Cyclists tear it up in the Junction

The 2016 Tour de Haines Junction saw its closest finish in its longest event.

The 2016 Tour de Haines Junction saw its closest finish in its longest event.

After shedding the other three expert riders, Whitehorse cyclists Preston Blackie, Ian Parker and Stephen Ball fought it out on the home stretch of the 100-kilometre road race on Sunday.

“I just attacked them on almost every hill. I’d sit up and look at them to see how much they were suffering as they caught up to me and sort of gauged my effort in the race based on their faces,” said Blackie. “I didn’t feel like I could ride them off my wheel, but I felt I could probably hurt them enough for when it came down to it at the end. On the final hill we all looked at each other and put it down, went for it as hard as I could. I sort of misjudged where the finish line was, I thought it was about a kilometre closer than it actually was, so I really had to commit to my final sprint.”

The strategy paid off for Blackie. The two-time Tour de Whitehorse champ took first in a sprint over the line, beating Parker by a fraction of a second with a time of three hours, 50 seconds.

“It was really fun, it was a beautiful course, best pavement in the territory, and no cars,” said Blackie.

While Blackie, Parker and Ball produced blazing-fast times, Whitehorse’s Rod Savoie was the big winner of the expert men’s division.

Savoie defended his title at the second annual event hosted by the U Kon Echelon Cycling Club with first in the general classification, having raced Saturday’s time trial and hill climb, and Sunday’s road race.

“I hadn’t realized I had won the overall (GC), but it’s partly out of luck because the fast riders didn’t do all three races,” said Savoie. “That’s how I rose to the top.”

Savoie placed third in the time trial, first in the hill climb and fourth in the road race.

“The hill climb was interesting this year because it was 40 kilometres long and only 10 or 12 of that is actually climbing,” said Savoie. “So you had a climb up and then a descent race back to Haines Junction, which was pretty fun. It made it a lot more interesting than just a straight hill climb … It basically turns into a road race that begins with a good climb.”

Other GC results include: Johna Staley first in under-10 boys, Ava Irving-Staley first in under-13 girls, Mollie Fraser first in under-15 girls, David Jackson first in sport men, Simi Morrison first in sport women and Trena Irving first in expert women.

Blackie produced the fastest time on the long course for the road race, Shea Hoffman did the same on the time trial and Micah Taggart Cox – racing in under-17 boys – the same on the hill climb.

“I was really, really pleased with it,” said Irving, who is director of U Kon Echelon. “We had a decent amount of people show up – it’s harder when it’s out of town. The weather was spectacular, which makes a difference because if it rains people tend not to come.

“Performance wise, I saw a lot of kids breaking their records. I don’t care if they come first, second or third, I care if they’re breaking their records. David (Jackson) and Shea (Hoffman) broke records in the time trial.”

Yukon and Alaskan cyclists will be back in gear for the Tour de Skagway this weekend. The two-day event features a time trial and a road race Saturday followed by the grueling hill climb to the White Pass on Sunday.

The next major event after Skagway is the Southern Lakes Gran Fondo on June 4.

“It was great. Trena and U Kon Echelon have made a really good event out of that tour series,” said Savoie of the Tour de Haines Junction. “It’s open to everybody and encourages a lot of youth participation and they assist with coaching, and it’s just an all-around good community event.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

Race results

Time trial

Under-10 boys (10 km)

1st Johna Irving-Staley – 28:21

Under-13 boys (20 km)

1st Lucas Taggart Cox – 41:11

Under-13 girls (20 km)

1st Ava Irving-Staley – 46:3

Under-15 girls (20 km)

1st Mollie Fraser – 40:13

Under-15 boys (20 km)

1st Cauis Taggart Cox – 39:46

Under-17 boys (20 km)

1st Micah Taggart Cox – 37:06

Sport women (20 km)

1st Simi Morrison – 40:20

2nd Jody Cox – 41:24

Sport men (20 km)

1st Malcom Taggart – 38:40

Expert women (20 km)

1st Trena Irving – 38:11

Expert men (20 km)

1st Shea Hoffman – 32:38

2nd David Jackson – 33:41

3rd Rod Savoie – 34:10

Hill climb

Under-10 boys (20 km)

1st Johna Irving-Staley – 1:12:06

Under-13 girls (20 km)

1st Ava Irving-Staley – 55:00

Under-13 boys (20 km)

1st Lucas Taggart Cox – 45:13

Under-15 girls (20 km)

1st Mollie Fraser – 51:31

Under-15 boys (40 km)

1st Cauis Taggart Cox – 1:20:31

Under-15 boys (20 km)

1st Oscar Setterington – 53:05

Under-17 boys (40 km)

1st Micah Taggart Cox – 1:10:54

Sport women (40 km)

1st Simi Morrison – 1:31:07

Sport men (40 km)

1st David Jackson – 1:18:45

2nd Michael Setterington

– 1:18:51

3rd Malcom Taggart – 1:29:00

Expert women (40 km)

1st Trena Irving – 1:19:01

Expert men (40 km)

1st Rod Savoie – 1:10:56

2nd Shea Hoffman – 1:12:52

Road race

Under-10 boys (30 km)

1st Johna Irving-Staley – 1:28:22

Under-13 girls (30 km)

1st Ava Irving-Staley – 1:21:15

2nd Annie Cable – 1:21:25

Under-15 girls (50 km)

1st Mollie Fraser – 1:58:06

Under-15 boys (50 km)

1st Oscar Setterington – 1:58:26

Sport women (50 km)

1st Lisa Pauls – 2:09:43

Sport men (50 km)

1st David Jackson – 2:00:20

Sport women (100 km)

1st Simi Morrison – 4:21:29

Sport men (100 km)

1st Michael Setterington

– 4:03:52

Expert women (100 km)

1st Trena Irving – 3:55:46

Expert men (100 km)

1st Preston Blackie – 3:00:50

2nd Ian Parker – 3:00:50

3rd Steve Ball – 3:01:39

4th Rod Savoie – 3:15:32

5th Shea Hoffman – 3:15:38

6th Michael Roberts – 3:16:11

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