Leah Kirchmann of Winnipeg Posts Second Straight BC Superweek Win
Ryan Anderson (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies), who’s a product of the Victoria Academy of Cycling, had a pretty good showing at BC Superweek heading into Tuesday’s 4th Annual UBC Grand Prix.
He was second in Friday’s MK Delta Lands Criterium and Saturday’s Brenco Criterium, and third in Sunday’s White Spot Delta Road Race. However, Anderson wasn’t satisfied with a “pretty good” showing, in fact, the North Vancouver native was visibly disappointed with his placing on Sunday.
Fast forward to Tuesday night and with a huge crowd cheering him on, Anderson wouldn’t be denied as a sprint to the finish gave him first place in the UBC Grand Prix over Germany’s Florenz Knauer (Team Baier Landshut) and Michael Schweizer (NSP Ghost / Team Germany) in one hour, three minutes and 35 seconds.
“I didn’t want to get second or third tonight, I wanted to win,” an exhilarated Anderson said afterward. “I was a little nervous in the end, but it worked out well for me tonight.”
Despite the fact that he was alone in a format that saw Anderson on his own in the top six, he added that it was his fellow Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies that helped get him there. “When we came back on the group, my team was a huge help and their role was really crucial tonight. They got me right back to the front and I waited for the battle with a few laps to go.”
Anderson’s teammate with Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies Ken Hanson, who’s the U.S. Pro Criterium champion, helped shut down the riders behind them early and often.
“He’s got so much experience, it’s nice to have him on my side,” Anderson said of Saturday’s Brenco Criterium winner.
With Knauer’s win, Team Baier Landshut made its second podium appearance at BC Superweek after teammate Yannick Mayer took second place in Sunday’s White Spot Delta Road Race.
“It wasn’t a win, but it’’s very good, I’m so happy to get second,” said Knauer. “In the second corner of the course, I had a few problems and ended up with a bad position, but it turned out okay.”
NSP Ghost / Team Germany’s Schweizer, who’s the only member from his team attending BC Superweek, finished a close third behind Anderson and Knauer.
“It was a great experience and this is my first time in Canada,” an excited Schweizer said. “Through the first few races, I had to get used to Canadian racing and the criterium, but now I think I’m in it and had a good day.”
Schweizer added that he did a little homework about the UBC Grand Prix before coming to BC Superweek. “I was prepared to go for a breakaway because my teammates told me last year there was an early break and so I tried to be in it and overall, the field here is really great.”
Close to 60 women took the course for the UBC Grand Prix as part of BC Superweek Tuesday night and when it was all said and done two familiar names and one not-so-familiar name were up on the podium.
After claiming top spot at the White Spot | Delta Road Race on Sunday, Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies rider Leah Kirchmann of Winnipeg was right back up there after finishing the 40 lap circuit in 57 minutes and seven seconds.
With a course so short and corners so tight, the reigning Canadian Criterium National Champion said it actually worked in her favour.
“I definitely like a technical race,” Kirchmann mentioned immediately after crossing the finish line. “I thought it would be beneficial to always be at the front and be going for the premes just to be there if a break happened to go and to be first around the corners to be a bit safer.”
In second place was Australia’s Lauretta Hanson, who made her BC Superweek debut. Hanson wasn’t noticeable for most of the race, but definitely made her presence known.
“I actually found myself at the back for most of the race and it just happened that I made my way to the front at the end and it worked out in my favour,” Hanson said.
One may wonder how a rider from Down Under becomes knowledgeable about BC Superweek but according to Hanson, word of mouth among the cycling community is helping to grow the event worldwide, “Last year, my teammate Kate Finnigan came here and raced and she said it was a good tour to come to so I figured I’d come this year and have a go at it myself.”
It almost seems like Team Vanderkitten rider Elle Anderson could set up shop on the 2013 BC Superweek podium. With a third place finish at the UBC Grand Prix, Anderson has been on the podium for all four events thus far in BC Superweek.
“My legs felt pretty tired today,” Anderson said. “I kind of felt like the guys in the Tour de France after the rest day, they never really know quite how they’re going to feel.”
Anderson added that the UBC Grand Prix presented a unique set of challenges, “It was a really interesting course because each section was so short so lots of cornering and I really thought a breakaway was going to go today, I did my best but it was pretty much a field sprint at the end.”
The race featured a scary moment with just half a lap to go as 2012 Canadian Olympic bronze medallist Gillian Carleton from Specialized-lululemon crashed as she tried to move ahead of the field.
“There were four of us away off the front – two Optum girls – so Denise Ramsden went off the front with about a lap to go and I knew her teammate Leah (Kirchmann), who was sitting in front of me and there was no way she was going to chase her down so Denise opened up a bit of a gap and I realized I was going to have to jump across her if I was going to have any chance of winning,” Carleton mention afterward as she sported a taped wrist and scraped elbow. “So I jumped hard into the third to last corner, got a gap and then came into the corner way too hot and slid out right into the hay bales.”
“I’m fine, nothing’s broken, but I think I grated all of my knuckles off,” a smiling Carleton said confidently. “We’ll be back tomorrow for Gastown.”
Despite the crash, Carleton got back up and crossed the finish line to a rousing applause, “You’ve always got to finish the race. I think it’s poor form to not finish in my opinion, if you can walk, you can ride and you might as well cross that line.”
The racing continues with the Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix (July 10), Giro di Burnaby (July 11) and the Tour de White Rock (races on July 12, 13, 14).