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Yukon cyclists nab titles in Tour of Juneau

Six Yukon cyclists returned from Whitehorse's sister city with titles and a bundle of top-three finishes this week.

Six Yukon cyclists returned from Whitehorse’s sister city with titles and a bundle of top-three finishes this week.

Members of the U Kon Echelon Bike Club won divisions and VeloNorth Cycling Club’s Bill Curtis took a third overall at the 2014 Tour of Juneau, hosted by the Juneau Freewheelers Bike Club over the weekend in Alaska.

U Kon Echelon coach Trena Irving topped the expert women’s category, Shea Hoffman the sport men category, Ava Irving-Staley the youth girls, and Johna Irving Staley and Peter Staley the tandem.

Irving, a Tour de Whitehorse champ, placed first in the 7.2-kilometre hill climb and the 80-kilometre road race. She placed second in the 3.2-kilometre prologue and the 22.5-kilometre time trial.

She pulled that off despite some wrong turns along the way.

“That’s a funny thing because out of four races, in two of them I didn’t make the turn because there wasn’t someone standing there,” said Irving, who took third place in expert women two years ago and second in 2010. “Unfortunately, being a bit disorganized, I wasn’t listening too carefully to the instructions. So my first race I missed the turn and lost about 30 seconds as I turned around and went back up the hill.

“In the third race I was doing a time trial, and it was probably the best time trial of my life, and again I missed the turn. All these people passed and went up and I was so frustrated with myself.”

Hoffman had similar results in sport men with a pair of firsts and a pair of seconds. The 19-year-old, who won the youth men category in Juneau in 2012, finished with first in the time trial and first in the 50-kilometre sport men road race.

“It didn’t go too bad for me,” said Hoffman. “In the time trial, I think I could have gone a little bit faster.”

Hoffman has competed for Yukon in seven major Games. He raced at the 2013 Canada Summer Games a year ago in Quebec and the 2011 Western Canada Summer Games, both in cycling. He has also raced in speedskating at four Arctic Winter Games.

“We talked about that: if we should put him in sport or put him in expert,” said Irving. “I said to him, ‘If you go in expert, you’re racing against guys who have been racing for at least 20 years or more ... Give yourself some time. Go in the category in which you’ll have people riding at your speed and are not kicked off and riding by yourself.’”

Curtis’ best finish en route to third in sport men was second, behind Hoffman, in the time trial.

Ava Irving-Staley was the only racer in the youth girls category and Johna Irving-Staley and Peter Staley were the only in the tandem, but there were tight finishes between the three. Ava outpaced her relatives by less than a minute in all four races.

“Ava did that same prologue when she was five years old, and now she’s nine, and she shaved off like 11 minutes,” said Irving. “We thought that was cute and funny because she did it before on a banana seat bike and now she’s on a road bike with a Zach Bell skin suit.”

Contact Tom Patrick at