Symmetrics victory train keeps rolling -- Meier wins Canadian Road Nationals
If there was any question that Symmetrics is the strongest team in Canada right now, they put them to rest today with a complete team effort that had them animating all of the days breaks and putting two men on the podium and three in the top five finishers. Christian Meier won the 173km road race, teammate Jacob Erker was third and Eric Wohlberg was fourth.
The race was animated pretty much from the start and Symmetrics was involved in all of the major breaks. Svein Tuft must have been on an off day, but the team once again showed their depth and quality today.
Christian Meier of Langley, B.C., held off a charging Bruno Langlois of Rimouski, Que., in the dying moments of the men’s 172.8 kilometre road race to win the gold medal at the Tim Hortons Road Nationals cycling championships.<?XML:NAMESPACE PREFIX = O />
Meier, last year’s under-23 national champion, clocked for the victory in four and 38 minutes and 32 seconds. After Meier and Langlois crossed, Jacob Erker of Calgary, who cramped up with a lap to go to lose Meier and Langlois at the front, held on to third place finishing over a minute behind.
‘’This is the most amazing feeling I’ve had in my career,’’ said Meier. ‘’It’s beautiful. I have to thank my Symmetrics Cycling teammates so much because anybody could have won out there today and it just happened to be me. Jacob rode his heart out for me in the break.’’
The race was held on a 9.6 kilometre loop which the riders lapped 18 times. It was a challenging course used for the Tour de Beauce which includes a steep one kilometre climb to end the lap.
‘’This course is so tough,’’ said Meier. ‘’Some of us knew it from the Tour just a couple of weeks ago so we may have had an advantage that way. It’s a hard course to chase and sometimes it’s actually easier to be in a breakaway and ride in a controlled tempo. I’m not a sprinter type of guy, so I try to roll a breakaway.’’
Meier joined the lead group with eight laps to go and stayed up front until it whittled down to a showdown between himself and Langlois on the final lap.
‘’With 500 metres to go I kind of jumped and got a gap on Bruno,’’ said Meier. ‘’He came up again a bit but I was pretty confident I was going to get it. I really started to believe with two-three laps to go I would have an opportunity to challenge for the gold.’’
In the under-23 standings, David Veilleux of Cap-Rouge, Que., earned his fifth national title and completed a golden sweep this weekend in the age group. He also won the time trial on Friday. Eric Boily of Chicoutimi, Que., was second and Dave Vukets third.
‘’It was a very tough race,’’ said Veilleux, 20. ‘’The heat and the length of the race made it a very challenging day. That last climb at the end of the loop used up a lot energy and on such a short lap it kept coming back fast.’’
Veilleux was particularly pleased with how he fought back after falling behind early.
‘’I did a really good job catching up,’’ said Veilleux. ‘’In the second half of the race I was at the front a lot more. My teammate and I did a good job moving up in the standings. It was very important for me to get the under-23 title and I certainly raced with that in mind.’’