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World Championships - Canadians cyclists still confident
By Staff
Date: 9/25/2007
World Championships - Canadians cyclists still confident

Canadians cyclists still confident for time trials despite bikes being stolen. Dominique Rollin, David Veilleux and Keven Lacombe provide some final thoughts.

Canada is fielding a 13-member team for the world championships in road cycling set for September 26-20 in Stuttgart, Germany. While the road races are hard to forecast, Canada is focusing primarily on the time trials. However unforeseen circumstances threatened Canadian participation.

On Monday, the Canadian team had nine bikes stolen including all the time trial bicycles owned by Canadian under-23 riders Christian Meier and David Veilleux. "We were actually lucky in our bad luck," said Kris Westwood, high performance director for the Canadian Cycling Association. "The Gerolsteiner team opened its doors to us and told us 'take what you need.'"

Back in the saddle with bikes and tires, the Canadians can now focus on its preparation.

Goal: top-10 for women

Anne Samplonius of Montreal, who competes on opening day, is vying for a top-10 finish in the time trial. "The goal is to obtain an additional spot for the Olympic Games," said Westwood. "Our goal in the men’s time trial is top-15. It won't be easy but we can do it." Top hopes for the men are Svein Tuft of Langley, B.C., and Ryder Hesjedal of Victoria.

The time trial course has no flat sections. "It’s a grinding course," said Westwood. "There are some technically-challenging turn. There’s a lot of variety. The winner will be good not lucky. The guys really liked it."

Road race

In the road race, Westwood won't announce the Canadian goals. "It’s just so unpredictable" he said. "In the women’s elite race, we should start seeing some action at the end of the race. Everyone will be vigilant. Our goal will be to keep Erinne Willock (Victoria) and Alex Wrubleski (Regina) in the best possible position until the end."

The men’s race should be fast from the start. "The teams will have to be ready for a breakaway early because no one will be able to dictate the race."

There were no bike problems for Dominique Rollin. He will have his own bike, as he was still in Québec when the robbers committed their larceny. Before flying to Germany, the 2006 Canadian Champion was of an Olympic calm when talking about the 267.4 km course.

"It's strange but in this type of event, the first 150-180 kilometers are used for warm up. There are always a few breakaways that don't make it to the end, because the big teams bring them back. My play is to manage my energy to be present when the race really starts." said Rollin.

The Canadian team strategy is still to be determined as the three Maple Leaf representatives will have a hard task faced with teams with up to nine riders. "There is really a possibility to have a strategy with a reduced team like ours. A the end of the race, we will see who is feeling the best. Svein Tuft had a great season and proved that he could be very strong at the end of a race." continued the Québécois.

David Veilleux and Keven Lacombe are ready for the U23 races

Just like last year's Worlds Championships held in Salzburd, David Veilleux will contest both event in the Under 23 category. Veilleux finished 50th in the Time Trial, and 71st in the road race at Salzburg in 2006.

"The riders are very strong in our category," Veilleux explained. "Finishing in the top third in the time trial would be good, and with a finish first third in the road race, I would be satisfied. The road race will be more difficult than last year and with my experience, my goals are more realists."

Well rested from the Tour de l'Avenir where he was one of only two Canadians to finish the 10 stages in the strongly contested race, Veilleux managed to recuperate well and trained specifically for the Worlds. "I mainly did motor pacing training in order to have good speed for the time trial. My two last sessions were good and I should have good legs."

For Keven Lacombe, the Tour de l'Avenir left an major impact. "I lost a lot of weight in the last month," explains a laughing 181 po (82 k) Lacombe. "The National Team put in a lot of money and time with us and that made a huge difference. I don't know what will happen here, but the training conditions for the past month were excellent. We couldn't have had a better preparation for the World Championships and I hope that everything goes well on Saturday."

Team Canada

Elite women:
Erinne Willock - Victoria, BC (road race)
Alex Wrubleski - Regina, SK (road race and time trial)
Leigh Hobson - Toronto, ON (road race)
Anne Samplonius - Ottawa, ON (road race and time trial)

U23 men:
David Veilleux - Quebec, QC (road race and time trial)
Keven Lacombe - Amos, QC (road race)
Brad Fairall - North Vancouver, BC (road race)
Ryan Anderson - Spruce Grove, AB (road race)

Elite men:
Svein Tuft - Langley, BC (road race and time trial)
Cam Evans - Delta, BC (road race)
Ryder Hesjedal - Victoria, BC (time trial)
Dominique Rollin - Boucherville, QC (road race)
Alternate: Andrew Randell - Toronto, ON (road race)

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