Cycling superstar Sara Poidevin found a new way to celebrate Canada Day: become a national champion.
Poidevin is the 2017 Canadian U23 time trial champion, taking first place at the Global Relay Canadian Road Championships in Ottawa, Tuesday (June 27). It’s the first national championship for the 21-year-old Canmorite. Poidevin’s time was also third fastest on the day, earning her a bronze medal in the elite women’s division. Karol-Ann Canuel took the top spot.
Poidevin defeated Katherine Maine and Emily Marcolini to take the time trial win, which is considered one of the true tests of cycling supremacy.
“I was definitely targeting this event after coming second in the U23 category last year, so I’m excited to have been able to take the U23 title this year, and get on the elite podium as well,” Poidevin said.
The result is another milestone in Poidevin’s ascension through the Canadian ranks, made no less remarkable by the fact she’s had an awful spring training session. Poidevin broke her elbow at training camp in Tuscon, Arizona in March, which required surgery. Eight weeks of recovery later, Poidevin crashed again in the Winston-Salem Classic, injuring her shoulder. She bounced back with solid results at the North Star classic, which served as a great preparation for Canadian Nationals.
“It’s been a different year,” Poidevin said.
Racing for Rally Cycling for the second year in a row, Poidevin made a name for herself last season, winning Queen of the Mountain jerseys at the Redlands Bicycle classic and on the first stage of the Tour of California. She was able to work together with her Rally Cycling teammates at the Canadian championships, where her domestique work pushed teammate Alison Beveredge to a title in the road race.
“It’s really exciting. I’m happy to be part of Rally. We have such a strong group of girls. To come away with those results is a really good sign for the season,” Poidevin said.
Despite the work, Poidevin still managed to finish third in the U23 road race, and ninth in elite women.
While the time trial is all about hard work, the road race was much more strategic. Four Rally riders were among a breakaway group of 10. After Kirsti Lay and Poidevin took turns pulling the pack, Beveredge was able to make the jump.
“For the road race, the goal was to get the team the title. For myself, I didn’t have any personal goals. It was more to work for the team. It was not a course that suited my strengths, but I can still do good work for the team,” Poidevin said.
Following road nationals, Poidevin flew to Kentucky and will target the Cascade Classic in Bend, Oregon, and The Tour of Colorado. As a second year cyclist, she’s grown more accustomed to life on the road, but credits her teammates with helping her adjust. The injuries threw off her training schedule, as she didn’t spend as much time at camp.
“It’s a little different coming back the second time. Actually, it’s quite a different group of girls than last year,” Poidevin said. “It definitely helps having done last season. I know what to expect when I’m travelling. Last year everything was new.”
The Oregon and Colorado courses have lots of climbing, and should suit Poidevin’s style. She faired well in Bend last season and, since the Colorado races are at elevation, they fit her strength.
“Both could be races that suit me better. I’ve never raced at that elevation, and never been to Colorado. It will be interesting to have all the climbing stages there,” Poidevin said.
She gets a week’s rest in Canmore before hitting the road, where she’ll continue to rehabilitate from her injuries.
“I’m not fully there, but good enough that I don’t feel my injuries when I ride. I’m still a little bit careful to do my physio exercises. I’m fine to race and recover,” Poidevin said.