Race report: Podium sweep for women on Preston Street

women_preston_podiumSunday marked the occasion of two important events: First, it was the 41st edition of the prestigious Preston Street Criterium, the longest standing bicycle race in Canada; and second, it was the second time this year that the Stevens Racing p/b The Cyclery women’s team swept the podium!

While it is rumoured that past editions of this event have been raced under hot and sun-scorched weather, the 2013 Preston Street Criterium started with rain and ended with rain. Despite the dreary conditions, the team arrived smiling, celebrating the assembly of an almost-complete team. With one team-member still MIA due to a stubborn and frustrating injury (speedy healing to Ruth McLean), eight racers and two team directors were present to contribute to the day’s success.

The race was fast right off the line. An early prime was taken by teammate Audrey Bernard, with a second prime going to team-mate Annie Foreman-Mackey. The speed of the race increased as multiple primes were offered, and a split established itself in the peloton, leaving a front group of seven riders. Annie, Audrey, Catherine Dessureault and Évélyne Gagnon were represented at the front along with Karol-Anne Canuel (Vienne-Futuroscope), Stephanie Skoreyko (Infinit Canada/CyclePower) and Chantal Thompson (Madonna Wheelers Cycling Club). Catherine launched an attack, and as she was almost caught, Annie launched the counter-attack and established a gap between herself and the main group. Despite the race not being half-over yet, the gap continued to grow, and it was soon clear that Annie had a fighting chance of holding off the pack. Showcasing her excellent time trial skills (and perhaps getting a bit of extra training in before the national championship time trial next week), this is exactly what she did!

Thirty seconds after Annie took the win, Catherine led Audrey out for the field sprint, and the duo managed to score both second and third place!

A satisfying finish to a day that appeared so grey and dreary … Thanks to our support crew of Jenny Trew and Chris Reid who ended up pretty shivery and soggy by the time we were home. Next up for the team, National Championships in Ville-St-Georges, Quebec, where we will take the team spirit we have formed this year to battle against the best in Canada. Wish us luck!

— Carrie Cartmill