U Kon cyclists have spills and thrills in Kelowna, Juneau

Cyclists with U Kon Echelon returned home with hardware and a few scrapes and bruises last weekend.

Cyclists with U Kon Echelon returned home with hardware and a few scrapes and bruises last weekend.

Members of the Yukon club raced the Tour de Juneau in Alaska two weeks ago and the Axel Merckx Youth Racing Camp — hosted by Merckx, an Olympic medalist and son of five-time Tour de France winner Eddie Merckx — last weekend in Kelowna, B.C.

Whitehorse’s Ava Irving-Staley was one of U Kon’s top finishers at both events.

She placed first in a time trial for under-13 girls at the Merckx camp and first in the general classification in Juneau for youth girls.

But her road race in Kelowna didn’t go as planned.

“The girl in front of her hit a tire and Ava crashed into her and a coach, who is about 180 pounds of solid muscle, ran over both girls,” said U Kon coach Trena Irving. “Everybody was okay except for some bruises and scratches, but that made Ava’s results a second-to-last place finish.”

U Kon’s Annie Cable placed fifth in the time trial and the road race for U13 girls at the Merckx camp.

Johna Irving-Staley, who is just eight years old, placed 11th out of 12 in the time trial in U13 boys.

Mollie Fraser placed fifth in the time trial and nineth in the road race out of 12 racers in U15 girls.

“Her group was very competitive and had the most girls,” said Irving.

“That group again was super competitive with Eddie Merckx’s granddaughter taking third place. Mollie rode really solidly and proved her fitness and race ability as a first-year U15 cyclist.”

Luke Bakica raced to sixth in the time trial and ninth in the road race in U17 in his first races outside of Yukon. (Criterium results were not available at press time.)

“This is Luke’s first year of racing and he held his own in a competitive group,” said Irving.

“Luke stayed strong throughout his (road) race, riding with a pack, attacking, and unfortunately attacking a little too soon for the sprint. He did exceptional for his first time at an Outside race.”

“All in all, minus the crashes, the kids enjoyed the competition,” added Irving.

The Yukon team was a force to be reckoned with at the Tour de Juneau. In the general classification at the end Irving-Staley was first in youth boys, Fraser first in sport women, David Jackson first in sport men, Irving first in expert women, and Shea Hoffman third in expert men.

Whitehorse’s Bill Curtis, who volunteered at the Juneau event, took the time to squeeze in a race, placing third in the sport men’s road race.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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