BY SOUTHGREY.CA STAFF — On Saturday, June 15, cyclists took to the roads in Thornbury and made their way through the Beaver Valley for the Centurion Cycling event which partnered with the Blue Mountains Gran Fondo this year. This included making the C100 event a qualifier for the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale) Gran Fondo World Series while keeping a revamped C50 distance.
The race started and ended in Thornbury with 600 participants.
Changes this year to the route, were made to include less hill climbing and better align with the World Championship event in Poznan, Poland. Start times were pushed back to allow same-day commuters a little more time to get to work.
The racers left Thornbury in waves. Men under 50-years are in Wave 1, with the course being 152kms. Women and men over 50-years are in wave 2 which is 112kms. There is now a Medio Fondo C50 event, which is 72kms.
Included in the Medio Fondo was a timed hill-climb challenge up the Epping Climb on Grey Road 7 heading north from Kimberley which included an elevation gain of 172 metres.
This year the Centurion date was moved to June 15 from September.
The following paragraphs were submitted by Bruce Bird:
"Men under fifty started in the first Wave and completing a 152-kilometer course with 1092meters of elevation gain. Greg Moore (40-44 - Morning Glory Cycling Club) dashed out into a solo break just 8 kilometers into the race and was soon joined by Chris Polett (40-44 - To Wheels Racing). The duo was able to build a lead of over 12 minutes at the start of the Epping climb for a second time (km 70). The lead was reduced to 10 minutes by the time the two-man break started climbing Bowles Hill (km 110), when Greg Moore distanced Polett and rode the final 40 kilometers solo to take the victory finishing 4:13 ahead of Polett and 4:35 ahead of Gaelen Merritt (19-34 Toronto Hustle Cycling Team) in 3rd place."
Wave 2 Epping Climb. Photo by Jeremy Allen
"Wave 2 featured all women riders and men 50+ who rode the 112km course with 795 meters of climbing. Dan Martin (50-54 - Pete’s Coffee Racing Team) the 2016 Road UCI GFWS World Champion took off as soon as the neutralized section ended riding solo out in front of the peloton for the first 20 kilometers. A group of five riders led by Kevin Simms (50-54 – Sound Solution) and including Olympian Sue Palmer-Komar (W50-54 – Wheels of Bloor/AutoStyle Collision) crested the Epping climb first with riders splintered into several groups pedaling hard to get back in contact with the leaders. By the time the group started the second loop it had swollen to around 50 riders. With a 30kph head/cross wind and no one wanting to drive the pace, attacks began with Wheels of Bloor, Sound Solutions and Pete’s Coffee riders taking turns trying to separate themselves from the sticky peloton. Ultimately it was the newly minted Canadian National Road Champion Steve McKee (50-54 – Wheels of Bloor) who broke free. The chase efforts were taken up by a surging Dan Martin who could not find enough help to sustained effort. The peloton rode conservatively leading up to the Bowles Hill Climb, while McKee quickly built up a 5-minute lead and then sailed home to victory. McKee’s teammate Bruce Bird (50-54 – Wheels of Bloor) finishing 31 seconds back. Third place was won in a sprint with UCI GFWS Time Trial Champion from 2016 Dan Bryant (50-54 - Pete’s Coffee) finishing just ahead of hard working Kevin Simms 4:31 behind McKee. Four strong women fought for the top three spots in the women’s race with the 2019 Ontario Cup Points Co-Winner Joyce Spruyt (19-34 – To Wheels Racing) crossing the line first ahead of Sue Palmer-Komar, Stephanie Martinek (45-49 – Collingwood Cycling Club) and Nicole Lentini (35-39 – First Draft P/B Mercedes-Benz Oakville)."
"The third wave rode the Medio Fondo distance of 72 kilometers and included a Hill Climb KOM/QOM Challenge. The top three women finishers were: Jasmin Jackson (Newmarket Eagles), Karri Beck (B1 Evo Cycling) and Natalie Wright. The top three men were: Theron Inglis (Ride with Ryan P/B Cycling Elements), Zakariya Jackson (Toronto Hustle) and Krzysztof Kurzawinski (Win Cycling Centre). The Hill climb QOM was won by Melissa Hardy and the KOM was taken by Zakariya Jackson"
"All participants were entered into a random draw at the end of the awards ceremony for a chance to choose an item from the prize table with over 10k in cycling gear."
"A strong Canadian Team is expected at the 2019 UCI Gran Fondo World Championships later this summer in taking place in Poznan, Poland from Aug 28th-Sept 1st."
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