June 18, 2011 (Banff, AB) – The riders were greeted with partially sunny skies as they prepared for the start of the Stage 2 Individual Time Trial on this double-stage Saturday at the Banff National Park Bike Fest. It was a welcome change from Friday's rain but with a stiff breeze coming from the west, all racers would have another obstacle to contend with as they tackled the tough 21km Lake Minnewanka Loop, just outside of Banff.
In the Elite Women's category, Laura Brown (Local Ride/Dr. Vie Superfoods+) had a 6-second lead over Pepper Harlton (Team Alberta) in the overall GC, and with both riders having experience on this course, it was shaping up to be a battle of supremacy for the fastest time. "My game plan going in was not to go too hard at the start and focus my energy on the hills and the rest of the course. Last year Julie Beveridge beat me here by only one second - so never, never, never soft pedal," commented Brown as she warmed up on her rollers.
When the dust settled at the finish, it was all Brown. She passed Harlton who started one minute ahead to finish with a time of 30:17.6 and all but secured the overall win heading into the evening's 26-lap Criterium in downtown Banff. "It was hard," said Brown post-race. "The wind was hitting you on the climb and with a head wind on the last few km's, I finished the race with my tongue hanging out." In second was Kristine Brynjolfson (Trek Red Truck p/b Mosaic Homes) with a time of 31:44.5 to take over third place on the GC, while Harlton settled for third on the day in 31:57.8 and is second overall.
The men started shortly after the women and with no changes in the weather conditions, they were up against the same challenges. The opportunity for a change in the overall standings was on tap for the men and it was all business for the time trial specialists as they warmed-up awaiting their start.
Third place rider on GC, Justin Kerr (H&R Block), who placed fifth last year at this same TT, was optimistic about his chances. "It's one of those courses where the more you do it, the better you get. The loop has two hard climbs near the beginning and then the downhill where you always have to keep pedaling."
Once the commissaries calculated all of the times, it was Will Routley (SpiderTech p/b C10) who destroyed the course with a time of 26:30.7, capturing the leader's jersey along the way. Cam MacKinnon (H&R Block) was a surprising second place, finishing with a time of 26:59.3, and rounding out the podium was Kerr, who was true to his word moving up two spots over last year with a time of 27:19.2 to claim the final spot on the podium. He now sits third overall behind MacKinnon.
Earlier in the morning, the Category 3/4/5 men took to the course with Joshua Krabbe (ERTC/Revolution) taking the Cat 3 win in a time of 29:25.6; Cat 4 winner was Robin Clegg (Rundle Mountain CC) in 30:09.9; and the fastest rider in Cat 5 was David Donovan (TCR Sport Lab) with a time of 31:29.3.
Most of the riders welcomed a short break in town before competing in the evening's 50-lap men's Criterium on a 1km loop in downtown Banff.
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