Svein Tuft (Orica-GreenEdge) and Leah Kirchmann (Optum-Kelly Benefit Strategies) added a pair of maple leaves to their palmares at the Global Relay Canadian Road Cycling Championships in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec.
Tuft and Kirchmann began their tear on Thursday by winning their respective time trials. For Tuft, it was his ninth title in the national race against the clock — he won the 40.4km race in 53:25, with Hugo Houle (Ag2r La Mondiale) second at 2:03 and Ryan Roth (Silber Pro Cycling) third at 2:20.
“I came here really motivated. Coming out of the Giro, I had a good little rest, and worked hard coming back,” said Tuft. “With the nature of a course like this, being difficult, people can go out fast the first 20 minutes. With the wind and the hills, you can have a good first half, but it’s all done in the finale. For me, I was just conservative and stayed on top of it.”
Kirchmann took the 28.8km women’s race in 43:30, with Tibco-To the Top teammates Jasmin Glaesser and Anika Todd second and third at 0:03 and 2:56, respectively.
“The time trial has been a huge focus for me this year. I spent a lot of time on my bike, and I tried to do as much time trial as possible. I am very happy to see it’s paying off,” said Kirchmann.
On Friday, Kirchmann did it again, winning the women’s 119km road race in a sprint from a group of 20. Teammate Denise Samsden finished second with Leah Gulolen (Trek Red Truck) third.
“I couldn’t have asked for a better nationals so far,” said Kirchmann, who will defend her 2013 title in the criterium on Sunday. “I’ve surprised myself every day. Obviously, I’m going for a third win on Sunday.”
On Saturday, Tuft followed suit, taking a 120km solo break all the way to the line of the 179km men’s championship.
Tuft, who took off from a strong group of favorites on the second lap of the 15km circuit to win his second national road crown, said he had doubts about going that early, but added: “We couldn’t ride together and let it be decided in the last few climbs. We had to keep attacking, to shake up the race.”
Roth took second place, a full minute behind Tuft, edging Christian Meier (Orica-GreenEdge).
Sunday brings the criterium championships. Men will race 33 laps of a 1.3km course, while women race 28 laps.