CALGARY – In the final road cycling races of the season, a local Olympian and fast-rising prospect wouldn’t be denied podium spots at the 2022 Tour de Bowness from July 30 to Aug. 1.
Banff’s Finn Borstmayer crossed the wire in first place twice and 2022 Winter Olympian Connor Howe rode to silver at the 19th edition of the Calgary road race, criterium (crit), and hill climb.
Racing in CAT 4, first-year rider Borstmayer continued climbing the ladder in the sport, but was denied the golden trifecta in the final race.
The 18-year-old rider’s weekend started on Saturday in the road race just outside of Calgary, where, after 87 kilometres, he put his gas tank to the test and made a move for the finish.
“I took off with a kilometre left and two guys jumped on the back of me,” said Borstmayer. “Eventually, I just rode them off the wheel with like 100 metres left.”
The Banff racer pushed ahead to claim gold in 2:14:28.
Daniel Stret was second and Efrem Mehari was third.
The next day, Borstmayer felt every kilometre aching in his legs before the hill climb, a 900-metre ride up MacKay Road with a 141-foot elevation gain.
However, the lethargic pre-race feeling was quickly overrun by nerves and adrenaline that propelled the athlete in the quick and steep race.
The golden riding continue as Borstmayer charged up the road in 1:35.4 – more than seven seconds faster than second place’s Jacob Playfair.
The long weekend wrapped up with the crit, a seven-turn, 960m loop, where CAT 4 riders raced 30 laps around Bowness, but Borstmayer dropped out after 15 laps due to a mechanical issue.
“I couldn’t turn the bike at all; the frame would wiggle around, so I had to stop,” he said. “You couldn’t fix it then, so just had to get a DNF on that one, which really sucked.”
The race didn’t hurt his overall goals for his first season though. After “being blown out of the water” in the very first road race, Borstmayer caught fire and started to pile on upgrade points. He eventually jumped up two categories to the stiffer competition of CAT 3 from CAT 5 in his first season of road biking.
“I was surprised I achieved that because I had a rough start to the year, but this weekend turned out very well so I got lots of upgrade points and it happened,” he said. “I think it sets me up really good for next season. I’ll be starting in CAT 3 and hopefully get some good training in over winter and hopefully just launch up through the categories again and see how it goes from there.”
Canada’s top 1,500-metre long track speed skater Howe decided after Beijing 2022 to use this summer to get back into road biking against Alberta’s top men.
In what were his last road races of the season, the 22-year-old from Canmore claimed silver in the uphill climb, and rode to two top-10s in road race and crit in CAT 1/2.
To kick things off was the 132 km road race for the Rundle Mountain Cycling Club athlete, who took seventh spot in 3:22:14.
Eric Berg won the race in 3:18:55.
In the hill climb, the Olympian sprinted to silver in 1:29.2. – less than one second behind first place’s Brad Bickley (1:28.5). In third place was Gavin Thomas (1:30.3), who won the hill climb during Canmore’s road fest in June.
“The short hill climb suited me well, where the 90-second effort is similar to a 1,500m in speed skating,” said Howe, who placed fifth in the distance in long track at Beijing 2022.
“The crit was pretty unusual, as there were two guys that broke away early and lapped the pack and so the rest of us just raced for third place or lower.”
In the seven-turn, 960m loop, CAT 1/2 racers competed in the 45-lap crit around Bowness. Howe finished sixth place.
Jakob Claffey and Warren Muir took first and second, respectively.
After a summer’s worth of riding, Howe is on a rest week before returning to the national team for Olympic oval training.
For full Tour de Bowness results, visit www.zone4.ca.