The third time turned out to be the charm for John Murphy. After two straight second place finishes to start BC Superweek, the 32-year-old who rides for the Holoweski | Citadel Cycling Team made it to the top of the podium in the White Spot | Delta Road Race on Sunday afternoon in Tsawwassen. He wrapped up the 155.46 kilometre circuit in three hours, 25 minutes, and 24 seconds.
The finish ended up being a bunch sprint, but starting the last lap, it didn’t look like it would be. Nigel Ellsay of Silber Pro Cycling and Garneau-Quebecor rider Olivier Brisebois opened a 43-second gap on the peloton with one to go before being absorbed by the group, setting up the sprint to the win.
“We came out swinging today, we wanted to make it a really hard race and we were aggressive. When Ellsay got off on the last lap after the hill – you just can’t let him go – so we put the guys in the front and brought him back,” described Murphy. “Then we kind of freelanced the sprint a little bit and it was a close finish, but I’m glad we got it!”
After the two second place finishes, Murphy, who runs a nutrition company in his non-cycling time, would have been disappointed with anything less than first place. As much as the UCI points are important to Murphy and his team, getting to the top of the podium is almost as big.
“It’s an international race with amazing competition, but anytime you can win a race, whether it’s a local crit or a UCI road race, it’s huge for us and that what we’re all about – having fun and trying to win the biggest races we can,” he said.
He only recently signed with the H&R Block Pro Cycling team, but it looks like adding sprinter Ryan Macanally to its roster was a very good recruit. Macanally was millimetres behind Murphy in second on Sunday, his best finish since a win at the Tour de Jakarta just under a year ago. The 24-year-old Aussie had two other H&R Block teammates in the final sprint, so they had as good a chance as any to get onto the podium.
“We led it out from two kilometres to go and just committed. We had three or four guys on the front and coming in with 200 metres to go, I saw Murphy come down the right hand side, decided to sprint then with him – just got onto his wheel – and it was a tough sprint at the finish with a bit of an uphill incline,” said Macanally.
The pace of the race was electric, with speeds averaging almost 46 kilometres an hour.
“We started off saying, ‘If a breakaway goes, we definitely want someone in there.’ so we were made sure we had someone in there,” he added. “I was gambling for it all to come back (on the last lap), so I decided not to put the guys on the front to ride too hard to bring back the breaks, we just told them to follow wheels and it came back together, which is nice.”
For third place finisher Scott Law, his Cylance Cycling team faced some adversity in Saturday’s Ladner Criterium when all teams were notified it is illegal in Canada to race bikes with disc brakes without UCI approval. That approval came in time for Sunday’s White Spot | Delta Road Race and a disc brake bike worked out pretty good for Law, a third generation cyclist from Australia.
“We were a bit disappointed with how it all panned out with the rules and regulations coming into the crits. We knew especially for this Road Race and Gastown, we’d have to make it work, do our best and really show why we deserve to be here – why a rule shouldn’t put us out from racing,” said Law, who won the Ladner Criterium and Giro di Burnaby at BC Superweek last year. “We wanted to put our best foot forward. We had the guys riding hard and aggressive all day. I just ran out of legs coming into the finish. Congrats to John and Ryan and all the teams, they put on an awesome show.”
2015 U.S. National Criterium Champion Kendall Ryan Claims Women’s Race
Racing in Canada definitely agrees with 24-year-old Kendall Ryan, who makes her home in Ventura, California. The Team TIBCO-SVB rider was third at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Gatineau Road Race in May and made her way to the top of the podium on Sunday at the Tour de Delta’s White Spot | Delta Road Race. Ryan sprinted ahead of Elizabeth Williams and Holly Edmonston to claim victory at BC’s only UCI road cycling race.
On the last lap, it looked like the TIBCO-SVB team left it a little late with their lead out, but it ended up being effective for Ryan and teammates Madeline Park, Jennifer Tetrick and Heather Fischer. “We ended up getting swarmed in the end with teams going from the left to the right,” Ryan explained. “At first, we decided we were going to come on the left, but the wind really started picking up throughout the race and I said, ‘Heather, just go right!’ last minute and she guided me into that sprint. We got behind the Rally train and once their last lead outs pulled off, I kind of just shot through a gap.”
Ryan, who was born into a family of cyclists and began racing BMX at 6-years-old, recognized how important the race was for her team to pick up UCI points. “It’s a lot of points and it goes towards the team, it goes towards our World Tour ranking,” she said. “It’s really special that everybody was part of that win and we feel really good about it.”
Williams second place finish is her second appearance on the podium in three days at the Tour de Delta as she was third in Friday’s MK Delta Lands Criterium. The caliber of the field pushed the level of racing and it was unforgiving for the smaller teams like Williams’ Hagens Berman | Supermint squad.
“The race was quite negative to be honest. People weren’t willing to have a crack at it, and we had a clean plan to race aggressive and we were going to go halfway through the race,” said the 33-year-old Australian. ”We stuck with that plan and gave it a go for a couple of laps later into the race and just nothing stuck so we decided to save it for the final bunch kick.”
Williams’ career is an interesting story, she originally quit cycling in 2004 and returned in 2014. In her decade away from the sport, she spent the time as a teacher and Australian Rules football player. As for the White Spot | Delta Road Race, Williams definitely recognized the threat Ryan posed.
“I made a decision to go on Kendall, I felt that she was going to be the fastest finisher, so I just tapped on the back of the TIBCO train about 2 to 3 kilometres from the finish. I just stuck to her wheel and made sure no one else got it and it was the right decision,” said Williams. “Unfortunately, I couldn’t come off her, she was just a little bit too quick, but it’s good confidence for myself because I’m still working on my timing and my sprint across. It’s a great result for the team and a great team effort.”
Edmonston made it onto the podium at BC Superweek and the Tour de Delta for the second straight day after winning Saturday’s Ladner Criterium. The 21-year-old New Zealand national team member felt the race was steady for most of the time, but got more difficult 70 kilometres into the 103.6 kilometre trek.
“The field started stretching and everyone was putting a lot of pressure on trying to break away. TIBCO was really counterattacking and making it hard,” Edmonston said. “Everyone had to really fight for the finish and for me not really having a lead out train, I’m happy with my result.”
The final lap saw attacks from peloton powerhouses like Team Canada, Rally Cycling and TIBCO, something Edmonston felt in a big way.
“Oh yeah, I did. It was cool though, because I have never really been in that situation before – only on the track,” she said. “On the road there are so many more factors like crashing, potholes and stuff, so it makes it really interesting. After 100 kilometres of racing, you never know how you’re going to feel in the sprint.”
BC Superweek continues on Tuesday with the inaugural New West Grand Prix. The women’s race starts at 6:15 pm while the men begin at 7:30 pm.
BC Superweek is Canada’s biggest professional road cycling series and features more than $140,000 in prize money with nine races over ten days. BC Superweek runs from July 7 – 16 and is made up of the Tour de Delta (July 7 – 9), New West Grand Prix (July 11), Global Relay Gastown Grand Prix (July 12), Giro di Burnaby presented by Appia Development (July 13), PoCo Grand Prix presented by Dominion Lending Centres (July 14), and Steve Nash Fitness World presents Tour de White Rock (July 15 – 16).