Stevens women sweep top 4 at Preston St.

Annie Foreman-Mackey, middle, on the podium after winning the Preston St. Criterium for the second year running. Ellen Watters, left, was second, Carrie Cartmill third and Ariane Bonhomme fourth for a Stevens-The Cyclery 1-2-3-4 sweep. Photo by Emily Flynn.

Six Stevens-The Cyclery women lined up for the 42nd annual Preston Street Criterium in Ottawa’s Little Italy on Father’s Day Sunday, and not only did they win the race for the fifth year in a row, they came home with the top four spots in the 2014 race! Here’s Ariane Bonhomme’s take on a great day of racing.

Preston Street was such a fun race! The weather was beautiful and there was an amazing atmosphere around the course, plus we were racing at home, everything was perfect. We got a challenge the day before from team managers Jenny and Chris. They separated the team into two smaller teams of three riders and we would have to race against each other. The losing team would have to buy ice cream to the winning team. The battle was on!

Right from the gun, both of the teams decided to put a rider off the front. Amélie Bruneau attacked from the start and took me and Maddison Vit of the NCCH team with her. This breakaway stayed for a good ten minutes before being by the pack as the speed picked up for some prime sprints.

A couple of counter-attacks happened from both of the Stevens teams. One of them was by Annie Foreman-Mackey (from the “Pink Panther” team), followed by Ellen Watters (from the “Germany” team); and it was the good attack! The girls worked together, increasing the gap and they even had a close call with a poor little cat. They finally made their way back in the pack, not by being caught, but by lapping it!

With them back in the pack, both of the teams started thinking of how they could get their leader to win the race (and therefore get free ice cream!). Going for one of the primes, the amazing sprinter of the Pink Panther team, Emily Flynn, crashed and wasn’t able to get back into the race, but thankfully is OK. Going for the last prime of the race, the two leaders of the race (Annie and Ellen) attacked, followed by Germany team’s Carrie Cartmill. They got a little gap with the rest off the group and there were two Germany against one Pink Panther. Desperate to get my teammate to win (and to get ice cream), I (Ariane Bonhomme) bridged to the breakaway and caught them with four laps to go. I was able to somehow help my teammate Annie to win the race! Ellen got second, Carrie third and I was fourth.

It was a really awesome race, we challenged ourselves and got so much fun doing this all together!

Annie Foreman-Mackey won the Preston Street Criterium for the second year in a row, following in the footsteps of Florence Laplante-Lamarche (winner in 2011 and 2012) and Sarah Coney (2010) for five straight years of Stevens-The Cyclery topping the podium. What’s more, team director Jenny Trew won the race way back in 2009 — albeit for a different team.