The first edition of the Milton International Challenge concluded on Sunday, with the Keirin, the second half of the Omnium and the men’s Madison.
Team Canada riders Jasmin Glaesser and Rémi Pelletier-Roy started Sunday’s competition as leaders of the women’s and men’s Omnium competitions. After sweeping the first three events, Glaesser lost ground on challengers Steph Roorda and Allison Beveridge (both Team Canada) with third place results in both the 500m Time Trial and the Flying Lap, and entered the Points race only two points in front of Roorda. Glaesser missed capturing any points in the first sprint when she had to stop for a front wheel change, allowing Roorda to move into a tie, and Beveridge to move within one point of the lead. However, from that point on, it was all Glaesser, who won seven of the nine remaining sprints to take the title. Roorda held off national Omnium champion Beveridge for second by four points.
“More than anything I was really excited to race. I wanted to be aggressive from the start, and not simply defend the lead. I really wanted a good race, and put in 100%,” said Glaesser. “Looking back at some of my international races, I tend to wait too long to start fighting in the race. At the World Cup in London, I finished second [in the Points race] by just one point, and I think that came down as not going for points early enough and always have to catch up. For me, today was a practice going into the points race at the upcoming World Championships.”
In the men’s Omnium, Pelletier-Roy had a six-point lead entering the last day of competition. He increased his lead in the 1000m Time Trial and took third place in the Flying Lap. Heading into the Points race he had a slim four-point lead on Team Canada team mate Ed Veal, with American Zach Kovalcik (Black Lodge Cycling) 14 points in arrears. Pelletier-Roy, the national Omnium champion, crushed the field, lapping them twice [including Veal and Kovalcik once], to win with 236 points. Veal held onto second, a distant 50 points behind, with Kovalcik a further 23 points back.
“When I try to race defensively, it’s never a good outcome,” explained Pelletier-Roy. “I came into the race with the mentality of it being a standalone Points Race. Of course, I was watching a few guys… but I wanted to race just like any other race. I am on my journey to accumulate UCI points and race the World Cup next year, and maybe qualify a spot for Rio.”
The men’s Keirin final featured Canada’s two best sprinters, with Team Canada’s Hugo Barrette and Canadian Champion Joseph Veloce in the final for the gold medal. Veloce took the lead position behind the pace bike, with Barrette in third place. When the sprint launched, Barrette immediately attacked to lead the group, with Veloce right behind. In the last lap, Veloce exploded by Barrette to open a gap of a bike length and cruised to the win.
“Wearing the National Champion jersey, I went in to do the jersey justice. I wanted to win this race. I raced aggressively and stood on top of the podium,” said Veloce.
“During an attack, a lot of things come into play. When someone is coming over the top of you, you have two choices: you can let him pass you, or keep him on your hip. Once I knew he had a good dig to do a good effort coming over top, I decided to let him go and set up the rush. At the front, you work a lot harder at top speeds. Coming out of corner four, I saw Hugo turned his head a bit and jumped at the opportunity to pounce. I went all out from there to take the win.”
Canada’s national champion Monique Sullivan had to settle for silver in the women’s Keirin, finishing behind a very fast Yesna Rijkhoff of the Netherlands. In the Final, the lone Canadian faced three Americans and two riders from the Netherlands. Right from the start, Sullivan took the front position and maintained the lead position for the entire race, until the final straight when Rijkhoff surged around the outside and edged Sullivan at the finish line.
Eva Burke of the United States won the Junior women’s Keirin gold medal, while Canada’s Nick Wammes came out on top of the men’s Junior race.
The Schweizer Brothers [Christoph and Michael] of Germany won the men’s Madison which finished off the Challenge, taking top points in every sprint.