© Copyright – 2017 – Victoria Sports News
It was a classic race on a glorious sunny day at the inner harbour today, on the final day of the Robert Cameron Law Cycling Series. Always a thriller to watch, the Russ Hay’s Grand Prix – and the BC Criterium Championship – proved to be as exciting as expected for both men’s and women’s elite races.
For the second year, the criterium was held on a one-kilometre loop around the BC Legislature, which since its move from Bastion Square has proved its worth. No more crash corners that were the downfall for many, and the riders like the longer stretches and the forgiving corners of the new course. It is also a spectator delight as tourists and local cycling fans alike rubbed shoulders to watch this annual classic.
Both the men’s and women’s races featured top talented athletes – and an Olympian to boot. Victoria’s Gillian Carleton, a bronze medallist in track pursuit at the 2012 London Olympics, was on fire today. The race was led by Anika Todd (Trek Red Truck) with Megan Rathwell (winner of Saturday’s road race), Maggie Coles-Lyster (TaG Racing) and Janna Gillick (Glotman Simpson) in the mix. But pacing herself over the 35 laps, Carleton kept in the main pack and with a lap to go she saw her opportunity and broke away in a 800 metre sprint to the finish line. “This means a lot to me. I have had health issues so this is a big win particularly as it is a hometown race,” said Carleton. “To deliver today is very meaningful to me.” Second was Crit Nasty’s Sarah Coney and Gillick was third.
The men’s event – over 40 laps – was a one-horse race with Calgary’s Connor Toppings, riding for Smart Savvy+ Garneau U23 Cycling Team, dominating the field. A steady lead led to him catching the back of the main pack with eight laps to go. Riding for Giant Smart Savvy, he was modest afterwards about his win. “I really wanted to give the team a win, so I put my head down and went for it,” he said.” I haven’t had a big criterium win before so this is fantastic.” As Toppings is not from BC, the Championship title went to Dylan Davies (Langlois Brown Racing), who came second. He and Kyle Buckosk (Truck Red Truck) were neck and neck vying for second and third position after the breakaway from Toppings. Kudos to Alex Amiri from Smart Savvy who broke away from the pack and rode a tactical race supporting his team mate.
The criterium wrapped up three exciting days of competition in the Cameron Law Cycling Series, which started on Friday with the EnergyLab Dallas Road Time Trial and Schwalbe Cycling Classic on Saturday.