I felt at the time it was the best thing to do – pull hard on the front with the rest sucking my wheel. Going into the last 1.5kms, we were caught by one more rider, Trevor Kosa from USA, and it was a five rider sprint for bronze medal. I hit the steep ascent hard, but not hard enough as the lighter riders came past me like I was standing still and I was dropped. I dug deep and was able to peg them back and managed to re-establish contact with the group with 200m remaining, however as I was about to pass the last rider, they all started sprinting and I had nothing left. Typically, I’m a fast finisher and do well in these types of situations but this time I had to be content with rolling in for 7th place.
I was happy to learn that I had helped Nicholaus Schreiber (USA) to win his Gold medal over Ivan the Russian in third place.
Enjoy more pictures from the road race below: