Cy­clocross 2016 Na­tion­als


Pedal Magazine - - Contents - by Au­drey Lemieux

In cold and wet con­di­tions, 11 ti­tles were awarded at the 2016 Cana­dian Cyclo-cross Cham­pi­onships held on Nov. 5 at a new venue in Jac­ques Cartier Park in Sher­brooke, Que., hosted by Club Cy­cliste de Sher­brooke. True cy­clocross con­di­tions, in­clud­ing sev­eral crashes and a tech­ni­cal course that re­ceived rave re­views, were the or­der of the day as a record 332 rid­ers were on hand for a mem­o­rable and emo­tional day of racing.

Maghalie Ro­chette (QC, LUNA Pro Team) claimed her first Elite women's Na­tional cy­clocross jer­sey with a stel­lar per­for­mance that none could match. Tak­ing charge early on, she built a lead over her clos­est ri­val, San­dra Wal­ter (Liv Cycling Canada) in sec­ond, with de­fend­ing cham­pion Mi­cal Dyck (Naked Fac­tory Racing) in third.

Dyck looked strong off the start, but was not able to sus­tain her pace, and soon Ro­chette, who was just be­hind in the chase group, ad­vanced to take the lead on the first lap of four, which she didn't re­lin­quish, tak­ing a de­ci­sive win.

Wal­ter was steady in sec­ond, as Dyck was chal­lenged by Chris­tel Fer­rier-Bruneau (QC, SAS-Maco­gep p/b Mazda), who was caught be­hind in an early crash for the fi­nal podium spot. But Dyck held on, with Fer­rier-Bruneau tak­ing fourth and Natasha El­liott (QC, Garneau-Eas­ton Cycling) in fifth.

“This is a long time com­ing,” said Ro­chette at the fin­ish, as she cel­e­brated with her fam­ily. “This year, the CX Na­tion­als are in my back­yard, so it's great to share this vic­tory with fam­ily and friends. I get to wear the Maple Leaf jer­sey, but there are so many peo­ple to thank who have helped me get here,” she told Pedal.

A new cham­pion was also crowned in the Elite men's battle as Jeremy Martin (QC, Fo­cus CX Team Canada) emerged as the strong­est rider to take a well-de­served vic­tory for his first Na­tional cy­clocross ti­tle. His team­mate, Al­ber­tan Aaron Schooler, fin­ished sec­ond, with vet­eran 'crosser and multi-dec­o­rated Ge­off Kabush (BC, Scott-3 Rox Racing) in third.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Raphael Gagné (QC, Can­non­dale 360fly p/b Su­goi) took an early lead, but he was quickly sur­passed by Mark McCon­nell (Hot Sauce Cycling X Garneau), who was on fire and forced ev­ery­one to chase. McCon­nell's lead was up to 16 sec­onds, but the chasers were slowly gain­ing, and by the half­way mark, Kabush and Schooler had moved into sec­ond and third, with Martin fourth and more chasers, in­clud­ing Gagné, just be­hind.

As McCon­nell faded, it was Martin who surged to the front. Kabush fal­tered with an un­timely crash, but was quickly up. Still, this al­lowed Schooler to take over sec­ond, which was how they fin­ished.

The two Fo­cus CX rid­ers were now in charge as Martin claimed a strong win and was all smiles with his first Na­tional jer­sey, with Schooler on the podium in sec­ond and Kabush in third. McCon­nell held on for a solid fourth, as Michael van den Ham (AB, Garneau-Eas­ton Cycling) took fifth and Gagné fin­ished sixth.

“Ge­off Kabush and I were able to bridge to McCon­nell, who had a strong start, and my team­mate Aaron Schooler was there as well. We took the lead when McCon­nell crashed, and then Kabush crashed with about two laps to go, so I just made sure to keep safe un­til the fin­ish. Great that Aaron was sec­ond . . . I'm super-happy to wear the Maple Leaf jer­sey for the year to come,” said Martin. “It's hard to be­lieve. I've been train­ing for this for the last year and a half.”

In the U23 men's com­pe­ti­tion, Peter Dis­era (Norco Fac­tory Team) dom­i­nated the race from the get-go for an un­chal­lenged vic­tory with his brother Quin­ton Dis­era, now also with Norco, in sec­ond at 2:10 be­hind.

Peter Dis­era took the holeshot and never looked back, as Trevor O'Don­nell (Realdeal/D'Or­nel­las p/b Garneau) claimed the fi­nal podium spot. “I was men-

tally pre­pared for today's race and some strong bat­tles with O'Don­nell and Raphael Au­clair. With a strong start and good gap with my brother in sec­ond, we just kept the pres­sure on,” com­mented the win­ner. “It was a course that suited me, and I'm happy with how I rode today.”

Sidney McGill de­liv­ered an­other Fo­cus CX Team Canada vic­tory as she also took home her first Na­tional jer­sey in the 12km U23 women's race, out-du­elling de­fend­ing cham­pion Ruby West (Can­non­dale Cy­clocross­

West, who was lead­ing, suf­fered an un­timely crash on the slip­pery course, which opened the door for McGill. Erica Leonard (An­gry Johnny's p/b Norco & Garneau) was third. “It was a tough course,” said McGill. “I took a short break af­ter my MTB sea­son and then raced some cy­clocross events in prepa­ra­tion for Na­tion­als – I'm re­ally happy to win the ti­tle.”

On­tario's Gun­nard Holm­gren (Garneau-Eas­ton Cycling) bat­tled back to claim the ju­nior men's Na­tional cham­pion ti­tle, with Martin Conor (TaG Cycling/Norco) only two sec­onds be­hind in sec­ond and Tyler Clark (KMS Cycling) at 52 sec­onds back in third.

The three formed a lead group early on, with Holm­gren and Conor tak­ing turns at the front as early-leader Clark be­gan to fade. In the end, Holm­gren pre­vailed to take the win. “I was sec­ond last year, so Na­tion­als was a big goal for me and ev­ery­thing came to­gether, so I'm re­ally happy,” said Holm­gren. “The course was tough and tech­ni­cal and I made a cou­ple of slip-ups, but in the end, I was able to re­cover and take the win.”

The morn­ing ses­sion saw the Masters and U17, U15 and U13 races start off the day as cy­clocross fever hit Sher­brooke for a suc­cess­ful day of racing and cel­e­bra­tions. The or­ga­ni­za­tion was amaz­ing, with the expo in­clud­ing Si­boire Brew­ery to keep spec­ta­tors and fans in a cheer­ing mood for the coura­geous ath­letes who braved the day.

(fac­ing left) Maghalie Ro­chette claimed her first Elite women's Na­tional cy­clocross jer­sey. (fac­ing above) San­dra Wal­ter took home the sil­ver. (fac­ing be­low left) Aaron Schooler bat­tled to sec­ond in the Elite men’s race. (fac­ing be­low right) Mark McCon­nell held on for fourth af­ter lead­ing for the first half of the race. (top) Jeremy Martin earned a well-de­served vic­tory for the Elite men’s ti­tle. (left) All 2016 Cy­clocross Na­tional win­ners take the stage.

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