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Toronto International Cyclocross - C1
Centennial Park, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, November 8-9, 2008
Race 1 - November 8: Toronto International Cyclo-cross #1 - Elite Women
A home favorite victory for Elliott
By Kirsten Robbins in Toronto, Canada
Canada's Natasha Elliott (Stevens) soloed to her second victory of the 2008-09 season by more than two minutes over her nearest competitors, Dawn Anderson (Oak bay Bikes) and Kristin Wentworth (Planet Bike).
"I like the mud and I got a good taste of it racing in Belgium last year," said Elliott. "It was a very demanding and powerful course where I needed to keep a constant pressure on the pedals. It was so sloppy and wet but it was fun. The points are important for me because I want to go back to Europe for two months of racing."
The Toronto Midweek Cycling Club hosted the 15th annual Toronto International Cyclocross race at the Centennial Park ski area. The three-kilometre circuit twisted along the base of a small ski hill. A mixture of gravel, wooded off-cambre corners, barriers and a deep water pit made up the bulk of the technical terrain offered. However, the onset of cold temperatures and light rain at the start of the mens 60-minute event made for authentic Belgian-style cross.
"We designed a very tight course in a very small location of the park in order to make our cyclo-cross event as spectator friendly as possible," said race director Scott Doel, who admitted he was hoping for the rain to pour onto the course for the riders enjoyment." He explained that, "We have such a great facility here with such great diversity in the terrain. Everything is close, you can see all the action and the terrain is just a massive roller coster. It may have been a fast course but when you throw the rain into the mix it becomes highly technical."
Some 20 women lined up in perfect cyclo-cross conditions with threatening clouds, damp terrain and cold autumn temperatures. Elliott took charge with a strong lead, closely followed by Anderson and Wentworth, along with Anna Milkowski (Velo Bella-Kona), Josie Jacques-Maynes (Specialized), Anna Young (Planet Bike) and Rebecca Wellons (Ridley Factory Team). Small separations between the riders opened up through the technical U-turns up and down the side of the ski hill.
Elliott furthered her advantage to Anderson riding through the deep water pit and up the steep muddy slopes, a section that the others chose to run. Her smooth technique and powerful pedal strokes proved to be unmatched. "I watched the race before mine and knew what lines to take," said Elliott, who also faltered and crashed, hitting her head on a tree mid-race. She recovered well to take the win, however. "I think you had to go through the water and really speed up to get over that mud hill," she explained after the race.
Anderson pulled ahead of Wentworth during the half way point of the womens 40-minute race. The Victoria native trains on a regular basis with the islands training series hosted by the current Canadian national champion Wendy Simms and her husband. "I stayed with Natasha on the first couple of laps but I just didnt have it today," said Anderson. "I dont think there are section of the course that suit me more than others. I think you just need to giver."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Jon Safka/www.cyclingphotos.ca
Elite Women 1 Natasha Elliott (EMD Serono - Stevens) 37.02 2 Dawn Anderson (Oak Bay Bikes - Everti) 0.47 3 Kristin Wentworth (Planet Bike) 1.23 4 Josie Jacques-Maynes (Specialized - KMC p/b Cal Giant) 1.32 5 Anna Milkowski (Velo Bella-Kona) 1.45 6 Anna Young (Planet Bike) 1.50 7 Rebecca Wellons (Ridley Factory Team) 2.10 8 Catherine Walberg (Trek) 2.37 9 Anne Schwartz (Independent) 2.53 10 Kaitlin Antonneau (Nova Cycle Sports Foundation) 2.54 11 Vicki Thomas (Ottawa Cross) 3.53 12 Melissa Bunn (The Hub Bicycle Club) 5.08 13 Laura Bietola (3 Rox Racing) 5.20 14 Jaymie Mcgowan (Oak Bay Bikes) 5.39 15 Briana Illingworth (Sweet Pete's) 5.49 16 Christina Bouchard (The Hub - Devinci Cyclocross Team) 5.52 17 Anita Lagler (Chain Reaction) 6.53 18 Tabitha Ferguson (Cycle Solutions - Angry Johnny's) 7.06 19 Sarah Coney (Team Ultralink) 8.04 20 Sigrid Ziegler (Aquila Racing - Racer Sportif) 11.51 Points standings 1 Natasha Elliott (EMD Serono - Stevens) 27 pts 2 Dawn Anderson (Oak Bay Bikes - Everti) 24 3 Kristin Wentworth (Planet Bike) 22 4 Josie Jacques-Maynes (Specialized - KMC p/b Cal Giant) 20 5 Anna Milkowski (Velo Bella - Kona) 18 6 Anna Young (Planet Bike) 16 7 Rebecca Wellons (Ridley Factory Team) 15 8 Catherine Walberg (Trek) 14 9 Anne Schwartz (Independent) 13 10 Kaitlin Antonneau (Nova Cycle Sports Foundation) 12 11 Vicki Thomas (Ottawa Cross) 11 12 Melissa Bunn (The Hub Bicycle Club) 10 13 Laura Bietola (3 Rox Racing) 9 14 Jaymie Mcgowan (Oak Bay Bikes) 8 15 Briana Illingworth (Sweet Pete's) 7 16 Christina Bouchard (The Hub - Devinci Cyclocross Team) 6 17 Anita Lagler (Chain Reaction) 5 18 Tabitha Ferguson (Cycle Solutions - Angry Johnny's) 4 19 Sarah Coney (Team Ultralink) 3 20 Sigrid Ziegler (Aquila Racing - Racer Sportif) 2