Svein Tuft and Clara Hughes won the Canadian national time trial championships Thursday, on the same day that Cycling Canada named its four-person road roster for the London Olympics.
Giro d’Italia champion Ryder Hesjedal (Garmin-Barracuda) and multiple-time Olympic medalist Hughes (Specialized-lululemon) will lead the Canadians in the Summer Games. The Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies squad rounds out the three-rider women’s squad with Joelle Numainville and Denise Ramsden.
Tuft won a fifth consecutive national TT title at Lac Mégantic Thursday, topping Orica-GreenEdge teammate Christian Meier by 2:08. Hugo Houle (Spidertech-C10) was third.
With only one spot available for the men’s team in London, Tuft will miss an opportunity at a podium finish in the time trial. He said afterward that he was already looking ahead to the world championships in The Netherlands and the new trade team time trial.
“I wanted to defend the title, of course, but for me, my approach and the way I ride are more important to me than the result,” said Tuft in a team release. “I’m not interested in only having a good ride today. I’m looking down the road at the world time trial championships. It’s a huge goal for the team, and I want to contribute to us having a good crack at it there. Every time I’m on the time trial bike, it’s in preparation for that end of the season goal.”
The double-day for Hughes, who will take part in her third Summer Games, was a stepping stone toward what she hopes will be a medal in the time trial.
“It will be my sixth Olympic Games and yet I still feel the same pride and joy to represent my country,” she said. “After 12 years, I am excited to compete again at the Summer Olympics. I am heading to London with the confidence that I could not be better prepared to perform at my best in London.”
While Hughes makes her sixth Olympic trip, Ramsden, who will join her in the time trial, makes her Olympic debut.
“I’m very excited to be nominated to the Canadian Olympic team. I’ve dreamed about going to the Olympics since I was four, and it’s surreal to have that dream become a reality,” said Ramsden. “Optum and Kelly Benefit Strategies have been so supportive in our pursuit of the Games this year — letting us take off to Europe with the Canadian National Team for a while, that helped a lot to get Joelle and I to this point.”
Hesjedal makes his second trip to the Games on the road after competing in the men’s cross-country in Athens in 2004 and the road race and time trial in Beijing in 2008.
“I am honored and excited to represent Canada in the Olympic Games. It is my hope that the sport of cycling continues to grow in Canada and that the spirit of the Olympics shines an even greater spotlight on it. I am extremely proud to represent Canada,” Hesjedal told Cycling Canada from Spain, where he is preparing for the Tour de France.