The third Sunday of June is a day for many in our great province. Father’s Day is celebrated and one of the most historical bike races in the province takes place as we saw this past Sunday with the 43rd Annual Preston Street Criterium, this year presented by eQ Homes.
The start of the day definitely had a “gloomy” feel to it as forecasts called for rain showers and storms throughout the day and with about one hour to go to the first start of the day, the showers did roll in. The good news however is that those showers would be short lived and bring us some amazing skies for the rest of the day’s racing.
Numerous countries and provinces were represented at the event with racers from the US, Australia, Italy and Trinidad and Tobago having registered and the Elite Men’s and Women’s races also seeing provincial representation from Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, BC, Alberta, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. The vast array of representation is not surprising given this race is usually a great preview of some of the racing to come at the up and coming Canadian Road National Championships but this year’s event just had that feeling that it would be something special.
In the Elite women’s race, you had some of the strongest talent in the country with reigning two-time Champion Annie Foreman-Mackey (The Cyclery-Opus) in attendance along with 2014 World Team Time Trial Champion Karol-Ann Canuel (Velocio-SRAM) and 2012 Canadian Olympic Team athlete Joelle Numainville (Bigla Pro Cycling Team). Jamie Gilgen (Rise Racing p/b Cyclepath Woodbridge), fresh off her victory at the Friday evening Kitchener Twilight Criterium, also made her way to Ottawa to participate in what was sure to be a very exciting race.
The race would go back and forth at the front leading way to what would be an exciting finish as Numainville was able to pass Gilgen on the last lap to take the victory with Independent rider Rebecca Beaumont rounding out the podium.
The Elite Men’s race would see almost as strong a field as their female counterparts as Team NCCH p/b DEC Express, Ride with Rendall p/b Biemme, and H&R Block Pro Cycling Team were well represented along with Silber Pro Cycling and Garneau-Quebecor.
The race would see a number of attacks early on but eventually lead to Silber Pro Cycling’s Derrick St. John going alone at the front with nearly a 10 second gap with just under 10 laps remaining. St. John, a former Champion at this event unfortunately would not have enough to hold off the pack and with 5 laps to go, the crowd eagerly anticipated the sprint finish that we were almost certain to see.
As the riders came around the final turn, it would be Australia’s Jason Lowndes (Garneau-Quebecor) who would put himself in position to sprint to the win edging out Patrick Naud (Optum p/b Kelly Benefit Strategies) and Brandon Etzl (Team NCCH p/b DEC Express) for the victory.
Both Numainville and Lowdes would capture their first Preston St. victories of their careers and along with the victors go the spoils as both would receive their weight in beer courtesy of Award sponsor Kichesippi Beer.