Whitehorse cyclists Darryl Hansell and Trena Irving did not win every stage, but their combined times were quick enough for the expert titles in the Tour de Whitehorse over the weekend.
It was a first-time Whitehorse Tour win for both, including Hansell, a former Team Manitoba track cyclist who won a bronze at the nationals in 1987 and qualified for two Olympic trials.
With neither Hansel and Irving having much more than a minute over their nearest Tour competitions, a flat tire could have made the difference in the final stage on Sunday, a 62-kilometre road race on the North Klondike Highway.
Hansell finished third, just 12 seconds up from fifth-place’s Scott Kerby, his closest competition in the three-stage Tour.
“He’s strong on the hills so he attacked on the two climbs up there and almost dropped me,” said Hansell. “I thought if three of got away I could have dropped Scott, but everyone was determined.”
After finishing Friday’s opening stage, a 3.25-kilometre hill-climb on the Hamilton Boulevard extension, in fifth – nine seconds up from Kerby – Hansell had his best result in Saturday’s 17.5-kilometre time trial with first. (Due to frigid conditions at the trial’s original location near Fraser, BC, the race was moved last-minute to the Alaska Highway.)
“I’ve been riding a lot, but usually they just kill me in a time trial,” said Hansell. “I’m glad it was shorter too. But I pulled it off and won it. I couldn’t believe it.”
Irving, who came in second at last year’s Tour de Whitehorse behind former Yukon rider Kelsey Kabanak, flipped those results to finish ahead of Kabanak this time. She won both the hill-climb and time trial, and came second in Sunday’s road race.
“I was happy today, and pleasantry surprised, to find more of us women riding together – at least for a while,” said Irving. “It was nice because I’m trying to get more females involved.
“It’s just nice to ride with other people because I’m often out by myself.”
Now with two big wins under her belt this season, Irving also won the solo women division of the Kluane Chilkat International Bike Relay two weeks ago. Last summer she also finished second in the Tour de Juneau.
Sunday’s road race not only wrapped up the Tour, it doubled as the Yukon Cycling Championships.
A few days after winning VeloNorth’s Canada Day Criterium, Whitehorse’s Stephen Ball out-sprinted four other top finishers on the final stretch for the win.
“I forgot all about it,” said Ball of the race’s championship status. “That was a bit of a bonus.”
Ball won the last two VeloNorth races on the course, also winning in a sprint-finish earlier this season.
“That’s my strength, so if I keep the group all together, then I have a good chance at winning it,” said Ball, a former Team New Zealand track cyclist. “It’s all over now. Time to enjoy the rest of the summer.”
The women’s champion was a bit of a surprise with novice cyclist Heidi Brook taking the junior title with the fastest overall time – in her first ever individual race! (Irving took it for the senior category while Shea Hoffman took it for junior boys.)
“That wasn’t really expected at all,” said Brook. “I got a road bike this year and did the road relay, this was my first time trying it out.”
An accomplished cross-country skier, Brook represented the Yukon at the Canada Winter Games in February and skis for University of Alaska in Fairbanks on a partial scholarship.
“Right now skiing is my priority and I want to be more in shape in the winter rather than the beginning of the summer,” said Brook. “But I’m looking forward, maybe in two years, if I keep cycling, to training for the Canada Games.”
Whitehorse’s Lawrence Ignace won all three stages in the sport men division for the Tour’s sport title.
1st Ian Parker (0:05:22)
2nd Mike McCaan (0:05:37)
3rd Stefen Wackerhagen (0:05:41)
1st Trena Irving (0:06:22)
2nd Kelsey Kabanak (0:06:56)
1st Lawrence Ignace (0:06:14)
2nd Jonathan Lucas (0:06:22)
3rd Phil Hoffman (0:06:27)
1st Darryl Hansell (0:26:28)
2nd Elijah Buffalo (0:27:05)
3rd Scott Kerby (0:27:33)
1st Trena Irving (0:29:57)
2nd Kelsey Kabanak (0:30:43)
1st Lawrence Ignace (0:28:48)
2nd Jonathan Lucas (0:29:22)
3rd Bill Curtis (0:29:43)
1st Stephen Ball (1:40:30)
2nd Aaron Foos (1:40:31)
3rd Darryl Hansell (1:40:32)
1st Heidi Brook (1:52:04)
2nd Trena Irving (1:54:12)
3rd Kelsey Kabanak (1:55:12)
1st Lawrence Ignace (1:48:03)
2nd Rick Scramstad (1:48:08)
3rd Tim Sellers (1:48:10)
Contact Tom Patrick at