Banff BikeFest Stage 4 Report, Full Results, GC – Brynjolfson, Dahl Take Final Stage, Kinley & McKnight Win Overall
June 16, 2013 (Banff, AB) – A spectacular cloudless day in the Rocky Mountains greeted riders and the cool crisp air was invigorating for the 7am start of the Cat 3/4 Men’s and Open Women’s 78km Tunnel Mountain Road Race.
The Open Women’s event was slated to be anything but predictable, featuring a 6-lap circuit around Tunnel Mountain with a start/finish in downtown Banff. The course contains a variety of terrain to challenge the riders and allow for tactical variations to play out.
First there is a long flat section along Banff Ave, followed by a steady climb alongside Tunnel Mountain. The course then meanders and rolls until the junction of Tunnel Mountain Road where a couple up-hill kickers, followed by a fast, twisty descent take riders back to town. The vistas of Cascade Mountain and the valley below adds brilliance to this special race course.
Race leader Kinley Gibson (Juventus) knew she had a big day ahead of her to secure the overall victory. Trek Red Truck p/b Mosaic Home had all but locked-up second through fifth, yet this strong, Vancouver -based team, was not going to settle for anything but first. And they would do everything in their power to get it. Reigning BC Road champ, Megan Rathwell commented, “We are going to try to isolate Kinley up the road. We have pretty good climbers on our team and the numbers to go for the win.”
Right from the gun Rathwell and her teammates assumed the front of the peloton leading into the first climb. But with everything Trek dished out, Gibson responded in heroic fashion.
At around the third lap, Trina Van Dyck (Cranked) and Allison Beveridge (Trek Red Truck p/bMosaic Homes), sitting 4th in the GC, broke away and started to put some time on the pack. Once it hit 1:05 and Beveridge was the virtual GC leader, Gibson started to be concerned. No one was going to help the solo rider from Edmonton, so it was up to her to bring it back. “The girls were taking short pulls – only I was going to pull hard. I got on the front and hammered, hammered and hammered,” commented Gibson.
Gibson brought the break back, only to have Trek’s Kristine Brynjolfson launch another attack leading into the final climbs. Kirsti Lay (Bicisport) saw the opportunity and went with her. “Riding without a big team I tried to work less and ride smarter,” said Lay post-race. “When the lead got to over a minute I got a little worried, so when I saw Kristine jump I went with her.”
The two riders gapped the peloton and powered together down Banff Ave. towards the finish on the last lap. In the final sprint to the line, it was the experience of Brynjolfson that brought her the stage win.
Once the pack had crossed the line, Gibson could celebrate her first major stage race victory. It was also a very successful weekend of racing for the Trek Red Truck team, not just by their results, but by the way they worked as a team.
Jenny Lehman, who finished fifth overall, commented about Gibson’s win. “Kinley totally earned the win. She pulled hard on the front and responded to everything we threw at her. The times she showed weaknesses, she pulled something else out and pulled even harder. She deserved the win this weekend.”
The Cat 1/2 Men’s race also had the makings of a hard fought, entertaining battle to watch. Up for grabs was a stage win, GC victory, and the Tour of Alberta “make the team” award.
There were two teams leading in pursuit of these prizes. Trek Red Truck p/b by Mosaic Homes had their GC leader in Bailey McKnight, Team H&R Block had Kris Dahl leading the fight for the Tour of Alberta “make the team” award, and everyone else on the start line wanted a piece of the action including the final stage win of the 2013 Banff BikeFest.
Bailey in action…
The Trek team had suffered some damage in their offensive, attack-mode, race plan at last evening’s Criterium. Both Brad Clifford and Jesse Reams got caught in a crash, with Reams leaving a full body skin graft along Banff Ave., while Clifford broke his bike and separated his shoulder. A late night trip to the medical clinic got Clifford’s shoulder popped back in, and a borrowed bike gave him a ride. With Reams freshly bandaged up, these warriors were ready to do what it takes to protect their leader’s jersey.
In the H& R camp things were also on track for today’s stage. Dahl was leading in the Tour of Alberta “make the team” category and no doubt these guys were stage hunting as well.
With part of their team back east racing at the Tour de Beauce, Aaron Schooler, the defending BikeFest champ, commented on his support role for the team at the Banff BikeFest. “My role here is something new to me. I have never been the guy doing the lead-outs. I was originally supposed to go to Beauce, but I got sent here to support Kris.” At last night’s Criterium, Schooler delivered the final lead-out for Dahl’s win, and for today’s Stage 4 road race his role was not going to be any different.
With both Trek Red Truck and H&R Block protecting their leaders, the opportunity was there for other teams to attack and try to get away if they wanted in on the prizes at the end of the day. Right from the start, Trek Red Truck controlled the race, with battered riders Clifford and Reams doing the bulk of the work.
There were two breakaways of note during the race by two local Albertans. Mackenzie Garvin (Cyclemeisters/Bow Cycle) and Prologue winner Evan Bayer (Team Niklas), got away and built up a 1:20 lead, only to eventually get reeled in by the pack on Lap 4.
With Trek taking control of the peloton, there was not much anyone could do to get away. With the pack whittled down to 41 riders, it was time for the second important break as H&R Block decided it was time to lay down an all-out attack with around 5km to go to the finish. Reams went with them and the pedal was on full throttle to the end.
The final straight-away looked like a drag strip all lit-up. No one was holding back as they were all hungry for the win. Just like at last night’s Criterium, it was the black and green of HR Block’s Dahl who came across the line first, hands in the air and a big smile on his face.
Bailey post-race with proud Mom and Grandmom
“Our pre-race plan was to lead me out. I was 4th wheel on the last downhill straight when Reams put down a spicy attack. I went with him and found myself first wheel around the final corner. That’s when Schooler came flying by me. I got on his wheel and was able to sprint to victory. It was a total team win,” said an excited Dahl. Not only did Dahl get the stage victory but he also won the great opportunity to race at the Tour of Alberta in September as part of the US Continental race team, SmartStop presented by Mountain Khakis.
Race leader McKnight saw the action unfolding and fought his way to the finish as he chased down Dahl but came-up short earning second place on the day while securing his overall GC win. “Our team was off the charts today. We played it to a tee. Clifford and Reams were an important part of our plan. They came in hurting and ended up doing most of the work,” explained McKnight.
After four days and five races, Banff BikeFest came to a fine close once again with exciting racing until the end. Once again the well-organized event was fully supported by the local community, wildlife included, and amazing weather graced this fabled town nestled high in the Rocky Mountains. Race participation was up, and as the excitement continues to spread about this superb bike race and festivities, Banff BikeFest promises to continue as one of Canada’s top stage races.
The Yellow Jersey