Tour de Whitehorse titles back in Yukon hands

Three cyclists who represented the territory at last year’s Canada Summer Games were back in town for the Tour de Whitehorse over the weekend, snagging top-spots in all three stages of the race in the expert men’s class.

Who says you can never go home again?

Three cyclists who represented the territory at last year’s Canada Summer Games were back in town for the Tour de Whitehorse over the weekend, snagging top-spots in all three stages of the race in the expert men’s class.

“I was up visiting family, so I thought I’d come out and do the local race and see some people,” said Jesse Reams, who was back in town from Burnaby, BC.

A former Team Yukon rider, Reams won two stages of the Tour on his way to capturing the overall title for the expert men.

After finishing second in 2007 and first in 2008, Reams missed last year’s Tour when the expert men’s class went to Alaska’s Daniel Folmer. (Possibly because of the July 4 holiday in the US, no Alaskan cyclists entered the Tour this year.)

Reams, who cycles for Garneau Evolution in Burnaby, is fresh off another significant accomplishment, finishing second in the U-23 division and ninth overall in the elite men’s division at the Road National Championships in Edmonton the previous weekend.

He also had the best Summer Games finish for Team Yukon, placing 11th in the time trial event.

The one stage Reams failed to win was Sunday’s road race, which, in association with the Cycling Association of the Yukon, doubled as the Yukon Road Championships.

Taking first Sunday and second overall for the Tour was Dan MacDonald, who rides for Total Restoration Cycling team out of Kelowna, BC, cycling in his first Tour de Whitehorse.

Starting Sunday with roughly a minute lead on MacDonald in the standings, Reams knew he had to just stay close to the Kelowna rider to seal the deal, finishing two seconds back.

“You always try to go for the race-win too, but he got me at the (finish) line, so it was a good job by him,” said Reams. “The road race is always fun – there are more tactics.”

Finishing in third and fourth, on Sunday and in the Tour overall, were Whitehorse’s Troy Henry and David Gonda respectively. Henry and Gonda, who train together in Calgary, recently won the two-person division together in Calgary’s Giver 8’r cycling race in May.

They, too, were back in town for the race … well, sort of.

“A bit of both,” said Gonda. “I’m doing a mountain bike race in July, so I came back to do some training for that.”

“Dave was coming up and I heard Jesse was coming up, so I used this as an excuse to come up and visit family,” said Henry.

The four top finishers of the expert men’s class stayed together for the full 85-kilometre road race Sunday – even through the final section on Miles Canyon Road that features some steep inclines – ending in a sprint to the finish line.

“I was slightly surprised we stayed together through Miles Canyon; I thought one of those guys would pull out a big attack,” said Gonda. “I’m happy with how it turned out.

“I’ve never been much of a sprinter, so that’s something I have to work on.”

Local cyclist Kelsey Kabanak, who also raced for Team Yukon at last summer’s Games, became the first Yukoner in three years to win the expert women’s class. In previous years the class was won by Alaska’s Janice Sheufelt.

Kabanak took the title without actually winning any of the three stages – even coming fourth on Friday’s hill climb up the new Hamilton Boulevard extension. However, a four-minute lead over overall second place finisher Trena Irving from Whitehorse on Sunday, giving her second in the race, was enough to push her to the top of the overall standings.

“My worst was the hill climb. I’ve just been getting back into it (since getting back from university), so each race I’m doing better and better,” said Kabanak. “This was a good finish.

“I need to work on my hills. I don’t know what happened, I used to be a hill-climber and now they just kill me.”

Taking first in Sunday’s road race – and the Yukon Road Championship – was Whitehorse’s Nadele Flynn, finishing the 75-kilometre course with a six-minute lead over Kabanak.

Although edged out of the Tour’s overall top-spot in the expert women’s class, this year’s event did hold special significance for Irving, having won her first race ever in Saturday’s individual time trial.

“The time trial was phenomenal for me,” said Irving. “I have a rearview mirror on my helmet and anytime I saw anyone coming I just pumped down a little bit harder – I didn’t know who it was and I didn’t care. I just wanted to stay ahead of everybody. People did pass me but I was motivated to stay in front of people.

“I never go out to win a race, I just go out to do my best. But it is nice to say, ‘Wow, I did come ahead of everyone else.’ So that was a nice feeling.”

Overall tour results

Expert men

1st Jesse Reams – 2:54:50

2nd Dan MacDonald – 2:56:04

3rd Troy Henry – 2:56:15

4th David Gonda – 2:58:29

5th Jerome McIntyre – 3:09:01

Expert women

1st Kelsey Kabanak – 3:09:37

2nd Trina Irving – 3:14:00

Sport men

1st Darren Holcombe – 2:59:18

2nd Rob Rees – 3:00:52

3rd Lawrence Ignace – 3:01:56

4th Tim Sellars – 3:08:11

5th Bill Curtis – 3:08:48

Sport women

1st Shannon Meekins – 3:47:58

Sunday’s road race/Yukon Road Championships

Expert men (85 km)

1st Dan MacDonald – 2:08:59

2nd Jesse Reams – 2:09:01

3rd Troy Henry – 2:09:02

4th David Gonda – 2:09:03

5th Ryan Burlingame – 2:18:08

Expert women (75km)

1st Nadele Flynn – 2:08:11

2nd Kelsey Kabanak – 2:14:45

3rd Trena Irving – 2:20:11

Sport men (75km)

1st Lawrence Ignace – 2:04:44

2nd Darren Holcombe – 2:04:45

3rd Rob Rees – 2:04:46

4th Rick Scramstad – 2:07:10

5th Tim Sellers – 2:08:22

Sport women (75km)

1st Shannon Meekins – n/a

Saturday’s time trial

Expert men

1st Jesse Reams – 0:40:52

2nd Dan Macdonald – 0:41:53

3rd Troy Henry – 0:42:04

4th David Gonda – 0:44:07

5th Jerome McIntryre – 0:44.57

Expert women

1st Trena Irving – 0:53:49

2nd Jillian Chown – 0:54:30

3rd Kelsey Kabanak – 0:54:52

Sport women

1st Shannon Meekins – 1:01:47

Sport men

1st Darren Holcombe – 0:48:17

2nd Rob Rees – 0:49:50

3rd Laurence Ignace – 0:52:55

4th Tim Sellers – 0:52.57

5th Bill Curtis – 0:53:13

Friday’s hill climb

Expert men

1st Jesse Reams – 4:57

2nd Troy Henry – 5:09

3rd Dan MacDonald – 5:12

4th David Gonda – 5:19

5th Ryan Burlingame – 5:29

Expert women

1st Jillian Chown – 6:45

2nd Trina Irving – 6:48

3rd Nadele Flynn – 7:23

4th Kelsey Kabanak – 7:25

Sport men

1st Rob Rees – 6:16

2nd Darren Holcombe – 6:16

3rd Tom Ullyett – 06:35

4th Tim Sellars – 6:52

5th Bill Curtis – 6:52

Sport women

1st Shannon Meekins – 8:04

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com