Crashes halt Alberta road championship, Whitehorse cyclist’s race

Melanie Tait didn't get to finish the Alberta road race provincial championships because of a bad crash. The Whitehorse cyclist wasn't in the crash, she was behind it.

Melanie Tait didn’t get to finish the Alberta road race provincial championships because of a bad crash.

The Whitehorse cyclist wasn’t in the crash, she was behind it.

Following a pair of severe crashes in the men’s race in which cyclists were taken away by ambulance, RCMP closed the course and ended the 2013 Pigeon Lake Spring Classic, which has doubled as the Alberta road race provincial championships the last three years, on Sunday south of Edmonton.

“One guy involved is resting at home now … One guy is still in hospital. He’s in pretty bad shape,” race chief Jeff Davies told the News on Tuesday.

“There were several instances pretty close in times and several ambulances were brought out there.”

RCMP called off the race following two crashes about a kilometre apart at the event, which had its largest turnout to date with 289 registered cyclists.

“On the first lap around, we passed the crash site and it just puts into reality the risks involved with racing so close to other riders,” said Tait. “It’s good to be around crashes and to get comfortable with that because that is totally a part of the sport.”

Tait, 21, was cycling in the women’s event on Sunday. She was riding with the lead pack about 53 kilometres into the 63-kilometre race when the event was called off.

“They said they were waiting for the helicopters to come pick riders up,” said Tait.

“Everyone was worried about teammates because we didn’t know who it was. Eventually the RCMP shut down the race and we turned around and all biked back another 30 kilometres or something.”

Since the pack in which Tait was riding had barely began to break up during the race, there was no way in which to estimate final placings.

“I know the last 10 kilometres would have been the determining factor,” said Tait. “There were about 20 women in my category and it’s hard to say how the last kilometres would have been. It would have been lots of breaking, trying to find placement.

“Up to the point that we got shut down, it was a good experience.”

Tait is one of two road cyclists set to represent the Yukon at the Canada Summer Games this August in Sherbrooke, Que. The other is Whitehorse’s Shea Hoffman.

Tait, who is in just her second season of competitive road cycling, is a member of U Kon Echelon, a Whitehorse-based developmental club for all ages and abilities that is also in its second season.

She is currently cycling with Alberta’s Bicisport Calgary Cycling Club and was one of 27 riders from the club in Sunday’s championship.

Tait raced to fifth in the open women division of the 23rd annual Bikes on Broadway in Saskatoon, Sask., the weekend of May 18-19.

She also won the sport women division of the Tour of Juneau last August.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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