CANMORE – A Rundle Mountain Cycling Club (RMCC) newcomer used his unknown racing abilities to his advantage during the 7th annual Road Festival last weekend (June 8-9).
RMCC’s Raphaël Couturier “spiced things up” with a gold medal in the men’s Cat 3 crit race in downtown Canmore on Saturday with a time of 29:44.74. RMCC’s Sean Parker finished fifth.
During lap five of 16, Couturier aggressively and unexpectedly went into another gear and blasted away from the pack, taking a commanding lead he never gave up.
“I didn’t know anyone there and after a few laps and everything settled down, no one really followed me and I went for it,” said Couturier, 26, who’s lived in Canmore for a few months. “I thought I’d give it a try early in the race and if it didn’t work, I’d just get back in the pack and take my chances for the sprint finish.”
The RMCC crit course was irregular in terms of crit courses with plenty of twists and turns for cornering riders to think about. It was partially the reason Couturier wanted to separate from the pack of 30 other riders.
“Racing on my own, I can take the turns a lot nicer and it gave me an edge on everything,” he said.
In the 20-lap crit for men’s Cat 1/2, X Speed United’s Evan Burtnik finished first at 33:05.17. In women’s Cat 1/2/3, Peloton Racing’s Kailee Boyle finished first at a time of 30:14.61 after 16 laps. In women’s 4/5, Synergy
Racing’s Alexandra Volstad finished first at 31:22.23. RMCC’s Tiegan de Leeuw won the U17 men’s race.
The crit portion of the Road Festival included the Little Critters Race, which had pint-sized riders racing to the downtown finish line.
Later that day during the RMCC uphill climb on the grueling Silvertip Trail, de Leeuw had already conquered the hill “hundreds of times” while training and he was back on the podium with another victory to his name.
The 16-year-old completed the hat trick with a third win in Sunday’s road race.
The top results surprised the teen competing in his first crit and road races.
“I think in the crit, I need to be much more prepared and ready for how fast it starts,” de Leeuw said. “For the road race, next time I’m going to try to stick with the main pack longer.”
In the uphill climb, Warren Muir won the men’s Cat 1/2 with a time of 7:16.2. Gabby Traxler of Club Cycliste Le Boulou won the women’s 1/2/3 at 8:39.9.
In the road race, Josh Denison of Synergy Racing finished first for men’s Cat 3. RMCC’s Nicolas Hamilton was 12th and Couturier finished 14th.
In men’s Cat 4, Cyclemeisters Quentin Cowan finished first and RMCC’s Philippe Villeneuve was 9th.